Boierească, Boerească, Hora boierească (1* & 2*) – Romania – UPDATES

1* a 1st Generation dance was originally performed in a “society in which dancing constitutes part of the living tradition” [Kealiinohomoku] (not on a stage) by people who learned the dance informally – by mimicking, or from friends or relatives (not from a teacher in a classroom situation). For more detail, see

2* A simple definition of a 2nd Generation folk dance (2ndG) is any dance that isn’t 1stG. More specifically it’s the context in which the dance was created – formal (2nd existence) rather than informal (1st Existence); conscious creation for a specific purpose rather than gradual evolution in a native context – that separates 1stG & 2ndG dances.  For more detail on 1st & 2nd Existence situations, see A “Real” folk dance – what is it?

1stG dances are generic – no fixed choreography, length, sequence, or music.  It may have a formulaic pattern like, say, the Taproot Dance, but that pattern can vary from person to person according to age, gender, ability, even mood.  Many different songs or instrumental arrangements may be associated with the dance.  In a dance line, people may be doing different variations at the same time, as long as they don’t interrupt the flow of the dance.

2ndG dances, on the other hand, are specific – usually pegged to a specific song with a specific arrangement.  The choreography often matches a particular recording and will only work with that recording.  Everyone in the line does the same step at the same time.  The dance may be a combination of the best bits from several similar dances.  It may be the creation of a choreographer who liked a recording and wanted to have “authentic” footwork attached to it.

2ndG dances may be very representative of a region’s style of dancing.  They may be a pleasure to dance – more interesting and/or fun than a 1stG dances.  Some of my personal favorite dances are 2ndG.  Some are among the most widespread and popular dances of recreational folk dancers the world over – everywhere BUT the ethnic group they’re supposedly from.   For whatever reason, dances born outside of 1st Existence situations are almost never adopted by the culture they’re supposed to represent. Because 2ndG dances are unknown in their supposedly ‘native’ country, I am also calling them seudances (shortened form of Pseudo-dances). If their supposed country of origin may be, say, Bulgaria (but is not, since no one in Bulgaria dances it), I call that ‘country’ seuBulgaria.

Boierească and its alternate spellings means “Dance of the Boyars”.

Who were the Boyars? Wikipedia says “A boyar or bolyar was a member of the highest rank of the feudal nobility in many Eastern European states, including Kievan Rus’, Bulgaria, Russia, Wallachia and Moldavia, and later Romania, Lithuania and among Baltic Germans. Boyars were second only to the ruling princes (in Bulgaria, tsars) from the 10th century to the 17th century.

There’s an extensive Wikipedia article specifically on the Boyars of Romania. Their position corresponded very roughly to that of the noble landowners in England, some of whom were very rich and powerful, others who had little more than a title. Their position and importance also fluctuated over time. Wikipedia: “Starting with the middle of the 19th century, the word “boyar” began to lose its meaning as a “noble” and to mean simply “large landowner.”

As for the “Dance of the Boyars”, it’s not a particular dance, but rather a dance type. Anca Giurchescu (with Sunni Bloland) in their encyclopedic volume Romanian Traditional Dance (out of print), classifies Boerească as a type of hora, the most widespread dance category throughout Romania. It can be either a hora în două părți (bi-directional), or polydirectional. Anca doesn’t specify, but all the boierească dances I have documented come from Oltenia or western Muntenia.

The actual choreography appears to vary from region to region, village to village. Are these supposed to be dances some scholars observed boyars doing, or village imitations of of supposed boyar manners?

Boierească, Boerească, Hora boierească in Romania

MUSIC: Many tunes (and rhythms) called Hora Boierească. They’re not necessarily associated with a particular choreography. Nor are dances called Boierească necessarily accompanied by tunes called Boierească. Although most dances called Boierească appear to come from Oltenia and western Muntenia, music titled Boierească often originates from Moldova and Moldavia. See also John Uhlemann’s Comment at the end of this article.

Caption: Hora Boierească · Constantin Lupu, Constantin Negel, Anton Mitica Stefan
The Advahov (Moldavia) orchestra version is currently a very popular tune.
The dance behind the musicians is a simple Hora Mare.
Watch the fingers tutorial.
Caption: “Hora boierească” performed by Ion Ionescu at shepherd’s pipe (“caval”). Romanian traditional folk song from Wallachia, Muntenia area.
Emil Pondila, sax.
Constantin Enceanu, singer.

Dance in Romania

Săndica Damache demonstrates a polydirectional Boierească at a Dances for Seniors’ event, somewhere in Romania..Music; Emil Pondila (above).
Here’s a Boierească în două părți (bi-directional). This time performed in Giuvărăști, Oltenia. https://www.youGiuvarasti
Giuvărăști, Oltenia
Polydirectional performed by students of the Şcoala Populară de Arte şi Meserii „Cornetti” In Craiova, Oltenia
A lively polydirectional boierească. Music by Constantin Enceanu (above).
Some of the same people performing. I suspect this is a recently choreographed dance. Published 2013.

Boierească, Boerească, Hora boierească among Recreational Folk Dancers

Below is seemingly the most popular (and easiest) of the Boierească’s among recreational dancers.

Sunni Bloland demonstrating at Laguna Folkdancers Festival, 1995.
Available at:
Sun City Oro Valley, AZ, 2019.
This version was originally introduced in the US by Sunni Bloland, who learned it from Margareta Slaminen and Titer Sever. The name translates as Boyar or landlords dance and this version is from Dolj [County-DB] in Oltenia. This dance should not be confused with Boierească or Hora Boierească (which Bloland also introduced).
Dolj County in Red

However there is also this version introduced by Alexandru David…

Demonstrated by Alexandru David at the Salt Spring Folk Dance Festival, Vancouver, Canada, 2005.

Sheet music for Mihai and Alexandru’s Boierească can be downloaded here

Another Hora Boierească was taught by Sonia Dion and Cristian Florescu at the 2021 Mainewoods Virtual Day at Camp. Sonia and Christian learned it from Camelia & Neluțu Motoc and a teaching video is available from them at

Music for the Dion/Motoc Hora boierească .
Dunav’s version….

And another version from Sunni Bloland.

May be downloaded here:—%20Boereasca-anglais.html

I would appreciate anyone who would like to add to this posting, i.e. videos of the Dick Crum version, music for Sunni’s 1995 Laguna version, etc. email me at


John Uhlemann wrote: Regarding (Hora) Boiereasca, I learned the Dick Crum version at the San Antonio festival in 1976. Our group does that version – it may be simple, but any piece of music appropriate to the area is fine (my definition of a good dance). When the term is used at all, the northern Moldavian version is a basic dance, and the “Roots of Klezmer” recording you referenced early on is a prime example. Up there the rhythm is called “Hora Mare”, but it is in a stretched 3/4 – very different from the hora mare farther south. The dance referenced in the “Roots of Klezmer” recording, though, is a basic line dance that is often called just “hora” by klezmer bands. It is still done in northern Moldavia/Moldova , but one folklorist said that although everyone knew it, they called it “the Jewish Hora”. There are many recordings of that available. The dance is the “slow, slow, slow, quick, slow” pattern. here is a very poor video of the music, which, if you listen carefully, is the same rhythm as the “Roots of Klezmer” you cite: .
Going back to Dick Crum’s version, it is a circle dance and still uses the “slow, slow, quick, quick,slow” pattern, but is a lot more lively. Interestingly, he could not find music like what he heard in Romania, so he taught it to a Jewish Sher, a Klezmer form from Moldova. When he visited St. Louis, I played the dance and used a piece of Moldovan Romanian music and he approved.

Thanks, John! Informative, as usual.

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