Thursday, March 6, 2014

Some Equal Opportunity Folk Dances

I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody's passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn't mind leading.
Amy Poehler

Today's post, for International Women's Day, will feature men's dances from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Greece, led by women.

In the Balkans, traditionally, there were dances for women and dances for men.  Nowadays, no one really cares if a female leads what was once considered a men's dance. In the old days, however there was gender segregation. There would be two different lines, one for the women and one for the men.  The men performed the fancy moves and jumps, and the women's version was more dainty.

The first dance is from the Pirin region of southwestern Bulgaria. I don't know the name of it (can someone help me here?) The female leader it does it with style; this is music with a hypnotic rhythm played on a tupan (double-headed drum) and a zurna (a wooden horn with a double reed and finger holes). Most of the dancers are women, you can see a couple of men near the end.

What is even more amazing is that this performance goes on for over six minutes and the music gets progressively faster.

Sirba Pe Loc, from Romania, was most likely a men's dance.  It's fast, and done in a shoulder hold with stamps and heel clicks for emphasis. Sirba dances are very popular in Romania, and there are many.  They are usually named by the town or region, but this one translates to "dance in place."

Sestorka, from Serbia, is a very fast dance, usually performed by men holding on to each other's belts.  The rules have been changed here, with some interesting results. This is an all-female group dressed in traditional Serbian folk costumes (that means skirts). There is a point in the dance where they are supposed to shout ooh-ha, but I can barely hear them. Raise your voices, ladies!

The,Hasapiko was the dance of the butcher's guild in Greece during the Middle Ages, and back then was performed only by men.  Times have changed.  This group, like the previous one, is all female.

If you liked this you will also enjoy:

The "Flavors" of Romanian Sirba

In Honor of International Women's Day:  Women's Dances From the Balkans

The Butcher's Dance in Balkan Folklore

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