Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dancing in the "Different Village" Three Variations of the Romanian Folk Dance Joc Batranesc

Mine is a proud village, such as it is. We are best when dancing. - Makah

Today's featured dance is Joc Batranesc from the village of Niculitel, in Romanian Dobrogea. There is also a region in Bulgaria with a similar name, slightly different spelling: Dobrujda. Both have one thing in common: they share the region between the Danube and the Black Sea.

Joc Batranesc translates into English as "ancient dance," but as you will see, it is not just for senior citizens:) The dance also has different spellings, some with and without diacritical marks; and sometimes an "i" substitutes for the "a". The Romanian spelling with the diacriticals is Joc bătrânesc.

Video #1 shows the dance as it is done in the United States.  Why do they go "oooh" when they move to the center of the circle? This variation must be particular to their "village."

Video #2 features a costumed group of young people from Romania. Notice that their belts are the same colors as the Romanian flag. Although this is essentially the same dance as in video #1, there are variations in style (hops and sways).  These dancers don't vocalize, all you hear are the stamps and the music.

Who is the girl in the middle and why isn't she part of the dance? My guess is that this is their "village" variation; along with the fancy moves.

This group is a pleasure to watch, with an a attractive and charismatic leader. That girl knows her stuff.

Video #3 has the song that goes with the dance; the ensemble is from the village of Niculitel.  There are two other dances in the video that follow Joc Batranesc.  The first rhythm change is at 2:57 where the music turns into Sârba, a fast dance in 6/8. At 5:18 there's another rhythm change, this time it's Cadâneascain 9/16a dance similar to Daichovo Horo from Bulgaria.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The "Flavors" of Romanian Sirba

Crossing the River, Part One, Folk Music from the Romanian Region of Dobrogea 

More Folk Songs from the Romanian Region of Dobrogea

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Greece

The center of Western culture is Greece, and we have never lost our ties with the architectural concepts of that ancient civilization.
Stephen Gardiner

The Greeks have contributed much to the culture of Europe and the rest of the world: art, sculpture music, dance and literature. There are mathematical symbols that use Greek letters; the most famous being π (pi), used to figure out the circumference of a circle;  and β,(beta) one of the roots of a quadratic equation. Dancing also has lots of math in it; and many math and science people are into folk dancing. I'm still trying to figure this out.

Today's dances are easy to pick up by either watching or following the leader.

The first video is Lerikos.  There are two different parts (figures), one done during the singing and the other to the instrumental. This is common to many folk dances. The leader signals the change with the word "opa".

You can find the lyrics here if you want to sing along.  I couldn't find a translation. If you can find one, please post it in the "comments" section.

The next dance, Zervos, looks and sounds almost like Trite Puti, a dance from Bulgaria, with a combination of northern Bulgarian style steps and arm swings. The Balkans are a cultural melting pot and dances often cross borders.

It moves to the left, also known as "reverse line of direction." I prefer "right" or "left." Reverse sounds too much like an auto transmission. If I put my car in reverse, it goes backwards.

Troiro is another Greek dance that reminds me of Trite Puti.  The steps and the arm swinging are similar to Zervos, except that this dance moves to the right.  Both Triti Puti and Troiro are from Thrace, a region shared by Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

The Greeks seem to like the gaida (bagpipe) almost as much as the Bulgarians. Dancers and musicians just don't pay attention to borders :)

Tsamikos is a dance very popular at festivals.  This version includes the basic steps as well as the (optional) turns.

This is the crazy version of Tsamikos, performed by two men at a party.  It has acrobatics and funny stuff (don't try this at home), along with audience participation.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Bulgarian Dances and Their Greek Relatives

To Greece and Bulgaria and Back.... in One Weekend!

Balkan Folk Dancing and its Relationship to Math

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Serbia

The word aerobics came about when the gym instructors got together and said, "If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it jumping up and down.
 ~Rita Rudner

Kolo is the Serbian version of aerobics. Today's post features some fun and easy dances from Serbia. If you're looking for dances to teach, as well as some aerobic exercise, you've come to the right place.

Savila se Bela Loza Vinova is a dance we often play at the beginning of the evening.  It's also a good dance for kids. They love it because there's running and skipping.

I used to despise gym class. It was focused on calisthenics, a form of pain and torture devised by sadistic physical education teachers.  Dancing would have been a lot more enjoyable.

Some of the people in the line are confused because they realize, too late, that the dance changes direction, which makes this video amusing to watch. 

Here is a longer version of the previous dance performed during a spring festival in Italy. Follow the lady with the red scarf, then the man with the orange one.  With this dance two heads, or leaders, are better than one.

Orijent is a popular Serbian dance that has been around since the 1950's.  According to the notes the name may have been derived from the Orient Express, a train that passed through Serbia many years ago. The original route went from Paris to Istanbul, with a number of changes over the years and operated from 1883 to 2009.

Raca is a Vlach dance, with stamps, named after a duck, deceptively easy until it speeds up. It tends to go awry when people try to have a conversation while doing it.  It helps to keep the steps small during the fast part, and don't forget to put some stamps in there for emphasis.

Cica Obrenovo Kolo is a dance with stamps and shouts. I couldn't find any notes, but it's probably of Vlach origin. Just follow the leader, he's the guy with the red scarf.

Serbian dances tend to be bouncy; this one is a good example of that up and down movement.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

On Ethnic Dance and Exercise

The "Flavors" of Serbian Kolo"

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Romania

Take a Ride on the Orijent Express

Stamp It Out: Vlach Dances from Serbia

Another good resource is the blog Easy Folk Dances.

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bavno Oro and Snosti Sakav Da Ti Dojdam

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
William James

I still haven't figured out the connection between common sense and dancing,  Dancing and humor have been featured often on this blog. They go very well together. 

Last week's post featured a group of dancers getting crazy with a dance from Romania.  There is link to it at the bottom of this post.

Today's dance is Bavno Oro from Macedonia..The music to this is based on the song  Snosti Sakav Da Ti Dojdam. 

Bavno Oro translates to "Slow Dance" but that is a misnomer. It has two distinct parts: part one is in 7/8 lesnoto rhythm (slow-quick-quick).  At 2:15 there is a short transition, then the fast part in 7/16 (quick-quick-slow).

There are numerous versions of Bavno; my favorite is a recording by Boris Karlov,  a Bulgarian folk accordionist who lived from 1924-1964. 

Here is the original song, Snosti Sakav Da Ti Dojdam. performed by Anastasija Petreska.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Legacy of Boris Karlov, Bulgarian Folk Accordionist

Modern Versions of Traditional Macedonian Folk Songs

Quirky, Odd and Unusual Folklore Videos from the Universe of YouTube (have some humor with your folklore)

Hora Veche (funny!)

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