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. This page considers those from Oltenia which are also found in Muntenia and have similarities to the new-style Banat Brâul.
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 The belt hold rarely exists in Romania except in the name of the dance and has been replaced by front or back cross-hand hold, or simple low hand hold in these dances.
These dances have a fast tempo, requiring skilled footwork, and are most similar with dances of north west Bulgaria and north east Serbia, both of which have had long historic association with Vlach peoples.
There are two basic regional types of the Brâul;
- Brâuleţ from Oltenia (other names, Galaonul, Poloxia, and Trei păzeşte).
- Alunelul which is found across the whole of southern Romania (other names Ca la baltă). The many variants use similar motifs of single and double crossing steps and stamping patterns.
- 'new type' Brâul in the southern Transylvanian Carpathians which are of fixed choreography, tend to be bi-directional and are likely to have reached these regions via military service or schools (for example Brâul Zbarcii, Trei păzeşte, Brâuleţul).
- some similarities with the 'new-type' Banat Brâul which are of fixed choreography and tend to be bi-directional.
The Danubian Brâul is danced to fast 2/4 music and mostly moves, forward and back, and left and right, so the dancers usually return to the same place. It has
, which is danced mostly in front or back basket hold. There are also versions in low hand hold which can be danced in a circle. There are a few alternative names
fixed choreography v
|Brâuleţ||Brâuleţ, Galaonul, Poloxia, Trei păzeşte||cross hand hold in short lines||bi-directional fixed choreography||crossing steps, leg swings, stamping||2/4|
|Alunelul||Alunelul, Ca la baltă||cross hand hold in short lines||bi-directional fixed choreography||crossing steps, leg swings, stamping||2/4|
BADEA, M. (1971) Folclor Coreografic Oltenesc, Centrul Creatiei Dolj.
BUCSAN, A. (1971) Specificul Dansului Popular Românesc, Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România.
GIURCHESCU, A. & BLOLAND, S. (1995) Romanian Traditional Dance, "Mill Valley, California", Wild Flower Press.