Maleševsko Oro – East Macedonians

Maleševsko Oro, named after the Maleševske Mountains is a traditional dance popular in Eastern North Macedonia, Pirin, Bulgaria, Greek Macedonia, and among expat Macedonians in Turkey. I’ve found over 20 YouTubes of ‘village’ dance events, plus several more by performance groups in North Macedonia and, especially, Bulgaria.

Music

Most music used to accompany Maleševsko Oro is instrumental, with many similar though slightly different variations. Sheet music is written in either 2/4 or 4/4, though music in 9/8 also exists. For chords and sheet music, click: https://folkdancefootnotes.org/music/sheet-music/malesevsko-oro-chords/ For lyrics (Macedonian only, no translations) click: https://folkdancefootnotes.org/music/lyrics-original-language/ke-odis-mome-za-voda-and-rado-le-bela-rado-two-songs-for-malesevsko-oro/

Most traditional – Trio Cholakovi
2/4 Stevche Stojkovski
Ansambl Makedonia, used to accompany instruction Pece Atanasovski
Modern band with easy-listening virtuoso zurna by Dzeljo Destanovski
Aegean (Greek) Macedonian song by Kosta Novakis
Bulgarian orchestra “Ха, наздраве!” “Ha, Toast!” (Google translate)
9/8 version by Esma Redžepova’s adopted children.

Dance in North Macedonia – Малешевско оро

N. Macedonia seems to have 2 dances they call Maleševsko Oro. Most common is what I call the

Berovo – celebrating graduation! The simplest 8 beats x2 version.
Sounds like the same band playing in their (I’m guessing) Roma neighbourhood in Berovo.
Caption: The Malesevski Melos Zurla Band of Berovo, Macedonia playing for dancing in the street during a visit to the Roma section of Berovo by the group from the Macedonian Pearl Folk Seminar. 8 beats x2
A wedding in Delčevo. Again the simple 8 beats x2 version. The dance phrase is the same length as the music phrase and starts when a music phrase starts, making them concordant.
Location unknown. 8 beats x2. Dance and music are concordant.
Location unknown. 8 beats x2. This guy displays a wide repertoire of simple improvisations – classic dancing! Cuts loose at 8:30. Concordant – sometimes.
Negotino. 14 beats R +10 L. The two dance phrases are different length — non-concordant with the music.
Piperovo, Štip, 2015. 14 beats R +10 L
14 beats R +10 L. On the occasion of the feast of the Holy Mother of God in the village of Piperovo, Štip 08/29/2018
Here’s what happens when an amateur group performs – uniformity. 14 beats R +10 L. From Veljusa.
The performance version by the Macedonian State ensemble, Tanec. Doesn’t resemble anything seen in the ‘village’ versions above.

Dance in Bulgaria – Малешевско хоро

Wikipedia, in its article Macedonia (region) says: “Macedonian Bulgarians are ethnic Bulgarians who self-identify regionally as “Macedonians” (Bulgarian: Mакедонци, Makedontsi). They represent the bulk of the population of Bulgarian Macedonia (also known as “Pirin Macedonia“). They number approximately 250,000 in the Blagoevgrad Province where they are mainly situated.

Wikipedia, in its article Pirin Macedonia says: “Pirin Macedonia or Bulgarian Macedonia[Note 1] (Bulgarian: Пиринска Македония; Българска Македония) (Pirinska Makedoniya or Bulgarska Makedoniya) is the third-biggest part of the geographical region Macedonia located on the Balkan Peninsula, today in southwestern Bulgaria. This region coincides with the borders of the Blagoevgrad Oblast, adding the surrounding area of the Barakovo village from the Kyustendil Province. After World War I, Strumica and the surrounding area were broken away from the region and were ceded to Yugoslavia [italics mine DB]….The name of this region comes from the Pirin Mountains which are spread in the central part of Pirin Macedonia. The mountain name Pirin comes from Perun (Bulgarian: Перун), the highest god of the Slavic pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning.”

As noted by Wikipedia, the Pirin region used to be part of a greater Macedonian region (blue in the map below) within the Ottoman Empire. After the Ottoman defeat of 1912, Macedonia was divided between Serbia, Greece & Bulgaria.

I could find no YouTubes showing what appear to be ethnic Macedonaians dancing Maleševsko at a ‘village’ social function. However there are many YouTubes of Bulgarian performing and recreational groups dancing Maleševsko. All in the line are dancing the same steps to (mostly) recorded music – much like recreational and performing groups in the West. The “Bulgarian” Maleševsko Horo is similar to the “Basic 8×2 beat pattern” of North Macedonia, but with arm swings. The lighter, bouncier, higher than N. Macedonian steps possibly reflect the influence of ballet-trained instructors.

Niki Enchev in Plovdiv teaching to a Jim Gold tour. Similar to the N. Macedonian Basic 8 beats x2 pattern
Folk costume festival in Zheravna 2011. Since Zheravna (map below) is a looong way from Pirin, it appears to be a recreational folklore event rather than an ethnic Macedonian event.
Club Chanove Ruse, Ruse. A folk dance club similar to those in the West, though with emphasis on Bulgarian dances, and run by state-trained choreographers.
A folk dance club, the Dance Mania Center, Sofia. Similar to those in the West, though with emphasis on Bulgarian dances, and run by state-trained choreographers.

Dance in Greek Macedonia

As noted by Wikipedia, Greek Macedonia used to be part of a greater Macedonian region (blue in the map below) within the Ottoman Empire. After the Ottoman defeat of 1912, Macedonia was divided between Serbia, Greece & Bulgaria.

Until recently, Macedonian-speakers in Greece were forbidden to speak their language in public, for fear it might encourage a desire to re-unite with North Macedonia (and/or Bulgaria). Right-wing Greek nationalists also blocked N. Macedonia’s attempts to gain UN recognition, quietly hoping they could annex Macedonia into Greece. After decades of assurances that Greek Macedonians consider themselves Greek first, and N. Macedonia’s recognition by major powers, most Macedonians (and their governments) are content to support the status quo. Greek Macedonians are more free to dance Macedonian dances using their Macedonian names.

Pella, Macedonian Greece. Same as N. Macedonian 8 beats x2 dance, hands down on 1st 8, up on 2nd 8. Concordant with music.
Same as N. Macedonian 8 beats x2 dance, hands down on 1st 8, up on 2nd 8. Could be concordant with music, but isn’t.
Macedonian night, Folklore Cultural Group Perdikkas, 2018. Same as N. Macedonian 8 beats x2 dance, loosely. Hands down on 1st 8, up on 2nd 8 – sometimes! Could be concordant with music, but isn’t. Around 3:35 the leader gets in some fancy steps.
Same place, 2017

Dance in Turkey

During and after the above-mentioned Balkan war of 1912, many Macedonians either migrated or were expelled to Turkey, where they’ve maintained their Macedonian heritage.


Bayrampaşa, a district of Istanbul. Basic 8 beats x2. Concordant.
Lots of energy from the woman leading! Istanbul. Basic 8 beats x2. Concordant.
Another group in Istanbul. Basic 8 beats x2. Concordant.
2017 Wedding in Çiğli Maltepe (part of Izmir) Basic 8 beats x2
Izmir (Greek Smyrna)
Altough the band starts playing the melody for Gaida, the dancers are doing a Basic 8 beats x2 Maleševsko. Around 1:50 the band switches to the Maleševsko melody.

Teachers

Dance from the Pirin Mts. Bulgaria introduced by Iliana Bozhanova at a workshop in Seattle, WA 2001. The “Bulgarian” Maleševsko Horo is similar to the “Basic 8×2 beat pattern” of North Macedonia, but with more fancy steps baked in. The lighter, bouncier, higher than N. Macedonian steps possibly reflect the influence of ballet-trainedinstructors.
Niki Enchev in Plovdiv teaching to a Jim Gold tour. Similar to the N. Macedonian Basic 8 beats x2 pattern
Basic 8 beats x2 pattern, Bulgarian style, demonstrated by Gergana Panova in Haifa, Israel.
Basic 14 beats R +10 L pattern. as demonstrated by Jaap Leegwater
As demonstrated by Ira Weisbrud. Basic 14 beats R +10 L pattern.

Maleševo Pie (zelnik)

Full recipe at this site: http://www.macedoniancuisine.com/2018/06/traditional-maleshevo-zelnik.html

COMMENTS

John Uhlemann wrote: “The basic 8-measure Maleshevsko is done all over the place, as you say, but it is not always called that. Michael Ginsburg teaches a dance he researched in Eastern Republic of Macedonia, called “Changulovo”. It is Maleshevsko, but to a specific tune. In the same village, he said, they showed him about 20 dances, all with slightly different steps and each to a particular melody, but all basically Maelshevsko. There are many videos by the very purist folk group “Leb i Vino” on Youtube showing Maleshevsko, but never calling it that. As with many places in the Balkans, people request tunes from the musicians and then dance whatever. Finally, I learned a dance from a Pirin Bulgarian (not a dance teacher at all) that he called “Pirinska Chetvorka”. it was your basic 8-count Maleshevsko, but done to any song in 7/8 divided 3+2+2. So this dance is like Syrto in Greece. You like a song, you order it, and then do the local dance.”

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