CROATOAN has nearly 70 performers who range in age from five to 65. A team of dedicated instructors works diligently to uphold the spirit and authenticity of Croatia’s folkloric songs and dances. Over the years, outside experts in Croatian folklore—Mojmir Golemac, Ivan Ivančan (mladi), Željko Jergan, and Siniša Leopold—have supplemented and enhanced the knowledge and skills of our instructors. Based on age and/or skill level, performers are spread across five kolo dance groups and five tamburica orchestras. Our board of directors ensures our continued devotion to Croatians and their rich cultural heritage through strategic leadership, record-keeping, fundraising, financial stewardship, artistic direction, costume creation/preservation, outreach, and provision of social occasions.
CROATOAN takes its name from a group of Amerindians who lived on Roanoke Island in North Carolina in the 1500s. In historical records, Roanoke Island is often associated with John White’s lost colony. The dialect spoken by this group of Amerindians contained many Croatian words. There is a strong possibility that its members were descendants of Native Americans and the Croatian sailors who took part in John White’s exploration of the New World. The name Croatoan, therefore, symbolizes both our Croatian and North American ties.