Bulgaria – Major Dance Types


by Yves Moreau
The horo. or chain dance (derived from Greek xopos) holds a central place in the sociocultural activities of rural Bulgaria. The horo is mostly a community dance which, until recently, could be observed every Sunday in the village square. Today, due to the greater choice of free-time activity and the lack of interest on the part of the younger generation, folk dancing has been confined to a few specific occasions.
Every village has its local repertoire of horos and other dances which reflect the local character of the people. It is important to note, however, that there are four basic horos characterized by their rhythm and steps and danced throughout the country. They are:
1 .The PRAVO. or straight dance, in 2/4 meter.
2.The PAJDUSKO. or limping dance, in 5/16 meter.
3.The POVARNATO. or returning dance (sometimes known as SARENI CORAPI or SVOR-NOTO). in 9/8 meter.
4.The RACENICA (literally meaning “small handkerchief”) in 7/16 meter. , -,
The RACENICA, is probably the most widespread dance in Bulgaria for it can be performed in many ways: solo, couples, trios, segregated and even in a horo form. [This type is usually referred to as HORO-RACENICA or HVANATI-RACENTCA (hooked racenica)]. The racenica is also considered by many as the liveliest of all Bulgarian dances for in it dancers can show their greatest skills.
Other dances which are widespread throughout most regions of Bulgaria include Eleno Mome (Elenino Horo), Dajcovo Horo (especially popular in the West and North), and Gankino (also known as Krivo or Kopanica) which is found in most regions except the Rhodopes and East Thrace.
The horo can be danced in a closed or open circle formation, or in a straight or “crooked” line. The best dancers are usually located at each end of the line (“na dva tanca”). Both of them guide the group through exciting patterns while waving a “karpa” (handkerchief) in their free hand. The leader is usually called Horovedec, vodac, glava or celo.

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