Monday, December 5, 2016

Dances from Oltenia

The saddest country I went to was Romania, years ago, during Ceausescu's rule.
Christopher Lee

Before the revolution of 1989, Romania was a totalitarian regime ruled by an autocrat who wouldn't let people leave the country. Food and clothing shortages were commonplace. There were also orphanages full of children whose parents couldn't afford to raise them, many who got AIDS from unsterilized needles. Birth control was forbidden in Ceausescu's Romania. The situation was so bad that people froze in the winter because the government exported heating oil for foreign currency. It was a terrible place to live until 1989, when on Christmas Day, Ceausescu and his family were assassinated.

Although the situation in Romania is much better than in the past, poverty and discrimination against the Roma population are still social issues. Despite the problems, the country has a rich folklore tradition that has survived World Wars and totalitarian rule.

Today's post features three southern Romanian dances from the province of Oltenia, on the northern side of the Danube from Bulgaria.

Video #1 is a dance very popular in one of my groups: Hora Lautareasca din Dolj. Dolj is a county in the province of Oltenia. The dance is named after the Lautari, the term for a band of Roma musicians.

There is a review of the dance at the beginning of the video.  The dance teacher is one of those "crazy" instructors and keeps a running monologue going throughout the dance. Her group consists entirely of senior citizens (old enough to remember Communist Romania).

Dancers tend to live longer and are less likely to suffer from dementia than non-dancers.

Video #2 is another dance from Dolj and one of the numerous variations of Trei Pazeste.  There are Trei Pazeste de la Goicea Mare,  Trei Pazeste Batrinesc, and others.  You can read about them in one of the posts below.

Video #3 is a Japanese group dancing Rustemul Oltenesc. This is a different variation with different music than the Rustemul we usually do (although some of the steps are similar). Notice that the young woman in the line wears a man's costume.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like:

Variations on a Romanian Folk Dance Tune:  Hora Lautareasca

Variations on the Romanian Folk Dance: Trei Pazeste

Crazy Dance Instructors

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