NATIONAL COSTUME AND DANCES LITHUANIA „Overcoming xenofobia through a deeper understanding European cultures“ 2010-2012 Naisiai Basic School Lithuania
INTRODUCTION Written and iconographic facts about Lithuanian national costume reach back to the 17th century. Not until the 19th century, however, do we find more extensive data about country attire that reflects the entire territory of Lithuania. Museums hold collections of traditional costumes from the 18th-20th century. Lithuanian peasants wore clothes made from hand- woven cloth nearly until the end of the 19th century. Shirt material was made from flax grown and spun at home. Among linen clothes were patterned aprons, wimples, kerchiefs. Strict rules were applied to judging flax quality in the Lithuanian countryside. The skill of the weaver was evaluated based on thinness, whiteness, and intricacy of weaving techniques. Every woman desired to be known as a great weaver. Some wimples from Aukštaitija and linen stoles from Suvalkija were so thin that they were almost transparent.
WOMAN’S AND MAN’SCOSTUME Womens summer costume in the19th century consisted of a long shirt, two or more skirts, an apron, a bodice, and shoes. Sash was usually added as well as various scarves, beads, handkerchiefs and other accessories. Young women would decorate their heads with flowers, wreaths, and silk ribbons. Married women always covered their hair with bonnets, wimples or scarves. In cold weather women wore long and short caftan-type clothes (in Lith. sermėga, sermėgėlė), sometimes fur coats. A mans costume was similar to a horseman’s costume. Lithuanian folklore abounds in references to the horse as an inseparable companion, and the word "rider" is used as a synonym for a "young man" (in
Ethnographic areas 19th century Lithuania consisted of 5 ethnographic areas: Aukštaitija, Žemaitija, Dzūkija, Suvalkija, and Lithuania Minor (Klaipėda region). Each area was distinct in its own dress style and image resulting from ancient tribal differences and later history of the country. Structural parts of the costume were the same, but differences were found in the cut of clothes, their colors, ornaments, and in a few additional pieces and accessories.
The clothing of AukštaitijaGirl with galloon. Woman with wimple.
The Clothing of Ţemaitija Woman with shawl. ManGirl with rangė. with sermėga.
The Clothing of Dzūkija Woman’s and man’sGirl’s costume. costumes.
The Clothing of Suvalkija Woman’s and man’sGirl’s costume. costumes.
The Clothing of Lithuania Minor(Klaipėda region) Woman’s and man’sGirl’s costume. costumes.
Intoduction of dances Dances (Šokiai). These dances are accompanied by instrumental music and sometimes singing as well. Separate pairs dance in loosely structured form space while only group follow a large plan. Dances consist of consecutively repeated movements, steps and figures. Staged art is constantly looking for new forms, new means of expression. This include staged dance. Staged dance is not only influenced by Lithuanian neighbors, but by general cultural environment as well. Folk dance is being constantly created anew, it moves out from the sphere of the mode of life as onto the stage where it is meant to be looked at. The choreographer and his personal outlook on life plays a large role here because he takes on creator’s “producer” function and the public audience remain only as “users”, mostly passive. Concert programs are constantly in demand for new dances, which are created by individual choreographers, however continually moves away from the folklore tradition. The staged dance is becoming more important in the community and such dances are often referred to as folk dances but actually they have been losing their creative communal principles. Folk choreography objectively remains as an aesthetic value, but many professionals look at it as of lesser creative value. They rely mostly on their own generalized cultural background. Therefore a large number of these dances are thought-up and only their titles that are taken from folk dances that remain. Folk dances about the mode of life are being replaced by popular dance.