The name ‘Eliznik was based on an amalgamation of the authors’ names which they had previously used for dance teaching booklets and notes. This website has two parts: the reference ‘fixed pages’ and the newer Blog. These are interlinked through the context dependent menus on the left sidebar, so posts will have links to related reference pages, and references pages will have links to posts. This Blog is divided into three subject areas: Ethnography – our continued research and interest in the customs, music and dancing in the Balkans Academic – subjects from the perspective of academic study Photos – the latest uploads History The …read more
The people known as Grebentsi by other Bulgarians are thought to be the remaining decedents of the old population of north western Bulgaria. It is suggested that their name is related to a characteristic element in their bridal head-dress that looks like a rooster’s “comb”, but they are also called “Elians” meaning countrymen or locals from the Turkish “yerli”. Their dialect and clothing separates them culturally from other neighbouring groups of Bulgarian people. The Grebentsi are considered to be more closely related to the older population in Shumen and Razgrad regions before the many movements of people. They now live …read more
Paidușca is the Romanian transliteration of the Bulgarian Paydushka for melodies that are in 5/16 meter (short-long rhythm). Popescu-Județ gives a list of many locations where he documented Paidusca as a local dance, and there are also other locations given for notations of music. However, there are few descriptions of the dances. Paidușca denotes a Bulgarian origin, but this 20th century popularity does not cross the Danube from Dobrogea to the county of Brăila, suggesting that the dance is endemic to the population of northern Dobrogea and not a spread as a fashion in local dance into the wider Romanian …read more
The name Paydushka (Пайдушка) is both a generic term which is applied to various different dance types in the “short-long” rhythm (generally notated in 5/8 meter) and a name given to a popular dance in this rhythm which is widespread in Bulgarian and adjacent countries. In Romanian Dobrogea it is transliterated to Paidușca. It is thought that the name Paydushko comes from Turkish “paytak” meaning knock-knees or to waddle, however, there are other theories. Tsonev’s list of collected dances has very many labelled as Paydushka, generally meaning they are in the “short-long” rhythm, so including dances that are from other …read more
“Pomorišje” is the term used for a number of towns and villages situated along the Mureș river between Arad and Szeged that once had a substantial Serbian population for a period of time in the past, but now the Serbian population is greatly depleted. ReferencesKollárov, M. István (1912) Arad város és Arad vármegye szerb népe [The Serbian people of the city of Arad and the county of Arad]. In: Benedek, Jancsó & Gyula, Somogyi (eds.) Arad vármegye és arad szab. Kir. Város monographiája [Arad County and City monograph], pp.464-507. Arad: Kölcsey-egyesület.Papp, Árpád (1997) A délvidék Magyar újratelepítése 1699 és 1945 …read more
“Pomorišje” is the term used for a number of towns and villages situated along the Mureș river between Arad and Szeged that once had a substantial Serbian population for a period of time in the past, but now the Serbian population is greatly depleted. This is not a homogeneous ethnographic zone, rather it is a collections of villages and towns that received an immigrant population of Serbs over the period from the start of the Ottoman campaigns in the 15th century in southern Serbia until the Habsburg Empire gained the whole Banat region at the start of the 18th century. …read more
On this page I have included mostly the dances in Marcu’s category of “swaying” dances (Leuca, Pe picior and Lența (variant 3)) which he linked by observation of a characteristic body swaying movement when changing body weight from one foot to the other. In addition to Marcu’s movement observations, these and other couple dances from the Banat plain also have a step pattern structure of “1101” in Leibman notation – “slow-slow-quick-quick-slow”. This this step pattern is the same as the Banat Hora and the mountain De doi through the common use of “1101” step pattern, however these dances appear to be specifically Banat plain dances.
The social dances in the villages of the Banat plain were, in past times, mostly couple dances. These couple dances fall into several types including Banat column couple dances, Soroc and other syncopated stepped dances, and the generic Ardeleana. The article is about the dances Pre loc (Pe loc, Pră loc or Zopot) and Întoarsa. I describe these as “walking dances” as the dominant step is just walking while performing many different figures as a couple. There may be additional motifs such as step and close or faster triple steps, however walking predominates. This is different to the other couple …read more
“The subtype Sorocul (north of Timiş and south of Arad) is performed both as a highly virtuosic men’s solo or group dance, and as part of a mixed couple walking and turning dance named either Sorocul or Ardeleana” (Giurchescu and Bloland, 1995). The term Soroc is used in northern Banat for various dances with “syncopated” steps, but also for a cycle of dances. The dance(s) now commonly referred to as Soroc in the Banat area appear to include several layers of earlier dances.
In the north area the column dances Bradu and Diesca were recorded by Bartók (1910s) and Marcu (1950s). In the case of Desca the melody has not changed during this period. Whereas Duba and Lența are not in the collections of Bartók or Brediceanu, suggesting a mid-20th century popularity.
Mândra or Mândrele is a dance from Oltenia region (southern Romania, predominantly Dolj county) and Vidin region (Bulgaria) in an asymmetric rhythm. Mândrameans the “proud” girl or beloved girl and Mândrele is the plural form, the proud ones or the beloved ones. In Romanian dance classification Mândrele is classified within the “Rustem” dance type.
This page of video examples complements our post on Băluța (Балуца) and Shira (Шира) dance type in Romania and Bulgaria Hora: Băluța (Балуца) and Shira (Шира)
Băluța is a type of Hora danced in the regions of Vlașca, Argeș, Muscel, Vâlcea, Romanați and Dolj in southern Romania, and a variation of this dance is also danced the Vratsa region of Bulgaria under the title Balutsa (Балуца) and in the Vidin region under the title Shira (Шира). Băluța is a colloquial term for “blond”, such as for a white horse from “băl”. Shira is from Romanian “șir” meaning row, Shira is “rows” (plural). In the Vratsa region of Bulgaria this dance can also be titled Shala una (Шала уна).
The term Arnăuți is derived from the mainly Albanian mercenaries of the 18th to 19th centuries when the Phanariot rulers of Wallachia and Moldova formed army corps. The Romanian term Arnăuț comes via Turkish from the Greek “arvanites” for the Albanian population in Greece. In time, the term Arnăuți came to refer to the occupation as a mercenary rather than an ethnicity. After the fall of the Phanariot regime in 1822, these army corps formed by Arnăuți were disbanded, but they remained in the cities as armed servants of boyars or foreign officials. The Arnăuți as part of the New …read more
The Irozii tradition is a group of boys (ceată) who go house-to-house at New Year. In Suceava county, west of the Suceava river and predominantly before the mountain zone, these groups of Irozii typically perform the men’s group dance Pădurețul, sometimes followed by Trilișești or the chain dance Arcanul.
The name Bumbierii or Bungherii comes from the belts which have hundreds of brass buttons (in Romanian bumbi, or the popular term bunghi) and are wrapped three or four times around the body, around the waist and diagonally over the shoulders. The costumes imitate (are a parody of) those of the Austrian generals during the Habsburg period with spectacular tinsel ornaments, strings, fringes, belts worn diagonally with bells, beads, sequins and brass buttons.
Centred in Botoșani county (stretching south into Iași, Neamț and Bacău counties and north into Herța (now in Ukraine) the most widespread zoomorphic tradition is Calul (horse) in the form of the Caiuți (little horses). Lavric says the horse was seen as representing fertility in the Carpatho-Danube area, but now the Moldavian Caiuți, as a ritual masked character, has become largely a dance for entertainment. In most localities Calul, Căluțul or Caiuți are not accompanied by another zoomorphic masked character. The entourage of Căiuți generally includes other characters; ladies, knights, old men, officers, emperors, ladies, outlaws, Turks, bridegrooms, doctors, clerks, …read more
This section summarises the various variants of men’s group dances found in Moldavian New Year customs, ranging from the customs that are predominantly dance based and have the more complex dance forms, to the customs that regularly have some form of group dancing, and the dance customs that are less common. There are many different New Year customs in Moldavia, in particular the very common Capra (goat) zoomorphic tradition and many versions of the “folk theatres”, although neither of these regularly have organised group dancing. In the New Year customs there are zoomorphic characters (goat, stag, bear, horse etc), other …read more
Around the Carpathians the men’s group dances that fall in the category known as Ceată distractivă (for fun) includes the dances Războiul (or Resteul) (Mărginimea Sibiului and Țara Oltului), Vulpea (Muscel) and Gătejul (upper Mureș). Bucșan inferred that the distribution of these dances is connected to the shepherds however it should be noted that Gătejul is not of the same choreographic form. This page is about Războiul from the southern Transylvanian region, but it should be noted that the title Războiul as a ‘fun’ dance is known in other parts of Romania as a subtype of Sârba. In the zone …read more
The dance repertoire of the shepherding communities along the Carpathians is thought to be an older layer of tradition that interconnects the men’s dances of northern Moldavia through eastern Transylvania to the men’s dances of Mărginimea Sibiului in southern Transylvania. Shepherd’s dances are (mostly) men’s dances and are either in “ceată” formation (dancers are unconnected to each other, and dance in unison, in a circle), or as a chain dance in “shoulder hold” (Brâul, Sârba). Although the shepherds do not form a society that might be termed ceată, they dance is in the same formation as in ceată dance in …read more
The common format of these dances is the ceată formation of men in a circle, unconnected and dancing in unison. Generally the first figure is based on a fast walk in single file around the circle, followed by some combinations of stamps, heel clicks or jumps. The other men’s dances in the local repertoire are chain dances, such as Arcanul. These dances are performed within the local New Year customs (Irozii, Jieni, Bumbierii) and local social repertoire. Some variants are performed by both men and women. Giurchescu lists the “North Moldavian corps” men’s group dances as Trilișești, Ardelenescul, Leușteanca, Țânțăroiul, …read more
The ‘classic’ Romanian ethnologist classification of group dances is based on differentiation by current function and region, where the regional forms are generally significantly.
Dances that have retained a custom or ritual function (Căluș, Călușeri, Căiuți, Irozi). I previously classified these as “ritual stick dances”, but not all retain a stick, and most now have a function within a “custom”.
Carpathian men’s dances, sometimes termed as Carpathian springing dances, are from the social repertoire, but are danced in Ceată formation without sticks or other props. This includes the regions along the Carpathian mountains; Oaș, Maramureș, Bucovina, east Transylvania and southern Transylvania.
Transylvanian lad’s dances is a genre shared between the Hungarian and Romanian communities. This genre can appear clearly defined in region and form, but hides a complex background that led to the genesis of the genre. From the Romanian perspective the genre might be termed Feciorește (lads’ dances). The older layer of such dances is seen in Ceată dances linked to the Carpathian Ceată dances, however this merges with the dances that have complex figures of leg and boot slaps, the Romanian Ponturi and Hungarian Legényes, that can be performed in a solo competitive context.