Legnala Dana (S*, 2**)- Macedonian music, but whose dance?

*Song, *S stands for Song, a category I apply to part of the repertoire of recreational folk dancers. Songs are just that – songs, or sometimes merely melodies, that are well-known in their country of origin, but aren’t necessarily associated with any particular dance. They may be traditional folk songs, or pop songs written in the folk style, or ‘pure’ pop creations that are dance-able. People will dance to them, but there is no culturally agreed upon ‘traditional’ dance that is particular to that song, just as we don’t associate any particular dance with “Blowin’ in the Wind” or “Lady Madonna”. For more info, click here.

**2nd Generation dance. A dance that developed and was disseminated in a non-traditional way. 2G dances are specific – have a fixed format designed to correspond with the arrangement of a particular recording., whereas 1G dances are generic – have a shorter sequence that works with live music – where many different songs are played and arrangements vary according to the tastes of musicians and dancers. For more on the differences between 1st & 2nd G dances click here.

Legnala Dana is certainly a popular Macedonian folk song.  I’ve found 11 YouTubes of its performance in Macedonia, plus a few others of its being performed in Poland, Croatia, USA, etc.  Here’s an old TV clip

Tanec, the Macedonian state dance troupe, made a recording, with added harmonies

In 1969 Atanas Kolarovski, former director of Tanec who defected to the USA, introduced to his North American followers a dance he called Legnala Dana, using the Tanec recording.

Notice how the dance phrases follow the record phrases exactly (after an un-necessary pause for the “right” starting point.) – not typical of 1st Generation folk dances – (where generic dances are applied to many songs, and where the song and dance phrases often don’t match.)

A search for Legnala Dana the dance yields lots of results for non-Macedonian recreational dance groups – all of whom would have learned from Atanas or his pupils.  However I can find no one dancing to this song in Macedonia.  There are 2 YouTubes of ‘live’ Macedonian singing performances with audience – normally a place where cameras like to pan to dancers every once in awhile to keep things interesting.  In both cases people just sit.

Until I see evidence of a Macedonian dancing to Legnala Dana, I’m calling it a Macedonian song with 2nd G choreography.

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