Last week we explored the sirba and its variations. This week's post will focus on the most popular dance in Romania, the hora. It can be easily confused with the Israeli dance of the same name, or the Bulgarian dance with a similar name (horo) or the Greek dance with a name almost like the Bulgarian (horon). What's in a name, anyway? Read more, you'll find out.
Hora originated in Romania. It comes in many "flavors", from slow to hang on to your hat fast. But then you wouldn't dance with a hat on, would you? If you're from Bulgaria, dancing with hats on is something you'd do anyway :) I don't know if the Romanians have tried that yet :)
The first video is of Hora de la Munte, performed by the International Folk Dancers of Ottawa, in Canada. You can visit their website here. They also have a blog, Easy Folk Dances, where you can learn a number of easy to follow dances that they teach to the group, complete with videos and dance notes.
The clarinet dominates this piece of music, it's one of my favorite musical instruments. It can also be used for pain and torture purposes :)
I danced Hora de la Soroca at a Romanian friend's graduation party last week. It's fairly easy, but a little faster. Listen carefully and you can hear the strigaturi (shouts). This group is from Italy, where they speak a language somewhat related to Romanian. Both Italian and Romanian have Latin roots.
It's time to speed things up a little with Hora Olteneasca. The dance comes from Oltenia region of Romania, in the southwest part of the country, across the Danube from Bulgaria. The Olt River gives the province its name, and separates Oltenia from the province of Muntenia, also known as Greater Wallachia. Out of Wallachia came the Vlachs, who travelled all over the Balkans bringing stamping dances everywhere.
There must be plenty of ethnic events in the Great White North, this group, like the first one, is also from Canada! Canada is next on my list of places to visit!
Now it's time for an even faster hora, fast enough that you have to really think about the directional changes, or it gets totally out of control.
The last group is from Holland, and they perform Hora Nuntasilor at a street festival (you will find the dance notes and the lyrics on pages 11 and12 if you click on the link.) Nuntasilor means "wedding guests", this is a dance specifically in their honor.
From what I've seen of The Alien Diaries stats, the people of Holland love Balkan dance. By the way, Netherlanders, I visited your beautiful country many years ago. Unfortunately, Romanian and other varieties of Balkan dance were not popular back in those days, but next time I'm in Holland, I'll be sure to look you up :)
If you enjoyed this you may also like:
The "Flavors" of Romanian Sirba
Crossing the River, Part One, Folk Dances from the Romanian Region of Dobrogea
How to Take Out Your Frustations and Relieve Stress (Romanian folk dancing can be good therapy!)
Classical Composers Inspired by Balkan Folk Music (check out Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody #1, based on folk tunes).
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.