Romanian Wedding Dances, revised again

DANCING AT A ROMANIAN WEDDING PARTY

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)

HORA

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.

Hora, followed by Sârba (see below)
Here’s a simple grapevne.
A grapevine, step-touch, and plain walking – each does his or her own thing.
Best seen around 3:25.
Skip the first 5 minutes, then watch this wedding party in Moldova featuring the Taproot T-6 to a hora rhythm (usually the rhythm is sârba – 6/8). At 17 minutes the tempo slows down, becoming a Taproot T-4; the simple Hora mare. Then at 21 minutes, a waltz, reflecting the Russian influence. At 23 minutes, we’re back to an uptempo Yiddish-sounding T-6.

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.

SÂRBA

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 https://folkdancefootnotes.org/culture/ethnicity-history-geography/dobrudja-dobrogea/) dances have a decidedly Bulgarian flavour. This wedding features Cadâneasca. (see https://folkdancefootnotes.org/dance/a-real-folk-dance-what-is-it/about/cadaneasca-romania/).

Cadâneasca in Dobrogea. Thanks to Paul Petrescu for the YouTube.
While in Bihor, on the Hungarian border, a different step to a S,Q,S,Q,S, pattern
In Banat, on the Serbian border, a dance very much like the Serbian Šetnja – Slow, Slow, Quick-Quick, Slow, is called Hora din Banat or Hora Banteana. Thanks to Paul Petrescu for the YouTube and dance information.
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.

PERINITSA

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

For more examples of Perinitsa, see https://folkdancefootnotes.org/dance/a-real-folk-dance-what-is-it/about/perinita-another-romanian-wedding-dance/

If you have any comments, or would like an expanded list of You Tube examples, email me at dondancing@gmail.com.

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