Brâul is a term used for types of men's chain dances, although there are now mixed and women's versions. The term is applies to several different regional families of dances that have little choreographic similarity.
The word Brâul (pl. Brâuri) 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 The belt hold rarely exists in Romania except in the name of the dance and has been replaced by shoulder hold, front or back cross-hand hold, or simple low hand hold.
There are three basic types of the Brâul separated by their region, although there is some cross-linking between sub-types and some variety in classifications between different researchers;
- Carpathian Brâul - the largest fund of dances are in the Carpathian regions of north Muntenia, west Moldavia, and
south east Transylvania and sometimes grouped as Brâul Mocănesc, with
sub-groups of old-type, Muscel type and Transylvanian type. The new-type
has closer links with the Danubian types.
Sometimes the Maramureş and Oaş men's Roata and Bărbătesc, and the Pădureni Brâul are included within Carpathian Brâuri, although the Pădureni Brâul is closer to the Banat 'old-type' Brâul.
- Danubian Brâul - there are two main families; the Brâuleţ from Oltenia (other names, Galaonul, Poloxia, and Trei păzeşte), and the Alunelul, found across the whole of southern Romania (other name Ca la baltă).
- Banat Brâul - there are two very different types of Brâul; the 'old-type' Brâul bătrân which is danced by men and women in a similar context to the Hora and is similar to the Pădureni Brâul, and new-type Brâul which has similarities with the Danubian Brâul types.
- Some Sârbe are similar to Brâuri and some Sârbe are called Brâul.
|Carpathian Brâul||Brâul, Corăgheşte (including Roata, Bărbătesc)||shoulder hold||walking (plimbăre) travelling to the right & figures||syncopation, stamping, heel clicks||2/4|
|Danubian Brâul||Brâuleţ, Galaonul, Poloxia, Alunelul||cross hand holds||bi-directional figures||fast footwork - crossing, toe & heel actions||2/4|
|Banat Brâul (new type)||Brâul lui ...,
Brâul de la ...,
|shoulder hold||bi-directional figures||fast footwork - crossing, toe & heel actions||2/4 or 7/8|
|Banat Brâul (old type)||Brâul, Danţ||shoulder hold||bi-directional||fixed step pattern||2/4|
BADEA, M. (1971) Folclor Coreografic Oltenesc, Centrul Creatiei Dolj.
BUCSAN, A. (1971) Specificul Dansului Popular Românesc, Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România.
DUMITRU, E. (1966) Brâuri Din Munti Banatului, Timşoara, Casa Regionala a Creatiei Populare Banat.
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.
POPESCU-JUDET, G. (?) Jocuri Din Banat, Bucuresti, Editura de Stat pentru Literatura si Arta.