Monday, February 18, 2013

Variations on a Vlaško Theme

When I first started Balkan folk dancing the dance Vlaško Horo from northern Bulgaria really got my attention. I watched a group of men dancing Vlaško one night and I loved the stamping and the shouting and the energy of it.

I've been practicing it for a while, and still have a little trouble with the fast parts (parts 1 and 2 are  easy). At a dance I went to a few weeks ago it was on the program; and I requested that it be taught. I still don't have it 100%. One of these days I'll be able to do it without the video; in the meantime, here's the dance, as I learned it.  You can also use a belt hold, it makes Vlaško more challenging and fun.

There are other variations of Vlaško.  These young ladies perform Sitno Vlaško Horo in a shopping mall in Bulgaria; it is a totally different dance than the previous one. They use electronic instead of traditional music, which suits the modern setting well.

My fascination with Vlaško doesn't end here; here is yet another version! If you are a regular reader of The Alien Diaries, this video will be totally familiar to you; this group is the Dunav ensemble of Vidin, and yes, that big boat is a distraction. Dunav means Danube in Bulgarian (and several other Slavic languages as well).

In the next video Vlaško travels to Serbia. The Vlachs, a people of Roman origin, traveled far and wide all over the Balkans, primarily because many of them were sheep herders and part of their job was to search for greener pastures. In Serbia, the dance becomes Vlaško Kolo. The word kolo describes a circle or wheel but sometimes kolo is danced in a line. Circles and lines are geometric figures.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Stamping it Out: Vlach Dances From Serbia

The River of Many Names, Part 3 features the Dunav Ensemble of Vidin; there is an excellent video of them in action.  You can get exhausted just watching. The scenery is nice, too.

Folk dances with stamping are a socially acceptable way of relieving the frustrations of everyday life.

Is Balkan folk dancing related to math?  Read more here.

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


  1. I am fascinated by these dances... I would trip over my own feet for sure!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Tracie! What fascinates me about these dances is the really fast footwork, learning them has become an obsession with me :)

  3. We dance the Vlasko. We're the Bay Osos Folk Dancers in Los Osos, Ca.

  4. Henry, thanks for stopping by!