When you dedicate your youth to something then you know how much you loved it. I consider myself very lucky to have folklore dancing as my hobby and passion. I have been actively performing folklore dances for 15 years in the Folklore Ensemble Abrašević, one of the oldest and most famous in Serbia and the Balkans. The diverse repertoire included folk dances from all over the region. An orchestra accompanied stage performances, and all the costumes were authentic and carefully collected. Thanks to frequent performances, we traveled all over Europe, representing the cultural heritage of our region with great pleasure and pride.
Folk dances are not only about steps and music, but the whole history and plenty of customs associated with each of them. Entire stories are woven into the beautiful patterns and decorations of costumes. Every detail has its meaning.
In addition, my mother Svetlana conveyed to me a great love for handcrafts. Our family house was always full of beautiful handcrafted artworks that she made or collected. She passed me on the secrets of the crafts, and I developed a special interest in the embroidery.
All these pieces contributed to fill the mosaic of my love for the cultural treasures of this vivid region.
The profession took me to the other side, but I never stopped being interested and active in this field. As the years went by, I realized that fewer people are familiar with this part of the culture, and I decided to turn my love and passion into something useful for others and try to give my humble contribution to preserve this cultural heritage from oblivion. I started collecting and restoring authentic folk costumes, the complete sets or accessories.
Knowledge of handcraft proved to be extremely useful for the costume restoration. I also get great help from friends who are diligently gathering for me all over the Balkan region all these precious costumes ortheir fragments, textiles, and accessories. Additional information required for the costume restoration I get by consulting experts and folklore ensembles, or researching through all available sources. My collection now has over 50 authentic costumes and I am very proud of it.
Since 2012 I regularly exhibit in Washington, DC, where I live with my family. I hope that my collection will be expanded and that I will have frequent opportunities to exhibit it. I firmly believe that it is possible to make your wishes come true if you are strongly motivated and have a vision.
My happiness is reflected in the ability to do what I love, motivation to preserve a piece of cultural heritage of the Balkans for the future generations and desire to introduce others to this lesser known and beautiful part of the history and culture of Eastern Europe.
Exhibitions and fashion shows:
- Embassy of the Republic of Serbia, Washington DC - May 2013.
- Embassy of the Republic of Serbia, Washington DC - May 2014.
- Serbian Church of St. Luke, Washington DC - September 2014.
- Methodist Church, Kensington - October 2014.
- Ukrainian Church St. Andrew, Silver Spring - January 2015.
- Embassy of France, Washington DC - March 2015.
- Panorama of Tradition Show, Washington DC – April 2015.
- A Gathering, Dupont Circle, Washington DC – May 2015.
- Colors of the peony, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia – June 2015.
- Fashion & Music Journey, Cleveland, Ohio - October 10, 2015.
- La Francophonie, Embassy of France - March 18. 2016.
- Eastern Europe & Russia Culture Fest, Ellicott City MD - April 10. 2016.
- Vrbica in MD, Brookside Garden MD - April 23. 2016.
- Knoolwood, Washington DC - May 8. 2016.
- Around the world cultural food festival, Washington DC National Mall - June 18, 2016.
- A Glimpse into the Balkans, Washington DC - September 29, 2016.
- Smithsonian associates - November 16, 2016.
- Serbia National Day - february 16, 2017.
- DC Francophonie Cultural Festival 2017 - March 31, 2017.
- Easter - April 16. 2017 - United States Botanic Garden
- Ambar Clarendon Restaurant - May 7, 2017.
- The 5th Anniversary - June 4, 2017.
- Around The World - Cultural Festival - Washington DC - Jun 18. 2017.
- YPIA Evening at the Croatian Embassy - October 26. 2017.
- UR CITIZEN January 13. 2018. - Russia House, Washington D.C.
- The National Day of Serbia at The Libraray of Congress - February 15th 2018.
- La Grande Fete de la Francophonie - Embassy of France - March 23th 2018.
- Bridal traditional costumes - Knollwood Washington D.C. - April 29. 2018.
- The 6th Anniversary - June 10, 2018.
- Balkan Cultural Experience - May 11, 2019.