Men’s group stick dances

Men’s group stick dance form

Romania has many men’s group dances (“corps dances” or Ceată de feciori), and in some of these the dancer has a stick as a prop. There is also an element of use associated with customs or rituals; Călușari is linked to healing customs and Transylvanian Călușeri may well have been, but is still part of the yearly calendrical custom cycle in many places. This complex of Căluș ritual and men’s group dance appears to be specific to the Latin language people of southeast Europe, and absent from the co-habiting Slavic or Hungarian peoples.

Note that the sticks are only used as props, only held up when moving and in contact with the ground during figures, so there is no clear linkage to other European dances that include stick clashing (Morris, Pauliteiros, Ball de bastons etc.), fighting imitation dances, solo dances, or improvised stick dances, all of which are found elsewhere in Europe.

In Transylvania the dances De bâtă and Haidău are of the same form and choreology, but are not associated to customs and are part of the social dance repertoire, hence are often classified with the more general Feciorește lads’ dances of Transylvania.

Romanian stick dance types

  • Călușari – dancers associated with healing custom in Oltenia and Muntenia, and northern Bulgaria.
  • Călușeri – still linked to customs in Hunedoara and neighbouring areas of Banat and Alba, but most examples have connections to a 19th century nationalist revival in Transylvania with had no connections to any customs or calendrical cycle.
  • Irozi – winter rituals which have largely lost the dance.
  • Feciorește lads’ dances of Transylvania which use a stick or partner as a support for the figures such as Bota, De bâtă, or Haidău.

Choreographic form, motifs, & music

The choreographic structure characteristic to the Romanian group dances are alternating;

  • walking (plimbări), or a basic step, in a circle moving anticlockwise
  • complex figures (mișcare) performed in placeThis dance structure of alternating basic travelling step and figures in place is common to the Carpathian Brâul, common Sârba, ritual men’s dances and Carpathian group dances.
  • The figures are formed from combinations of elements, often with a beginning-middle-end structure.
type names form structure motifs music
Căluș Călușul group walking (plimbări) and figures syncopation, stamps, leaps, hops, heel clicks 2/4
Călușeri Banu Mărăcine, Călușerul, Căluțul, Romanul group walking (plimbări) and figures syncopation, stamps, leaps, hops, heel clicks 2/4 and asymmetric
Feciorește De bâtă, Haidău group walking (plimbări) and figures syncopation, stamps, leaps, hops, heel clicks 2/4 and asymmetric
Published on 1st March 2018, last modified on 26th June 2018