The seminar 2010
The program started at the 21st of July with a dinner in the centre of Tirana, surrounded by parts of folk costumes on the wall, enjoying several kinds of traditional dishes.
Next day the classes started in the Opera building, accompanied partly by musicians of the National Ensemble for live exercises. For a Lab male dance singers from the Ensemble joined us also for live accompaniment in a polyphonic dance song.
Late afternoon we left the city to seek a cool place near the top of Mount Dajti, where fresh caught trout was served at the table of a nice restaurant with a great view on the city of Tirana and surroundings.
While the Ensemble itself used the lesser rehearsal rooms for concerts in Beograd, we had the privilege of dancing in the main rehearsal room with mirror and air-conditioning.
The excursion to Elbasan with a visit of the Ethnographical museum (exclusively opened for the group) ended in a lunch with swimming facilities in Ibë, followed by dance class in the evening.
A performance by Genci Kastrati and Helga Saraçi in restaurant Piro Mani on the 26th of July with two other dancers from the Ensemble in traditional dress marked the end of exciting dance classes in Tirana before we went to visit the old Turkish bazaar and Ethnographical museum in Krujë early next morning, on the way to Shkodra.
On for lunch at Shiroka, at the shore of Lake Shkodra before we went up in the mountains to Theth, our next stay for two nights. In two vans the drive up into the mountains was an experience itself, with the sun going under, the evening light created a special atmosphere.
In Theth, we visited the Kula, canyon, waterfall, school and enjoyed the performance of a lahuta player. The stay with the local family of Çarku was an example of the proverbial Albanian hospitality. Our guide told a lot of things about the region, the traditions and other things of interest in several languages. The fresh air and the view of the mountains did the rest. Homemade food and good Raki made us forget the tiring long walk and the climb to the waterfall.
Returning again to Tirana, we stopped for lunch in restaurant Tradita in Shkodra, a nicely restored traditional house and listened to singers with cifteli accompaniment. Waiters, owner and guests joined in, and unfortunately we had to leave while they were still singing.
Back in Tirana we had the last dinner in Shpia Jon, a fine small restaurant in the centre, traditional food coming along in different dishes all through the evening. A perfect end to this first seminar of Albanian folk dance.