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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  1. Our group here in St. Louis uses the same recording as the Alunelu de Briu for our Alunelul suite which, like this one, begins with Alunelul Batut (as Sunny Bloland taught it, and others). The recording comes from a series of LPs the old Romanian government put out for teaching dances from various regions. I would love to have been abole to go to those classes.

    1. John, thanks for stopping by! The Communist governments back in the day, used to promote folklore and supported folk ensembles as ambassadors to their countries. I would have liked to have seen what went on in those dance classes. Glad to hear that the old LP's and their music are still around. You can tell how old they are by the scratchiness in the recordings :)