Vulpiță, (Vulpiuță) (1*) – Oltenia, 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.

Vulpiță [formerly Vulpiuță (vool-PEE-tsuh), “little female fox”] is the name of a (1st G) Romanian dance, of which I can find no YouTube examples. An arrangement of the same melody, [though with a repeated 1st phrase], with much more complicated footwork, (2nd G), by Romanian choreographer Theodor Vasilescu, is a staple of the recrerational folkdance repertoire. For the Vasilescu Vulpiță, click .

Nick Green and Liz Mellish, [whose excellent website on Romanian and Bulgarian culture and dances can be found here], told Ron Houston that noted Romanian dance researcher Georghe Popescu-Județ, collected a dance called Vulpiuță on March 26, 1952, from 53-year-old Tomiță Marin in Cârna-Băilești, Oltenia. Popescu-Județ says variations of Vulpiuță existed in nearby Bârca, Bistreț, and Segarcea.

Băilești, pop. 17,500, Dolj County, Oltenia region. Cârna, pop.1,400, is nearby, as well as Bârca, Bistreț, and Segarcea.

Popescu-Județ published a 20-measure version of Vulpiuță in 1959 in Romania in Jocuri Popular Olteneasca, V.2. Ron Houston, in his 2012 Folk Dance Problem Solver, translated and notated the dance thus:

Popescu-Județ Vulpiuță. 20 measures, translated into Don’s dance notation.

The 2012 Problem Solver goes on to say Nick Green and Liz Mellish (above) “reported learning an Oltenian Vulpiuțele from the old choreographer Gavril Ghiur from Maramureș (a region in far northern Romania), suggesting that Oltenian “fox” dances might have been part of the dance repertoire taught to Romanian regional choreographers in the 1950’s and 1960’s.”

Ron Houston: “Regular readers of these Problem Solver books will recognize the underlying structure of this dance as the ‘Danubian’ pattern of ‘slow, slow, quick, quick, slow’, also known in the Balkans as the ‘devojacko’ pattern”. Indeed, both the Popescu-Județ and the Vasilescu dances start with this pattern.

Vulpiuță sheet music, as published in Romania, 1959 by Popescu-Județ. A has 8 measures, B has 16. In his accompanying dance, A has 8 measures, B has 12. Thus the dance and music don’t go together after the first run-through.

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