Sunday, April 13, 2014

Three Variations on a Bulgarian Folk Dance: Chetvorno Horo

Hang on to those belts, dancers, today's dance is Chetvorno Horo!

On the Universe of Youtube, I found several video examples on how different "villages" interpret the dance.

Chetvorno is from the Shope folklore region of Bulgaria  (western region near the capital, Sofia). The time signature is 7/8 (pineapple-apple-apple).This dance has traveled around the world and undergone several incarnations, from easy to moderately difficult. You will see them here.

Although there are other dances in 7/8 (or 7/16 depending on the speed) such as the rachenitsa and the lesnoto; the accents fall on different beats and each one has a distinct feel.  Read the posts Dancing in Sevens (part one and part two) to find out more. You can find the links to them at the bottom of this page.

Tbe first video shows a group dancing in a shopping mall.   This version is the least complicated and uses the basic steps (hop-step-step in the first part and one two three in the crossovers, also called pas-de-basques.  Where they got that fancy French name for that step, I don't know.

Version two is slightly more complicated and introduces the slide step as well as the basic ones. This video comes from the series "Teach Yourself Bulgarian Folk Dance" and features professional dancers in elaborate embroidered costumes.  There is also step by step teaching video (pun intended) which is posted on YouTube.

The next version of Chetvorno has a more complicated choreography; if you look at the dance notes you will see five distinct figures.  People in international folk dance groups seem to thrive on complex dances and go to workshops to learn them.  This one is from the village of Bistritsa, and the person demonstrating the dance is from the "village" of Haifa, Israel.

Kolokoalition, a group from the United States, has many dances posted on YouTube. In this video, they dance Chetvorno to live music, the same version and music as shown in the previous video.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Dancing in Sevens  Part One and Part Two

Two Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance Kraj Dunavsko Horo

The "Flavors" of Bulgarian Rachenitsa Part One and Part Two

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  1. Thank you. We danced the Chetvorno Oro at the Statewide Surfside at Santa Barbara last year. I suggested to our group that we learn this, but they thought that it was too difficult for us.
    Ravel Patel

  2. Henry, thanks for the comment. I agree with you, Chetvorno is not a difficult dance and can be taught if it's broken down into its individual components. Repetition is the key to learning.

    And if all else fails, there's always the easier version :)

  3. "pas de basque" refers to the Basque people.

    These are two very different sorts of Chetvornos. The first two videos are 5 measure patterns. The second two are in multiples of 4.

    1. thanks for the info, Fran, and also thanks for reading!