Members of the cultural and artistic society Biseri from the town of Drancy near Paris have been demonstrating for years how to preserve our tradition and folk dances far from the homeland, and love for dancing and Serbia has triumphed over the coronavirus pandemic that was preventing their gathering.

The president of the Society, Goran Jablanović, told Tanjug that the cultural and artistic society had been founded in 1976 in the city of Creteil, and moved in 2004 to the town of Drancy with larger Serb population, thus driving up the membership from 50 at 280.

– The age of our members ranges from six to 50. Parents mainly bring younger children in order to preserve our culture and tradition – said Jablanović.
He explained that all those children were born in Paris, went to French schools, and coming to the Society for rehearsals, he added, was an opportunity for them to speak Serbian and maintain a connection with the motherland.

After a rehearsal, Jablanović says, they spend time together, celebrate birthdays together, which also brings the parents together, so we have made a good team.
After a break of a year and a half, which was caused by the coronavirus pandemic and restrictive measures, the Society reopened its doors to dancers last September.

– Most of the dancers could hardly wait for the relaxation of measures to return to dancing and socializing. Unfortunately, several players stopped coming, they lost the habit, the children found a different pastime, but in the meantime, new members joined – said Jablanović.

He states that about 100,000 Serbs live in Paris, and that a Serbian school recently opened in their premises, offering also Serbian language lessons.
– So far, we have had three lessons with 27 students, and there are others who are interested and want to enroll their children – said Jablanović.
He notes that their plans are currently on hold due to the coronavirus, but what they want is for the Society to organize a trip for young members to other European countries to learn about other cultures.

The vice-president of Biseri, Nenad Selić, was born in Paris, and he has been a member of the Society since 2006.

– To make a joke, when we get together it seems a little noisy. As in every family, there are disagreements, but we get along well. We are trying to pass on to our young generations to preserve the tradition, to not have all that forgotten, and to have someone to pass it on further – Selić said for Tanjug.

Young people, he says, are interested, there are more and more of them, and it is nice to see them gathering.

– Within our circle, we speak Serbian. Serbian is spoken also in our house, since my wife is from Serbia. In Paris we have two of our churches, discotheques to go out to, so there are also other places for us to see each other – adds Selić.

According to him, everything was very complicated during the coronavirus pandemic.
– We lived like the whole world – under lock and key. We could not go out, meet, it affected the Society, but we went back to rehearsing. The desire and will brought them back and now we have made up for what we missed – concluded the vice president of Biseri.

Source: Glas Srpske-Tanjug

Photo: Biseri cultural and artistic society, Facebook