Rustemul (1*) – Romania

*1st Generation dance. A dance that developed in a traditional way – not ‘taught’ by a teacher or choreographer, but ‘learned’ by observing and imitating others in your “village”, where the village’s few dances were the only dances anyone knew. It usually is ‘generic’ – the dance pattern is fairly simple and not tied to any particular piece of music. The dance phrase may or may not match any musical phrase, but the music’s rhythm must be suitable for performing the footwork. This dance may have many variations, but they’re performed at the whim or inspiration of the leader or (sometimes) any other dancer so long as it doesn’t interfere with the flow of neighboring dancers. For more, click here, here, and here.

Rustemul (roo-STEH-moo) = the Rustem [from resteu, a kind of bolt used in yoking oxen].  A dance popular in the Danube Plain area of southern Romania (Oltenia, Muntenia).  It’s a close cousin of the Bulgarian Pajduško, which is popular on the Bulgarian Danube Plain.  There are MANY Rustemuls in Romanian ethnographic records, though few of them are seen in Romania today.  The rhythm is what makes Rustemul distinctive – Quick, Slow – 1,2,1,2,3.  The overall feeling of the music (and sometimes the dance), is of quick, slow, quick, slow, etc.; like skipping.  However the relationship between the quick and the slow varies – some slows are slower than others.  Here’s music for a Rustem (Rustemul is the diminutive form) that starts with 5 beats and a hold, six total.  When the tilinca (flute, see 5 Romanian Flutes under Music) begins playing, you can feel the quick, slow, quick, slow, rhythm.  In this case, it’s 1,2,1,2,3,4, or 6 beats – the second twice as long as the first.

I have yet to find an example of Romanians dancing a Rustemul off of a stage.  However, there’s a few YouTubes of Romanians performing their dance on a stage, so I’m calling it a 1stGeneration dance.

Here’s a very much faster Rustemul.  So much faster, in fact, that it’s barely possible to count 1,2,1,2,3,4, 1,2,1,2,3,4, – even Quick,Slow, Quick,Slow, is rather fast.  It might be easier to count “uh ONE, uh ONE”.
Ignore the first dance here.  At the 3:20 mark, you see another Rustemul.  In this one I hear the saxophone playing 2 quick notes followed by a triplet – a 1,2,1,2,3, pattern – so I’m calling this a 5-beat Rustemul.

For the Rustemul most commonly known among non-Romanian Recreational Dancers, see Rustemul under DANCE>3c. – 2nd GENERATION DANCES.

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