Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bulgarian Folk Dance in Texas: Ensemble Lyush from Dallas-Fort Worth

If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell.
― Philip Henry Sheridan

Although Texas is best known for its hot, humid and long summers, there is a hardy group of Bulgarians who have made the Dallas-Forth Worth area their home. Today's post features Ensemble Lyush.

The group consists of members from the Bulgarian-American Cultural Center in Dallas. The ensemble came into existence before the cultural center was built in 2009.They have performed at festivals, state fairs and celebrations since 2008.

What is really cool is that the dancers are immigrants and first generation Bulgarian-Americans whose goal is to keep the culture alive in the United States. They are a joy to watch.  Their interpretations of some of the dances in their repertoire are a little different than the ones done in recreational groups and you can watch the variations in the videos below.  The "different village" comes into play here.

Video #1 is Svornato Horo from the Rhodope region of southern Bulgaria. This performance took place in March 2016. In March there are three holidays special to the Bulgarians: Baba Marta on March 1st, Liberation Day on the 3rd, and International Women's Day on the 8th.

Video #2 is also part of the March celebration.The dances are Chichovo Horo from northwestern Bulgaria and Kyustendilsko Horo from the Shope region. This is one of the most amazing renditions of Chichovo that I've seen: the man dances like someone possessed! He throws his hat at 0:57,  the cue for the women to begin dancing.

Kyustendilsko Horo is related to Graovsko Horo.  The choreography here is top notch. (Notice the man joining the line at 5:53.)

If you have a half hour to spare or  watch Video #3 from WorldFest 2011, held in Addison, Texas.  Lyush performs a group of dances from different regions of Bulgaria,  They are listed in the order played with notes (below the video).

The announcer has a charming Bulgarian accent.  She describes the dances, the regions where they originated, and she has a delightful sense of humor.  The entire video is worth watching.

1. Trite Puti - from Thrace region.  There are several choreographies for this dance, and this group prefers a relatively slow version. 

2. Daichovo - northern Bulgaria.  There are several variations of Daichovo,  the most well known is Zizaj Nane, a fancy version of this dance with music by Boris Karlov. 

3. Dunavsko - also from northern Bulgaria. This choreography is fancier than the standard version of Dunavsko  that people dance to celebrate the New Year, usually done to music by Diko Iliev. Lyush uses Severnjasko Pravo Horo.

4. Graovsko - Shope region. This version is played on the gaida (bagpipe). There are several versions of Graovsko, including an accordion tune arranged by Boris Karlov. This dance is very popular in Bulgaria.

5. Women's Dance (done before Easter)- from Shope region. Includes Pajduško and Kopanitsa. There is much waving of handkerchiefs and fancy footwork.

6. Varnensko - From the region of Dobrudja. Here it is a men's dance.

7. Bistriška Kopanitsa -A difficult dance from the Shope region

They finish with the music for Trite Puti.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Call and Response: Daichovo Horo

Happy New Year 2014: Same Dance, Different Music, Dunavsko Horo

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance: Chichovo Horo 

Three Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance: Trite Puti

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