Banat plain column dances

Timiș region dances

See our web page on Banat plain column dances – Duba, Lența, Desca etc. for a discussion on dance form in relation to the other Banat couple dances.

 

Marcu[1] discusses the dancing at Sunday dances on the Banat plain in past times when three to five dances were played cyclically, one after the other as a suite, for example:

  • Sorocul – followed by a selection from the following: Duba, Bradu, Desca, Lența, Judecata Hora.

Giurchescu[2] lists under her “Type 1 slow Ardeleana” a list of Banat Ardelene plus dances Lența, Șireghea, Duba, Bradul, Desca, Măzărichea. Marcu [1] puts the couple dances of Banat into groups linked by inclusion of a “typical” motif common to those dances in the group. The two groups relevant are:

  • “Group A” is based on the motif of 7 side steps performed bilaterally in which he includes Sireghea, Judecata (or Iepura), De doi, Cana (or Oala), and Cârligul.
  • “Group C” is based on the characteristic motif of a jump in the dance Duba, and Marcu lists the variants as Lenţa, Bradu, Turca-furca, Cucuruzul and Șchioapa.
  • “Group B” dances “Măzărica type” includes Măzărica, Toldăul, and Poșovoaica.

Locations

There is a clear dividing line between those north of Timișoara (approximately the line of Sânnicoau Mare– Arad–Lipova) and around Timișoara, towards Lugoj, and south to the Banat hills and mountains. This dividing line appears to be consistent for most of the dance repertoire apart from the old Banat couple dance, Pe loc, which is recorded over the whole Banat area.
The video clips are of the Datina group in Ghiroda under the leadership of Emilian Dumitru.

Note: The video clips below are of the Datina group in Ghiroda under the leadership of Emilian Dumitru.


Mureș valley, north of Timișoara

In the north area the column dances Bradu and Diesca were recorded by Bartók, whereas Duba and Len<ța appear to become popular after Bartók’s time. A similar division is seen with the older layer of dances, Soroc, Întoarsa and Pe picior, although these appear to have also migrated south to around Timișoara.

Bradu and Desca are recorded by Bartók (1910s) and Marcu (1950s). In the case of Desca the melody has not changed during this period. Bradu and Lența are not in the collections of Bartók or Brediceanu, suggesting a mid-20th century popularity.


Duba – 6 measures phrases

Ansamblul DATINA : Jocuri traditionale din Campia Banateana (de Emilian Dumitru)

The common theme is a bidirectional dance in 6 measures phrases, very unusual in Romanian dances. Duba means drum[2] in local Romanian.

Marcu [1] describes seven versions of Duba with name of the dance reflecting the form of the key feature of the dance: Duba sărită with jumps, Duba plimbata with walking, Duba bătută has 7 stamping steps, Duba pe tre pași has 3 steps, Duba încrucușată has steps that cross in front and cross behind. Duba de la Racovita is performed by the Datina group as couples in small circle. Duba from Șeitin[8] is in 3 measure phrases but comprises of different motifs.

Click for more details …
title reference measure 1 measure 2 measure 3
Duba sărită Marcu [1] 2 steps 2 steps jumps
Duba sărită Marcu [1] hop-step-steps hop-step-steps jumps
Duba plimbata Marcu [1] 2 steps 2 steps 3 steps
Duba bătută Marcu [1] 7 steps step-close
Duba pe tre pași Marcu [1] 3 steps 3 steps jumps
Duba încrucușată Marcu [1] 2 steps 2 steps step-close
Duba Nistor [9] 3 steps 3 steps jumps
Duba de la Racovita Datina group 3 steps 3 steps jumps
Notations Locations
Ionel Marcu [1] Duba sărită – Sânncolaul Mare, Pesac, Satchinez
Duba plimbata – Satchinez
Duba bătută – Pesac
Duba pe tre pași – Sânnicolau Mare
Duba încrucușată – Comoșul Mare
Corneliu Georgescu [10] Duba – Sâmbăteni
Viorel Nistor [8][9] Duba – Cuvin, Șeitin
Trandafir Jurjovan [7] Duba – Ovcea
Recordings Locations
Jocuri populare din Banat ST-EPE 03090 Duba – Firiteaz

According to Marcu [1], Duba with its variations – Lența, Bradu, Turca-furca, and Șchioapa, has a characteristic motif of jumps on two feet together, however it is very clear that Duba is a separate dance and the others are not “variations” of Duba.


Lența – phrases ending with jumps

“Lenta de la Satchinez” Datina ensemble, Ghiroda – 2016

Lența is the diminutive of Elena.[2] In the 1960s Marcu said the dance Lența had not been included in the Sunday dance repertoire for almost 30 years [6], this suggests a demise in popularity in the 1930s following an earlier period of popularity. However Bartók’s did not record Lența in his collections from the 1910s.

Marcu says that in the past Lența was widespread in the communities in the Sânnicolau to Secusigiu area of northern Banat. The three examples of Lența (from Satchinez) that Marcu [1] describes are bidirectional dances with jumps after the travelling steps. Nistor describes Lența from Șeitin [8] and from Pecica [9] but these are from the different “1101” (Leibman notation) choreographic family.

Nistor [9] describes two other similar dances Ciocănița and Căteaua from Birchiș (Arad county) that are based on the combination of motifs with 3 steps and jumps. A similar pattern is also described as Tocănița from Naidăș in the lower Caraș valley by Lațcu (Lațcu and Muntean, 1974:231).

Click for more details …
title reference measure 1 measure 2 measure 3 measure 4
Lența Marcu [1] 2 steps jumps jumps jumps
Lența Marcu [1] 3 steps 3 steps 2 steps jumps
Lența Marcu [6] 3 steps jumps 3 steps jumps
Lența de la Satchinzez Datina group jumps jumps 2 steps step-close
Căteaua Nistor [9] 3 steps jumps 3 steps jumps
Ciocănița Nistor [9] 3 steps jumps 3 steps jumps
Tocănița de a Naidăș Lațcu [3] 3 steps jumps 3 steps jumps

Desca, Diesca – music in 3/4

“Desca” Datina ensemble, Ghiroda – 2016

Desca musically has a rhythm of 6/8 (2+2+2) but in dance rhythm is mostly interpreted as 5 counts (1+1+1+1+2). Both Marcu [1] and Bartók [2] describe the formation as a column of couples facing, holding partner’s hands, and moving to right and left. As Bartók recorded four versions of the same melody in the 1910s this suggests that Desca (and also Bradu) might have been popular earlier than the other dances discussed here.

Marcu describes a generic version, Șesul bănătean and one from the village of Satchinez [1] and Bartók recorded melodies at Igriș, Seceani, Vălcani and Foeni [12]. Nistor [9] records a simple one figure version at Cuvin (Arad county). The Datina group perform Desca as a line of women in front of the men.

Click for more details …
Notations Locations
Bela Bartók [12] Igriș, Seceani, Vălcani, Foeni
Ionel Marcu [1] Satchinez
Ioan Florea [11] Cuvin, Sâmbăteni
Viorel Nistor [9] Cuvin
Recordings Locations
Jocuri populare din Banat ST-EPE 03090 Firiteaz

Informant Traian Cuvinan, 38 years old, violinist from Cuvin […]. The informant learned the song in 1928-30 from the 64-year-old violinist Nicolae Sandor. It is sung at parties, hora, weddings, at the request of dancers. It is performed in the beginning at normal tempo (132 beats per minute) after which it accelerates until the tempo no longer allows dancing and the dancers stop tired with joy.

October 29, 1953, Ioan Florea:note440 [11]

Bradu

“Bradul de la Satchinez” Datina ensemble, Ghiroda – 2016

Bartók recorded melodies at Mănăștur and Jadani (Cornești) in the 1910s suggesting that Bradu (as well as Desca) might have been popular earlier that Duba and Lența. Unlike Desca which has a particular melody, Bradu is notated with different melodies. Bradu means the fir tree.

Bartók noted the formation as the same as Diesca, in that couples stand in a column, holding their partners hands, and take steps to right and left, but he says in this case they take three steps in each direction [12].

Generally figure A is bilateral 7 side-steps (the same as Judecata, De doi, Cȃrligu) and figure B is turning as a couple with hop-step-steps ending in jumps, although Marcu’s notation [1] of Bradu has both figure A and figure B with the step pattern of ‘hop-step-steps ending in jumps’.

Click for more details …
title reference figure A figure B
Bradu Marcu [1] hop-step-steps x3 jumps hop-step-steps x3 jumps
Bradu de la Satchinez Datina group 7 steps 7 steps hop-step-steps x3 jumps
Bradu de la Pecica Nistor [9] 7 steps 7 steps hop-step-steps x3 jumps

Timișoara and south

Around Timișoara and to the south there are the column couple dances based on 7 steps danced bilaterally to right and left, Judecata, De doi, Cȃrligu, which are recorded by Bartók and later authors, particularly Judecata is part of a wider central European family of popular 19th century dances. The other column dances described by Marcu fall into those linked to men’s dances (Sireghea, Țandara and Cucuruzul) and those that are related to Ardeleana, in particular similar to the Ardeleana from the mountain zones.


Judecata, De doi, Cȃrligu – bidirectional 7+7 side steps

These dances are based on a concept of a figure A with a bidirectional 7 side steps pattern, and a contrasting figure B (similar in concept to Bradu from north of Timișoara). Nistor notates a dance with a similar structure called Sfădita [9] as a couple dance from Birchiș and is also within the suite of the men’s Călușeri dances from Roșia Nouă (Arad county)[13].

These dances should not be confused with the 3+3+7 step Măzărica, although this is not fixed as Poşovoaica can be either 3+3+7 or 7+7 patterns.

Misleadingly Marcu terms the wider family of dances as “Sireghea type” and includes Judecata, De doi (around Timișoara), Cȃrligu, and Cucuruzul[1]. Șireghea and Cucuruzul have specific step patterns and so are clearly separate dance types that also have a theme of starting with 7 side steps.

Click for more details …
title reference figure A figure B
De doi ca la Giroc Marcu [1] 7 steps hop-step-steps variant figure A
De doi ca la Topolovățul Mare Marcu [1] 7 steps 7 steps no figure B
Judecata Marcu [1] 7 steps 7 steps finger gestures
Cana Marcu [1] 7 steps 7 steps turning as a couple
Cârligul Marcu [1] 7 steps 7 steps jumps and pointing steps
Damu (de la Prigor) Lațcu [3] 7 steps 7 steps claps and turn partner

De doi

De doi translates as “for two” meaning for couples. Bartók [12] puts De mâna (Igriș and Cenadu Mare) and De doi (Petrovasile now Vladimirovac) together under the same category in his summary table, so we cannot be sure of the dance type he is referring to. De doi in the Timișoara region is not the same as the mountain De doi (that is also danced in the Caraș valley) which is based on “1101” weight change pattern (3+3+2+3).

Notations Locations
Bela Bartók [12] De doi – Vladimirovac
(De mâna – Igriș, Cenadu Mare)
Ionel Marcu [1][6] De doi – Giroc, Topolovățul Mare, Birchiș, Țela
Recordings Locations
Efta Botoca ST-EPE 04199 De doi – Giroc, Topolovățul Mare, Birchiș, Țela
Ion Peptenar ST-EPE 03653, ST-EPE 04177 De doi – Jebel, Remetea Mare, Șuștra, Chizătău
Orchestra Stan Simion Bănățeanu EPC 879 De doi – Toracul Mare

Judecata

Judecata (judgement) or (I)epura are part of the central European family of dances with a figure of “finger gestures” of the index finger directed to the partner. Marcu [1] describes versions at Hitiaș and Pădureni and a generic regional version titled Șesul Banatean. Bartók notates one at Ghilad [2].

Notations Locations
Bela Bartók [12] Judecata – Ghilad
Ionel Marcu [1] Judecata – Hitiaș, Pădureni
Nicolae Ursu [14] Judecata – Șanovița
Recordings Locations
Efta Botoca EPD 1288 Judecata
Rencontre: Banat ST-EPE 0751 Judecata

Cârligul

The dance has a figure B based on small leaps and pointing the un-weighted foot, with some steps or stamps in between. Note that the name Cârligul also refers to a different men’s dance in the Banat mountain region. Cȃrligu means a “hook” derived from Bulgarian кирли[15] and is a common dance name for various dissimilar dances across southern Romania and Banat.

Notations Locations
Ionel Marcu [1] Cârligul – Banloc and Pădureni
Trandafir Jurjovan [7] Cârligul – Ovcea
Recordings Locations
Efta Botoca EPD 1288 Cârligul
Rencontre: Banat ST-EPE 0751 Cârligul

Sireghea and Țandara – 7 side steps + jumps + 3 steps

Ansamblul DATINA : Jocuri traditionale din Campia Banateana (de Emilian Dumitru)

The examples of Sireghea and Țandara have a fixed step pattern of 7 side steps, two jumps on both feet, followed by 3 steps.

The name Șireghea is derived from șireag meaning string[2] which is an older word for string, row, or line (from șir for row, derived from Latin) which can be “used to refer to a group of boys dancing holding hands”.[15] Țandara means a splinter from breaking or shattering something, derived from Saxon zänder”.[15]

Marcu[6] gives one example of Sireghea as a column dance of couples, that he notated in four, which is very similar to Țandara danced as a chain dance as performed by the Datina group. Nistor[9] documents two versions in Arad county; Șereghia from Birchiș and Țandăra from Bârzava which unusually is based on a 3 step pattern and has three further figures as variations. The same step pattern is also described as a men’s Brâu called Țandara in the mountain village of Obreja.[5]

Click for more details …
title reference measure 1 measure 2 measure 3 measure 4
Sireghea Marcu [1] 7 steps jumps 3 steps
Țandara de le Hitiaș Datina group 7 steps jumps 3 steps
Țandara (Bârzava) Nistor [9] 3 steps 3 steps jumps 3 steps
Sireghea (Birchiș) Nistor [9] 7 steps jumps 3 steps
Țandara (de la Obreja) Lațcu [5] 7 steps jumps 3 steps

Cucuruzul – 5 measure phrases

Ansamblul DATINA : Jocuri traditionale din Campia Banateana (de Emilian Dumitru)

The common theme for this dance is 5 measure phrases, very unusual in Romanian dances. The dance phrase includes patterns of 7 side steps and 3 side steps. The name Cucuruz means corn (maize) from Slavic, the –ul making the name a definite article.

The three examples referenced all have different sequences of typical motifs. Marcu’s [1] notation of a couple dance from the Banat plain, Lațcu’s [5] notation of a men’s Brâu from Glimboca in the mountain region and the version performed as Cucuruzul de la Cladova by the Datina group. This dance is not in Bartók’s or Brediceanu’s notations.

Click for more details …
title reference measure 1 measure 2 measure 3 measure 4 measure 5
Cucuruzul Marcu [1] 7 steps jumps jumps 3 steps
Cucuruzul de la Cladova Datina group 3 steps 3 steps 3 steps 7 steps
Cucuruzul (de la Glimboca) Lațcu [5] 7 steps 3 steps 7 steps

Șchioapa – just bounces

Marcu’s [1] Șchioapa (village of Banloc) is just “jumps”, or more exactly demi-plié and bounces that is much the same as figure A in Măzărica [6] (villages of Ciuchici, Nicolinți, Naidaș, Răcaidia) and Sărita [3] from the village of Ciuchici. Turca-furca [1] is similar with the addition of raising one foot forward during the bounces.


Măzărica, Toldăul, Poșovoaica – pattern of 3+3+7 side steps

Marcu’s names his “group B” dances “Măzărica type”. The dances are based on steps in the pattern of 3+3+7 steps, this is also a weight change pattern of “1101” (steps per measure are 3+3+4+3) which is very typical of the Banat zone and a common variant of the typical mountain zone Ardeleana.

Măzărica is Romanian for type of peas [15], Toldăul is an iron nail or screw [15] from Hungarian toldó, Poșovoaica derives from a joke or lie [15]. Poșovoaica is better known as men’s dance from the Banat mountains.

These dances are not in Marcu’s list of column dances can be requested to dance following Soroc in the dance cycle, and are not included in Giurchescu’s “Type 1 slow Ardeleana” list. However, as these are “column dances” from the Banat plain, in a similar form to many of the above dances, I have included them for completeness, although in terms of choreographic relations these dances should be part of a discussion of the “Ardeleana” family of dances in relation to the mountain dance repertoire.

Bartók [12] recorded Poșovoaica at four locations, but no examples of Măzărica. Nistor documents Măzărichea in the Arad region.

Click for more details …
title reference Figure A Figure B
Măzărica de la Utvin Marcu [1] 3 steps 3 steps 7 steps half turn on 7 steps
Măzărica (Bătuta) Marcu [1] 3 steps 3 steps 7 steps half turn on 7 steps
Toldăul Marcu [1] 3 steps 3 steps 7 steps half turn on 7 steps
Poșovoaica Marcu [1] 3 steps 3 steps 7 steps half turn on 7 steps

 

Notations Locations
Bela Bartók [12] Poșovoaica – Tolvadia (Livezile), Banloc, Foeni and Jebel
Ionel Marcu [1] Măzărica – Utvin
Toldăul – Coștei
Poșovoaica – Banloc
Achim Penda [16] Mâzârica – Comorâști
Nicolae Ursu [14] Măzărica – Șanovița
Viorel Nistor [9] Măzărichea – Birchiș, Apateu

Poșovoaica as taught by Serbian teacher Milovan Ognjanovic has figure A as 7+7 side steps, and figure B as 3+3+7 plus turning with partner, demonstrating the interchangeability of the motifs.

We should note that the same step pattern and melody is recorded in the Serbian community of Sânnicolau Mare as a chain dance titled Sestica [4].


References

  1. Marcu, Ionel, Cărăuș, Mara & Ilici, Sava L (1964). Dansuri populare din județul Timiș, Timișoara, Comitetul de Cultura și Educăție Socialista al judetului Timiș, Centrul de Ȋndrumare a creație populare și amișcării artisce de masă.
  2. Bartók, Béla (1967). Rumanian folk music. Volume 1: Instrumental melodies, The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff.
  3. Lațcu, Afilon & Muntean, Ioan (1974). Folclor coreografic din Almăj și Caraș, Reșița, Comitetul pentru Cultură și Educatie Socialistă al Judetului Caraș-Severin.
  4. Rakočević, Selena (2014). Traditional dances of the Serbs in Banat. An anthology. Ethnochoreological field research video recordings. Belgrade: CIOTIS.
  5. Lațcu, Afilon & Munteanu, Ion (1971). Folclor coreografic din Văile Timișului și Bistrei, Reşiţa, Centrul de îndrumare a creației populare și a mișcǎrii de masǎ al județului Caraș-Severin.
  6. Marcu, Ionel, Cărăuș, Mara & Ilici, Sava L (1964). Dansuri populare din Banat, Timişoara, Casa Regională a Creaţii Popular.
  7. Jurjovan, Trandafir (1983). Folclor muzical Romanesc din Ovcea. Ovcea: Societatea Cultural-Artistică "Steaua".
  8. Costea, Ştefan, Costea, Dumitru d. & Nistor, Viorel (1998). Șeitin - O așezare milenară românească de pe Mureșul Inferior. Arad: Editura Mirador.
  9. Nistor, Viorel (1991). Folclore coregrafic Vol 2. Bucharest: Editura muzicala a uniunii compozitorilor si muzicologilor.
  10. Georgescu, Corneliu Dan (1984). Jocul popular Românesc: tipologie muzicale. București: Editura Muzicale.
  11. Florea, Ioan T (1974). Folclor Muzical din Judeţul Arad - 500 melodii de joc. Arad: Centrul Creatiei Populare Arad.
  12. Bartók, Béla (1967). Rumanian folk music. Volume 1: Instrumental melodies. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
  13. Nistor, Viorel (1997). Colinde din Tara Zarandului. Arad: Editura Mirador.
  14. Ursu, Nicolae (1983). Folclor muzical din Banat se Transylvania. București: Editura Muzicala.
  15. Dex online https://dexonline.ro/
  16. Penda, Achim (1974). Melodii de Jocuri din Banat. Timisoara: Centru de indrumare a creatiei populare judetul Timiș.
Published on 30th August 2021