Follow by Email

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The "Flavors" of Croatian Kolo

The description of right lines and circles, upon which geometry is founded, belongs to mechanics. Geometry does not teach us to draw these lines, but requires them to be drawn.
Isaac Newton

The kolo is a dance very popular in Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia. Kolo means "circle" or "wheel" and the dance is often done in a circle.

Today's post features kolos from Croatia, and as you will see, not all of them are circles. Some are done in lines, which are also geometric figures. It also depends on the number of dancers in the group.You usually need at least 5-6 people to do a circle dance.

Video #1 is the dance Slavonkso Kolo, from the Slavonia region of Croatia (not to be confused with Slovenia or Slovakia). The performers are the Dunav group from Vukovar.

The dance starts at 0:42 after a short slideshow of Vukovar.  In the video there are many dancers in folk costumes and a large tamburitza orchestra.  Tamburitza ensembles are very popular in Croatia (and all over the world - see Croatian Diaspora).

The dancers start in one large circle, then two circles, one male and one female. Afterwards, the circle breaks and the line goes into a "S" shape, into a a circle again, and finishes with a line. Geometry takes on some interesting forms in Croatia :)  Notice the squares on the floor!

There is a call and response in the song.  Listen for it at 1:18 and 2:24.



Video #2  is the dance song Nabrala je.  The lyrics are provided so you can sing along, and if you need a translation you can find one here (in German). It is about a young woman gathering strawberries and flowers for her sweetheart.

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you will recognize the Dunav group from Jerusalem, Israel.  There are a number of folk ensembles from the Balkans (or connected with Balkan music) named Dunav. The reason for this is that Dunav is the word for Danube, the River of Many Names in several Slavic languages.

There are two Balkan dance groups in Israel, the other is Balkanitsa.



Video #3 is Malo Kolo.  Since there are only two dancers, this one's in a line.  This is a more complicated dance than the previous two, with some fancy footwork, and it's accompanied by tamburitza music but no singing.  By the way, this is the Croatian version, there is also a dance with same name from Serbia.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Crazy Croatian Dance Songs

The River of Many Names Part Six: The Danube in Croatian Folk Songs

What's in a Name Part Two: Croatian Confusion

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Balkan Dances that are Often Confused (Part Three)

Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.
George Santayana

Sometimes the subconscious plays some very strange tricks on the mind. I was at dance last Sunday and had requested Kopcheto when the dance I had in mind was Vrapcheto. The names sound alike enough to be confusing. They are totally different dances, one slow and easy, the other difficult and fast.

Video #1 is Vrapcheto,  from northern Bulgaria.  You can sing along to it, if you like. The song is about the Russians coming to Kotel.



Kopcheto was the dance I had written on the request list. It is a rather challenging and high energy dance, also from Bulgaria, that's similar to Gjusevska Rachenitsa. I don't think anyone else was prepared to lead it and certainly not I. The men in the video make it look easy.

I couldn't find any dance notes for this in English, which leads me to believe it is much more popular in Bulgaria than it is in the United States or Canada.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Balkan Dances that are Often Confused: Part One and Part Two

The "Flavors" of Bulgarian Rachenitsa

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused (Part Two)

I had nothing to offer anybody except for my own confusion.
Jack Kerouac

A few months ago I wrote a post about confusion regarding Balkan dances with similar names.  This is the sequel, otherwise the first one would have been too long.

Video #1 is the very popular Jove Malaj Mome from Bulgaria. It has traveled around the world and has gone as far as China.  The lyrics describe a girl named Jova, who prefers the city guys from Sofia, and won't even look at the men from her village. She is way too good for them.

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you've seen the "Bonding Folkdance Class." They have a large repertoire of dances and a high energy teacher.

The dance is in a compound rhythm 7/16 +11/16.  Many folk dance people happen to be good at math (but I'm not one of them).



Video #2 is a dance from Macedonia, Edno Maloj Mome (One Little Girl).  Many Macedonian and Bulgarian songs are in the 7/8 rhythm (pineapple-apple-apple). The dance usually done to this rhythm is lesnoto, but as you will see this one is a bit more complicated.



Before you can run, you have to learn to walk. Video #3 is a "plain vanilla" lesnoto. There are many variations of lesnoto;  this one is the easiest. It's basically walking in 7/8 rhythm while alternately lifting each foot. It is how Macedonians learned to walk when they were babies. This rhythm is ingrained in them in the womb.

The group dances to a medley of four songs: Oj ti pile, Zalna majka, Bitola moy roden krai, and Makedonsko Devojce.



Video #4 is of another dance from Macedonia, Lesnoto OroIt is a dressed up version of lesnoto.  Are you confused yet?

Lesnoto Oro starts slowly then speeds up, typical of Macedonian dances.



If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Balkan Dances that are Often Confused, Part One

Dancing in Sevens, Part One (Bulgaria) and Part Two (Macedonia)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.