Hora de mână (L*), Hora de mînă, Hora Banateana, Hora din Banat, Joc din Banat – Romania. Staro Vlaško, Serbia

*a Living dance is a 1st Generation dance that is still performed in the country of origin (or immigrant communities) as part of a social event like a wedding where others can participate (not for an audience) by people who learned the dance informally (from friends and relatives by observation and imitation, not in a classroom situation). For more information, click here and here.

Hora de mână (current) and Hora de mînă (Communist era) – two ways of spelling the Romanian word for “hand”. “Handhold hora”, or “Hora by the hand”. That’s a pretty broad category of dances – so broad as to be almost meaningless. Beware, there are MANY Romanian dances called Hora de mână! Anca Giurchescu with Sunni Bloland, in their landmark book Romanian Traditional Dance note: “Women’s Hora de mînă (by the hand) are represented in numerous old church frescoes and paintings (Bobulescu, C. 1939).” That implies Hora de mână has been around a long time and also, the existence of non-women’s Hora de mână – men’s lines and/or mixed lines. Today in Romania, mixed lines predominate.

The most common Hora de mână – a.k.a. Hora Banateana, Hora din Banat, Joc din Banat – S, S, QQ, S,

Most wedding parties in the Banat feature a Hora de mână, also known as Hora Banateana, Hora din Banat, Hora Banat, Joc din Banat – the Banat version of the pan-Romanian Hora Mare. Note the basic pattern is a S,S,QQ,S, walk; also known by dance scholars as devojačko. See my posting on Uneven Walking for more examples of this widespread pattern.

Most Banateans just dance a simple S,S,QQ,S, or they may add a kick or touch on the Slow steps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJYyMymzfgM John Uhlemann wrote: “One of your Youtube videos shows the pattern in and out beginning with the left foot and going side to side before going in (L,R, L-R,L), then doing out (R), in (L), and R-L, R out. This is exactly the pattern taught by Dick Crum years ago as “Hora Boiereasca”.

Around 1:10 you can see the S, S, QQ, S,. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z54XCMgQTwo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni3xmiFz4Mk The music isn’t in synch with the footwork until about 0:38.
Caption: Joc din Banat (starts at 2:24), “Joc” in place or “Hora” illustrates Banat’s proximity to Transylvania. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4LzwhXJMMk

Meanwhile in Serbia, same dance, different name


Other dances named Hora de mână – T-4

For an explanation of T-4 & T-8, see The Taproot Family

Here Hora de mână is another name for Hora Mare, (L,R,L, touch R in; R, l, R, touch L out – I call it T-4, the Taproot in 4 steps) as can be briefly glimpsed at 2:02 (woman in black dress, opposite side of circle) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kchTj0NBzE
Same “T-4“as above, (Hora Mare), used to promote the song “Haideti la hora de mana”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDvDG6hZtMk
At 0:45, same T-4 as above. Alternates with fancier steps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVx01tqar-I

Other dances named Hora de mână – T-8

For an explanation of T-4 & T-8, see The Taproot Family

This “8 beat x 2” dance has the same pattern of weight and direction changes as the basic Serbian Kolo (what I call a T-8) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5spJJe8ttWs
Oltenia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Olq9XZbsrnw
The caption (Google translated): RELI GHERGHESCU – A SUPERB HOUR, WEDDING 2016, folk music mehedinti, banat gorj. Reli Gherghescu is the singer’s name, I’m assuming Google mistranslated “Hora” into “Hour”. Mehedinți, banat gorj is the location.
Mehedinți county (in red), on the border with Serbia. Although Mehedinți is a county in Oltenia, banat gorj (circled) is considered part of historical Banat.
Hora de mână is also popular in Oltenia. Same T-8 as above, but with fancy variations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G64PmfgwiF4

Still more dances named Hora de mână – 1st & 2nd Generation

Yes, I realize this is the same Hora Banateana basic step as above, but this is the perfect illustration of the difference between a Living dance and a 1st Generation dance. Living dances usually contain only simple variations, or at least the kind of variation that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the line. Although the variations shown below may have been seen in Living situations, they can’t be performed without the entire line knowing in advance when the variation will occur and adjust accordingly. These variations can’t be performed without being rehearsed – thereby not anyone can spontaneously join the line. That won’t do in a wedding party, where the whole point is for everyone to be together, regardless of skill set, where they can talk to friends, see others and be seen, join and leave the line when they want. The pattern of a 1st Generation dance is fixed – it requires concentration to stay with the program – it’s no longer spontaneous, Living.

Here’s Lee Otterholt in Tucson presenting some variations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4U8iwCK2_c
Found here: http://www.socalfolkdance.com/dances/H/Hora_Banateana_(Barr).pdf
Found here: http://www.socalfolkdance.com/dances/H/Hora_de_Mina_(Bevan).pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-N4fxEfoY0 Introduced to the USA in 1977-78 by Mihai & Alexandru David, who learned it while members of the Romanian State Folk Dance Ensemble, 1965-68. I consider this a 2nd Generation dance.
Found here: http://www.socalfolkdance.com/dances/H/Hora_de_Mina_A_Romanian.pdf
Boulder, CO, USA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwLU65vZo3s 2nd Generation, though it starts with the T-8.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_GanH4Re_k 1st or 2nd Generation. Starts with T-4.


Jim Gold wrote: “Excellent research. . .and so interesting.”

John Uhlemann wrote: “

This is interesting for several reasons:
1. One of your Youtube videos shows the pattern in and out beginning with the left foot and going side to side before going in (L,R, L-R,L), then doing out (R), in (L), and R-L, R out. This is exactly the pattern taught by Dick Crum years ago as “Hora Boiereasca”.
2. in some areas of the south, this pattern is called “axion”.
3. The Hungarian dialect group called the Moldvai Csángó who live among the Romanians on the Moldavian side of the Eastern Carpathians do both the pattern shown first, and also the 1-2-3 pattern in and out. They refer to both as “Kezes” or “Kezesek”; both words mean, you guessed it, “hand”.
4. Modern Romanian wedding music tends to sound like Banat music, all over these days. I started hearing that trend about 20 years ago. It is more zippy and wind instrument driven than the older fiddle styles, and, of course, easier to hear out of doors. Still, I lament the homogenization of regional styles.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: