Carpathian Brâul men's chain dance

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Carpathian

Carpathian Brâul dance form

Brâul is a term used for types of men's chain dances, although there are now mixed and women's versions. The term is applied to several different regional families of dances that have little choreographic similarity. This page considers those found along the Carpathian mountain in Muntenia, Moldavia and Transylvania.

The word Brâul comes from the Dacio-Illyrian language group meaning belt. Formations where the dancers hold their neighbour's belts are common throughout Bulgaria (known as na pojas) and east Serbia. Belt hold causes the dancers to be connected more rigidly than hand holds, thus the dance formations are restricted to short lines and semicircles. The belt hold rarely exists in Romania except in the name of the dance and has been replaced by shoulder hold.

These dances are based on the very old 3 measure dance found throughout southern Europe. All these types have walking (plimbăre) and more complex figures, often with the sequence determined by the leader.

Carpathian Brâul dance types

Mocănesc (shepherd's) dances

These are generally classified by structure, which also has some geographical correlation, giving rise to the names. However, there is much cross over between types.

Other types

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Carpathian Brâul
 
 
 
 
 
 
from Oaş & Maramureş
Mocănesc 
Shepherds
Brâul pădurenesc
Banat
Brâul bătrân
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brâul bătrân
old type
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brâul Muscelean
from Muscel
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ardelenesc
Transylvanian
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Choreographic form, motifs, music

Syncopation

Where syncopation is used in Brâul bătrân, Brâul muscelean, Brâul ardelenesc the dance steps are started by a half beat step or hop giving combinations such as qSSSqSS - Brâul muscelean, qSSqS - Brâul ardelenesc, and Corăgheşte - SqSqqqSS (where q=quick half beat, s=slow whole beat).

Syncopation in the Bărbătesc from Maramureş and Roata are based on the SqSqS which is common in the arc from these northern regions and through Bihor down to Banat.

type names form structure motifs music
Brâul bătrân Brâul, Danţul, Brâul şchiop shoulder hold 3 measure, plimbăre travelling to the right & figures syncopation, stamping, heel clicks 2/4
Brâul muscelean Brâul shoulder hold 3 measure, plimbăre travelling to the right & figures syncopation, stamping, heel clicks 2/4
Brâul ardelenesc Brâul shoulder hold 4 measure, plimbăre travelling to the right & figures syncopation, stamping, heel clicks 2/4

References

BUCSAN, A. (1971) Specificul Dansului Popular Românesc, Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România.

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

 

© Eliznik2008, Last updated Apr-08