Monday, June 22, 2020

Most Popular Balkan Dances on Zoom: Part One

Human history has a repeating theme: we battle pandemics, we lose, we die, it burns itself out, and we rebuild. We always come out the other side stronger. Humanity marches on.
― A.G. Riddle

Things have changed so much in the past few months.

The last time I went to a live folk dance was March 1st. The following week I made a trip to Florida to visit my relatives. As soon as I returned on the 10th things went bad very quickly: Connecticut had declared a state of emergency.

The group was discussing cancelling dancing because there was a state of emergency in Connecticut, Shortly afterwards, scary announcements starting popping up on the news.

Coronavirus spread like wildfire (it had been spreading here in the U.S. probably since January.  Yet people continued their normal lives (working, shopping, eating out, having weekly dance meetings).  I had planned a trip to Florida in March and didn't think there would have been a problem (although we did take out insurance in case the trip had to be cancelled).  We had thought snow or bad weather would have been an issue.  It wasn't. So my husband and I went to see relatives and visit the theme parks.

(Epcot Spaceship Earth on March 7, 2020)

The parks were crowded, the weather was pleasant, and coronavirus was the last thing on our minds.  The State of Florida did not take this seriously until all Florida theme parks closed on the 15th.  People still congregated on the beach for Spring Break until the following weekend.

 My husband and I returned on the 10th wondering if we had been exposed to the virus during our trip.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts and Connecticut, both venues where I dance were closed until further notice. Balkan Music Night and NEFFA were cancelled. All in-person dance events were cancelled until further notice. They have been replaced by Zoom meetings.

Surprisingly, so far, we have been healthy.  Those of us who are feeling well enough to dance have been suffering from withdrawal.  A group in California addressed this with a Virtual Folk Dance Party on the Zoom platform. After that, other groups followed suit. There is an event every day of the week.  They are listed on Dale Adamson's web site.

In the meantime we can dance in the safety of our homes.  It's not the same, but at least we can still connect.

Today's post is part one of a series: Most Popular Balkan Folk Dances on Zoom. The first one is a dance just about every group does: Indijksi Cocek.  There is more than one tune for this dance; this one is the one played most often.

Video #2 is Gori More, a dance that originated from the Serbian community in Racine, Wisconsin, based on a pop song. If you listen closely, at 1:38 you can hear the melody to Zaiko Kokorajko, a folk song from North Macedonia.

If anyone can provide an English translation of the lyrics, please post them in the comments section.

Video #3 is Zek Zek Dadumle.  The song is an earworm (I actually find it quite annoying) but everyone on Zoom seems to love it.  It's a Chalga song, in Bulgarian, and requested at almost every dance event.  I call it the Theme Song of the 2020 Pandemic (it was introduced in April by Roberto Bagnoli at a Folk Arts Center workshop).  The workshop was held online, via Zoom.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The Alien Diaries Best of the Worst: Earworms From the Balkans

Songs that Tell A Story

Stay tuned for more Most Popular Balkan Dances on Zoom, Part Two.

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

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dances From Oltenia, Part Three

The world is a very noisy place and so I don't need to shout about things. There are so many people shouting and a lot of people get lost in it.
Ben Howard

I never thought there would be a part three to the series "Dances from Oltenia."  My YouTube search came up with numerous dances.

The first dance has "Alunelul" in the title.  There are many "Alunelul" dances from Oltenia.

Oltenia is a region in southern Romania.  It borders Serbia to the west, and Bulgaria to the south.

Video #1 is the group Hora Romanesaca.  The dance, Alunelul de Briu, was performed at a Romanian festival in Boulder, Colorado, in the United States. This dance has shouts (in Romanian, strigaturi).  I wish I understood what they were saying!

Video #2 is the Dunav group from Jerusalem, Israel.  The dance, Poloxia Din Bechet, is from a town across the Danube from Oriahovo, Bulgaria.  Oriahovo is best known as the town where the composer Diko Iliev spent the most productive period of his life.

Dances are often named after towns or regions, and sometimes after people.  Poloxia Din Bechet is another dance with strigaturi.  There is something really cool about shouting while dancing, especially when the dance includes stamping as well.

Video #3 is a Rustemul dance from the region near Dolj. This group from Taiwan describes itself as a "Bonding Folkdance Class." You can find their playlist here.

There are several versions of Rustemul, done to different music.  I have never seen this version done in the States.

Video #4 is Salcuira, also performed by the Bonding Folkdance Class.  People from China and Japan, especially, seem to be fond of Balkan music, and of folk dancing in general.  Their enthusiasm is fun to watch.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Dances From Oltenia, Parts One and Two (there is a link to Part One in Part Two.)

The Different "Flavors" of the Romanian Folk Dance Alunelul

If you want to know more about Diko Iliev, click this link:

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