Sometimes one is lucky. When we decided to spend some days in Ljubljana, we had not the faintest idea of which extraordinary event we were to see there. We were still in our hotel room, when it started. First there was a sharp and continuous whistling, that came closer and closer. It was even more penetrant than the loud music, that was to hear mixed with it.
Finally I went to the window, in order to see, what was happening here. I came just in time to see the van, from which the music was played. Ah, a streetparty, I thought for myself.
But then I saw the crowds of people, all dressed in orange-black, who strolled after the van. Many of them had whistles, in which they blew all the time.
The procession was endless. First there were a couple of hundred, a little later already a couple of thousand young people, who passed our hotel window. Some carried handmade signs with the names of some highschool, so it was logical, that this had something to do with schools. Everyone in orange or black, else it would have been comparable with the Entry of Nations at the Olympic Games.
In the meantime some had discovered, that we leaned out of the window and that I took pictures. Many laughed and waved to us, while passing.

I didn't check my watch, but I am sure, that it took at least half an hour, before the procession was over.

Then there was the next surprise. Immediately afterwards came another van, which collected the bigger disposures, that the youngsters either had lost or thrown away during their walk.
And again immediately after that there came three cars, cleaning the street from the rest of the litter, by running staggered, so that the entire street was clean afterwards. This was great organizing. But then Slovenia is a very clean country as well.
When we asked the friendly young lady at the reception-desk of our hotel about this event, she explained that it during the last years has become a habit, that the graduating students came together here from all over the country, in order to do a new world record in Guinness Book of Records. And so far there had come more and more people every year. What was supposed to happen, was that all the students would dance a quadrille, which afterwords would be inserted into the Book of Records as the dance with most participants.
A short while after that we went down, out onto the street.
Already from far away we could see the music van, place square over the street, thus blocking the main street of Ljubljana. Behind the car the becoming dancers gathered in rows. Well-behaved they formed pairs, which even stayed together for most of the time. Naturally it happened that somebody left the "dancing floor" for a while, but generally seen there was a lot of unimposed discipline. From the loudspeakers of the van there came now the first instructions. It was very easy in the beginning. Every pair took two steps forward, to meet the opposed pair, then again two steps back.
Next time a bow was included, to greet the partners. The following step was to hold hands with each other and finally there came the first turns. In this way the entire dance came to perfection (as well as the dancers), until every movement had been trained. Everything didn't happen very synchronously all the time, but there was the intention to do it. Of course there ware big individual differences as well. Some brought a natural grace, while others appeared to be more rigid. In spite of that most of them seemed to enjoy the training. At the end it should become the quadrille of "die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss son.
The quadrille is a classical dance, which was born in the beginning of the 19th century. It consists of various figures or tours, which in their turn are made by different steps. It is always danced by four couples, but is also a massdance at certain circumstances so as balls. But there als always only four couples (two and two opposite each other), who act together. From the quadrille evolved later the Cancan and the american Square Dance.
The performance is supported by dancing schools, highschool teachers, local authorities and Radio Slovenia, which also makes a live broadcast of it.
In the final the graduates had to face another difficulty, The dance was done with open umbrellas, which of course led to some complications mainly at the turns. But they did it - more or less - well and I congratulate to the new world record!
Seen on the whole it was a very nice experience, to be able to watch all those youngsters. And there was something else really noticeable: if you equip thousands of young people with whistles, you normally should be worried about the coming night's sleep, if not even for your eardrums?
There were some groups, who in the afternoon still found it entertaining to blow their whistles - but in the evening it was quiet. Chapeau to the Slovenian youth!

Copyright Bernhard Kauntz, Wolvertem 2012

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last update: 25.5.2012 by