Romanian couple dances

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Couple dance form

Romanian couple dances have developed from European couple dances as the fashions in dances have changed, but within these formations other local steps and figures have been incorporated.

A possible historic order might be;

  1. The processional walking dance is performed in couples standing side by side with their partner, arranged in an arc,  with a lead couple. Variants across eastern Europe and Scandinavia include Polish Chodzony, Moravian Starodavny, the försteg of the Swedish Polska, Swedish Ganglåt, Norwegian Gangar, and Romanian Purtata. It looks likely the Polish Empire was key to the distribution, and maybe the dances originated in the northern Slavic states.

  2. Ardeleana, is found in Banat and Crişana, west of Transylvania, although the name indicates a Transylvanian origin. This  has a similar formation to the processional dance but is danced at a greater tempo. Ardeleana may be related to the Haţegana of southern Transylvania, but it does not include any turning figures.

  3. The turning couple dance which is thought to have developed after the processional walking dance, and has variants across eastern Europe and Scandinavia: the Polish Oberek, Bohemian Polka, Austrian Waltz, Moravian Starodavny, Swedish Polska and Pols, Romanian Învârtita, and Hungarian forgatós. It is thought that the oldest forms are turning in place and the later forms move around the dance space. The Transylvanian version, and older style Swedish slängpolska have turning in place.

  4. Set dances, based on the central European dances of the 19th century, which are mainly couples in a circle, often with Polka type steps.

Romanian couple dance types

The "classic" Romanian ethnologist classification of couple dances is into basic types;

 
 
 
 
Couple dances
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Purtata
walking
Ardeleana
column
 
 
 
 
Purtata
 
Învârtita
asymmetric
Ardeleana
straight
 Turning polca
 
 
 
 
 
De-a lungul
 
Învârtita
straight
De doi, Mânânţel
fast
Set dances
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Pe Picior
syncopated
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Sorocul
asymmetric
 
 
 
 

Choreographic form, motifs, & music

Dance rhythms explained:

type names form structure motifs music
Breaza Breaza, Ca la Breaza, De doi, Ungurica, Mocăncuţa, Kettös chain dance, couples in circle, scattered couples, short lines     2/4 (q-s-q-s-s)
Purtata Purtata, De purtat, Româneşte de purtat, Româneşte cu fete, De-nceput
Purtata, Pe sub mână
De-a lungul, P-a lungul, De-a mână
Împiedecata
crescent of couples with a lead couple, side by side with their partner     10/16 (4+3+3)
and others
Învârtita Învârtita, De-învârt, Bătuta, Învârtita, Tropotita, Bătuta, Învârtita, De-învârtita, Harţagul, Haţegana, Romanca scattered couples, trios, or small circles turning as a couple, resting figure can include women's pirouettes, men's heel clicks, men's stamping, men's leg slapping 2/4 (also 10/16,
Ardeleana Ardeleana, Sorocul, Pe Picior, De Doi, Mânântel, , Lenţa, Duba, Ţarina, Polca, Poarga, Luncanul couples arranged in a column dancer moving to the side and back, either in the same or opposite direction as their partner men have stamping steps, and leg slapping sequences, interweaving and encircling arm patterns with the women performing rapid turns, 2/4
set dances          

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Additional information:

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

Record, tape & CD collection (~3000 titles)

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