Rusulena (L*), Ρουσούλενα / Kastorianos – Greece

*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.

Rusulena (roo-soo-leh-NAH) is a Greek folk song that has a dance attached to it.  The song is said to be about a quarrel between a prospective bride and her prospective mother-in-law.  Rusulena is also known as Kastorianos.

Kastorianos means ‘dance from Kastor’, a town and region in Greece on the Albanian border near Macedonia.  Naturally, Kastor has more than one dance, and unfortunately, there are at least two very different Greek dances named Kastorianos.


Back to this song and dance.  I can find only a few YouTubes of Greeks dancing Rusulena in what I consider a ‘living’ situation. Greeks now seem to consider this mostly a performance (1stG) heritage dance, or a children’s dance, though I suspect it was not always the case. Here it is in its simplest form.  All women.  Pounding fist on hand represents the ‘argument’.

Here it is without singing

John Pappas remembers footwork more like a syrto, a in-and-out section, & clapping instead of pounding fists, and turns.   

And here’s that dance, with even simpler clapping.

And an even simpler version, no longer a syrto.

And some music – very Macedonian!

A performing group has turned this into a couple dance – fighting with each other!

See also the children’s dance Kastorianos. See also similar adult dances, the Turkish Damat Halayi,, and the medieval Italian Schiarazula Marazula.

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