Oro Dance of Montenegro

Excerpt from A Child’s Geography: Explore the Classical World

Speaking of traditions, the people of Montenegro have another interesting tradition—a folk dance called Oro. As the dance commences, a group of young men and women form a large circle and they begin to sing. Then, one of the young men enters the circle and dances, trying to look like an eagle. Why an eagle? Just like in Albania, the eagle is honored by the people of Montenegro and is represented on the country’s flag.

If the singers in the circle like the young man’s interpretation of the eagle, they will sing a song that tells him they approve. But if they don’t like his dance, they will sing a different song.

Sometimes the young man’s girlfriend will join him inside the circle. She also dances like an eagle, and the other singers tell her by the songs they sing whether or not she has represented the eagle well. When she and her boyfriend have completed their dance, they kiss each other on the cheek and rejoin the circle.

At the end of the Oro dance, the young men form a second smaller circle inside the larger circle. This smaller circle is a two-story circle. How do they do this? They stand on each other’s shoulders!

You can watch it here (the two-story circle is about 2/3 of the way through the video, so sit tight!):