Banat plain couple dance cycle

Ansamblul Profesionist Banatul – suită de dansuri

The social dances in the villages of the Banat plain were, in past times, mostly couple dances. The Bartók music collections dating between 1912 and 1913 included some dance music, and certain dances were notated by Marcu in the 1960s, but now dancing knowledge for these older dances remains transmitted only within the dance groups and ensembles.

There are several ways to hold a partner that are described by Bartók[1] and by Marcu[2]. Bartók describes partners side-by-side holding inside hands while facing along the column whereas the most typical hold described by Macru is face-to-face with a partner and holding hands down low. Both authors also describe a face-to-face hold where the woman’s hands are on the man’s shoulders and the man holds the woman at the waist. Marcu calls the hold in the faster Întoarsa as “like the modern dance” (ballroom hold). For these dances Marcu describes the couples are positioned in the dance space such that they form a column with the men on one side and the women on the other.

On the Timiş Plain, cycles are loosely constructed of the dances Sorocul, întroarsa, Pre loc (De doi), and Hora.

Giurchescu and Bloland [3]

These dances fall into Anca Giurchescu’s “Ardeleana” category[3], however in the local publications all except those known as Ardeleana (which generally have the same basic step pattern) are excluded from the title of “Ardelene”.

The dance cycle on the Banat plain is predominantly couple dances, apart from Hora. The Hora was only ever danced once at an event, the first dance at a wedding, the first or last dance at social dance events. We can see some change and progression of the cycle over time through the works of Bartók (1910s), Marcu (1960s) and more recent publications. Bartók’s documentation has the faster couple dance De întorsu at the end of the dance cycle and the slowest dance (Larga or Rara) in the middle. However Larga (locations of Mureni, Jadani, Seceani) or Rara (locations Igriș, Saravale) are not documented in later Banat publications.

Soroc is hardly mentioned by Bartók (only one musical transcription, but is included in his notes on the dances), however Soroc is included in the dance cycle described by Marcu[2] and Giurchescu[3]. Currently Soroc is a key feature in stage presentations of Banat plain dances, although it has all but disappeared from the current local social repertoire.

There is a general theme that Bartók describes the dances (Pre loc, Pe picior, Întoarsa) as being for couples not in a group formation, whereas some 50 years later Marcu describes the same dances as danced in a formation of a column. This could suggest a mid-twentieth century fashion for dancing in a column formation?

First dance Middle dances Last dance
Bartók[1] Timiș region Pe loc or Pe picioare Larga De întorsu
Bartók[1] Torontal Pe loc or Pe sarite or De doi Rara or Ardeleana De întorsu or De sucite
Marcu[2] Soroc selected from: Duba, Bradu, Desca, Lența, Judecata Hora
Marcu[2] location Cornești Hora Legănata Sucita
Giurchescu[3] Soroc întoarsa Pre loc (De doi)
Ilie and Radu Vincu (Electrecord ‎– ST-EPE 01685) Soroc întoarsa Pe loc
Suvergel[4] locations Jebel, Pădureni, Sânmihai and Utvin Hora mare Pă trii pași Pră loc
Suvergel[4] second variant Hora mare (excluded in Mureș zone) Soroc (men then couples) Pră loc and Întoarsa


  1. Bartók, Béla (1967). Rumanian folk music. Volume 1: Instrumental melodies. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
  2. 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.
  3. Giurchescu, Anca & Bloland, Sunni (1995). Romanian traditional dance: A contextual and structural approach. Mill Valley, California: Wild Flower Press.
  4. Suvergel, Marian I (2018). Jocurile populare românești din zona de câmpie a banatului (doctoral thesis). Universitatea naţională de arte "George Enescu" din Iaşi.
Published on 25th November 2021, last modified on 2nd May 2023