Today's post is about one of my favorite Romanian folk dances, Hora de Mina. It translates to dance with hands.
The word mână means "hand" in Romania, my guess is that the correct spelling for this dance is Hora de Mână and that diacritical mark on the first "a" makes it sound like an "i". Spelling "mână" with an "i" simplifies things for those who are unfamiliar with Romanian diacritical marks. People who grew up with Spanish (like I did) will recognize the similarity of the word to the Spanish "mano."
Romanian and Spanish are both derived from Latin, however the languages are not very similar...their relationship is more like distant cousins.
This version is the one used by most folk dance groups. As dances go, Hora de Mina is fairly easy; and it's also quite short. Notice the hand movements that go with the music, and yes, what you hear are bagpipes, they are popular in Romania, too!
The next version of Hora de Mina is somewhat different, and a bit higher on the difficulty scale than the previous one. The backwards step is similar, hand movements are more pronounced, and the hands are held high in one of the figures. There's "ethnic symmetry" in this dance, too, what you do to the right you must also do to the left. There is also a name for those shouts that you hear, they are a common feature of Romanian folk dances, and they are called strigături.
If you enjoyed this you may also like:
Another Country Heard From: The Bagpipe in Romanian Folk Music
If you like dances with stamping, this post is for you. Stamping is not limited to Romanian folk dances, you will see some here from Bulgaria and Serbia as well.
More variations on a theme: Dances with a "family resemblance."
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