Located in Central Europe, Slovakia is a country of castles due to its history of conflicts. Slovakia maintains a close relationship with Czech and Hungary since they were all part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and share similar cultural features. Established in 1961, University Folklore Ensemble Mladost from the central city of Slovakia, Banská Bystrica, demonstrates the core spirit of Slovak, which are innovation, beautiful nature, rich culture, and passion. The majority of the members are high school students who regularly participate in international film festivals and they also perform in Mexico, Turkey, Brazil as well as Western Europe.
he group shows traditional culture around Hron River and Poľana. Its specific features include archaic melodies, dances of Carpathian shepherd culture as well as ceremonies and rituals preserved from the pre-Christian era. The performing programs include,
(1)The Podpoľanie Wedding Dance: the area of Podpoľanie preserves various traditional customs. Wedding celebrations often last for three days and kept part of old Slovakian traditions;
(2)The Tekov Region Dance: The Tekov area is downstream from the Hron River, and it is a famous wine production area. The performance demonstrates the classical dances of that area in the 20th Century, including FJERTUCHF, FRISKA, and VERBUNK. VERBUNK is the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO and it has its origin in Moravia. The word Verbuňk comes from "Werbung" in German, meaning "recruiting". In the 18th Century, it was produced for the purpose of recruiting soldiers.