Sunday, December 13, 2015

Balkan Dances That Are Often Confused.....

What is important is to spread confusion, not eliminate it.
Salvador Dalí

Confusion sometimes reigns in the world of Balkan dance.  Today's post shows some examples of dances that can be mixed up because the names sound alike.

The first example is here is a Serbian dance called Čačak. There is also a Romani dance called Čoček. Čačak is in 2/4 and čoček in 9/8. They are two different dances in two different time signatures that sound very much alike.

The dance shown below is Zaplanski Čačak. Frequent readers will also recognize the dancers from the Dunav group from Jerusalem, Israel.

There are also many varieties or "flavors" of čačak; some examples are the Five Figure Čačak and Godecki Čačak, a dance that has dual citizenship in Bulgaria and Serbia. They are also more challenging dances than the basic čačak shown here.

The second dance is of Romani (Gypsy) origin: čoček. There are many varieties of čoček as well; two examples are Skopski Čoček and Indijski Čoček. This dance is very popular in Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia, where it is often played by brass bands.

To do a really good  čoček, you need to wiggle those hips.  The bigger the hips, the better the effect (see video below of the dance Merak Čoček.) The music is Karavana Chajka (sung in Bulgarian).  You can sing along if you like, the lyrics are provided as well.

The third dance is Sej Sej Bop, a rachenitsa from the Bulgarian region of Dobrudja.  Rachenitsa is the national dance of Bulgaria  and there are different regional variations.

The rhythm for rachenitsa is 7/8 or 7/16 depending on the speed: apple-apple-pineapple. This one is medium speed with lots of stamping, which is characteristic of dances from Dobrudja.

Why this dance is called Sej Bop, I don't know. It is another rachenitsa from Dobrudja with different choreography and music. Both dances have something to do with planting beans, a staple in Bulgarian cuisine.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The "Flavors" of Serbian Čačak

The "Flavors" of Bulgarian Rachenitsa

A Romani Potpourri

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