In chain dances the dancers are linked to their neighbours using their hands or arms. The line and circle dances of Romania are descendents of ancient dances possibly associated with rituals.
Some dances are in a circle, either a complete circle or an open circle with dance leaders on the open ends. These formations are common in social occasions with larger numbers of participants and mostly use simple hand hold which is more flexible not requiring exact movement in unison from the dancers.
Shorter lines or smaller circles often use holds that maintain a rigid linkage along the line. Holding the shoulders of one's neighbours is common in Romanian men's dances, "back basket hold" where hands are joined behind the adjacent dancer, to the hand of the next dancer, is common in men's dances and mixed men's and women's dances.
As a general rule, the circle dances of western Europe move to the left and those of eastern Europe and the Balkans move to the right. In Romania most of the dances that move predominantly in one direction move to the right in common with the rest of east Europe, although some dances in the isolated area of Vrancea move to the left.
The "classic" Romanian ethnologist classification of chain dances is into basic types;
- Hora and Sârba by musical rhythm
- the Brâul by identity as men's line dances
- those with various asymmetric rhythms which have been termed aksak, but these dances are generally choreographically within other dance types
- assemblage of various vocal dances
Selections of various dances which fulfil the basic classification requirement are put into each of these categories, but may actually be linked by choreological development with other dances placed in the other types.
It should be noted that the dance types are generally termed in Romanian by names with are also particular dance names.
|Hora||Hora mare, Hora dreaptă, Hora de mână, Periniţa
stamping: Hangul, Floricica
mixed rhythm: Sălcioara, Hodoroaga, Şchioapa
ternary: Jianul, Balta, Salta
|hands joined at shoulder height||2 or 4 measure phrases, or
bi-directional figures, or
3 measure phrases non-concordant with music
|walking, stamps, heel lifts, leaps||2/4 & other|
|Sârba||Sârba||shoulder hold||3 measure phrases non-concordant with music, or bi-directional figures||2/4 (in compound time ~6/8)|
|Brâul||Brâul, Corăgheşte, Brâuleţ, Galaonul, Poloxia, Alunelul, Danţ||shoulder hold, cross hand holds||walking (plimbăre) travelling to the right & figures, or bi-directional figures||syncopation, stamping, heel clicks, crossing, toe & heel actions||2/4 (Banat can be 7/8)|
BUCSAN, A. (1971) Specificul Dansului Popular Românesc, Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România.
GIURCHESCU, A, Romanian Traditional Dance, Mill Valley CA: Wild Flower Press, 1995.