Dance: Paydushka (Пайдушка)

The name Paydushka (Пайдушка) is both a generic term which is applied to various different dance types in the “short-long” rhythm (generally notated in 5/8 meter) and a name given to a popular dance in this rhythm which is widespread in Bulgarian and adjacent countries. In Romanian Dobrogea it is transliterated to Paidușca. It is thought that the name Paydushko comes from Turkish “paytak” meaning knock-knees or to waddle, however, there are other theories.

Tsonev’s[1] list of collected dances has very many labelled as Paydushka, generally meaning they are in the “short-long” rhythm, so including dances that are from other chorological families of dances.

Bulgarians generally attribute the origin of Paydushka to northern Bulgaria due to the large number of similar dances to this rhythm in the northern regions, however the popular ‘type 1’ Payduska attribution appears to be Thracian centric.


Structure

Paydushka in this classic forms comprises three sections:

  1. Limping steps to the left, count 1) step right across in front and count 2) step back on left.
  2. An interface motif danced in place of 3 or 4 measures, formed from a combination of 1) hop and steps and 2) step across in front and back,
  3. Hop and step to the right, generally four times, however when only three there is an additional interface of two measures.
Limping steps to left Interface motif in place Hop-steps to right
10 measures – Type 1 Paydushka troika
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
across L across L across L hop-step hop-step across L hop-step hop-step hop-step hop-step
10 measures – Type 1 Paydushka variation
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
across L across L hop-step hop-step across L hop-step hop-step hop-step across R hop-step
11 measures – Type 1 Paydushka variation
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
across L across L across L hop-step hop-step across L hop-step hop-step hop-step across R hop-step
Limping steps to left Interface motif in place Hop-steps to right
12 measures – Type 2 Paydushko chetvorka
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
across L across L across L across L hop-step across R hop-step across L hop-step hop-step hop-step hop-step
12 measures – Type 2 Paydushko variation
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
across L across L across L hop-step across R hop-step across L hop-step hop-step hop-step across R hop-step
13 measures – Type 2 Paydushko variation
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
across L across L across L across L hop-step across R hop-step across L hop-step hop-step hop-step across R hop-step

The 10 measure Paydushka

ПАЙДУШКО ХОРО – NORTH BULGARIA

This version of Paydushka was noted by Katsarova[2] in Vratsa before 1912, and it seems likely this version, also known as Paydushka troika or as ‘type 1’ by Tsonev, was widely popular by the 1920s, and may well have been further popularised by its inclusion in dance training text books (for example Vaglarov[3]). This history fits in well with the introduction into the US folk dance community by Dick Crum in 1956[4] and Gordon Engler in 1958[5] from the Bulgarian communities in the USA in the mid-20th century and the popularity in countries adjacent to Bulgaria.

It appears that Paydushka was predominantly danced to popular songs of the time – Отъ долу иде лудата Яна, the art-song Ах забрадила червенъ чумбер, Ахъ да бихъ знала, че тъй ще да стане въ двана[6], the folk song Да знае мома да знае, да знае да се не жени[1], and the popular song Тук Там, Тук Там кисело млеко[7]. Dzhudzhev notes the song phrasing as being 16 or 12 measures opposed to the 10 measure phrases of the dance[6].


The 12-measure Paydushko chetvorka

ПАЙДУШКО ХОРО – NORTH BULGARIA

The version termed ‘type 2’ by Tsonev[1], or Paydushka chetvorka by the choreographers, according to Tsonev was danced in many places in Bulgaria to the song Ах да би знала[1], however there are only two notations, by Drumev[8] and Vaglarov[3].

Interestingly Jora[9] describes this dance in 1976 in the village of Ceamurlia de Sus (north Dobrogea) which has an immigrant population from Macedonia. There are also two versions that are quite close to Paydushko chetvorka in the Romanian repertoire: Paidușca from Plopul[10] and Paidușca from Nufăru[11]. Typically Romanian dances are concordant to the music plus the two ‘single-crossings’ are also typical motifs in the general Romanian dance repertoire, so it is not clear if there is a relationship to Tsonev’s ‘type 2’ Paydushko or just a local interpretation of the Bulgarian dance.


The three times hop-step Paydushko

5 1 song-dance paydushka, Ruse region – 1995

This particular variant appears to be prominent in the Ruse–Razgrad–Veliko Tarnovo region of northern Bulgaria, but is also prominent in the dance repertoire as Μπαϊντούσκα (a direct transliteration) for Greek people who relocated from “Thrace” and “north Thrace” (Bulgaria) due to the post WW1 population exchanges, thus indicating this form of Paydushka was popular pre-1920.

An interesting subject for research is the cross-over between other dance families in straight rhythm (2/4) that have a very similar structure to this form of Paydushka which are known as Triti pati in eastern Bulgaria and Hora n’doua parți in Romanian Muntenia.


References

  1. Tsonev, Boris [Цонев, Борис] (1950). Български Народни Хора и Ръченици [Bulgarian traditional hora and rachenitsi]. Sofia, State publishing house "Science and Art".
  2. Katsarova-Kukudova, Raina (1958) Хора и игри от Северозападна България [Hora and dances of Northwestern Bulgaria]. In: Stoykov, Georgi & Vassilev, Asen (eds.) Комплексна научна експедиция в Северозападна България през 1956 година [Complex scientific expedition in North-West Bulgaria in 1956], pages 293–364. Sofia: Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
  3. Vaglarov, Stefan D. [Въгларов, Стефан Д.] (1967). Български Народни Хора - Учебник За Студентите От Висшия Институт За Физическа Култура “г. Димитров“ [Bulgarian folk dances - Textbook For Students From The Higher Institute For Physical Culture "Mr. Dimitrov"]. Sofia.
  4. Oakes, Dick (2018). Pajduška (manuscript). Available at: https://socalfolkdance.org/dances/P/Pajduska_A_Bulgarian.pdf
  5. Dunin, Elsie Ivancich (1979). South Slavic Dances in California : a compendium for the years 1924-1977. Palo Alton, California, Ragusan Press.
  6. Dzhudzhev, Stoyan [Джуджевъ, Стоянъ] (1945). Българска Народна Хореография - Съ Нъколко Примъри Изъ Македонския Фолклоръ [Bulgarian Folk Choreography - With a Few Examples from Macedonian Folklore]. Sofia, Ministry of Public Education.
  7. Grancharova, Evgenia [Грънчарова, Евгения] (2008). Евгения Грънчарова, Танцовата култура на село Горни Богров, Софийско [Dance culture of the village of Gorni Bogrov, Sofia region]. Sofia, Gutenberg.
  8. Drumev, Angel [Друмевъ, Ангелъ] (1929) Българските народни хора [Bulgarian folk dances]. 10. Sofia, Ministry of Public Education.
  9. Jora, Roman (2007). Folclor muzical-coregrafic aroman si meglenoroman. Constanța, Ex Ponto.
  10. Popescu-Județ, Gheorghe (1967). Jocuri Populare din Dobrogea. Casa Regionala.
  11. Jora, Roman (2006) Folclor coreografic nord-dobrogean. Constanța, Ex Ponto.
Published on 10th December 2023