Saturday, June 1, 2013

One Hundred Balkan and Bulgarian Folk Dances

Seek and you shall find.  paraphrased from Matthew 7:7–8

I found these videos during one of my forays in the Universe of YouTube. They are part of a series titled One Hundred Balkan and Bulgarian Folk Dances, produced by the Bulgarian International Dance Club and performed by the Biser Folk Ensemble of Blagoevgrad.

They are beautifully done, take place outdoors, and have creative little touches like the dancing cartoon feet, complete with tsarvuli (Bulgarian traditional dance shoes) and wool socks. There is an advertisement for Balkanfolk near the end of the video (a marketplace for things Bulgarian such as traditional costumes and music, as well as news and happenings in the folk dance world.  I am usually repelled by all the advertising I see these days. Ads for Balkan folklore websites are the exception.

The first dance in this series is Elenino Horo (Eleno Mome), a staple in the Bulgarian folk repertoire, from the northwest region of the country.

By the way, many years ago, visitors to Balkanfolk were asked to vote on folk songs, and the winner each month received a CD in the mail. My prize was a collection of songs performed by Kostadin Gugov. Although the site no longer asks for visitor input on songs, I use it as a cultural and musical resource. There are also songs and dances available for download, as well as videos of folk dance competitions.

The next video is of Maleshevsko Horo, from the Pirin (southwestern) region of Bulgaria,

The Dance Traveler (the disembodied feet in these videos) travels south to the Greek region of Macedonia to find some Drama. In the English-speaking world we usually associate drama with a situation like this:

I like this type of Drama better.  The styling is impeccable, and the music is beautiful.  One thing I've noticed about Macedonian dances is that they start off slow and gradually speed up towards the end. I also want to mention that there are three Macedonias, the Republic of Macedonia, the Pirin region of Bulgaria, and Greek Macedonia.  Music does not recognize political boundaries.  Why people fight over them is a mystery to me.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Bulgarian Dances and Their Greek Relatives

The Different "Flavors" of Macedonian Folk Music

A One of a Kind Club for Folk Dancers (a  club sponsored by the website, dedicated exclusively to Balkan folk dancing, located in Sofia, Bulgaria).

You can also read An Overview of Bulgarian Folk Dancing.

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