Perinita – Romanian version of a Pan-European Party/Wedding Dance

Perinița or Pernița  (peh-ree-NEE-tsah) is a traditional Romanian party dance, popular as an icebreaker, and also at weddings.  See Romanian Wedding Dances:   https://folkdancefootnotes.org/dance/a-real-folk-dance-what-is-it/about/romanian-wedding-dances/   See also the Comment by Dick Crum, below.

Originally from Muntenia (Wallachia) region , Perinița is now pan-Romanian.   The name of the dance comes from the Romanian word for pillow – “pernă” (from South Slavic “perina”) pillow – Perinița being the diminutive “little” form.  Maybe the item used to be a pillow, but it’s now usually a handkerchief or scarf on which a young man places his knee when kneeling before a girl he chooses.

Music dictates whether the footwork should be a simple Hora Mare (medium 2/4) or a Sârba (fast 6/8), but the YouTubes show footwork to be be any way of moving the circle along.  The dancers circle around a person (or persons) waving a handkerchief or scarf. He/she chooses a person of the opposite sex by placing the handkerchief/scarf around his/her neck. Originally, the chosen couple  kneel, then they kiss on the cheek, the first person rejoins the circle, while the second chooses another partner, etc.  Nowadays couples sometimes dance first before kneeling, sometimes dispense with the kneeling, but not the kiss.

There’s a melody particular to the dance.  Often simply playing the melody is enough to signal the start of the game.  For sheet music, see   https://wordpress.com/page/folkdancefootnotes.org/2378

There are lyrics which are sometimes sung, but usually the music is instrumental only.

Below appears to be a club.

COMMENT:

In 1980, Dick Crum said. in one of his Culture Sessions: “One time I was in Duluth, Minnesota, in a Tamburitzans program. We were doing a pillow dance, where you take a pillow and put it down and two dancers kneel on the pillow and kiss. We were doing it as part of the Slovenian Suite. Now, this pillow dance is as much Slovenian as it is Hindustani (laughs). It’s the same dance! In England they have it, which goes back as far as Elizabethan times. Every country in Europe has a dance where you carry around a pillow and put it down if front of somebody and you kneel and kiss. Then the person you chose takes it and gets up and goes around and finds somebody else, taking turns like that. It doesn’t belong to any one nationality – it’s just everywhere. Well, I was sitting in the audience that year. We had taken the Slovenian version of this thing and there were three Serbian girls sitting in front of me. They got very mad saying, “That’s a Serbian dance!” Now stop and think. Those girls had never seen a pillow dance except in their own location. So, how would they know what we know, that it belongs to everybody in Europe. You can’t blame them for not knowing that Serbians have a pillow dance, Croatians have a pillow dance, the Mazuls have a pillow dance. They thought that dance was Serbian and they were really enraged saying, “They stole that!””

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