The Story of us
Venac, folk dance and songs ensemble of Kosovo and Metohija was founded in Pristina in 1964. by the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Serbia by the name of “Shota”. Shota is a professional ensemble in the province, whose goal is to preserve and develop folklore (folk dance and songs) and to analyse possibilities of discovering new forms of folk art. In 1993. the ensemble changed its name into VENAC.
VENAC went to Nis into exile after the war in 1999. Upon the initiative of the group, Venac returned to Kosovo and Metohija in October, 2003. to Caglavica, very close to Pristina, and in 2008. Venac moved once more, to Gracanica, which since then has become its home.
VENAC celebrated 50 years of its existence in 2014. , and then started directing its initiative towards building its future. Five Children ensembles were established through folk dance schools in over 20 locations in the area of central Kosovo and Metohija. In the same year, Youth ensemble was established in Gracanica, representing a future personnel for the Ensemble. Professional dancers of VENAC took over the part of educators and lecturers with the aim of conveying their knowledge to young people and thus continued the tradition of preservation of folk dances and songs. These initiatives initially resulted in the fact that VENAC gathered over 300 young artists in a very short period of time. Today, VENAC is still successfully struggling to preserve and develop spirit of folklore of future generations in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as to conceive new generations of dancers of the professional folk dance stage.
Since its establishment, VENAC has been managed by the top experts of stage folk dance, which put it in line with already famous professional ensembles in the country. The recognisable repertoire of the Ensemble was carefully developed, and one of the most deserving people for that was its first and longtime manager Vjaceslav Slavko Kvasnevski. Since its return to Kosovo and Metohija, through very hard work, VENAC succedeed to revive cultural activites in the province by presenting a new programme of the Ensemble as well. In the post-war period, VENAC has been a leading initiator of cultural life in Serbian enclaves, where it was completely unthinkable to hold any cultural event. VENAC was present in the most difficult moments and it will stay with its people and share their destiny.
On of the most important tasks of the members of VENAC ensemble is to work on preservation of the dance, songs, customs and tradition of the people from Kosovo and Metohija and presenting these on stage. Within its rich repertoire, based primarily on folk dance tradition, there are over 35 choreographies. For over 50 years of its existence, the Ensemble has educated a large number of established and renowned artists. One of them, and perhaps the greatest among them, is one of the founders, Jordan Nikolic. Over time, the top experts and choreographers worked in the Ensemble, having contributed to its preservation and enrichment. Beside Kvansevski, there are many other names: Olga Skovran, Bratislav Bata Grbic, Desanka Djordjevic, Dobrivoje Putnik, Branko Markovic, Bratomir Bata Lackovic, Radojica Kuzmanovic, etc.
In Gracanica, a small place of great name, where Milutin`s monastery tenaciously takes care of Serbian name, VENAC, with great honour, gathers, takes care, cherishes, develops and presents cultural heritage not only of Kosovo and Metohija, but of whole Serbia, through dance, songs, music and customs.
Wishing to convey its knowledge outside analogue world, VENAC started a big project of digitalisation in 2020. The aim of the project is to digitalise overall archive and thus save the work, as well as original folk dances and songs, for the eternity. Every day, with dedicated work, our art of folk dance is fondly preserved.