Quadrille – a dance connecting students across Europe

Quadrille dancers in Varaždin, Croatia (Credits: Foto agencija Sjever)

The generation 2019 dances quadrille in Varaždin, Croatia

Quadrille, a dance that connects many high school graduates around Europe, was danced on 22nd May 2019 in Varaždin, Croatia. Altogether 900 graduates from eleven different high schools in Varaždin took part in the dance which started at exactly 12 p.m. on one of the largest town squares, called Kapucinski trg. The weather was definitely on the participants’ side, because it was warm and sunny throughout the entire dance.

Quite a large number of spectators gathered at the square amazed by the sight of the students standing in 10 long lines. All wearing white or red T-shirts, the dancers were organized in groups of four, more precisely two couples forming a rectangular formation. They were guided through the choreography by a dance teacher since the quadrille is quite complex and the dancers needed instructions. The dance started with the academic anthem Gaudeamus Igitur. After that, the students proceeded with 4 different dances which consisted of a number of steps or figures such as “English chain”, “bow down”, “step into the middle”. One of the dances included the use of umbrellas, which made the dancers look even more elegant.

Quadrille dancers wearing baroque costumes (Credits: Foto agencija Sjever)

As  the quadrille was originally a French court dance invented in the 18th century, the high school graduates in Varaždin were joined by 4 dancers wearing baroque costumes. The students of the generation 2019 were especially motivated so an additional, 5th dance, set to modern music, was performed as well. The dancers were also supported by the drummers from “Društvo Naša Djeca Varaždin” and the town guards. After having finished the dance, all the participants posed for a millennial photo.

The high-school graduates in Varaždin, May 2019 (credits: Foto agencija Sjever)

The organizers of the quadrille dance festival in Varaždin were the town of Varaždin, the Concert agency Varaždin and the the D&D Dance Club. The dance was a part of the project “Maturantika”, a number of activities for high school graduates, organized and coordinated by the County of Varaždin. The quadrille is a real highlight of “Maturantika” and each year, more and more high school graduates are interested in joining the dance. This year the students started practicing weeks ahead under the guidance of dance teachers from the the D&D Dance Club, Davor Marčetić and Martina Behin.  Apart from Varaždin, the quadrille was danced on the same day and at the same time in a number of other towns in Croatia, more precisely Osijek, Našice, Vinkovci, Vukovar, Đakovo, Donji Miholjac.

European Quadrilla Dance Festival was held for the first time in Croatia in 2005, namely, in the city of Osijek, as a part of the high school graduates’ celebrations. In 2007, the town of Varaždin joined in together with the city of Maribor, Slovenia with the aim of breaking the Guinness World Record in the number of participating students. Since those first years the quadrille has become a traditional part of high school graduates’ celebrations in Varaždin and many younger students look forward to the day when they will be dancing their quadrille.

Written by Alitas Narančić (co-authored by I. Kocijan-Pevec)

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