Column dances of Mureș valley and north Banat

Timiș region dances

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.

Mureș valley, north of Timișoara

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, becoming popular after Bartók’s time.

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.

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[6] is in 3 measure phrases but comprises of different motifs.

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.

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 [7] 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 [8] Duba – Sâmbăteni
Viorel Nistor [8][7] Duba – Cuvin, Șeitin
Trandafir Jurjovan [5] Duba – Ovcea
Recordings Locations
Jocuri populare din Banat ST-EPE 03090 Duba – Firiteaz

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 [6] and from Pecica [7] but these are from the different “1101” (Leibman notation) choreographic family.

Nistor [7] 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.[3]

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 [4] 3 steps jumps 3 steps jumps
Lența de la Satchinzez Datina group jumps jumps 2 steps step-close
Căteaua Nistor [7] 3 steps jumps 3 steps jumps
Ciocănița Nistor [7] 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 [10]. Nistor [7] 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 [10] Igriș, Seceani, Vălcani, Foeni
Ionel Marcu [1] Satchinez
Ioan Florea [11] Cuvin, Sâmbăteni
Viorel Nistor [7] 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 [9]


“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 [10].

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 [7] 7 steps 7 steps hop-step-steps x3 jumps


  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. Marcu, Ionel, Cărăuș, Mara & Ilici, Sava L (1964). Dansuri populare din Banat, Timișoara, Casa Regională a Creaţii Popular.
  5. Jurjovan, Trandafir (1983). Folclor muzical Romanesc din Ovcea. Ovcea: Societatea Cultural-Artistică "Steaua".
  6. Costea, Ştefan, Costea, Dumitru d. & Nistor, Viorel (1998). Șeitin - O așezare milenară românească de pe Mureșul Inferior. Arad: Editura Mirador.
  7. Nistor, Viorel (1991). Folclore coregrafic Vol 2. Bucharest: Editura muzicala a uniunii compozitorilor si muzicologilor.
  8. Georgescu, Corneliu Dan (1984). Jocul popular Românesc: tipologie muzicale. București: Editura Muzicale.
  9. Florea, Ioan T (1974). Folclor Muzical din Judeţul Arad - 500 melodii de joc. Arad: Centrul Creatiei Populare Arad.
  10. Bartók, Béla (1967). Rumanian folk music. Volume 1: Instrumental melodies. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
Published on 15th April 2023, last modified on 1st May 2023