Sej Sej Bob – A Taproot râčenitsa
Our only North American source for this dance is Yves Moreau, who introduced it at Stockton in 1981. Googling YouTubes of Sej Sej Bop (or bob) results in only one video from California and none from Bulgaria.
I’ve always enjoyed doing Sej Sej Bob [the name used by Yves in vol.2 of his DVD series of recorded demonstrations of dances he has taught, available here: http://www.bourque-moreau.com/bali.html]. However I only recently recognized that Sej Sej Bob is a combination of the two most common Balkan dance motifs – Uneven Walking, [https://folkdancefootnotes.org/begin/uneven-walking-the-other-basic-dance-pattern-sqq-qqs-ssqqs/] and the Taproot Dance [https://folkdancefootnotes.org/begin/the-taproot-dance/].
Measures 1-4 are Uneven Walking; L, L(hold), R, to a râčenitsa rhythm – Q,Q,S, x4.
Measures 5-10 and 11-16 are each fancy variations of the standard T-6 Taproot Dance, only moving to the left. Each is a set of three measures (râčenica’s) Q,Q,S, Q,Q,S, Q,Q,S = [L, R, L ,__,R, __,]=4 weight changes [unweighted stamps don’t count as either a step or a weight change] – repeated. The ,__, steps are either an unweighted stamp or scuff [no weight change], or a čukče [also no weight change].
Yves’ notes say he learned Sej Sej Bob in Sofia [a long ways from Dobrudja – DB] from Liliana Zafirova and Stefan Valgarov. Yves goes on to say the dance is “typical of the râčenica type dances found throughout Dobrudja [click https://folkdancefootnotes.org/culture/ethnicity-history-geography/dobrudja-dobrogea/] under various names, i.e. Kucata, Brasni Carvul, etc.” Googling Kucata and Brasni carvul yields several YouTube examples from Bulgaria of dances similar to Sej Sej Bop (or Bob), including a beginning walking or ‘limping’ step, followed by more complex ‘stamping’ steps. However, none of the YouTubes I found could be considered “village” examples. Below is the closest – a performance of kuchata by ‘old timers’. Although I have no doubt the steps of Sej sej bop are “authentic”, their placement in an identically repeated sequence that exactly matches the accompanying record, indicates an example of “arranged folklore”, which I consider 2nd Generation dance.
Kuchata, Куцата – a râčenica
Brasni tsarvul (carvul) – another râčenica
Katley from the katleyplanetbg.blogspot.com wrote: “Brasni tsarvul reminds me of another dance that’s been popular at Zoom meetings: Povlekana, Are they related?” see video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YObIRulgfLM
Don replies: Off hand I don’t know, as I hadn’t heard of Povlekana. (I haven’t heard of sooooo many dances!) However I looked it up and it’s certainly a Dobrudjian râčenica, popular among Bulgarian performing groups and known here, as I found 7 different YouTubes. Seems it was taught here by Iliana Bozhanova. Anyone have more to add? Here’s the “official” YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPS_4E-ltsk