Banat plain column dances – Duba, Lența, Desca etc.

Giurchescu’s classification separating the Ardelene into sub-categories of “slow”, “syncopated” and “fast” is a useful basis [1]. However, these sub-categories are represented by different unrelated dances in the regions of Bihor, Arad and Banat, so this does not indicate that dances in a particular category are actually connected in choreology or history.

Under “slow Ardeleana” Giurchescu includes the true Ardeleana and many other dances also in column formation.

Locally some dances are known as Ardeleana and these true Ardeleana generically have a structure of 3 steps to right and 3 steps to the left, with many variations and options, and are widespread over all of Banat (plain and mountains).

The other column dances (for example Duda, Judecata, Desca etc.)[2] clearly have different origins and are in column formation specific to the Banat plain. The form is a fixed step pattern for the figures which is assembled mostly from a number of typical motifs that are not commonly found in the other couple dances of the Banat plain.

These common motifs are; 7 steps to side (two measures of music), 3 steps to side (one measure of music), and jumps in place (mostly onto both feet in plié). Most Banat dances are in four measure phrases, however, unusually, Cucuruzul is in 5 measure phrases, Duba is in 3 measure phrases, and Desca in 6 beat units (3/4).

The dances can be grouped into “families” by their specific themes,

title measures motifs
Măzărica, Toldăul, Poșovoaica 4 measures bidirection pattern of 3+3+7 side steps
Judecata, De doi, Cȃrligu 4 measures bidirectional 7+7 side steps
Sireghea and Țandara 4 measures 7 side steps + jumps + 3 steps
Cucuruzul 5 measures combinations of 7 sides steps, 3 steps, or jumps
Duba 3 measures travelling pattern most often ending in jumps
Lența 4 measures most often combination of 3 steps and jumps
Bradu 4 measures three hop-step-step phrase ending in jumps
Desca, Diesca 6 counts dance is based in 5 counts with “5” being long

For example, some typical versions can be summarised,

title measure 1 measure 2 measure 3 measure 4 measure 5
Măzărica, Toldăul, Poșovoaica 3 steps 3 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps
Judecata, De doi, Cȃrligu 4 + 3 = 7 steps 4 + 3 = 7 steps
Sireghea, Țandara 4 + 3 = 7 steps jumps 3 steps
Cucuruzul 4 + 3 = 7 steps jumps jumps 3 steps
Duba pe tre pași 3 steps 3 steps jumps
Duba sărită 2 steps 2 steps jumps

For a full discussion on the documented sources see our blog Banat plain column dances.


  1. Giurchescu, Anca & Bloland, Sunni (1995) Romanian traditional dance : A contextual and structural approach, Mill Valley, California, Wild Flower Press.
  2. Marcu, Ionel, Cărăuș, Mara & Ilici, Sava L (1964). Dansuri populare din județul Timiș, Timișoara, Comitetul de Cultura și Educăție Socialista al judetului Timiș, Centrul de Ȋndrumare a creație populare și amișcării artisce de masă.
Published on 30th August 2021