My boots are creaking…

My boots are creaking…

Júlia Marcinová Knapcová

Traditional shoes in their original environment started to disappear in the inter-war period and threatened to fall into oblivion altogether. This didn’t happen thanks to the folklore movement, which began to take stages as well as large amounts of authentic materials, which served towards renewal of tradition. Preservation wasn’t solidified just through song and dance, but also through art. To art belongs the whole visual aspect of a man standing during performance on a stage, including his shoes.

The issues of representation can be explored from two perspectives: the positive and negative presentation of shoes. We cannot forget the fact that the way the person on stage presents himself is based not only on knowledge but also on the personal beliefs and free choices of the individuals or the leaders of folklore groups. Many examples of how traditional shoes can be presented in a positive light, without any alteration of stylization, are found throughout Slovakia. But it is also known to occur in reverse: there are many examples of how we can present traditional footwear the wrong way.

Scene portrayals are responsible for a lot of changes in the clothing of performers, giving rise to new ideas of betterment and simplification for campaigning purposes. However, these are the very ideas which cost appropriate stylization of the traditional shoes. Footwear found in some groups or individuals may not only be inappropriate for the scene but above all they contradict the actual garments worn. The causes of not very successful, theatrical shoes can be seen resulting from three situations: indifference, unfavorable financial situations, or the need to achieve maximum practicality.

Whoever stands on stage, trying to preserve music, dance, songs and words of tradition, should think about the importance of the fact that their clothing and footwear, in whatever stylization, should still comply with certain laws which have been and continue to be in the context of traditional clothing, valid.