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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Different "Flavors" of Pravo Rhodopko Horo

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
French proverb

Pravo Horo and its numerous variations are popular all over Bulgaria. Today we shall focus on a single region, the Rhodope Mountains, and several versions of the dance from that area.

The basic village Pravo is a simple walking dance, three steps in and one step back, in a diagonal formation.

Here is an example of the basic village Pravo Rhodopsko accompanied by a kaba gaida, an instrument native to that region.  This bagpipe is larger and lower pitched than the traditional Bulgarian gaida.



This dance song Mitro is an excellent example of the fusion of traditional and modern in Bulgarian folk music. Listen to the gaida solo at the beginning and the end of the video.

It's different from the kaba gaida played in the previous video and loud enough to wake the dead.

The Pravo step is interwoven into the dance with stamps and step-hops.



Several dancers in my Sunday night group went to Pinewoods recently, during a session held the last week of June. This year,Yves Moreau taught a number of Bulgarian dances.  One that was introduced to my Sunday night dance group was Hajde Kalino.  Similar to Mitro, the Pravo step here is also interwoven with a faster figure that includes stamps and grapevines.

The dance is moderately slow and speeds up when the singing stops. Rhodope versions of the Pravo are generally slow to medium speed.  In other regions of Bulgaria, they can be so fast that you can barely see the feet!



In the next video, also of the song Hajde Kalino, the singers are accompanied by a kaba gaida.  What I find strange is that neither the singers or the gaida player are wearing folk costumes. This looks like an impromptu street performance.No one actually gets up to dance until 5:45.  Why did they wait so long?



The last video is another "souped up" Rhodope Pravo with claps and stamps (I thought Dobrudja Bulgarians, Romanians and Vlachs had a monopoly on those!)  The song is Sapril Dobri.  The instructor here is Jaap Leegwater, who specializes in dances from Bulgaria. He also led Mitro in video #2.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Bagpipe in Bulgarian Folk Music

Bulgarian Singing Demystified (includes a medley of songs from the Rhodope region, directed by Tatiana Sarbinska)

Dancing Across Bulgaria: The Pravo and Regional Folk Dance Styles

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