The School of Folklore Traditions

The project concerning a national educational course called The School of folklore Traditions came into being based on professional discussions about expressions of contemporary folklorism in Bohemia and Moravia. The course focusses on the improvement of knowledge and skills in the field of musical and dance folklore and associated issues of general ethnology, and in the application of disciplines, such as pedagogics, psychology, physiology etc. The School is intended for current and coming leaders of and artistic workers in folk ensembles, teachers as well as other persons interested in folk dance. The course is also understood as a form of care for traditional folk culture, and it is conducted in cooperation with NIPOS-ARTAMA Prague and the National Institute of Folk Culture.

The first one of two-year long cycles took place in 1998 — 2000 in the Jihlava Community Centre; throughout its existence, the School gained an extensive reputation among those interested in practical folklore knowledge, and due to its high quality it created a new tradition of prestigious education in this field. Successful graduates obtained a re-training certificate issued by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, which made the course binding in a certain regard, and the graduates could better assert themselves in culture and education. Altogether 162 participants have graduated from the School to date, whereby in average they have been 30 years old. The training plans are prepared and modified based on experience obtained in course´s particular cycles, and they are prepared by leading experts — ethnologists, teachers and university professors, most of whom give lectures and lead practical tutorials within the course. The training plan includes, among other things, the following subjects: Folk Dance (theory and practice), Choreography (theory and practice), Collections and Collectors of Folk Songs and dances, Folk Costumes, Movement Exercise, Basics of Pedagogics and Psychology, Introduction in the Study of Musical Theory, Musical Instruments and Folk Music, Singing in Folk Ensemble etc. The course lasts two years. Each year includes altogether 8 weekend workshop plus one weekend with examinations. The graduates who want to move to the second years have to finish the first year successfully. The studying plan of the second years continues and extends the curriculum of the first two semesters; the subject “folk dance” is more focused on particular regions. The closing examination includes a written thesis that each student has to introduce and defend in presence of the examining commission. Based on this examination, the trainees are certified by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. Neither the system of state education, nor the system of out-of-school activities offer any other opportunity to educate and train leaders and members of folk ensembles.