Romanian Wedding Dances (L*)

*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.


Although a modern Romanian wedding (“Nunta”) looks more and more like a wedding in the West, many if not most Romanian wedding parties still feature traditional dances.   After the wedding feast, musicians strike up a snappy medium tempo, and the bride leads (or people just start dancing)


A simple Hora mare (Big Hora). STEP-STEP-STEP-TOUCH, then the same in the opposite direction, sawtooth-style. Though it’s the pattern most widely known in Romania, there are many regional variations.

Here’s a simple grapevine.
A grapevine, step-touch, and plain walking – each does his or her own thing.
Best seen around 3:25.

Some weddings include a Hora Miresei (Bride’s Hora).   It’s pretty much the same footwork as Hora Mare, except a couple of large lit candles are involved, and the footwork tends towards side-to-side instead of in-and-out.


In Southern Romania immediately following the hora the musicians speed up the tempo and kick into a melody in triplets. The resulting dance is a Sârba (Sirba during the Communist era).

The footwork for Sârba, STEP-STEP-STEP-KICK-STEP-KICK, is that 6-count pattern familiar everywhere. I call it the Taproot Dance.

Technically, Moldova is an independent country, formerly part of the former Soviet Union. But culturaly, Moldova is Romanian – it’s the official language. Significant minorities include Ukrainians, Russians, Gagauz, and Bulgarians.

Actually, in Sârba the STEP-KICKS come first, so the pattern is STEP-KICK-STEP-KICK-STEP-STEP.  This particular Taproot is so fast it looks more like SLOW-SLOW-QUICK-QUICK.   But occasionally you can see the kicks, or at least lifts or pauses. When young bucks dance, Sarba can be pretty energetic.

Often, couples dance inside the Hora or Sârba circle.

Regional Specialties

In Dobrogea (see dances have a decidedly Bulgarian flavour. This wedding features Cadâneasca. (see

Cadâneasca in Dobrogea. Thanks to Paul Petrescu for the YouTube.
Ruseasca dance in Moldavia. Interesting formation here, similar to Transylvanian Ardeleana, evident starting 0:17. The guy in the white shirt and pink striped tie seems to be a ‘leader’, as other guys watch him for cues. The guys’ footwork is visible at 5:35. Amazing energy, some of the women look exhausted! Iași, 2013.
Maramures in Transylvania, on the Ukrainian border, much more couple dancing. Thanks to Paul Petrescu for the YouTube.

How about the folk who can’t afford a big wedding? Dance local to canned music!

Or hire a Roma band.

Here the Taproot Dance works for both Hora Miresei and Sârba.


are dances featuring the bride and the godparents. for the story and many examples CLICK:


Another dance – well, game – popular at weddings is Perinitsa

For more examples of Perinitsa, see

If you have any comments, or would like an expanded list of You Tube examples, email me at

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