Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Different "Flavors" of the Romanian Folk Dance: Alunelul

Today's post features several variations of a popular folk dance from Romania, Alunelul. It means "little hazelnut" and how a dance came by with that name, I don't know. It probably started out as a children's song with the following lyrics:

Alunelul, Alunelul hai la joc
Sa ne fie, sa ne fie, cu noroc...

You will find the rest of the song, with translation in German and English, here:

First, here's some background on the dance. It has variations that are done in the different villages and districts in Romania.  We will explore a few of them today.

The first video shows the basic version titled simply Alunelul. It is is the one most commonly used by recreational folk dance groups, and an easy dance that anyone can do. It is also very popular with children, probably because of the stamping. 

Alunelul Batut takes the dance to the next level.  This variation is a bit more complex than the previous one, and there is no song to accompany it, although there are violins and an accordion.

Here it's performed by a group from Copenhagen, Denmark. The translation of the second word, according to Google Translate, is "beaten."  My guess is that it has to do with the amount of stamping.  They are beating up the hazelnuts here.

The next video shows Roy and the gang dancing Alunelul de la Urzica. If you want to see some really cool folk dance videos, check out Roy Butler's YouTube Channel. 

Roy seems to be partial to Balkan dances, especially those from Romania. For some reason the person who took the video was a little too close, so it looks like the heads and feet have been cut off. There is enough here, however, to make watching it worthwhile. They are even wearing folk costumes!

Urzica is a small district in southern Romania.  Some of the best dances come from the rural regions; this is one of them.

The next video is of a group from China that is very fond of music from the Balkans and calls itself a "bonding folkdance class." This dance teacher posts under the name gpknh and he also has many videos on his YouTube channel. If you are a regular reader of this blog you have seen some of them. 

Here they dance Alunelul de la GoiceaGoicea is a district in southern Romania, in the county of Dolj. This one is done to a bagpipe accompaniment; they call it a "cimpoi" in Romania. The Romanians like the bagpipe,almost as much as their Bulgarian neighbors :)

Now that there are two bridges crossing the Danube instead of one, hopefully there will be even more intercultural exchange between Bulgaria and Romania.  According to the Bulgarian Radio's Vidin affiliate, this has already been happening...

If you enjoyed this you may like:

Another Country Heard From: The Bagpipe in Romanian Folk Music

The "Flavors" of Romanian Hora

How to Stamp Out Your Frustrations and Relieve Stress (dances from Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia)

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  1. Well I always figured this Balkans jazz was kinda nuts... okay so I'm not that funny ha

  2. Hello, great article, but it is for sure *Alunelul, not "Alenelul". :)

  3. Thanks, Marquis for stopping by!
    Thanks, Anonymous, for reading and commenting, as well as pointing out the typo. My proofreading skills could use some improvement :)

  4. Hello! I really enjoy your posts and sometimes post your videos (crediting YOU of course!) on Central Park Folkdancers, our Facebook page.

  5. Hello! I really enjoy your posts and occasionally share your videos by posting them on Facebok's Central Park Folkdancers. (I always credit you!)

  6. Hello! I really enjoy your posts and occasionally share your videos by posting them on Facebok's Central Park Folkdancers. (I always credit you!)

    1. Lauren, thanks so much for visiting my blog and posting the links. I used to dance in Central Park back in the 80's when I lived in NYC...very fond memories!