Follow by Email

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Some Comedy From the Universe of YouTube: Rum Dum Dum!

Develop your eccentricities while you are young. That way, when you get old, people won't think you're going gaga.
David Ogilvy

Today's video is from the Republic of Macedonia. It features a slapstick routine with an elderly couple. The woman gets on the man's case because he's trying to impress the young girls with his mustache. The dancers in elaborate embroidered costumes are fun to watch as well.

The dance to this is rachenitsa, a dance in 7/8 or 7/16 depending on the speed. I don't know what the dance is called in Macedonia.  Rachenitsa has traveled beyond Bulgarian borders to Macedonia, as well as Serbia, where it is known as Bugarka.  The Romanian version is Geampara.

The song goes by two names: Zurli Trestat na Sred Selo or Rum Dum Dum. You can find the lyrics here, in transliterated Macedonian.

I was able to get a rough translation.  The song is about musicians (zurna and tupan) players coming to the village to play for the dancers.  The tupan is a double headed drum, and the zurna is a double reed instrument related to the oboe.  The Ottoman Turks brought these instruments to the Balkans (the zurna was originally used to intimidate enemies!)



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Age is an Issue of Mind over Matter: Old People in Balkan Folk Songs

The Best of The Alien Diaries 2010-2015 features some funny and/or satirical songs from the Balkans, and includes a slapstick routine from Bulgaria (Kraj Dunava).

You can find two other versions of Zurli Trestat Na Sred Selo here: Dancing in Sevens Part Two

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hopa Trop: Children's Ensemble from Seattle, Washington

Young people need models, not critics.
John Wooden

The folk ensemble Bulgarika will be performing in New England this weekend. I did a search for them to see if anyone had posted recent videos of them on YouTube, and found this group of young dancers from Seattle. They are an energetic bunch of kids and great ambassadors for Bulgarian culture in the United States.

The name of this group is Hopa Trop, and they have a blog in Bulgarian and English.

Video #1 shows Donka Koleva of Bulgarika teaching the dance song Kukuvicka to the kids.  It reminds me of the Romanian dance Alunelul (also a children's song).



In video #2, Hopa Trop dances Dunavsko Horo to the music of Bulgarika.  This version is played on traditional folk instruments and is one of the most popular dances in Bulgaria. The young people range in age from five to fifteen.



Video #3 is a dance from Northern Bulgaria: Veselba.  I haven't seen it anywhere else on YouTube.

The emphasis with this group is easy dances that the youngest children can do, and it also channels their energy in a positive way.  From what I've seen on their blog, Hopa Trop is a good sized group. I counted 19 kids on the blog's home page.



If you enjoyed this, you may also like:

The Best of Bulgarika

For more on Bulgarian folklore groups in the United States:

Bulgarian Folk Dance in the United States: Ensemble Lyush from Dallas-Forth Worth

Bulgarian Folk Dance in the United States (features Ethnic Dance Chicago, Ludo Mlado from Boston, and Rosa from Atlanta

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dancing in Sevens, Part Three: The Dance Group Rhythm 7/8 and Čekurjankino Horo

Determination is kind of like rhythm: you can't teach it.
Jaime Pressly

Bulgarian folk dances don't have a monopoly on the 7/8 or 7/16 rhythm, but it is so popular over there that there is a dance group named Ритъм 7/8 (Rhythm 7/8). People in Bulgaria are really into folk dance, and some groups also compete.

Ритъм 7/8, judging from the number of videos on YouTube, has participated in numerous competitions all over Bulgaria. This video took place in Varna, a seaside town; the competition is Na Megdena Kraj Moreto (at the town square by the sea).

I didn't catch the name of the dance, but it looks like a variation of Chetvorno Horo.  The rhythm is pineapple-apple-apple (7/8).

:

Video #2 is a dance in two parts: slow and fast.  This one is apple-apple pineapple.  The name is Čekurjankino Horo from northern Bulgaria.

Although this dance is not specifically named rachenitsa, it is in rachenitsa rhythm, which can be either 7/8 or 7/16 depending on the speed.  It is the national dance of Bulgaria.

The group, Kolo Dragan, is from California.



If you enjoyed this, you may also like

Dancing in Sevens, Part One

Dancing in Sevens, Part Two

The Clones of Chetvorno Horo

The "Flavors of Bulgarian Rachenitsa

Part One

Part Two

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Crazy Dance Instructors

Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.
― Martha Graham

My favorite dance teachers have a little bit of "crazy" about them. Here are a few from the Universe of YouTube. I haven't danced with them personally, but this is the kind of instructor I like when I go to dance workshops. They display energy and passion.

Video #1 is a dance from Bulgaria, Boaliisko Horo. Check out the smile on the instructor's face, she is not only an excellent dancer but totally into what she's doing. Her enthusiasm is contagious.

This group, from Brno in the Czech Republic, does it with the arms swinging into the middle during the "grapevine" portion of the dance, which is different from the dance notes.  The notes mention a belt hold.



Video #2 is Bianca de Jong teaching Vlaski Sat from Serbia. What I find most impressive is her energy, in her movement and her voice. Don't forget to shout opsa!

This was taken during a workshop in Austria.



Video #3 is from a Romanian festival in Boulder, Colorado. The teacher here is a member of Hora Romaneasca.  The kids seem to enjoy it, and maybe some of them will take up dance after a session with The Crazy Guy with the Ponytail.

I think men who dance are cool, because in my culture males in general prefer sports over dance and are afraid of looking stupid on the dance floor.

The dance is De Strigat, from Romania



If you are a frequent reader of The Alien Diaries, you will recognize this Chinese guy, who teaches a "Bonding Folkdance Class" in Taiwan.  Although I don't understand a word of what he says, I'm sure I'll have no trouble learning from him. By the way, it's hard to call out the steps and do them at the same time. The mouth gets the feet confused.

The dance, from Macedonia, is Berovka.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Romanian Folk Dance in the United States

Vlach Dances from Bulgaria and Serbia

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Romania

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Balkan Dances that are Often Confused Part Six: Chetvorno and Chetvorka

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
Henry Miller

Confusion reigns again in Balkan Dance World. This week's dances, from Bulgaria, are Chetvorno and Chetvorka.

Chetvorno, a dance from the Shope regionis the more popular of the two and there are several variations.  Video #1 is "Shopping Mall Chetvorno."



Video #2 is a more complicated version of Chetvorno with multiple figures. The group is Balkanitsa from Haifa, Israel.



Video #3 dance #1 is a Chetvorka from the town of Petrich, in southwestern Bulgaria.  The other two dances are Graovsko Horo (at 2:59) and Kystendilsko Horo  (at 4:02)  The person who posted the video mistakenly called the second dance Kyustendilska Rachenitsa.  It is essentially the same dance as Graovsko, but in 2/4.

Are you confused yet?

The singer is Nikolina Chakardakova, who performs modern folk songs from the Pirin region.



Video #4 is another example of Chetvorka. The group is Leb i Vino (Bread and Wine), who pride themselves on authentic folklore from the Pirin region. The musicians play two zurnas and a tupan.



The zurna is an instrument very popular in Turkish and Middle Eastern music.  The people of the Pirin region often use it in their folk music. It was introduced to Bulgaria via the Ottoman Turks, who ruled Bulgaria for nearly 500 years,.

Leb i Vino's web site is currently under construction, but you can read about them in one of the posts below.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Leb i Vino: Traditional Music from the Pirin Region of Bulgaria

Three Variations on a Bulgarian Folk Dance: Chetvorno Horo

The Clones of Chetorno Horo

Dances that are often confused:

Part One: Cacak and Cocek
Part Two: Lesnoto and Lesnoto Oro
Part Three: Vrapceto and Kopcheto
Part Four: Bavno and Ravno

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Balkan Dances that Are Often Confused Part Five: Djurdjevka and Djurdevica

Don't be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.
George Saunders

Today's post features two Serbian folk dances that have similar sounding names and are easily confused. This seems to be a very common thing in Balkan dance. We mix up the names, we mix up the steps.....

Video #1 is of Djurdjevka from the region of Sumadija.  The Dunav group from Jerusalem in Israel has a website with videos, lyrics and notes. It is one of the best resources for Balkan dance on the Internet.

There are subtitles for the lyrics so you can sing along :)



It is also dance #3 in the Serbian Medley (see below): at 3:08, The dances in this medley are, in order: Poskok, Ti Momo, Djurdevka, Igrale Se Delije, and Cacak.



Video #3 is of Djurdjevica, a totally different dance, and a little faster than the previous one. It's the perfect party dance.  The IFDO (International Folk Dancers of Ottawa) is the group featured here, at their Christmas party in 2010.

The steps go perfectly with the music.  One of them reminds me of a stalking cat.



If you enjoyed this you may also like the previous posts about Balkan dances that are often confused.

Part One: Cacak and Cocek
Part Two: Lesnoto and Lesnoto Oro
Part Three: Vrapceto and Kopcheto
Part Four: Bavno and Ravno

If you have an interest in names that are confusing, check out some drug names on the Web. Medication errors can sometimes be fatal.

List of Confused Drug Names

It's even worse when you give similar sounding names to your kids and pets.

Don't Give Your Kids and Your Pets Similar Sounding Names

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance: Povlekana

I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village.
Gina Bellman

Every time I dance with a different group,  it feels like stepping into another village because they do some of their dances differently than my "home" group.  The "different village" concept is very common in the world of folk dancing.

Today's excursion into the world of Bulgarian folk dance features variations of Povlekana, a rachenitsa from the region of Dobrudja.

Rachenitsa has many variations and is the national dance of Bulgaria. It can be fast or slow and follows this rhythm: apple-apple-pineapple (7/8 or 7/16 depending on the speed).

Video #1 is the version that is most popular. It's performed by dancers in elaborate embroidered costumes from the Dobrudja region: the women wear distinctive yellow headscarves. This was part of a dance competition and the ensemble received excellent marks, mostly 9's and one 10.



Video #2 shows a group from Bulgaria at another dance competition performing Povlekana to different music.  This is part of a medley with the dance Kutsata (starting at about 1:20).   Their black and orange uniforms remind me of Halloween.



Video #3 is another version of Povlekana, performed by an American group in California, with different music and different steps.  There is a short review of the dance at the beginning.of the video. This variation is similar to another dance from Dobrudja, Sej Bop (not to be confused with the more familiar Sej Sej Bop).



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused


Two Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance: Opas

Bulgarian Folk Dances from the Region of Dobrudja

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.