Banat Brâul men's chain dance

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Banat Brâul dance form

Brâul is a term used for types of men's chain dances, although there are now mixed and women's versions. The term is applies to several different regional families of dances that have little choreographic similarity.

The word Brâul comes from the Dacio-Illyrian language group meaning belt. Formations where the dancers hold their neighbour's belts are common throughout Bulgaria (known as na pojas) and east Serbia. Belt hold causes the dancers to be connected more rigidly than hand holds, thus the dance formations are restricted to short lines and semicircles. The belt hold rarely exists in Romania except in the name of the dance and has been replaced by shoulder hold or simple low hand hold.

There are many Banat Brâuri dances in the mountain region of Banat. This area has a long history of being a military border region, and has been politically associated with west Oltenia within the 'Banat of Severin'.

Banat Brâul dance types

There are two very different types of the Brâul, although there is some mixing;

This "long-short-short" rhythm, notated either as 3+2+2 or 4+3+3, has examples from Albania through west Bulgaria, east Serbia, Romanian Banat, and into Transylvania. It is thought that this has old origins from the early west Balkans. Similar dances in steps and rhythm to the Banat Brâul are found in Serbia, Žikino, and in west Bulgaria, Četvorno.

Banat Brâul
Brâul bătrân
old type
new type
Brâul pădurenesc


Choreographic form, motifs, music

type names form structure motifs music
Brâul bătrân Brâul, Danţul, shoulder hold, low hand hold bi-directional 4 measure sequence 3-3-2-3 2/4
Brâul Brâul lui ...,
Brâul de la ...,
Brâul ...ilor
shoulder hold fixed sequence, often with a number of figures crossing steps, leg swings, hops 2/4, 7/8


DUMITRU, E. (1966) Brâuri Din Munti Banatului, Timşoara, Casa Regionala a Creatiei Populare Banat.

GIURCHESCU, A. & BLOLAND, S. (1995) Romanian Traditional Dance, "Mill Valley, California", Wild Flower Press.

LATCU, I. M. A. (1971) Folclor Coreografic Din Vaile Timisului Si Bistrei, Centrul creatiei populare Caras-Severin.

POPESCU-JUDET, G. (?) Jocuri Din Banat, Bucuresti, Editura de Stat pentru Literatura si Arta.


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