Monday, January 18, 2021

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Pasarelska

Being authentic can be a good thing in that often people who are fixated on that are also fixated on having very high standards, so they may maintain something they think has tremendous value. On the other hand, most of the kinds of music that I've been excited about are hybrid in their origins.- Edgar Meyer

The dance Pasarelska has an interesting history. It was created by a Bulgarian choreographer and first taught in Los Angeles, California.  It is a dance with Shope (western Bulgarian) steps. The melody is from the Rhodope (southern region) of Bulgaria. There is a town near the Bulgarian capital, Dolni Pasarel, after which the dance was named.

I'm sure if someone from North America traveled to Dolni Pasarel and requested the dance from the local musicians, that person would get strange looks, since the dance was created in the States.  

Pasarelska is a hybrid dance. It is often requested on Zoom and you can learn it by watching this pandemic-era video by Susie Shoaf, who posted it on YouTube. It is not a difficult dance (it starts slow and speeds up at the end), however, I find the slow part more challenging than the fast part.

The steps don't follow the music, either. First, here's the teaching video:


Here is Ira Weisbund's group doing Pasarelska. Notice that he has this listed as a Macedonian dance. One of the dance notes I read mentioned that this dance is from the Pirin region of Bulgaria (sometimes called Macedonia.)   The rhythm certainly fits the Pirin style; 7/8 in the slow part and 7/16 near the end (slow-quick-quick).


The subject of Macedonia can get quite confusing, because there is a country, North Macedonia, that shares a border with Bulgaria. There is also a Macedonia region in northern Greece. You can read more about this below:

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