Saturday, October 28, 2017

Variations on the Bulgarian Folk Dance Trakiiska (Thracian) Rachenitsa

If you look at music, you see theme, variation, you see symmetry, asymmetry, you see structure, and these are related to skills in the real world.
Dave Van Ronk

Today's post features several variations of the Thracian Rachenitsa  (Тракийска Ръченица), a dance from south central Bulgaria.  It is a dance in an odd rhythm, 7/8 or 7/16 depending on the speed.  Thrace is a geographical region in three different countries: Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey.

Video #1 is a simple Thracian Rachenitsa. This version is done "na horo" (in a group, holding hands).

Rachenitsa can be danced solo, as a couple, or in a line.

Video #2 is another variation that we often do during live music parties.  This version has more arm movement than the previous one.

The notes underneath the YouTube video describe it (translated from Bulgarian) "as a ten minute horo by non-professionals."  They dance around a bunch of white balloons at a wedding (there is a quick glimpse of the bride at 0.35). At 8:00 a man and a woman dance a couple's rachenitsa (that and the solo are usually freestyle), and two women at 9:27.

Bulgarians are known for long dance medleys at parties. It takes a lot of energy and a lot of booze to fuel all that energetic dancing.  The leader carries a Bulgarian flag, and passes it to the next leader at 8:48.

Video #3 is a lively (and more complex) version of Thracian Rachenitsa, performed by the dance club 7/8. Wonder where they got that name?

7/8 is the time signature for rachenitsa, lesnoto, and chetvorno.  It depends on the grouping of the beats.  Rachenitsa is apple-apple-pineapple.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The "Flavors of Bulgarian Rachenitsa" Part One,  and Part Two

Dancing in Sevens, Part One

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