Niška Banja (S*) – Serbia

*S is for Song. So? A song and/or melody has a life independent of whatever dance it may be attached to. Why that’s important is explained here.

Niška Banja is a very popular Serbian folk song, more like a pop song, really.

It translates as “the Baths of Niš” a spa town in south Serbia blessed with healing waters, known for its hedonistic lifestyle.  It’s hard to say which “healing water” is more popular, the baths, or Rakia, the local fruit brandy, which ranges from 40% (commercial production) to 90% (homemade) alcohol.  Niš also has a reputation for loose women, or maybe for men who like to brag.  Then there’s the association with the Roma, or gypsies.  I’m not sure if Niš has a large Roma population, but Serbs like to use Niška Banja to channel their inner Roma when dancing.

The lyrics:

Nis lyr

There are lots more lyrics, every generation has a new set to suit their sensibilities, some political, some bawdy.  So the song is the ultimate party song, and as such most Serbs today like to dance freestyle to the music.

However some will resort to a line dance, though which dance seems to be up to the people in the room.

My notes are based on the deski band version (above).  I call this a T-12A variation of the Taproot Dance.  Also called Devetorka.  For more on the Taproot Dance and its variations, see BEGIN>The Taproot Family.

Nis dn

Some North American IFD groups dance a choreography popularized by Bora Gajički (below), but in my collection of some 15-odd Serbian Niška Banja’s, I’ve seen nothing similar except in IFD groups.

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