The Vela Luka Croatian Dance Ensemble and Ruze Dalmatinke perform music and dance of Croatia.
The performers in Vela Luka, founded in 1975, represent four generations of Croatian Americans
who have introduced their culture’s extraordinary choreography, music, and instruments to people all over the world.
Forming a cross-cultural link between the Puget Sound region and Croatia, Vela Luka strives to
preserve Croatian folkways and culture for generations to come.
The Vela Luka Croatian Dance Ensemble, founded in 1975, perform music and dance of Croatia and the United States. Anacortes, home of the Vela Luka Croatian Dance Ensemble, is located on Fidalgo Island in the Northwest corner of Washington State. One-quarter of the residents of this unique community are descended from immigrants from another fishing village: Vela Luka, on the Island of Korčula, Croatia. The performers in Vela Luka represent four generations of Croatian Americans who have introduced their culture’s extraordinary choreography, music, and instruments to people all over the world. Forming a cross-cultural link between the Puget Sound region and Croatia, the company strives to preserve Croatian folkways and culture for generations to come.
The Ruže Dalmatinke Orchestra, a Seattle-based, professional ensemble, specializes in the music of Croatia and Bosnia. The group was founded by two sisters, Binki Franulović Spahi and Alma Franulović Plancich, who immigrated with their family to the United States after World War II from their native town of Vela Luka on the island of Korčula, Dalmatia in Croatia. BONACA, “calm seas”, formed in 2009, performs music of Croatia, the Balkans and beyond, are expert musicians who are soloists in their own right. The ensemble of talented musicians in BONACA play for Vela Luka and Ruže Dalmatinke.
Vela Luka and Ruže Dalmatinke have been featured in two national TV documentaries – Hrvati! (PBS, 1981) and Children of Ellis Island (ABC, 1986)-numerous local radio and television programs, as well as books and audio recordings. In 1986, they represented the State of Washington at the Rededication of the Statue of Liberty in New York and at EXPO ’86 in Vancouver, B.C. RD, in 1986, travelled to Mazatlan, Mexico, performing in numerous concerts. In 1988 and 1990, both groups toured Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina and in 2000, VL and RD traveled to the homeland once again performing throughout Croatia. They were featured performers at the Washington State Centennial Celebration in 1989; Voices West, Salt Lake City, 1991, 1993, and 1994, and the opening celebration of the Seattle Symphony’s Benaroya Hall in 1998. In 1996, the ensemble received the Governor’s Heritage Award from the Washington State Art’s Commission. Between 1996 and 2000, the ensembles performed in Idaho, Sacramento, San Francisco, and in 1999 were the featured performers at the Redlands Bowl, Redlands, California. The ensembles were featured in the King County Arts Commission Touring Arts Roster for 2002-2003 and 2009-2010. Fall 2002, VL participated in Green Meadows Productions’ Festival of Cultureswest coast tour – 48 performances, 7 cities, across 3 states. The 2003 calendar included the opening of McCaw Hall, local theatre and festival performances and a February concert in San Francisco, CA. In 2004, amongst numerous local performances, VL performed at Paramount Theatre, Seattle, as part of the “DANCE this…” and the ensembles together performed for the opening of the McIntyre Hall, Mt. Vernon, WA. The 2005 calendar featured a tour to Oregon and inclusion in the Kirkland Performance Center Season. In 2008 VL performed the 10th Anniversary of DANCE this… at the Paramount Theatre, Seattle. Annual performances continued 2005-2012: Blessing of the Fleet, Gig Harbor; NW Folklife Festival; Ethnic Heritage Council’s Cultural Crossroads, EHC’s Winter Worldfest and CroatiaFest. VL & RD instructors and members, over the years, have taught at local schools as part of curriculum and as special event speakers/instructors. July 2012 Ruže Dalmatinke was honored with an invitation to perform at the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center – Millennium Stage, where introductions were made by United States Representative from Washington State, Congressman Jim McDermott, and a welcome by the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the United States of America Joško Paro.
Arts in Anacortes
Featuring arts for all in Anacortes.