Brâul men’s chain dances

Brâul (pl. Brâuri) dance form

Brâul is a term used for types of men’s chain dances, although there are now both mixed and women’s versions. The term is applies to several different regional families of dances that have little choreographic similarity.

The word Brâul (pl. Brâuri) comes from the Dacio-Illyrian language group meaning belt. Formations where the dancers hold their neighbour’s belts are common throughout Bulgaria (known as na pojas) and east Serbia. Belt hold causes the dancers to be connected more rigidly than hand holds, thus the dance formations are restricted to short lines and semicircles. The belt hold rarely exists in Romania except in the name of the dance and has seemingly been replaced by shoulder hold, front or back cross-hand hold, or now when women dance as simple low hand hold.

Brâul dance types

There are three basic types of the Brâul separated by their region, although there is some cross-linking between sub-types and some variety in classifications between different researchers:

  • Carpathian Brâul (or sometimes referred to Brâul Mocănesc or shepherds’ Brâul) is the largest fund of dances covering the Carpathian regions of north Muntenia, west Moldavia, and south east Transylvania, with sub-types of the old-type or Muscel type and Transylvanian type. There are some that are referred to as “new-type” that are actually closer to the Danubian Brâul.
  • Danubian Brâul has two main families of dances: the Brâuleț from Oltenia (other names Galaonul, Poloxia, and Trei păzește), and the Alunelul, found across the whole of southern Romania (other name Ca la baltă).
  • In the Banat mountains region there are two different types of Brâul. Firstly, the ‘old-type’ Brâul bătrân which is the local generic dance which is dance both as a men’s dance and as a social dance similar in context to Hora. Secondly, the fixed form Brâul which has many variations that are named after a place or a dancer.
  • Sometimes the Maramureș and Oaș men’s Bărbătesc and Roata are included within Carpathian Brâuri, and other times linked to the men’s Feciorește, but choreologically they are quite separate from both.

Note that some Sârbe are similar to Brâuri.

Choreographic form, motifs, music

type names form structure motifs music
Carpathian Brâul Brâul, Corăghește
(Roata, Bărbătesc)
shoulder hold walking (plimbăre) travelling to the right & figures syncopation, stamping, heel clicks 2/4
Danubian Brâul Brâuleț, Galaonul, Poloxia, Alunelul cross hand holds bi-directional figures fast footwork – crossing, toe & heel actions 2/4
Banat Brâul (new type) Brâul lui …,
Brâul de la …,
Brâul …ilor
shoulder hold bi-directional figures fast footwork – crossing, toe & heel actions 2/4 or 7/8
Banat Brâul (old type) Brâul, Danț shoulder hold bi-directional Derivative of hora step pattern 2/4
Published on 1st March 2018, last modified on 26th June 2018