Serbian kolo from Šumadija
Serbian kolo from Timok
Serbian kolo from Vranje

Kolo (Serbian Cyrillic: Коло) is a South Slavic circle dance, found under this name in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia. It is inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intagible Cultural Heritage for Serbia.[1]


According to Wilkes (1995), the kolo might have evolved through cultural inheritance between South Slavs and Illyrians. However, Wilkes also mentions that this claim is less documented.[2]


The circle dance is usually performed amongst groups of at least three people and up to several dozen people. Dancers hold each other's hands or each other's waists. They form a circle, a single chain or multiple parallel lines.[3][4]

Kolo requires almost no movement above the waist. The basic steps are easy to learn. Experienced dancers demonstrate virtuosity by adding different ornamental elements, such as syncopated steps. Each region has at least one unique kolo.[3][4] It is difficult to master the dance and even most experienced dancers cannot master all of them.[4]

Bosnian kolo

Kolo is performed at weddings, social, cultural, and religious ceremonies.[5] Some dances require both men and women to dance together, others require only the men or only the women.


The music is generally fast-paced.[5] The dance was used by Antonín Dvořák in his Slavonic Dances – the Serbian kolo is the seventh dance from opus 72.[6]

Traditional dance costume

Traditional dance costumes vary from region to region. Bordering regions are mostly more similar to each other.[7]

Various kolos are performed at social ceremonies. Often traditional clothing, which is unique to a region, is worn. The most common kolo is the narodno kolo or drmeš; a standard step followed by accordion music.

Other South Slavic circle dances

Elsewhere in South Slavic countries, there is horo (Bulgarian: хоро) in Bulgaria and oro (Macedonian: оро) in North Macedonia and Montenegro.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "Kolo, Traditional Dance in Serbia".
  2. ^ Wilkes, John (1995). The Illyrians. USA: Blackwell Publishers. p. 271. ISBN 0631146717.
  3. ^ a b "UNESCO - Kolo, traditional folk dance". Retrieved 2020-10-03.
  4. ^ a b c "Kolo".
  5. ^ a b c "kolo" (2009). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
  6. ^ "Slavonic Dance, Op. 72, No. 7 (Antonín Dvořák)". LA Phil. Retrieved 2020-10-03.
  7. ^ "Ethnic Heritage - National Cotumes". Retrieved 2020-10-03.