After months of anticipation, preparation and practicing, the Slovak Domovina Dancers participated in the Maticny Svetovy Festival Slovenskej Mladeze (MSFSM) in Nitra, Slovakia, July 1 - 5. Katarina Berkesova our guide for the duration of the Festival.
Friday, July 2, the Festival focused on Nitra. The Mayor of Nitra greeted delegates from all of the participating groups and led the parade of groups through the walking zone in Nitra. Domovina participated in the program “Pozdrav Slovensku” along with performing groups from Serbia, Australia, Croatia, Romania and Hungary at Sihoti Park. In the evening, the official Opening Ceremonies “Volanie rodnej zeme” took place at the Divadlo A. Bagara. Each group was individually introduced—for Domovina, Tomas Dobos and Nicole Sykora came on stage carrying the Canadian flag and a sign with Domovina, Canada. We then enjoyed a musical program with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and several opera singers. Following the Opening Ceremonies, group representatives were invited to a reception with the Mayor and representatives of Matica Slovenska and Festival organizers.
Saturday, the various groups were assigned to perform outside of Nitra. Domovina’s first stop was Surany. After a reception with the Mayor, we had a tour of their museum and of their city, laying wreaths at the monuments for Gen. M. R. Stefanik and M. Kokosova. Nove Zamky had a wonderful lunch waiting for us. We were then escorted to the council chambers to meet with the mayor. We toured Nove Zamky and laid a wreath at the memorial for A. Bernolak.
At Sturovo, Domovina performed at the Vadas Spa to a huge audience and were able to cool off with a wonderful swim--what a glorious way to end the day! After the swim, they had a beautiful dinner waiting for us. The Mayor of Sturovo greeted us and joined us for dinner. Sunday, Domovina had another full day scheduled in Komarno. Domovina performined with F.S. L. Stura from Melbourne, Australia.
Monday, July 5, the Festival concluded with a Mass commemorating Sts. Cyril and Methodius at Nitra Castle. Many Slovak bishops were present and the main celebrant was Exc. Mons. Frantisek Tondra. Tomas and Anka Dobos presented Domovina’s gift--a beautiful white crucifix--at the mass. This was a very memorable experience for Domovina and the first time most of our dancers performed in Slovakia.