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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to Stamp Out Your Frustrations (and relieve stress)

One of the benefits of dancing is stress relief. And if you've had a particularly bad day these dances are for you, because they have lots of stamping. You can pretend you're two years old again and indulge your inner toddler, while having lots of fun at the same time.

One feature of Balkan dances, especially those from southern Romania and northern Bulgaria, is that they have lots of stamping in the footwork. This is most likely connected with the influence of the Vlachs. The Vlachs, also known as Wallachians, are an ethnic group of Roman origin most of who settled in what is now Romania. Wallachia is the southern region of Romania, across the Danube from Bulgaria.

Why Romanians stamp and shout when they dance, I don't know. Maybe life in their country is stressful, and taking your frustrations out this way is a lot better than getting into arguments with the neighbors. It's also possible that they believed that stamping drove out evil spirits. Back in the days when people were very superstitious, they needed all the help they could get. This is a very popular dance from the Oltenia region of southern Romania, Florecica (Little Flower). The music is unusual in that it's played on a drîmba. In English it's known as a Jew's Harp.



If you're interested in politically incorrectly named musical instruments, you will find them on Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews_harp

This Chinese group performs another Romanian dance. Stamp Stamp Stamp. Maybe they had a rough week :)



There is actually a T-shirt you can buy that reads "Help Stamp Out Romanian Dances."

http://ny-image0.etsy.com/il_570xN.205531732.jpg

The people of Dobrudja, in northeast Bulgaria, incorporate a lot of stamping in their dances. Dances often cross borders, and although they take on different nationalities, those from neighboring regions often have something in common. This one is Sitna Zborenka.



Stamping dances are common to other parts of the Balkans, because the Vlachs got around, and wherever they settled they took the stamping dances with them. This one from Serbia is Vlashki Sat.



For more on how dances change from country to country read:

http://katleyplanetbg.blogspot.com/2010/09/travels-of-pajdusko-horo.html

If you like northern Bulgarian dances with lots of stamping, this post is for you.

http://katleyplanetbg.blogspot.com/2010/10/river-of-many-names-part-2-danube-in.html

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2 comments:

  1. I still can't get over the similarity with the Irish ceile. The ceile is much faster though, I think. It is also great fun :-)

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  2. I've never tried the ceile, although I've probably seen it at some point in my life :) I will look up some videos of it on YouTube.

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