Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 12.COM 11.B.28

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Serbia has nominated Kolo, traditional folk dance (No. 01270) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Kolo is a traditional, collective folk dance performed by dancers who are interlinked to form a chain, usually moving in a circular line holding hands with their arms down. It is performed to the accompaniment of music at private and public gatherings and involves all members of the local community. Cultural-artistic societies and folk dance troupes are also important bearers and practitioners of the element. Kolo has an important integrative social function, fostering collective identities at different levels in the communities. Performances during celebrations of the most important events in individuals’ and communities’ lives make this element very present and sustainable at all levels. Bearers and local communities ensure its visibility by organizing local, regional and national fairs, festivals and competitions, and the sustainability of the practice is also ensured by cultural and artistic societies. Learning through direct participation is the most common way of transmitting the skills and skilled dancers motivate other players, awakening in them a desire to learn and improve their own performance. Knowledge is also acquired through the regular education system and in ballet and music schools.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   Kolo is an important folk dance tradition in the daily life of the communities concerned in Serbia, which is performed in family settings and during community celebrations such as weddings, birthdays and local events. As such, Kolo gives local communities a sense of identity, enables social cohesion and facilitates dialogue among community members. Bearers and practitioners can include all members of society, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, religion or age. Cultural and artistic societies, folk dance troupes, local musicians and authors of music are important actors in the transmission of the traditional practice. The element is transferred from an older generation to the younger generation through formal and non-formal education.

R.2:   The element contributes to promoting tolerance and peaceful co-existence between peoples through its potential to bring together people of diverse ethnic origins, social backgrounds and professional affiliations. At the national level, the inscription of the element would highlight the importance of performing arts and contribute to raising the interest of communities in the transmission and revitalization of cultural practices. It would also raise public awareness of the role of intangible cultural heritage as an effective tool for advancing social cohesion.

R.3:   The file provides a clear description of past and current safeguarding initiatives by the submitting State, developed in collaboration with representatives from the communities and groups concerned. In particular, the State Party established an adequate legal framework for the safeguarding of the element and provided support to institutions involved in its study, documentation, promotion and dissemination. Proposed safeguarding measures have been designed to ensure the current and foreseen viability of the element. Such measures include: research, transmission in formal and non-formal contexts within schools and cultural groups, awareness raising through local, regional or national fairs, festivals and competitions and the promotion and revitalization of lesser-known or endangered variants of Kolo.

R.4:   In addition to having been fully involved in the national inventorying process, the community of bearers and practitioners fully participated in developing the nomination and planning the safeguarding measures presented in the file. Other stakeholders within civil society, for instance academic institutions and cultural institutions, were consulted during the preparation of the nomination file. The free, prior and informed consent of the communities concerned, including representatives of local governments, cultural institutions, associations and folklore ensembles and researchers is well demonstrated through letters supporting the inscription of the element.

R.5:   The element was included in the National Register of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Serbia in 2012, following an inventorying process conducted by the Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is a professional body responsible for maintaining the National Register and established at the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade. The National Register is regularly updated with the cooperation of local communities, institutions and experts.

  1. Inscribes Kolo, traditional folk dance on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.