Floricică, the Genre, Song, and Living Dance – Romania

Floricică is a genre of dances found in Oltenia & Muntenia, Romania.

For 1st Generation examples of Floricică, click: https://folkdancefootnotes.org/dance/a-real-folk-dance-what-is-it/1st-generation-dances/floricica-1stg-romania-n-w-bulgaria/

For the 2ndG recreational dance Floricică Olteneasca, click https://folkdancefootnotes.org/dance/a-real-folk-dance-what-is-it/2nd-generation-dances/floricica-olteneasca-romanian/

For more examples of 2ndG Floricică dances, click: https://folkdancefootnotes.org/dance/a-real-folk-dance-what-is-it/2nd-generation-dances/floricica-6-examples-2ndg-romania/

Floricică translates literally as “Little Floweret”, but the meaning should be taken more metaphorically than literally.

Floricică dances have almost nothing to do with flowers, more with blossoming in the sense of unfolding glory. Floricică is also a word for popcorn and a pet name for a girl or woman, similar to “my little buttercup”. Floricică is a way of referring to children, and several dance groups in Romania, both youth and adult, are called or have Floricică in the name.  By far the most popular YouTubes with Floricică in the title are those featuring comedienne and social protest ranter Floricică Dansatoarea, (Floricică “the dancer)” whose dancing is of the čoček variety. Here she shows her sweet side with a song called “Let There Be Peace”

Floricică – the songs

There are many songs with Floricică in the title.

The song Floricică din Poiana. Poiana is a town in Muntenia town known for its skiing. The dance here is the standard Hora Mare.
Song Floricică de cires “cherry flowers,” sung by Victoria Raica.

Floricică – the dance genre

Floricică refers not to a specific dance, but a genre of dances found in Oltenia & Muntenia, plus a few across the Danube from Oltenia among the Vlachs in Northwest Bulgaria. Just what distinguishes a Floricică from other dances isn’t very clear. It can have a line or circle formation, be composed of single gender or mixed lines or couples, simple or multi-part choreographies, be in or out of synch with the music, and have ritual and/or recreational significance. John Uhlemann says “My understanding from talking to Dick Crum years ago is that every village in the south had a Floricică, an alunelu, a trei păzește, etc. but the names were almost interchangeable, i.e. what was alunelu in one village was the floricică in the next. The only thing they had in common was they were all in 2/4 and of a quicker tempo than the average horă.”

In Oltenia, a Floricică is often part of a performance of the Călușari. Wikipedia says: “Traditionally, the Călușari group is a secret, male-only society associated with a spring rite, possibly a remnant of tribal warrior societies. The group leader (usually an older man) recruits a number of acolytes, always young, single adults chosen for physical prowess. The group members take an oath of secrecy, whereupon they participate in an initiation rite and taught the forms of the dance. The groups of Călușari roam the country in spring-time, visiting villages by turns and taking part in the week-end dances – hora.

The căluș is a male group dance, although there are records of traditions from Oltenia region that included 1-2 young girls, now obsolete….Dancers wear white trousers and white tunics, with brightly coloured ribbons streaming from their hats. Bells are attached to their ankles, and dances include the use of ornate sticks held upright whilst dancing, or pointing at the ground as a prop. The dance itself is highly acrobatic, emphasizing extension and high jumps, much like the Ceili dance. Like many Morris dances, in many traditions Călușari dancers include a fool, known as the “nebun”, or “crazy”.

Anca Giurcescu, in Romanian Traditional Dance, writes “Căluș, a protection, healing, and fertility ritual, is one of Romania’s oldest and most impressive. Eighteenth century documents indicate that Căluș was at that time performed throughout most of Romania. It is practiced today, in various evolutionary stages, only in the southern part of the country — particularly the Danube Plain.

Căluș pertains to a large and well known category of men’s corps customs which include dances with swords or sticks used as props. Similar variants are found in villages inhabited by Romanians close to the Danube in Bulgaria, in some Serbian villages, and in Macedonia where the custom is called Rusalii. Each of the variants shares some common features with the Morris, sword, (or stick), and mummers’ dances from England and southwestern and central Europe….These similarities include group structure, costume, implements (props), the role-playing of masked characters, and the ritual enactment of death and resurrection. The presence of these similar traits over such a widespread area in Europe supports the notion that this custom belongs to a very basic and ancient cultural stratum.”

Gail Kligman, author of Căluș, (published in 1977), a detailed study of Călușari, writes that their ritual healings included performing suites of dances, each chosen for its particular healing powers. Floricică was one of four categories of dances included in a suite. Floricică was said to benefit afflictions involving building, painting or weaving. 

Nowadays, belief in the curative powers of the Căluș ritual is almost gone. However the athleticism and virtuosity required of Călușari members has made them emblematic of Romanian dance, and they have an assured place on Romanian stages. Below are a couple of Călușari suites, which may or may not include a Floricică.

From 1974 & 2004

Floricică is also part of other traditional dance suites, especially in Oltenia’s neighbouring region of Muntenia. Below is a Living example of a simple Floricică, first in a wedding suite, followed by ZDRABULEANCA, SÂRBA STUDENŢILOR, MUŞAMAUA, BRAŞOVEANCA. According to the caption either the band or the event (or both), is in Turin, Italy, home of over 50,000 Romanians.

The group “Datina”, from Turin, Italy, performing a Floricică.
Small, fast crossing steps are common in Floricică. Location unknown, but the band plays in Muntenia.
  • Anca Giurchescu, in her landmark book Romanian Traditional Dance, lists a suite observed in 1962 in the village of Răcari, near Bucharest. Hora, Sirba, Hora, Sirba + Ruseasca, Maritica, Floricică+tango, foxtrot.(!)
  • Another suite seen in 1975 from Cojasca village, Dâmbovița Judets. (Sirba, Hora) Brau, țigăneasca, Floricică + Breaza Jianu, + Leliță Ioană, Polca + tango, waltz, foxtrot.
  • She also says “Field research in the village Hunia j.Dolj, carried out in January, 1964, …the winter Căluș… contained a suite…: Calul, Crăițele, Ropota, Floricică, Hăp sus, concluded by Hora de mîna. The dancing was followed by a parody of a wedding at which a masked character took the leading role.”

COMMENTS:

John Uhlemann writes: The interesting thing about the first “Pro-Art” video is that the dances were all from Moldova. The last one, a couple dance they called BRAŞOVEANCA on the YouTube title, uses the tune for the Polish Krakowiak, a very popular tune that spread all over Eastern Europe in the 19th century, often for dances that bore no resemblance to the Krakowiak. The dance in the YouTube video is done by the Moldvai Csango and is taught at many Hungarian camps, usually under the name “hora”, even though it is a couple dance done in Varsouvienne position (and where do we get that term? – from the French word for Warsaw – things get around…)

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