Column dances of the Banat plain

See our web page on Banat column dances. 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 – ending with 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 relevant groups 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 B” dances “Măzărica type” includes MăzăricaToldăuland Poșovoaica.
  • “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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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

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 [8] as a couple dance from Birchiș and is also within the suite of the men’s Călușeri dances from Roșia Nouă (Arad county)[10].

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 [9] 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 steps).

Notations Locations
Bela Bartók [9] 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 (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 [9] Judecata – Ghilad
Ionel Marcu [1] Judecata – Hitiaș, Pădureni
Nicolae Ursu [11] Judecata – Șanovița
Recordings Locations
Efta Botoca EPD 1288 Judecata
Rencontre: Banat ST-EPE 0751 Judecata


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[12] 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”.[12]

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 [8] 3 steps 3 steps jumps 3 steps
Sireghea (Birchiș) Nistor [8] 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 [12], Toldăul is an iron nail or screw [12] from Hungarian toldó, Poșovoaica derives from a joke or lie [12]. 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 [9] 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 [9] Poșovoaica – Tolvadia (Livezile), Banloc, Foeni and Jebel
Ionel Marcu [1] Măzărica – Utvin
Toldăul – Coștei
Poșovoaica – Banloc
Achim Penda [13] Mâzârica – Comorâști
Nicolae Ursu [11] Măzărica – Șanovița
Viorel Nistor [8] 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].


  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. Giurchescu, Anca & Bloland, Sunni (1995) Romanian traditional dance : A contextual and structural approach, Mill Valley, California, Wild Flower Press.
  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, Reșița, 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, Timișoara, Casa Regională a Creaţii Popular.
  7. Jurjovan, Trandafir (1983). Folclor muzical Romanesc din Ovcea. Ovcea: Societatea Cultural-Artistică "Steaua".
  8. Nistor, Viorel (1991). Folclore coregrafic Vol 2. Bucharest: Editura muzicala a uniunii compozitorilor si muzicologilor.
  9. Bartók, Béla (1967). Rumanian folk music. Volume 1: Instrumental melodies. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
  10. Nistor, Viorel (1997). Colinde din Tara Zarandului. Arad: Editura Mirador.
  11. Ursu, Nicolae (1983). Folclor muzical din Banat se Transylvania. București: Editura Muzicala.
  12. Dex online
  13. Penda, Achim (1974). Melodii de Jocuri din Banat. Timisoara: Centru de indrumare a creatiei populare judetul Timiș.
Published on 30th August 2021, last modified on 1st May 2023