Traditional dance in Romania, Romanian folk dance

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dance notes

Romanian traditional dance contexts

Village dance

A rich variety of traditional dances still exist in Romania due to the continuation of the feudal system until the mid 19th century and subsequently the isolation imposed by Ceauşescu, which resulted in the continuance of a peasant life style. Romania is a unique European country as its folklore still exists in its natural environment, but this is now fast vanishing with the spread of western culture and modern technology.

Ensembles

Organised performances by village folk dance groups within Romania can be traced back to the mid nineteenth century and earlier. Folk ensembles based in towns date from the period immediately after the 2nd World War. The first professional ensembles were founded around 1949, with amateur ensembles in the main regional towns from around 1950.

Romanian dance types

Any "dance" is a combination of elements: formation, regional style; motifs, musical rhythm, choreography and the social occasion. A change in one or more of these elements can give another dance, sometimes too subtle for a visitor to understand. As newer dance formations become fashionable these combine with elements of the existing music and dance repertoire to give new local variants. New melodies may be used for old dances and new dances danced to old melodies.

Formation and historic context

Romanian dances are classified at the top level by their formation.

 
 
 
 
Romanian dances
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dance formations have their routes in different periods of history and have mostly been maintained to the present day. This allows an easy categorisation into;

Functional and structural classification of dances

The dance section of this website is organised according to the "classic" Romanian ethnologist classification scheme. This uses various formation, musical, choreographic motif, and function features to produce a classification tree.

It should be noted that the dance "types" are generally termed in Romanian by names which are also particular dance names, and dances with these names may also appear within other categories.

Within these categories there are selections of various dances which fulfil the classification, but may be actually linked by choreological development with other dances placed in the other types.

In parallel with the "classic" classification, grouping by musical, choreographic form, motifs, and function is provided to lead to a deeper understanding of the development.

Choreographic form, motifs, & music

The selection of dances performed in each village is often done in a fixed order, the slowest dances first, then sometimes men's showing off dances, ending with the fastest dances. These are known as dance cycles and exist in all regions to some extent, but are possibly most developed in Transylvania.

Many Romanian dances are accompanied by loud shouts and calls known as Strigături which are called rhythmically, but often across the musical melody and rhythm. Such calls seem to be specific to Romania, and are only otherwise found in the Hungarian minorities of Transylvania.

Individuality and improvisation is found both in couple and line dances with men demonstrating their agility and dance ability.

References

ALEXANDRU, T. (1980) Rumanian Folk Music, Musical Publishing.

AMZULESCU, A. (1973) Folk Dances at Desa, Gottingen, Institut fur den Wissenschftlichen Film.

BACANU, G. (1971) Horelor Surorilor, Galaţi, Casa Creaţiei Popularea Judeţul Galaţi.

BACANU, G. (1965) Jocuri Populare Din Vrancea, Centrul Creatiei Galati.

BACANU, G. (1969) Jocuri Populare Din Sudul Moldovei, Casa Creatiei Galati.

BACIU, G. (1956) Dansuri, Populare Romanesti - Volume 1, Casa Creatiei Populare.

BADEA, M. (1971) Folclor Coreografic Oltenesc, Centrul Creatiei Dolj.

BALACI, E. & BUCSAN, A. (1969) Jocuri Din Transilvania De Sud - Monografie Coreografica, Brasov, Casa Creatiei Populare Brasov.

BÂRLEA, O. (1982) Eseu Despre Dansul Popular Românesc, Bucaresti, Cartea Romaneasca  

BUCSAN, A. (1957) Jocuri Din Ardealul De Sud, Editura de Stat.

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CIPRU, C. (2002) Nunta Bănăţeană, Timişoara, Centrul de Cultura si Arta, Timiş.

CIPRU, C. (2004) Instructorul De Jocuri Populare,Timişoara, Centrul de Cultura si Arta, Timiş.

CONSTANTINESCU, M. (1980) Folclor Coregrafic Din Vâlcea - Vol 1, Centrul Creatiei Vâlcea.

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CULTURA, C. (1998) Cununa De Pe Somes 1968 - 1998, Casa Cultura.

DANCE, I. (1971) Jocuri Populare Codrenesti, Centrul Creatiei Satu Mare.

DEJEU, Z. (2000) Dansuri Traditionale Din Transilvania, Clusium.

DOBRESCU., A. L. (1930/1946) Manual De Dansuri Nationale, Craiova, Editura Scrisul Românesc.

DUMITRU, E. (1966) Brâuri Din Munti Banatului, Timşoara, Casa Regionala a Creatiei Populare Banat.

GAFIAS, R. (1984) Dance among the Urban Gypsies of Romania. Yearbook for Traditional Music.

GAL, E. (1998) Seara Buna-N Sezatoare, "Editura ""Augusta""".

GEORGESCU, C. D. (1984) Jocul Popular Românesc - Tipologie Muzicale, Editura Muzicale.

GHUIR, G. B. G. (1973) Jocuri Populare Din Ţara Lapusului Si Ţara Chioarului, Comitetul Maramureş.

GHUIR, G. B. G. (1973) Jocuri Populare Din Ţara Lapusului Si Ţara Chioarului - Chioar, Comitetul Maramureş.

GIURCHESCU, A. (1957) Jocurile Din Vrancea. Revista de Folclor, Anul II, 55-76.

GIURCHESCU, A. (1983) The Process of Improvisation in Folk Dance. In LANGE, R. (Ed.) Dance Studies Vol 7. St Peter, Jersey, Centre for Dance Studies.

GIURCHESCU, A. (1992) A Comparative Analysis between The "Căluş" Of the Danube Plain And "Căluşerul" Of Transylvania (Romania). Studia Musicologica, 34, 31-44.

GIURCHESCU, A. & BLOLAND, S. (1995) Romanian Traditional Dance, "Mill Valley, California", Wild Flower Press.

LATCU, I. M. A. (1971) Folclor Coreografic Din Vaile Timisului Si Bistrei, Centrul creatiei populare Caras-Severin.

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MARTIN, G. (1974) Hungarian Folk Dances, Corvina.

NICULESCU-VARONE, G. T. (1938) Jocurile Nationale Romanesti, Editura Ziarului Universale.

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POPESCU-JUDET, G. (1963) Jocuri Populare Din Oas Si Maramures - Volume 1, Centrul Creatiei Maramures.

POPESCU-JUDET, G. (1963) Jocuri Populare Din Oaş Si Maramureş - Volume 1, Casa Regională a Creaţiei Populare

POPESCU-JUDET, G. (1967?) Jocuri Populare Din Dobrogea, Casa Regionala.

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PRICHICI, V. N. C. (1963) Cintece Si Jocuri Populare Din Moldova, Editura Muzicale.

PROCA-CIORTEA, V. (1969) On Rhythm in Rumanian Folk Dance. Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council, 1, 176 -99.

PROCA-CIORTEA, V. (1970) Kinetic Language and Vocabulary. Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council, 2, 133-41.

ROTARIU, G. N. (1996) Folclore Coreografic Din Judeţul Neamt, Editura Nona.

SEVER, T. V. T. (1969) Folclor Coregrafia Românesc, Comiletul Pentru.

SEVER, T. V. T. (1972) Folclor Coreografic Românesc, Consiliul Culturii.

SOMESAN, I. (1978) Dantul Din Oaş.

STANCU, C. (1997) Căluşul - Anthologie De Studii, Tiparg.

STANESCU, T. (1971) Jocuri Populare Moldovenesti, Centrul Creatiei Populare Iasi.

VASILIU, I. C. (1966) Trei Suite De Jocuri Populare Ardelenesti, Brasov, Casa Creatiei Populare Brasov.

WOLF, E. (Ed.) (1974) Calusari Priseaca, Gottingen, Institut fur den Wissenschftlichen Film.

WOLF, E. (Ed.) (1976) Calusari Priseaca  - Match between 2 Groups, Gottingen, Institut fur den Wissenschftlichen Film.

WOLF, E. (Ed.) (1976) Calusari Priseaca  Setting up Flag and Dance in Courtyard, Gottingen, Institut fur den Wissenschftlichen Film.

WOLF, E. (Ed.) (1976) Calusari Priseaca Dance & Death Game, Gottingen, Institut fur den Wissenschftlichen Film.

Additional information:

More than 20 visits to Romania: ethnographic tours, museums, festivals etc. between 1988-present

Record, tape & CD collection (~3000 titles)

© Eliznik2005, Last updated Apr-08