Banat plain column dances

Timiș region 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.

This cycle was repeated in the same order after a break, although in 1964 Marcu comments that by then many of the dances in his books were no longer in the known repertoire at dance events. His research also reveals quite a different dance cycle from Bartók’s 1910s collection[2] where the dominant dances were the slower Pe loc and faster De întoarsu.

Of the dances Marcu describes, Bartók recorded Desca (Diesca) in four locations, but only one Sorocu and one Bradu; and no examples of Duba, Judecata or Lența. It seems likely that the popularity of these dances appeared between Bartók’s 1910s and Marcu’s 1960s dance collections.

Dance form

This page just looks at the dances that are in Marcu’s books that he places in the cycle between Sorocul and Hora. I have separated these from the wider know Banat repertoire by way of form and structure. These dances are not common in either the current choreographed or recreational dance repertoires. The video clips are of the Datina group in Ghiroda under the leadership of Emilian Dumitru.

These dances are fixed step pattern dances, mostly with two figures, and incorporate a number of typical motifs that are not commonly found in the other couple dances of the Banat plain,

  1. motif of 7 steps to side, using two measures of music
  2. motif of 3 steps to side
  3. jumps in place (mostly onto both feet in plié, sometimes with a rotation of body direction

Such jumping movements are a feature of Șireghea, Țandara and sometimes Cucuruzul, all of which Marcu classified within his 7 side steps “Șireghea type”. It should noted that such jumps are also a feature of some Banat mountain region Ardeleane dances including Tocanița and Sărita[3]. Bartók does not have any notations of dances with these names, but it could be that Bartók’s notations of Pe sarite (at Vălcani and Saravale) are also describing this type of dance motif?

For example, some typical versions can be summarised,

title measure 1 measure 2 measure 3 measure 4 measure 5
Măzărica, Toldăul, Poșovoaica 3 steps 3 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps
Judecata, De doi, Cȃrligu 4 + 3 = 7 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps
Sireghea, Țandara 4 + 3 = 7 steps jumps 3 steps
Cucuruzul 4 + 3 = 7 steps jumps jumps 3 steps
Duba pe tre pași 3 steps 3 steps jumps
Duba sărită 2 steps 2 steps jumps

As far as I am aware, these couple dances are specific to the Banat plain and Banat hills regions and are not danced in the adjacent regions of Oltenia, Bihor or Transylvania.

There seems to be some inter-relationship between the men’s dances of the mountain zones around Caransebeș and these couple dances of the Banat plain region. There are examples as couple dances and examples as chain dances. It would seem possible that there is an exchange or adaption between men’s chain dances and a couple dance form.

The “families” of dances

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

This is Marcu’s “Măzărica type”, based on steps to the side in the pattern of 3+3+7 steps. This is also a weight change pattern of “1101” (steps per measure is 3+3+4+3) which is very typical of the Banat zone and a common variant of the typical mountain zone Ardeleana, so maybe somehow related to the Ardeleana.

Click for more details …
title reference measure 1 measure 2 measure 3 measure 4
Măzărica de la Utvin Marcu [1] 3 steps 3 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps
Măzărica (Bătuta) Marcu [1] 3 steps 3 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps
Toldăul Marcu [1] 3 steps 3 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps
Poșovoaica Marcu [1] 3 steps 3 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps

Marcu[1] describes Măzărica de la șes (Bătuta bănățeană) and Măzărica de la Utvin, Toldăul (village of Coștei) and Poşovoaica (village of Banloc), but Bartók[2] recorded only Poșovoaica at Tolvadia (Livezile), Banloc, Foeni and Jebel, but no examples of Măzărica.

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].


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

These dances are based on a concept of a figure A with a bidirectional 7+7 side steps pattern, and a contrasting figure B. These 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.

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Misleadingly Marcu terms the wider family of dances as “Sireghea type” and includes Judecata, De doi (around Timișoara), Cȃrligu, and Cucuruzul. Șireghea has a specific step pattern, and so this distracts from some clearly separate dance types that have a theme of starting with 7 side steps.

title reference measure 1 measure 2 measure 3 measure 4
De doi ca la Giroc Marcu [1] 4 + 3 = 7 steps hop-step-step hop-step-step
De doi ca la Topolovățul Mare Marcu [1] 4 + 3 = 7 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps
Judecata Marcu [1] 4 + 3 = 7 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps
Cana Marcu [1] 4 + 3 = 7 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps
Cârligul Marcu [1] 4 + 3 = 7 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps
Damu (de la Prigor) Lațcu [3] 4 + 3 = 7 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps

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).

Marcu describes two versions of Banat Plain De doi: De doi ca la Giroc, and De doi ca la Topolovățul Mare [1]. There are recordings by Banat taragotist, Ion Peptenar, and violinist, Efta Botoca, titled as from the locations of Jebel, Izvin, Șuștra, Remetea Mare and Chizătău. Bartók 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 [2].

Marcu describes Cârligul at Banloc and Pădureni villages [1]. The dance has a figure B based on small leaps and pointing the un-weighted foot with some steps or stamps in between.

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].


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

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

The examples of this dance have a fixed step pattern of 7 side steps, some jumps on both feet, followed by 3 steps.

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Marcu gives one example of Sireghea as a column dance of couples, that he notated in villages of Silagi, Bocșa Romana, Doclin [1], which is very similar to Țandara danced as a chain dance as performed by the Datina group. The same step pattern is also described as a men’s Brâu called Țandara in the mountain village of Obreja [5].

title reference measure 1 measure 2 measure 3 measure 4
Sireghea Marcu [1] 4 + 3 = 7 steps jumps 3 steps
Țandara de le Hitiaș Datina group 4 + 3 = 7 steps jumps 3 steps
Țandara (de la Obreja) Lațcu [5] 4 + 3 = 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.

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Marcu’s [1] description includes two measures of “jumps” whereas the version performed as Cucuruzul de la Cladova by the Datina group is just a pattern of 3+3+3+7 side steps.

There is a men’s Brâu from Glimboca described by Lațcu [6] which has the same 5 measure pattern as the couple dance on the plain. This dance is not in Bartók’s notations.

title reference measure 1 measure 2 measure 3 measure 4 measure 5
Cucuruzul Marcu [1] 4 + 3 = 7 steps jumps jumps 3 steps
Cucuruzul de la Cladova Datina group 3 steps 3 steps 3 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps
Cucuruzul (de la Glimboca) Lațcu [5] 4 + 3 = 7 steps 3 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps

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.

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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.

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 (Sânncolaul Mare, Pesac, Satchinez), Duba plimbata with walking (Satchinez), Duba bătută has 7 stamping steps, Duba pe tre pași has 3 steps (Sânnicolau Mare), 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.

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] 4 + 3 = 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 de la Racovita Datina group 3 steps 3 steps jumps

Lența – phrases ending with jumps

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

In the 1960s Marcu says Lența has not been included in the Sunday dance repertoire for almost 30 years [6], suggesting its popularity in the 1930s, but it is not in Bartók’s collections from the 1910s. Marcu says that in the past it was widespread in the communities in the Sânnicolau to Secusigiu area of northern Banat.

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The three examples of Lența (from Satchinez) that Marcu [1] describes are bidirectional dances with jumps after the travelling steps. A similar pattern is also described as Tocănița from Naidăș in the lower Caraș valley by Lațcu [3].

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
Tocănița de a Naidăș Lațcu [3] 3 steps jumps 3 steps jumps

Desca, Diesca – in 5 counts

“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 this dance 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 [2]. The Datina group perform Desca as a line of women in front of the men.


Bradu

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

Bartók recorded the melody at Mănăștur and Jadani (Cornești) in the 1910s suggesting that Bradu (as well as Desca) might have been popular earlier that the other dances discussed here. Bartók noted the formation as the same as Diesca, in that couples stand in a row and hold their hands taking steps to right and left, but in this case they take three steps each direction [2].

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Marcu’s notation [1] of Bradu is very similar to the Datina group’s performance of figure B of Bradul de la Satchinez. Datina’s version has a slow bi-direction 7 side step figure A.

title reference measure 1 measure 2 measure 3 measure 4
Bradu Marcu [1] hop-step-steps hop-step-steps hop-step-steps jumps
Bradu de la Satchinez Datina group hop-step-steps hop-step-steps hop-step-steps jumps

Șchioapa – just bounces

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


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.