The group was founded in 1990. The founder and longstanding director of the group is Arta Melnalksne – an author of about 400 original dance choreographies, many of which have been used in major Latvian folk dance productions, that depicted importance of Latvian core values and way of living.
It is important for each and every dancer to search for the deeper meaning of the dance itself. Latvian folk dance is equal to a ritual or tradition; Latvian dance is like an everlasting motion of joy, humor and manifestation of togetherness; Latvian folk dance is a tool with which one can express love for nature, God, people. Latvian dance – it’s not a faked smile, it’s a legitimate emotion.
The most popular programmes of the dance group “Zalktis” (direct English translation – grass snake): „Jas’ būs ieti visam cauri”, „Es nemiršu šai zemē”, „Iesim, brāļi, medībās”, „Rīgu redzēt”, „Katram sava laime”, „Malienā noskatīti balles danči”, „Precības jeb tēvs, māte nedev`, zagsimi zagšus”, „Ar saulīti es cēlos”, „Laimes krekls” and „Un tu atkal atnākt nevarēji” have pleased audiences in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, Bulgaria and Germany.
Since 1993 dance group “Zalktis” has partaken in all of the Latvian Nationwide Song and Dance Celebrations. It has already become a tradition to participate in folk dance competitions, within which the collective has become laureates of multiple awards. Nonetheless, the most important part for each dancer is not to simply dance, but to evolve – to unite with the dance at a deeper level and become one.
Currently folk-dance group “Zalktis” has two groups – group A (youth) and group D (middle age). Zane Behmane (director) works with groups together with Rūta Lauce and Baiba Miķelsone (repetitores) and Irīna Mihailovska (concertmaster).