Northern Moldavian Ceată dances

The common format of these dances is the ceată [3] formation of men in a circle, unconnected and dancing in unison. Generally the first figure is based on a fast walk in single file around the circle, followed by some combinations of stamps, heel clicks or jumps. The other men’s dances in the local repertoire are chain dances, such as Arcanul. These dances are performed within the local New Year customs (Irozii, Jieni, Bumbierii) and local social repertoire. Some variants are performed by both men and women.

Giurchescu lists the “North Moldavian corps” men’s group dances as Trilișești, Ardelenescul, Leușteanca, Țânțăroiul, Pădurețul, of which she also classifies Țânțăroiul and Trileșești as “Carpathian Springing Dances”.[1] Șchioapa (Cașvana) and Leșeasca (Broșteni, Ilișești) should also be added as they are dances of the same ceată form.[2] The cross-over in classification between “North Moldavian corps” and “Carpathian Springing Dances” indicates possible links between the men’s dances of the Carpathian region straddling Transylvania to Moldova.

Trilisesti din Iaslovat 3

The dance name Pădurețul means “from the woods”, Țânțăroiul means “the big mosquito” and the meaning of Trilișești comes from “three heel clicks as the Poles do it” tri + leş/leși which is the old name for Polish people in Ukrainian language.[1]

Sometimes the Rândurile (“the rows”) dance custom from the village of Muntenii de Jos in Vaslui county is associated with the “North Moldavian corps” men’s group dances[1] however the dance choreology is unrelated.


Traditionally, each community organises its social dances into a fairly fixed suite according to a pattern: an introductory Hora mare, followed by a series of mixed or men’s group dances (for example, Trilișești, Arcanul, Sârba, Ursăreasca), followed by set couple dances of various types, and almost always closed by the rapid, small-group circling dance, Țărăneasca (Ruseasca).[1][2]

“Paduretul” de la Partestii de Jos – Rodina – Anul Nou 2013

The men’s group dances in ceată formation are danced as part of the New Year customs known as Irozii performed by a team of boys (ceată). Pădurețul is the most typical dance, sometimes followed by Trilișești. In the Câmpulung Moldovenesc region (between Sadova and Vama) there is a related New Year tradition called Bumbierii or Bungherii.

Dance form

The common format of these dances is a first figure based on a fast walk in single file in a circle, followed by a second figure including some combination of stamps, spur-clicks or jumps general in place without moving around the circle. Sometimes there is a second circling figure utilising a different style of walking.

title (location) Figure A Figure A2 Figure B
Bătrâneasca (Arbore) walking CCW “123” step CW stamps and spur-clicks in place
Bătrâneasca (Iazlovăț) syncopated walking CCW syncopated jumps in place
Leșeasca (Broșteni, Ilișești) syncopated walking CCW walking CW stamps and spur-clicks in place
Leușteanca (Fundu Moldovei) syncopated walking CCW jumps and spur-clicks
Pădurețul (Pârtești de jos, Cacica) walking CCW stamps and spur-clicks
Șchioapa (Cașvana) walking CCW walking with heels CCW stamps, jumps in place
Țânțăroiul (Iaslovaț) walking CCW spur-clicks in place
Trilișești   (Manastirea Humorului) walking CCW jumps in place
Trilișești (Pârteștii de Jos, Cacica, Câmpulung) walking CCW syncopated stamp-walking stamps, walking with jump click

Other dances of similar form

Leușteanca which Giurchescu notated as a men’s dance in 1971[1] is notated as a couple dance by Ciorei in 1969 (villages of Cotârgași, Broșteni, Fundu Moldavei).[2] However the form has some similarities with the men’s group dances; figure A is travelling in the circle similar to the plimbare walking and in figure B the men and women separate leaving the men to perform the typical jumping with heel clicks.

Bătuta, a men’s shoulder hold chain dance from Sefafinești, Fântânele, Slatina, Valea Moldovei and Sapu Cimpului, typically has a first figure of stamping steps, followed by the typical jumping with spur-clicks in a following figure.

Title (location) Figure A Contrasting figure
Bătuta de la Sefafinești 123-stamp in place figure D is jumps and spur-clicks
Bătuta de la Slatina stamping patterns Figure B is jumps and spur-clicks
Bătuta ursului (Sapu Cimpului) stamping patterns Figure B is jumps and spur-clicks

Music recordings

Title Record reference Record title
Țânţăroiul de la Iaslovăț Electrecord – STM-EPE 01058 Orchestra Ansamblului „Ciprian Porumbescu” din Suceava – Bucovine III (Danses)
Trilișești Electrecord – STM-EPE 0993 Alexandru Bidirel – Un Virtuose Du Violon
Trilișeștii de la Mănăstirea Humorului Electrecord – STM-EPE 01058 Orchestra Ansamblului „Ciprian Porumbescu” din Suceava – Bucovine III (Danses)
Pădurețul de la Pârteșt Electrecord – STM-EPE 01058 Orchestra Ansamblului „Ciprian Porumbescu” din Suceava – Bucovine III (Danses)
Trilișeștii Electrecord – EPE 02164 Ansamblul lui Sidor Andronicescu – A. The Traditional Folk Music Band: II. Bucovina
Bumbiereasca Electrecord – STM-EPE 0994 Orchestra ansamblului „Ciprian Porumbescu“ din Suceava – Bucovine II


  1. Giurchescu, Anca & Bloland, Sunni (1995). Romanian traditional dance : A contextual and structural approach. Mill Valley, California: Wild Flower Press.
  2. Ciornei, Aurelian & Rădășanu, Mureș Gh. (1981). Jocuri populare bucovinene. Suceava: Comitetul judetean de educatie socialista.
  3. Note: Ceată in Romanian refers to a group that gathers for a common purpose. Societies of men that traditionally perform carols, customs and dances are known as Ceată. Typically organised dances performed by ceată societies are danced in formations where the dancers are unconnected to each other, dance in unison, in a circle or in lines. Confusingly, the Romanian dance researchers refer to this dance formation as Ceată even if the dance was not in the repertoire of a society called Ceată but was the formation in other contexts such as at weddings, parties or festivals. In translation Anca Giurchescu used the term “corps” (as in corps de ballet).
Published on 12th July 2022