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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dancing Through the Alphabet Letter F

Friday. The golden child of the weekdays.  The superhero of the workweek.  The welcome wagon to the weekend.  The famous F word we thank God for every week.
source unknown

Fridays are usually dance nights for me, and I am always thankful for them at the end of a hard week.  I bet you thought I was going to mention the other F-Word, which you can find on Wikipedia. They have written extensively about it,.  You can satisfy your curiosity about its etymology, and how it can be used as a noun, adjective or adverb. The F-Word is an extremely versatile as well as colorful part of speech.

This week's dance begins with the letter F, although it hardly can be called the F-Word. It's Fatise Kolo , a dance from from the town of  Vranje in Serbia.  It is one of those odd rhythm things; the time signature is 9/8 (quick-slow-quick-quick). You can find the lyrics and translation here

I don't know who sings this piece, but it's beautifully done and reminds me of classical music. It's amazing how many musicians have used this song on YouTube. It is a Serbian classic.



This week's added bonus is for one of my readers who likes videos of scantily clad women.  It's a different Fatise Kolo, from Niš, a spa town in Serbia.  In spa towns there are swimming pools, and that is the place where you find the bikini girls.

The music isn't bad, either. It is in 7/8 lesnoto rhythm, and very danceable.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The "Flavors" of Serbian Kolo

Classical Composers Ispired by Balkan Folk Music

Dancing in Sevens: Part One and Part Two

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dancing Through the Alphabet, Letter E

This week's dance is Edno Ime Imame (rough translation "We Have One Name") from Macedonia. It is one I had never heard of until I did a search for Balkan dances that begin with the letter "E." The teacher in the video is Ira Weisburd, whose specialty is Israeli dance, although you'll find him teaching several Balkan dances on YouTube.

Ira is a pleasure to watch; he performs the dance fluidly and effortlessly. This is a dance I would like to learn, although I don't know if either of the groups I frequent has the music. My guess is that this is a very old recording and may be difficult to find.

The rhythm for this is lesnoto (7/8 time signature) galloping-apple-apple, very popular in the Pirin (southwest) region of Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia.



Even though this dance doesn't begin with the letter E, many of us know it as the "E" dance. When you hear the chorus you'll understand why.  The music is the Bulgarian folk song U Nasheto Selo (In Our Village), and sounds really strange, like a record played a little too fast.



Those who were born after 1985 probably aren't too familiar with those  big, plastic disks called records unless their parents or grandparents had collections gathering dust somewhere in the basement. They were cumbersome devices played on a turntable and the needle moving on the grooves produced the sounds. We've come a long way from music on 12" disks to music on a device that can be used as a phone, camera, and music player.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Dancing in Sevens

Balkan Folk Dancing and its Relationship to Math

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dancing Through the Alphabet Letter D:

BIG D, little d, what begins with D?
David Donald Doo dreamed a dozen doughnuts and a duck-dog, too. 

Dr. Seuss

This week's dance is Dedo Mili Dedo from the Republic of Macedonia.

The lyrics describe a pair of grandparents going about about their work and life, who are still very much in love. Regular readers will recognize this "Bonding Folk Dance Class" from China.  They have many  videos posted on YouTube (Israeli and International as well as Balkan).  It's fascinating to watch the Chinese perspective on Balkan dancing.  The teacher has a very commanding presence.

Does anyone hear him say "jump up" at the end? At least that's what it sounds like, but I don't understand a word of Chinese.



Here's another version of the song, also know as Dedo Mili Zlatni. You can see a dramatization of it below, along with dancers in elaborate embroidered costumes.



If you ennjoyed this you may also like:

The "Flavors" of Macedonian Oro

Something that may be of interest, especially since the folk dance community seems to be getting older by the day:

Who Will Fill Their Shoes?  The Aging of the Folk Dance Community

Last week's post featured a Grandfather's Kolo:

Dancing Through the Alphabet Letter C:


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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Dancing Though the Alphabet: Letter C

C is for Cookie
Cookie Monster, Sesame Street

Since this week's dance has two c's instead of one, here's the Cookie Monster to tell you what the letter C is all about.  Eating too many cookies results in weight gain, which is why Cookie Monster should take up Balkan dancing.



The featured dance is from the Sumadija region of Central Serbia, Cicino Kolo.  Translated into English it means "Grandfather's Kolo"  At first it looks like something your grandfather can easily do until it starts to speed up.. Cicino Kolo is not recommended for those who have arthritis in the knees or other mobility problems.  No disrespect meant to grandfathers, some are very fit and active people.

Kolo means "circle"and it can also mean wheel. Not all kolos are danced in a circle, as you will see in the here, since there are only two people, not enough to form a circle. Circles and lines, by the way, are geometric figures, which are very prominent in folk dances from Eastern Europe.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you'll recognize the dancers.  They are members of the Dunav group, from Jerusalem, Israel.  By the way, Dunav means Danube in Serbian and Bulgarian.



Although I'm  not quite ready to move to letter D  I thought I'd include, as an added bonus,  the Bulgarian New Year Dance  Diko Iliev's Dunavsko Horo.  He composed it in honor of the Danube, River of Many Names.  It was a big part of his life because he spent many years in the town of Oryahovo, along the river. The music and the dance are associated with Diko Iliev, even though he wrote many other compositions.

Play it at midnight and turn the volume loud enough to wake the dead. Get all your friends to line up behind you and dance around the living room instead of having a drunken Auld Lang Syne singalong.  If you want to learn the dance, the first post on the list below will help.

Happy New Year 2015!



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Same Dance, Different Music: Dunavkso Horo

The Flavors of Serbian Kolo

The Flavors of Serbian Cacak

Having a Blast with Diko Iliev

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

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Dancing Through the Alphabet: Letter B

BIG B, Little b, what begins with B?
Barber baby bubbles and a bumblebee.

Dr. Seuss

Today's dance begins with B and comes from the Pirin region of southwestern Bulgaria.  The name is Bičak (pronounced bee-chak).  The dance has four figures that build on each other, and the sequence in which they are done is at the leader's discretion. The fourth is the only one that goes right and left (line of direction and reverse line of direction).

This is a moderately difficult dance because it's in a compound rhythm 9/16 + 5/16 (14/16).  If you listen closely you can hear the clarinet,accordion, brass instruments and a tambura.



I couldn't finish this post without adding something appropriate for the holidays, after all it's Christmas.  This is the Ensemble Goce Delchev  from Sofia, Bulgaria performing Christmas songs and dances.  Vesela Koleda, and Merry Christmas to all!



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Balkan Buy One Get One Free Special:  Dances in Compound Rhythms

The Tambura in Macedonian, Bulgarian, and Croatian Folk Music 

Bulgarian Christmas Songs (Koledarski Pesni)

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dancing Through the Alphabet: Letter A

This week's post is part of a new series called "Dancing Through the Alphabet." Today's Alien Diaries has been brought to you by the letter A.  Where have you heard a similar saying before?  Hint: It is a popular children's TV show. Trivia fans should know the answer.  You have 30 seconds to write it down and don't forget to phrase it in the form of a question :)



The Alphabet Series, will, for the most part, spotlight lesser-known Balkan dances. Most of the popular ones have been featured on this blog at one time or another. 

Today's dance is from Bulgaria, a daichovo variation called Abdala. In the notes it's described as a Vlach version of daichovo. It has stamping (a requirement for Vlach dances) and it's fast. 

The dancers are members of the International Folk Dancers of Ottawa.



By the way, the answer to today's trivia question was Sesame Street.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like:

Daichovo, Plain or Fancy, Take Your Pick

Bits and Pieces: More Folklore and Pop Culture from the Universe of You Tube (features Miss Piggy on the Muppet Show singing Never on Sunday)

Folklore and Pop Culture Again! (features the Count from Sesame Street)

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Women's Dances from Macedonia, Led by Men

Heterosexual men HATE dancing. We HATE it. We do it because there's a chance it might lead to sex. I mean, let's face it- if we LIKED dancing, we'd do it with other guys! (found in Psychology Today comment section in response to "65 Quotes on Dance."  The remark was attributed to an anonymous standup comic.)

“A man does what he can; a woman does what a man cannot.”
Isabel Allende, Inés of My Soul 

Sure, there are  men out there who dance primarily to meet women. And there are some who actually like to dance.  They like dancing so much that gender roles don't bother them.  In today's post there are men leading what are traditionally known as women's dances.

The gender line has been crossed, at least with these two dances from Macedonia.

The first dance is Zensko za Raka, led by the teacher Sasko Atanasov.  .  This is an fairly easy dance but it requires a lot of concentration for the leader because the music doesn't exactly tell you what to do. I find it amazing that this guy can beat a drum and lead a dance at the same time.  He is really good.



Staro Zensko Krsteno means "old women's crossing dance. The crossover steps are similar to Zensko Za Raka, although the rhythm is a little more complicated and there are more embellishments.

 I don't see a time signature on the sheet music. Does anyone know what it is? Inquiring minds want to know :)



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Some Equal Opportunity Folk Dances

The "Flavors" of Bulgarian Rachenitsa Part Two: Masculine, Feminine, and Flirty

More Quirky, Odd Rhythms in Balkan Dance


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