Dragatuš Folk Dance Group strives to use folk art of the past as an appeal to the modern man to experience happiness, friendship, tolerance, joy and the beauty of life.

Dragatuš Folk Dance Group brings together 47 members who wish to maintain the tradition of Bela krajina with responsibility and love. Our main goal is to reproduce the rich cultural heritage of our region and thus preserve its music, customs, songs and dances. We have come to realise that our motivation stems from the great time we spend together as a group and the wish to create something useful and beautiful.

The members of Dragatuš Folk Dance Group invest a lot of knowledge, time and passion into creating and carrying out an extensive cultural programme which presents the folklore of Bela krajina as a whole. We diligently research written records to preserve our ancestors' customs as a gift of wisdom from the past in the true image of the region. Besides rituals and circle dances, we also dance oberštajeriš, sotiš, zibenšrit, polka and the waltz, all of which were typical of central Bela krajina at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. Apart from the tamburitza, the violin and the accordion we also use folk instruments, such as the harmonica, the gudalo, pipes and the Jew's harp to ensure a variety of music and musical compositions. We dedicate a lot of love and energy to the preservation of traditional songs. Our harmonious and beautiful singing is recognisable and adds a special note to our rich repertoire. Traditional regional songs interlace beautifully with various customs performed on different occasions, including the festivals of kresovanje and jurjevanje, carol singing, wedding feasts and various work-related rituals.

More than ten years ago we completely renewed our costumes, which originate from Dragatuš and the surrounding area. They were used as better-quality work clothes at the end of the 19th century. The costumes are based on research done by Dr Marija Makarovič and faithfully relate to the musical and dance traditions of the time. In 2007 we started with the project of creating clothes typical to this area at the start of the 20th century. The research was carried out by ethnologist and group member Anita Matkovič in co-operation with Bojan Knific, Adviser for Folklore Activities at the Republic of Slovenia Public Fund for Cultural Activities.

Keeping in mind the importance of preserving our tradition by handing it down to younger generations, we have started a children's folk dance group composed mainly of children of our former members. Their continuous improvement is the result of hard work and expert leadership by our group members Katja Kocjan Plut and Anita Matkovič.

Our extensive repertoire, high-quality performance, neat costumes, harmony and openness have made it possible for us to reach a high professional level and have earned us many invitations to festivals around Slovenia and abroad. For more than 15 years we have been organising annual evening performances and taking part in folk dance competitions and international folk festivals, for which we have received numerous awards and acknowledgements.

In our many guest appearances abroad we have effectively portrayed our regional folklore and successfully represented the village of Dragatuš, the municipality of črnomelj, the region of Bela krajina and the country of Slovenia. Our work was particularly acknowledged when we received an invitation to take part in the greatest international folklore festival organised by CIOFF. In 2004 we thus officially represented Slovenia at the third World Folklore Festival in Hungary, where we were one of 70 folk dance groups from all over the world.

Folklorna skupina Dragatuš - Lepo je tam v Beli krajini

Lepo je tam v Beli krajini Zgoščenka belokranjskih ljudskih pesmi in plesov v izvedbi Folklorne skupine Dragatuš