Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Macedonia

May God smite, Tina, Tina,
your old mother, Tina, Tina,
Your old father.

Tino More, Macedonian Folk Song

Today's post features dances from the Republic of Macedonia.  It used to be part of a country that no longer exists: Yugoslavia.

Macedonia is a name that confuses people, especially those who are unfamiliar with the history of eastern Europe. There are three countries that lay claim to the name either as a region or country:  northern GreeceThe Republic of Macedonia and the Pirin region of Bulgaria.

Although many Macedonian dances are in complex rhythms (such as čoček in 9/16 or Sitna Lisa in 7/8) two of today's dances are in even time signatures.

Video #1 is a group from Ottawa, Canada;  the dance is Narodno Oro (translation: "folk dance.")  This dance was originally titled Gaidarsko Oro  (Bagpipe Dance).  The bagpipe player is Pece Atanasovski, (1927-1996) a well-known Macedonian folk musician and dance teacher. You can read more about him here, as well as watch him play the gaida in this old video from Macedonian TV.

I have this tune on my MP3 player.  It is so old you can hear the hissing of the needle on the record shortly before the music plays.  The music in in 4/4 time.

Video #2 is Tino Mori. I'm surprised there is a dance to this song because the lyrics are about illness and death. God obviously isn't too happy, either because Tina's parents have married her off to a man far away. Like the God of the Old Testament, he's ready to zap them, or worse.

The song is about a woman named Tina who is about to lose her husband to some mysterious illness. His condition is so critical that there are three doctors at the foot of his bed.  Anyway, the music is pleasant to listen to if you don't focus too much on the the tragic lyrics, and it's an easy dance to learn, even though it's in an odd rhythm: 7/8.

Video #3 is Povrateno, a dance with smooth, cat-like steps.  Like many dances from Macedonia, it speeds up as the music progresses.  Add a few turns to make it more interesting, and remember to keep those claws retracted :) The music is in 2/4.

The dancers are familiar to regular readers of this blog.  The Dunav group from Jerusalem, Israel, describes its website as "the sharing place for Balkan music and dance." They have dance videos, music scores, song lyrics, music downloads and a YouTube channel.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Fun and Easy Dances from Romania

Fun and Easy Dances from Bulgaria

Fun and Easy Dances from Serbia

Dancing in Sevens, Part Two, The 7/16 Rhythm in Macedonian Folk Music

The second video in the Bufcansko post uses the Pece Atanasovski music for the dance. This version is very popular in Macedonia.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance Petrunino Horo

Петруно, пиле шарено,
Петруно, пиле шарено,
Де гиди ягне галено
Де гиди ягне галено
Bulgarian Folk Song, Petruno Pile Shareno

Petrunino Horo is a very popular folk dance from Bulgaria.  It has different variations and different music depending on the "village" you come from.

The name of the dance comes from the female name Petruna (feminine form of Peter). The steps (slow-quick-quick-quick-slow) are based on the number five (pet) in Bulgarian, even though the music can be in different time signatures. The most common time signature used is 7/8.  It is from the the Shope region.

The song that goes with the dance is Petruno Pile Shareno. You can listen to it in the video below; the artist is Magdalena Morarova, Bulgarian folksinger (1927-2009).

You can also find the lyrics here, in transliteration and English translation. There's a Macedonian version on the website, too. Sing along if you like :)

The first group of dancers is from Bulgaria. They're using a basket hold since none of them are wearing belts; belt hold or hand hold is OK too. Each "village" has its own style.

There are many tunes associated with this dance; from what I've seen on YouTube this one seems to be most popular in Bulgaria.

The next group is from Toronto, Canada, a city with a large Bulgarian community. They're using a hand hold and different music than the dancers in the previous video.  Does anyone out there know the name of the song or the singer?

I've seen many dance videos that take place in gyms.  I'm a firm believer that dance should be offered as an alternative to sports in physical education classes.

Daniel Spassov sings yet another version of Petruno Pile Shareno while some audience members dance. This is an excerpt from the folklore show, Ide Nashenskata Muzika, which focuses on music and dance from every region in Bulgaria. There is usually a new program on the website most Saturdays (the show takes a break during the summer). It is worth watching if you like Bulgarian folk music, both traditional and modern.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Modern Versions of Traditional Bulgarian Folk Songs

Three Variations on a Bulgarian Folk Dance: Chetvorno Horo

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Tune: Gankino Horo

On Ethnic Dance and Exercise

Dancing by the Numbers

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Fun and Easy Folk Dances from Bulgaria

Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.
Lao Tzu

Most people are under the impression that Bulgarian folk dances are intimidating.  Although it's true that more than a few of them fit that category, there are also dances easy enough for beginners.

Tropanka from Dobrudja is a follow-the-leader type dance  The most difficult part is coordinating the arm movements with the feet. According to the notes, the leader can call the changes anytime, or when the music changes. The leader is the teacher in the center of the circle.

Tropanka is a dance native to the Bulgarian folklore region of Dobrudja. There are many variations of tropanka with different music.

Video #1  shows three distinct figures: two that go from side to side and one that goes into the center. A "village" that I dance with includes a fourth figure (not shown here); walking around the perimeter of the circle, with scuffs instead of stamps.

Ekizlisko Horo is a little faster than tropanka. A group of students from Greece performs this dance during a gym class.  This was part of a Bulgaria Day celebration at their school. The most challenging part of the dance is the basket hold, when you link arms with your neighbors like a basket. This group uses a front basket hold, and the dance consists of grapevine steps; first to the right and then to the left.

The dance comes from the region of Thrace in Bulgaria.  There is also a Thrace in Greece where many of the dances share similarities to their Bulgarian counterparts; for example Pravo Horo (Bulgaria) and Zonaradikos (Greece). There are numerous Bulgarian dances based on pravo rhythm, which can be in either 2/4 or 6/8. 

Video #3 shows Dvadzti Tritzdi, a walking dance from the Rhodope region. This group is from the "village" of Vienna, Austria. Different "villages" have different variations of this dance. Ours uses grapevine steps instead of the side to side seen in the video..

One of my favorite websites is the Songbook for Nearsighted People, a collection of over 200 folk songs with translations into German and English. The songs from Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece are in the original language, transliterated. Even if you're not visually challenged, this collection makes a great reference for those who are curious about what their favorite folk songs are about. If you have trouble reading small print, or have left the reading glasses at home, the large font is very helpful.

You can find the lyrics for the song here, along with a translation into German. Go ahead and sing along.

Video #4 is the same group as in video #3.  Although Vienna is best known for classical composers like Beethoven, Mozart and the Waltz King Johann Strauss, you will find a number of clubs that focus on folk dances, especially from the Balkans.. The site is in German and has a listing of locations, along with dates, times, type of dances, and skill level.

Video #4 is Vrapcheto, a dance from northwestern Bulgaria. Although many dances from this region are fast, this one is slow and easy.  You can sing along to this one, too.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Dancing Across Bulgaria, the Pravo and Regional Folk Dance Styles

Bulgarian Folk Dancing in and around Vienna, Austria

You will find some challenging dances in Bulgarian Folk Dances Named After Cities and Towns

For more on different village variations read: Two Variations on a Bulgarian Folk Dance: Kraj Dunavsko Horo

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