Slovaks Learn To Ballroom Dance Young


December 5, 2017

Allan Stevo

On a whited-out December night in Bratislava, in an off-the-beaten-path part of town is a gathering of hundreds of parents and students celebrating what amounts to a dance-school graduation.

I walk through the doors of an old Dom Kultúry (click the link to learn more about a Dom Kultury) stopping first at an old coat check woman who’s worked two of these dances a year for time immemorial. This event is called a “Venček” and she knows them well. Leaving my coat and boots with her, I proceed deeper into the “Dom Kultúry,” beyond its heavy stone exterior, it’s heavy stone cloak room, its heavy stone foyer, past its heavy stone bathrooms. This building was built by the communists to be functional, not pretty.

Through a padded door, I begin to hear a tune that was likely most popular in this region 200 years ago, as ball room dancing grew in popularity, with nearby Vienna as the center of Europe, and the center of this popular trend of dancing not as a group, but face-to-face and intimately close. Along with much other criticism, this style of dancing was denounced as anti-social.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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