By Dick Oakes
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THIS IS HISTORICAL INFORMATION ONLY
The Yugoslav Folk Dancers was started in 1948 when the International Institute of Oakland (which helped the then-immigrants, mostly from Europe get settled) needed ethnic groups to perform at their first Festival of Nations, the idea borrowed from other cities in the East. The Yugoslav Folk Dancers was directed by Ivan John Filcich.
The group continued as a club and performed there for a number of years. Fortunately, regular folk dancers joined them as the "ethnics" dropped out. They performed at both ethnic and folk dance events into the 1960's. John left for Los Angeles in 1964.
The dancers met every Wednesday at Emerson School in Oakland (free) and later every Thursday at Sokol Hall in San Francisco for a small donation. These were teaching, rehersals, and kolo sessions and some favorite regular folk dances were also done Ş fun time.
The group traveled as far as Los Angeles to perform for the Croatian Fraternal Union convention and the Vyts Beliajus Viltis anniversaries.
John said, "In the picture I am the person with a white blob over my head. They are dancing Malo Kolo. Notice the foot position, uniform. Also automatically we placed ourselves boy-girl-boy-girl. Wonder why folk dancers don't prefer that where possible..."
Editor's Note: Although this is a Northern California performing group, I've added it here because John spent his years from 1964 to the present in the Los Angeles area.