Romanian Sârba dance

Sârba (pl. Sârbe) dance form

Musically the term Sârba is usually applied to a lively 2/4 melody with a compound time (triplet grouping) melody giving a 6/8 feel. This is a common dance rhythm across the Balkans in dances such as the Serbian Čačak and the Bulgarian fast Pravo Horo. Choreologically the term Sârba mostly refers to a lively 3-measure structured social dance, and this is mostly categorised as ‘common Sârba’. The slower Carpathian Brâul and the lively Sârba both belong to an old dance form widespread throughout the Balkans and Anatolia.

Sârba dance

Sârba is danced most in the southern and Moldavian regions, with the highest number of variants being along the sub-Carpathians. Unlike Hora, an open circle formation is the norm, apart from south Oltenia where it can be danced in a closed circle. The name Sârba may mean ‘Serb like’, and the same dance is also known in Greece as Servikos, but there is no similar dance in the current Serbian repertoire.

  • The common Sârba alternates between travelling or resting phrases, and phrases for improvisation or more complex steps. The dancers at each end are the leaders, with other dancers joining into the middle of line during the dance.
  • In some areas there are Sârbe with a number of figures where the change of figure is indicated by commands from the leader. These are classified as Sârbe by the music, often maintain a 3-measure motif, but can have names other than Sârba such as Rața. Some Sârbe are similar to Brâuri and some Sârbe are called Brâul.
  • The other main type of Sârbe have a fixed choreography and are possibly newer. Ciuleandra is a specific type of Sârba from north Oltenia and Muntenia. It is danced in small circles, which change places with other small circles in the dance area.

Choreographic form, motifs, music

type names form structure motifs music
common Sârba Sârba, Brâu shoulder hold 3 measure phrases non-concordant with music step-step, step-hop, step-hop 2/4 (in compound time ~6/8)
fixed form Sârba Sârba lui 22, Sârba studenților, Chindia, Hora Nuții shoulder hold, hands joined at shoulder height bi-directional figures hops, heel clicks, crossing, toe & heel actions 2/4 (in compound time ~6/8)
Sârba by commands Arcanul, Rața, Lăzeasca shoulder hold 3 measure phrases non-concordant with music hops, heel clicks, crossing, toe & heel actions 2/4 (in compound time ~6/8)
Published on 1st March 2018