Trakijska râčenica na horo (L*) – Bulgaria – Revised again

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.

Any râčenica from the Thrace region of Bulgaria can technically be called, Trakijska râčenica, or “râčenica from Thrace”.  A râčenica is, by definition a dance that has a medium-to-fast QQS (7/8, 7/16) rhythm that enables one to dance a râčenica step, and can refer to a dance in solo, couple, or chain formation with all kinds of footwork, either improvised or in a fixed pattern, so long as a râčenica step is in there someplace.. There are probably hundreds of dance patterns that fit the general definition of “râčenica from Thrace”. Usually these choreographies carry a unique moniker so as not to confuse them with other “râčenicas from Thrace”. Still, there exist several YouTubes of Thracian râčenicas that bear no resemblance to the footwork pattern shown below, which most Bulgarians consider THE Trakijska râčenica. Sometimes the words “na horo” are added to indicate it’s a line dance.  The simplest dance pattern repeats every 8 measures (every 8 QQS)’s.

Another 8-measure, this one adds râčenica steps on measures 5 & 6.
This example of an 8-measure Trakijska râčenica has a fairly long introduction. The dancing starts at the one-minute mark. The first 2 bars begin as step-hops, but later (at 2:08) turn into râčenica steps.

I’ve found many dances online called Trakijska râčenica or Trakijska râčenica na horo that have a similar 8-measure core pattern, but have extra steps added at front or back to ‘stretch’ the repeating phrase to 10, 12, or 16 measures.

This 10-measure pattern begins with both the step-hops and the râčenica steps.
The 10-step again, a Living example or a class practice?
Same as above with 2 extra side-closes added on the end. 12 measures.
Same as 10-measure above, with side-râčenica steps added on the end. 12 measures.
This one begins the same as the 10-measure above, but adds an extra pair of side-closes on the end, plus an additional circle to the center and back in 4 râčenica steps. 16-measures total.
Same as above, again.
And again.
LOVE this one! 16 measures. I can’t quite see what’s going on, but they’re having a great time! Almost all of the YouTubes I’ve found of Trakijska râčenica na horo are by performing groups, whether in costume or in ‘street’ clothing. Occasionally, it appears some events are danced for the fun of it with no orientation to an audience, so I’m considering the dance as Living.
Another 16-measure
The interest in this performance is that at 1:15 the group breaks into some stylish solo râčenica work.


Katley from writes: Hi, Don. I enjoyed your post on Trakiiska Rachenitsa and its variations. I was also amazed at the number of tunes that can be used for the dance.

These variants seem to be more popular in Bulgaria than in the States (I have taught the 10 step version to my group). What I like is how the dancers in Bulgaria make their own variations to fit the dance to the music.

When live bands play, especially Bulgarian, I often improvise to fit the steps to the music. Bulgarian bands, I’ve noticed, are into 10 minute horo!

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