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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Macedonia

May God smite, Tina, Tina,
your old mother, Tina, Tina,
Your old father.

Tino More, Macedonian Folk Song

Today's post features dances from the Republic of Macedonia.  It used to be part of a country that no longer exists: Yugoslavia.

Macedonia is a name that confuses people, especially those who are unfamiliar with the history of eastern Europe. There are three countries that lay claim to the name either as a region or country:  northern GreeceThe Republic of Macedonia and the Pirin region of Bulgaria.

Although many Macedonian dances are in complex rhythms (such as čoček in 9/16 or Sitna Lisa in 7/8) two of today's dances are in even time signatures.

Video #1 is a group from Ottawa, Canada;  the dance is Narodno Oro (translation: "folk dance.")  This dance was originally titled Gaidarsko Oro  (Bagpipe Dance).  The bagpipe player is Pece Atanasovski, (1927-1996) a well-known Macedonian folk musician and dance teacher. You can read more about him here, as well as watch him play the gaida in this old video from Macedonian TV.

I have this tune on my MP3 player.  It is so old you can hear the hissing of the needle on the record shortly before the music plays.  The music in in 4/4 time.

Video #2 is Tino Mori. I'm surprised there is a dance to this song because the lyrics are about illness and death. God obviously isn't too happy, either because Tina's parents have married her off to a man far away. Like the God of the Old Testament, he's ready to zap them, or worse.

The song is about a woman named Tina who is about to lose her husband to some mysterious illness. His condition is so critical that there are three doctors at the foot of his bed.  Anyway, the music is pleasant to listen to if you don't focus too much on the the tragic lyrics, and it's an easy dance to learn, even though it's in an odd rhythm: 7/8.

Video #3 is Povrateno, a dance with smooth, cat-like steps.  Like many dances from Macedonia, it speeds up as the music progresses.  Add a few turns to make it more interesting, and remember to keep those claws retracted :) The music is in 2/4.

The dancers are familiar to regular readers of this blog.  The Dunav group from Jerusalem, Israel, describes its website as "the sharing place for Balkan music and dance." They have dance videos, music scores, song lyrics, music downloads and a YouTube channel.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Fun and Easy Dances from Romania

Fun and Easy Dances from Bulgaria

Fun and Easy Dances from Serbia

Dancing in Sevens, Part Two, The 7/16 Rhythm in Macedonian Folk Music

The second video in the Bufcansko post uses the Pece Atanasovski music for the dance. This version is very popular in Macedonia.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance Petrunino Horo

Петруно, пиле шарено,
Петруно, пиле шарено,
Де гиди ягне галено
Де гиди ягне галено
Bulgarian Folk Song, Petruno Pile Shareno

Petrunino Horo is a very popular folk dance from Bulgaria.  It has different variations and different music depending on the "village" you come from.

The name of the dance comes from the female name Petruna (feminine form of Peter). The steps (slow-quick-quick-quick-slow) are based on the number five (pet) in Bulgarian, even though the music can be in different time signatures. The most common time signature used is 7/8.  It is from the the Shope region.

The song that goes with the dance is Petruno Pile Shareno. You can listen to it in the video below; the artist is Magdalena Morarova, Bulgarian folksinger (1927-2009).

You can also find the lyrics here, in transliteration and English translation. There's a Macedonian version on the website, too. Sing along if you like :)

The first group of dancers is from Bulgaria. They're using a basket hold since none of them are wearing belts; belt hold or hand hold is OK too. Each "village" has its own style.

There are many tunes associated with this dance; from what I've seen on YouTube this one seems to be most popular in Bulgaria.

The next group is from Toronto, Canada, a city with a large Bulgarian community. They're using a hand hold and different music than the dancers in the previous video.  Does anyone out there know the name of the song or the singer?

I've seen many dance videos that take place in gyms.  I'm a firm believer that dance should be offered as an alternative to sports in physical education classes.

Daniel Spassov sings yet another version of Petruno Pile Shareno while some audience members dance. This is an excerpt from the folklore show, Ide Nashenskata Muzika, which focuses on music and dance from every region in Bulgaria. There is usually a new program on the website most Saturdays (the show takes a break during the summer). It is worth watching if you like Bulgarian folk music, both traditional and modern.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Modern Versions of Traditional Bulgarian Folk Songs

Three Variations on a Bulgarian Folk Dance: Chetvorno Horo

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Tune: Gankino Horo

On Ethnic Dance and Exercise

Dancing by the Numbers

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Bulgaria

Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.
Lao Tzu

Most people are under the impression that Bulgarian folk dances are intimidating.  Although it's true that more than a few of them fit that category, there are also dances easy enough for beginners.

Tropanka from Dobrudja is a follow-the-leader type dance  The most difficult part is coordinating the arm movements with the feet. According to the notes, the leader can call the changes anytime, or when the music changes. The leader is the teacher in the center of the circle.

Tropanka is a dance native to the Bulgarian folklore region of Dobrudja. There are many variations of tropanka with different music.

Video #1  shows three distinct figures: two that go from side to side and one that goes into the center. A "village" that I dance with includes a fourth figure (not shown here); walking around the perimeter of the circle, with scuffs instead of stamps.

Ekizlisko Horo is a little faster than tropanka. A group of students from Greece performs this dance during a gym class.  This was part of a Bulgaria Day celebration at their school. The most challenging part of the dance is the basket hold, when you link arms with your neighbors like a basket. This group uses a front basket hold, and the dance consists of grapevine steps; first to the right and then to the left.

The dance comes from the region of Thrace in Bulgaria.  There is also a Thrace in Greece where many of the dances share similarities to their Bulgarian counterparts; for example Pravo Horo (Bulgaria) and Zonaradikos (Greece). There are numerous Bulgarian dances based on pravo rhythm, which can be in either 2/4 or 6/8. 

Video #3 shows Dvadzti Tritzdi, a walking dance from the Rhodope region. This group is from the "village" of Vienna, Austria. Different "villages" have different variations of this dance. Ours uses grapevine steps instead of the side to side seen in the video..

One of my favorite websites is the Songbook for Nearsighted People, a collection of over 200 folk songs with translations into German and English. The songs from Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece are in the original language, transliterated. Even if you're not visually challenged, this collection makes a great reference for those who are curious about what their favorite folk songs are about. If you have trouble reading small print, or have left the reading glasses at home, the large font is very helpful.

You can find the lyrics for the song here, along with a translation into German. Go ahead and sing along.

Video #4 is the same group as in video #3.  Although Vienna is best known for classical composers like Beethoven, Mozart and the Waltz King Johann Strauss, you will find a number of clubs that focus on folk dances, especially from the Balkans.. The site is in German and has a listing of locations, along with dates, times, type of dances, and skill level.

Video #4 is Vrapcheto, a dance from northwestern Bulgaria. Although many dances from this region are fast, this one is slow and easy.  You can sing along to this one, too.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Dancing Across Bulgaria, the Pravo and Regional Folk Dance Styles

Bulgarian Folk Dancing in and around Vienna, Austria

You will find some challenging dances in Bulgarian Folk Dances Named After Cities and Towns

For more on different village variations read: Two Variations on a Bulgarian Folk Dance: Kraj Dunavsko Horo

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dancing in the "Different Village" Three Variations of the Romanian Folk Dance Joc Batranesc

Mine is a proud village, such as it is. We are best when dancing. - Makah

Today's featured dance is Joc Batranesc from the village of Niculitel, in Romanian Dobrogea. There is also a region in Bulgaria with a similar name, slightly different spelling: Dobrujda. Both have one thing in common: they share the region between the Danube and the Black Sea.

Joc Batranesc translates into English as "ancient dance," but as you will see, it is not just for senior citizens:) The dance also has different spellings, some with and without diacritical marks; and sometimes an "i" substitutes for the "a". The Romanian spelling with the diacriticals is Joc bătrânesc.

Video #1 shows the dance as it is done in the United States.  Why do they go "oooh" when they move to the center of the circle? This variation must be particular to their "village."

Video #2 features a costumed group of young people from Romania. Notice that their belts are the same colors as the Romanian flag. Although this is essentially the same dance as in video #1, there are variations in style (hops and sways).  These dancers don't vocalize, all you hear are the stamps and the music.

Who is the girl in the middle and why isn't she part of the dance? My guess is that this is their "village" variation; along with the fancy moves.

This group is a pleasure to watch, with an a attractive and charismatic leader. That girl knows her stuff.

Video #3 has the song that goes with the dance; the ensemble is from the village of Niculitel.  There are two other dances in the video that follow Joc Batranesc.  The first rhythm change is at 2:57 where the music turns into Sârba, a fast dance in 6/8. At 5:18 there's another rhythm change, this time it's Cadâneascain 9/16a dance similar to Daichovo Horo from Bulgaria.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The "Flavors" of Romanian Sirba

Crossing the River, Part One, Folk Music from the Romanian Region of Dobrogea 

More Folk Songs from the Romanian Region of Dobrogea

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Greece

The center of Western culture is Greece, and we have never lost our ties with the architectural concepts of that ancient civilization.
Stephen Gardiner

The Greeks have contributed much to the culture of Europe and the rest of the world: art, sculpture music, dance and literature. There are mathematical symbols that use Greek letters; the most famous being π (pi), used to figure out the circumference of a circle;  and β,(beta) one of the roots of a quadratic equation. Dancing also has lots of math in it; and many math and science people are into folk dancing. I'm still trying to figure this out.

Today's dances are easy to pick up by either watching or following the leader.

The first video is Lerikos.  There are two different parts (figures), one done during the singing and the other to the instrumental. This is common to many folk dances. The leader signals the change with the word "opa".

You can find the lyrics here if you want to sing along.  I couldn't find a translation. If you can find one, please post it in the "comments" section.

The next dance, Zervos, looks and sounds almost like Trite Puti, a dance from Bulgaria, with a combination of northern Bulgarian style steps and arm swings. The Balkans are a cultural melting pot and dances often cross borders.

It moves to the left, also known as "reverse line of direction." I prefer "right" or "left." Reverse sounds too much like an auto transmission. If I put my car in reverse, it goes backwards.

Troiro is another Greek dance that reminds me of Trite Puti.  The steps and the arm swinging are similar to Zervos, except that this dance moves to the right.  Both Triti Puti and Troiro are from Thrace, a region shared by Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

The Greeks seem to like the gaida (bagpipe) almost as much as the Bulgarians. Dancers and musicians just don't pay attention to borders :)

Tsamikos is a dance very popular at festivals.  This version includes the basic steps as well as the (optional) turns.

This is the crazy version of Tsamikos, performed by two men at a party.  It has acrobatics and funny stuff (don't try this at home), along with audience participation.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Bulgarian Dances and Their Greek Relatives

To Greece and Bulgaria and Back.... in One Weekend!

Balkan Folk Dancing and its Relationship to Math

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Serbia

The word aerobics came about when the gym instructors got together and said, "If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it jumping up and down.
 ~Rita Rudner

Kolo is the Serbian version of aerobics. Today's post features some fun and easy dances from Serbia. If you're looking for dances to teach, as well as some aerobic exercise, you've come to the right place.

Savila se Bela Loza Vinova is a dance we often play at the beginning of the evening.  It's also a good dance for kids. They love it because there's running and skipping.

I used to despise gym class. It was focused on calisthenics, a form of pain and torture devised by sadistic physical education teachers.  Dancing would have been a lot more enjoyable.

Some of the people in the line are confused because they realize, too late, that the dance changes direction, which makes this video amusing to watch. 

Here is a longer version of the previous dance performed during a spring festival in Italy. Follow the lady with the red scarf, then the man with the orange one.  With this dance two heads, or leaders, are better than one.

Orijent is a popular Serbian dance that has been around since the 1950's.  According to the notes the name may have been derived from the Orient Express, a train that passed through Serbia many years ago. The original route went from Paris to Istanbul, with a number of changes over the years and operated from 1883 to 2009.

Raca is a Vlach dance, with stamps, named after a duck, deceptively easy until it speeds up. It tends to go awry when people try to have a conversation while doing it.  It helps to keep the steps small during the fast part, and don't forget to put some stamps in there for emphasis.

Cica Obrenovo Kolo is a dance with stamps and shouts. I couldn't find any notes, but it's probably of Vlach origin. Just follow the leader, he's the guy with the red scarf.

Serbian dances tend to be bouncy; this one is a good example of that up and down movement.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

On Ethnic Dance and Exercise

The "Flavors" of Serbian Kolo"

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Romania

Take a Ride on the Orijent Express

Stamp It Out: Vlach Dances from Serbia

Another good resource is the blog Easy Folk Dances.

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bavno Oro and Snosti Sakav Da Ti Dojdam

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
William James

I still haven't figured out the connection between common sense and dancing,  Dancing and humor have been featured often on this blog. They go very well together. 

Last week's post featured a group of dancers getting crazy with a dance from Romania.  There is link to it at the bottom of this post.

Today's dance is Bavno Oro from Macedonia..The music to this is based on the song  Snosti Sakav Da Ti Dojdam. 

Bavno Oro translates to "Slow Dance" but that is a misnomer. It has two distinct parts: part one is in 7/8 lesnoto rhythm (slow-quick-quick).  At 2:15 there is a short transition, then the fast part in 7/16 (quick-quick-slow).

There are numerous versions of Bavno; my favorite is a recording by Boris Karlov,  a Bulgarian folk accordionist who lived from 1924-1964. 

Here is the original song, Snosti Sakav Da Ti Dojdam. performed by Anastasija Petreska.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Legacy of Boris Karlov, Bulgarian Folk Accordionist

Modern Versions of Traditional Macedonian Folk Songs

Quirky, Odd and Unusual Folklore Videos from the Universe of YouTube (have some humor with your folklore)

Hora Veche (funny!)

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