Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dancing as a Spectator Sport

“Dancers are athletes of God.” Albert Einstein
- Albert Einstein

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music. ~William Stafford

It's fun watching young people dance. They have more enthusiasm and less self-consciousness than we older folks. They have lots of energy, and some of them have plenty of talent, as you'll see here.

The irregular rhythms of Balkan music take some getting used to but it seems that the kids have the easiest time picking them up because they don't have preconceived notions about rhythm. And if you grow up listening to this stuff, dancing to it becomes second nature, anyway.

I have seen children and teens performing at festivals, and they never fail to amaze me. I took this video at a Greek festival last fall, the young men add some acrobatics to the mix, which was something I didn't expect.

These girls perform the Romanian folk dance Itele. At this age they're really cute, and even more important, they're having fun, which is what it's all about, right?

These talented young people at a festival in Orhid, Macedonia perform a medley of dances from Bulgaria. Those who are familiar with Bulgarian dances will recognize Elenino Horo (Eleno Mome), Pravo, and Petronino Horo, along with this group's specialty, the Rachenitsa (national dance of Bulgaria). Back in the old days, the village dances were venues for young people to meet and mingle, and the boys did the fancy footwork to attact the girls. There is a flirtatious element in rachenitsa and you can see it here (at 4.30, 8.15, and 13.30) The twirling of handkercheifs is also also worth noting...the Bulgarian word for handkercheif is "rŭčenik." Although the video is nearly 15 minutes long it's well worth watching.

For an in-depth look at the rachenitsa, read Dick Oakes' writeup in his Dance Descriptions:

If you enjoyed this, try some ethnic dance and exercise. In this post you will read why dance should be offered as an alternative to sports in physical education programs.

For more on Bulgarian rachenitsa read:

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  1. I read it as 'spectacular', which of course it can be as well. You're right children are the world's most natural dancers :)

  2. What a treat seeing these kids having so much fun! :)

  3. glad you enjoyed! There is a Part 2 to this coming soon, about a Greek Festival that I went to recently.