Tino Mori – Is It a Macedonian Dance?

Tino Mori is a Macedonian folk song, still popular in Macedonia.  For further details about the song, see Tino Mori under MUSIC>LYRICS-ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS , and MUSIC>SHEET MUSIC.

I’ve Googled Tino Mori and what comes up first is several (I’ve seen 11 so far) YouTubes of North American IFD groups dancing. An example:

Further down the Google page, one starts seeing YouTubes of Tino Mori performances from Macedonia, usually under the title “Bog da bie Tino mori” – the first line of the song.  I’ve found at least 9 versions of the song that appear to come from Macedonia, plus some others made by non-Macedonian musicians.

 

These include YouTubes of older recordings of the song that still accompanies many dancers:

In a comment (published in 2013) under this YouTube, John Uhlemann wrote “This is the old Folkraft 45 rpm disc. Check with John Filcich in LA – he may still have copies. The Folkraft 45 was, actually, a re-issue of the old Folkways Tanec ensemble recording of the 1950s. Smithsonian-Folkways may still stock it, or make a transfer for a small fee. Check their web site.”

So if the song is so popular in Macedonia, and the dance is so popular in North America, you’d think YouTubes would turn up of the dance being performed in Macedonia.  Here’s what I’ve found.  First there’s a line of dancers in costume STANDING.  Well. swaying and clapping, but not dancing.

 

Here’s another YouTube and indeed everybody is dancing, but not the Tino Mori dance as North Americans know it.  What I’m seeing is what I call the Taproot Dance; what North Americans call Lesnoto (See “Lesnoto is not a Macedonian Dance” under Living Dances).

That’s all I can find.  Nothing in Macedonia of Tino Mori the dance – only the song.

So how did North Americans learn their Tino Mori?  In 1966 Atanas Kolarovski introduced a dance he called Tino Mori at the San Francisco Kolo Festival.  It’s the pattern everyone in North America knows.  Atanas’s notes don’t say where he got the dance.  Ron Houston, in the 1993 Folk Dance Problem Solver article on Tino Mori, says he has 8 different descriptions of the dance, but none of them state its origin.  No other dance instructor has introduced “their” Tino Mori, or anything similar.

Atanas had just come from being lead dancer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of Tanec, the Macedonian state dance company.  Although state dance companies are tasked with presenting the folklore of their country, most are not tasked with presenting them exactly as they would appear in the village.  These companies are first and foremost entertainment organizations, whose priorities are to sell tickets, make audiences feel good, and show their country in a good light.  Choreographers for these companies are trained to adjust dances to make them more “entertaining”, and even to create something entirely new  by re-assembling folk “elements”.

Although Atanas had a thorough knowledge of his country’s authentic folklore, he also became aware that North Americans were dancing for their own pleasure – that many of them were only superficially interested in the ethnography of other cultures, and that his future in a new country depended on having “hit” dances in his repertoire.  Tino Mori was and still is a “hit”.

Steve Kotansky, in an interview published here http://tanzrichtung.herwigmilde.de/syrto-altes-und-neues/#more-623  tells a story about when Atanas first started teaching in North America;

“…when, for example, Atanas came to America for the first time, [1964] Pece [Pece Atananasovski, Macedonia’s best gaida player and Tanec musician, later to also teach Macedonian dances in North America] was his best friend, he used his music and music from the village and he taught at a seminar in the most famous folk dance camp in the world. They told him, “Atanas, you are great, you are very good,” – I know the person who said that – “but we can not understand your music. So please: more beautiful music! “And he saw what people liked: Israeli music, Israeli dances … So he came a year later with these beautiful sung pieces of ” Tanec “etc. and people loved and praised him….”

The choreography of Tino Mori fits the Tanec record exactly – changing foot patterns match changing music patterns.  That’s usually a sign of a choreographed dance.  Traditional folk dances usually have patterns that are independent of whatever music is at hand – often the musical phrase is a different length from the dance phrase.  Could it be that Atanas created a dance, using Macedonian elements, to fit a song he knew would be popular in North America?

Until I discover otherwise, I’m placing Tino Mori the dance under 2nd Generation dances.

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