Folkdance Group Sølja

Sølja on Domkirkeodden in Hamar, summer 1998. (PHOTO: PER ERIK HOLLAND)

Folkdance Group "Sølja" was started on the 4th October 1974. The average membership has been somewhere between 80 and 100 members. Today we are approximately 50 members in the group.

As a member of "The Norwegian Youth Movement" (Noregs Ungdomslag) Sølja's main goal has been to spread understanding and interest for Norwegian Folklore, i.e. Song Dances, Figure Dances, Old Couple Dances and Provincial Dances. Folk music, Folk songs and regional costumes are also part and parcel of Norwegian folklore.

Although dancing is the most important part of our activity, preservation, use, development and restoration of regional costumes also plays a very important part. The group is very active in the use of regional costumes by its members and has successfully completed a project concerning the reconstruction of a woman's costume (Hedmark) dating from the late eighteenth - early nineteenth century.

Sølja has quite a large and varied repertoire, and we have carried out dancing programs for local museums, hospitals, old folks homes and tourists over the years. Most programs consist of a mixture of figuredances, song and provincial dances, but Sølja also has a repertoire of old-English square dances (eg. Lanciers and Quadrills) from the late 1800s. These "Contra" dances were very popular on the large, rich farms in our country, from the 1880s up until the beginning of the Second World War.

Folkdance Group Sølja has also reaped lots of international experience through the involvement and participation in folklore festivals abroad, eg. in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Lithuania, Scotland, Belgium, USA and Canada. Last summer we arranged a jubilee festival celebrating the group's first 40 years of activity.