Purtata walking dances

Eliznik home > Romania > dance > couple dances > purtata walking dances

European map

development chart

regional map

Frata, Cluj, Transylvania

Mociu, Cluj, Transylvania

"Doina" ensemble, Cluj, Transylvania

Purtata dance form

This dance is performed in couples standing side by side with their partner, arranged in an arc,  with a lead couple.   The dancers move round the dance space with walking steps in an anticlockwise direction to slow stately music.

The Transylvanian Purtata is most probably linked to the European processional walking dance. Variants across eastern Europe and Scandinavia include Polish Chodzony, Moravian Starodavny, the försteg of the Swedish Polska, Swedish Ganglåt, and Norwegian Gangar. It seems probable that the Polish Empire and the nobility was key to the distribution, and maybe the dances originated in the northern Slavic states.

This form of dance reached as far as the principality of Transylvania but not to the Ottoman ruled areas of Wallachia, Moldavia and Hungary. The Romanian versions are thought to have come via the Transylvanian nobility (mainly Hungarian) and this seems likely as the distribution is predominantly the northern areas of Hungarian feudal rule.

These now exist in Transylvania as the Purtata family of Romanian dances and the Hungarian Lassú (the slow) in the village of Szek plus the Kettos of the Gymes Csangos. The music is mostly in 10/16 (long-long-longer-longer). This rhythm is very typically Romanian and can be found in many dances north of the Carpathians from Banat to central Transylvania.

Purtata is derived from a word meaning demeanour, manner of dressing etc. which could be related to the peasants' version of the court dances from which the couple Purtata are thought to have derived?

Purtata dance types

There are a number of regional variants;

Choreographic form, motifs, music

type names form structure motifs music
Transylvanian plain Purtata, De purtat, Româneşte de purtat, Româneşte cu fete, De-nceput couples in crescent     10/16 (4+6)
southern Transylvania Purtata, Pe sub mână couples in crescent     7/8 (3+2+2 ) or 10/16 (4+3+3)
East Transylvania De-a lungul, P-a lungul, De-a mână couples in crescent     10/16 (4+3+3) or 11/16 (4+3+4)
derived couple dance Împiedecata scattered couples      



BUCSAN, A. (1971) Specificul Dansului Popular Românesc, Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România.

BUCSAN, A. (1957) Jocuri Din Ardealul De Sud, Editura de Stat.

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

© Eliznik2005, Last updated Apr-08