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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused, Part 14: Elenino Horo and Enino Horo

I always feel like people in general are much weirder and insane than anybody really wants to admit. How dare somebody watch anything and go, 'That's not real!' Go on the subway. For five minutes.
Max Greenfield

Today's name game is about two dances that sound similar: Elenino Horo, also known as Eleno Mome and Enino Horo.

Video #1 shows dancers on a subway (U-Bahn) station in Vienna, Austria. How they managed the volume and acoustics in a subway tunnel is a mystery to me, since I see no loudspeakers.  The dancers also timed this in between trains, just in case one of them fell off the platform...

Subways and subway stations are venues for artists and musicians, but you don't often see people dancing on subway platforms.  The bystanders act like this is totally normal. Anything goes in large cities.



There are other tunes used for this dance, also known as Eleno Mome and you can find lyrics on the site Songbook for Nearsighted People.

Video #2 is a performance by the group Faux Pas, at the Balkanalia Festival in Dresden, Germany. This Eleno Mome has lyrics (you can sing along if you want).   Elenino Horo can be done to many different tunes; there are versions by the Bulgarian accordionist Boris Karlov, and also brass renditions by the composer Diko Iliev.

These dancers stay in step a little better than the people in Video #1 (who may have had something to drink before dancing in the U-Bahn.)  I have to admit subway platforms are not ideal dance floors.



Video #3 is an amateur group from Bulgaria practicing Enino Horo in a studio. The music sounds similar to the song Ripni Kalinke.

The bagpipe in this piece is the kaba gaida, an instrument native to the Rhodope region of Bulgaria. The dance is a pravo variation from that area.



If you enjoyed this you may also like Balkan Dances that are Often Confused (there is a link that connects to the entire series).

If you like watching subway performers (they can be very entertaining!) check out the Bisserov sisters performing in the Sofia Metro: The Best of the Bisserov Sisters and Family.

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance Trakiiska (Thracian) Rachenitsa

If you look at music, you see theme, variation, you see symmetry, asymmetry, you see structure, and these are related to skills in the real world.
Dave Van Ronk

Today's post features several variations of the Thracian Rachenitsa  (Тракийска Ръченица), a dance from south central Bulgaria.  It is a dance in an odd rhythm, 7/8 or 7/16 depending on the speed.  Thrace is a geographical region in three different countries: Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey.

Video #1 is a simple Thracian Rachenitsa. This version is done "na horo" (in a group, holding hands).

Rachenitsa can be danced solo, as a couple, or in a line.



Video #2 is another variation that we often do during live music parties.  This version has more arm movement than the previous one.

The notes underneath the YouTube video describe it (translated from Bulgarian) "as a ten minute horo by non-professionals."  They dance around a bunch of white balloons at a wedding (there is a quick glimpse of the bride at 0.35). At 8:00 a man and a woman dance a couple's rachenitsa (that and the solo are usually freestyle), and two women at 9:27.

Bulgarians are known for long dance medleys at parties. It takes a lot of energy and a lot of booze to fuel all that energetic dancing.  The leader carries a Bulgarian flag, and passes it to the next leader at 8:48.



Video #3 is a lively (and more complex) version of Thracian Rachenitsa, performed by the dance club 7/8. Wonder where they got that name?

7/8 is the time signature for rachenitsa, lesnoto, and chetvorno.  It depends on the grouping of the beats.  Rachenitsa is apple-apple-pineapple.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The "Flavors of Bulgarian Rachenitsa" Part One,  and Part Two

Dancing in Sevens, Part One

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Three Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance Izruchana


In a word, the Vlachs are the perfect Balkan citizens, able to preserve their culture without resorting to war or politics, violence, or dishonesty. (source unknown)

Today's post features different versions of the Bulgarian folk dance Izruchana, also known as Izruchanka. It is of Vlach origin from northwestern Bulgaria.

Video #1 shows the version of Izruchana most popular with folk dancers in North America, performed by a group from China.

According to the notes, this is a men's dance. In the video, there are both men and women in the line.



Video #2 uses the same music as Video #1.  This is a different choreography in the Vlach style (the name Izruchana is not mentioned in the title).  The group is Severnyatsite from the city of Pleven. The costumes are predominantly red and white, typical for northern Bulgaria.



Video #3 is another version of Izruchana, performed to different music. If you're a frequent reader of The Alien Diaries, you'll recognize the dancers.  The Dunav group from Jerusalem, Israel has many teaching videos, both on their website and on YouTube.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Vlach Dances from Bulgaria and Serbia

Variations on a Vlaško Theme

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Sense of Déjà Vu, Part Three

How quickly the new and strange becomes old and familiar.
Garon Whited

Today's post features the ensemble Fluieras from Romania. What is really unusual about this video is that the group performs Bulgarian dances to what sounds, at first, like Romanian music. The tunes are Bulgarian, arranged for a Romanian folk orchestra. It reminds me of translation from one language to another.

The music starts with a caval (same as Bulgarian kaval) but you'll hear the difference when the orchestra plays violins, cimbalom, and accordion.

The costumes and the music are from the Shope region of Bulgaria.  The video begins with Shopsko Horo, Daichovo at 2:57,  Graovsko at 5:00. At 6:33 is the grand finale.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Mango Duende: Latin Rhythm with a Bulgarian Accent

Variations on a Theme by Petko Stainov: Rachenitsa goes to Guatemala

A Sense of Déjà Vu, Part One and Part Two

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Friday, August 25, 2017

A Sense of Déjà Vu: Part Two

Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time... I think I’ve forgotten this before.
Stephen Wright

Where have I seen this step before?

Today's post explores steps that are found in different dances (and the same steps can be the same in different countries) We'll explore this with the Macedonian Slide, Slaps and the Sway.

Video #1 is the dance Slavej Mi Peje.  There is an example of the Macedonian Slide and you can see it at 0:11.  It repeats a number of times until the end.



Here's another, more pronounced Macedonian Slide in Video #2.  The dance is Sadilo Mome. There's one at  0:22 and it's repeated a total of 11 times. The slide, along with the other steps, is a lot of movement to fit into a little over two minutes of music.



"Slaps" are often seen in dances from northwestern Bulgaria and neighboring Romania. Video #3 is Vidinsko Horo. You'll see the slaps at 0.08 and again at 1:24.

The link goes to the Yves Moreau choreography.  The Moreau choreography repeats the figures a different number of times, and the arm swinging occurs only in figure one and in the transition. These dancers in elaborate embroidered costumes perform in a competition, and there is more emphasis on swinging those arms.



Slaps also appear in the Romanian dance Trei Pazeste at 0:30 They are repeated a total of six times.  Trei Pazeste translates to "three steps" but I see more fours than threes in this dance.



Video #5 is Vlaški Sat from Serbia which features the sway in figures one and three. You can see it at 0:17 and it repeats four times. The sway and the slap are common to Vlach and Romanian dances. The slap is at  0:52, at the end of figure four, and also repeats.



Video #6 is Ciganko, a dance from northwestern Bulgaria.  The first sway is at 0:12 and repeats many times in this dance.

Do you recognize the voice of the singer?  It's Daniel Spasov, who is a folk musician and also co-hosts a folklore show on Bulgarian National Televison, Ide Nashenskata Musika.

You can see a performance of Ciganko by Daniel Spasov by clicking the first link below the video.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

A Romani Potpourri Two

Another dance that features the Macedonian Slide is Tropnalo Oro, one of the dances in A Family Resemblance: Theme and Variations

Vlach Dances from Bulgaria and Serbia

A Sense of  Déjà Vu, Part One

Note:  The Alien Diaries will be taking a break for several weeks.  Look for the next post in late September or early October.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

A Sense of Déjà Vu

It often happens that when you look at familiar things through someone else's eyes you see them as you have never seen them before.
John Mole

Today's post shows how the same music can be used for different dances. The musical arrangements are different but the tunes are similar. You get a sense of déjà vu.

Momino Horo  (Young Women's Dance) was featured on this blog about two years ago. Video #1 is the original, arranged by Yves Moreau using dance steps typical to the region of Lom in northwest Bulgaria. In Video #1, Yves also leads the dance.

Momino Horo is a "hybrid" dance.  From the beginning of the video until 2:07, the music sounds more Middle Eastern or Macedonian than Bulgarian. There are lesnoto steps that you usually see in dances from southwestern Bulgaria or Macedonia. After 2:07, the dance becomes pure Vlach, with stamps, shouts and the "penguin sway" step, also common to dances from Romania.

Pay attention to the music from 2:07 until the end, because you will hear it again in Video #2.



Video #2 is Vlashko Horo (not the one we know from Yves Moreau) that uses the same tune as Video #1 with different steps (recognizable as Vlach). Listen carefully at 0:13.

The group is a dance club from Pleven, Bulgaria.



Kasapsko Horo is another dance from northern Bulgaria.  It's not as fast as the dance in Video #2 but you can see the Vlach origins here, too.  The dancers do this slide from side to side that is common to dances in northwestern Bulgaria and southwestern Romania.  You'll see it at 0:53.

By the way this can be filed under Balkan Dances that are Often Confused because there is a Kasapsko Oro from Macedonia, and a different version of Kasapsko Horo from the Pirin region of Bulgaria.  Kasapsko is a butcher dance: the word has its origins in the Turkish word "kasap".



The music from the dance Sitno Vlashko sounds familiar. Why?  It's the tune from Kasapsko Horo. This is modern music in a modern setting, a shopping mall in Bulgaria.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Balkan Dances that are Often Confused (the series)

Dancing Through the Alphabet: Letter M

Variations on a Vlaško Theme

The Butcher's Dance in Balkan Folklore

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dance Name Malapropisms

It's a proven fact that capital punishment is a known detergent against crime.
Archie Bunker

Archie Bunker was famous for his malapropisms. He was a fictional character in the show All in the Family. The show was so popular that it ran for eight seasons: 1971-1979.

The word "malapropism" originated from a character, Mrs. Malaprop, who often confused words that sounded similar (see quote above).

Sometimes, at dance, we intentionally (or unintentionally) mispronounce the names of dances.  The names have stuck and everyone knows which one we mean.

Video #1 is a folk dance from the Dobrogea region of Romania.  One of my friends calls it Dragon Dance.  Its real name is Dragaicuta.  The notes describe it as a "women's dance, done by friends of the bride, to mourn the loss of her in marriage."



I came up the name Rusty Nail for Rustemul because I practice dance in my basement.   I stepped on a rusty nail while doing Rustemul and the name stuck.  Fortunately the nail was lying on the floor so I wasn't hurt.  It was an annoyance more than anything else. Now I use the Shop Vac on the basement rug before dancing. It is my husband's work space and he fools around with tools and hardware when I'm not there.

Which region of Romania is this from?  The notes I found mentioned Muntenia, but the title on the video is "Rustemul din Oltenia." Both Muntenia and Oltenia are in southern Romania.



The name Nebesko Kolo sounds a lot like a popular brand of cookies here in the States (Nabisco). Nebesko means heavenly in Serbian and some people think Nabisco makes heavenly cookies.  Their most popular brand is the Oreo, which has many different varieties as you can see in this taste test video:



Back to Nebesko (Nabisco) Kolo.  We use different music for this dance, but the same choreography.

I'm not sure if this dance is from Serbia or Croatia, although I know there is a region in Serbia where tamburitza music is popular. The notes mention a country, Yugoslavia, that no longer exists. It broke up in 1991.



Horror From Veche is actually a souped-up version of Hora Veche an old dance for young people :) This group is fun to watch.  Listen carefully to what they say when they're dancing, it's quite funny. Too bad the video isn't closed captioned.

The goal here is not perfection, but fun.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Best of The Alien Diaries, 2010-2015

Folklore and Pop Culture (Again!)

Bulgarian Folklore and Pop Culture

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