Musically the term Sârba is usually applied to a lively 2/4 melody with triplet grouping, giving a 6/8 feel. This is a common dance rhythm across the Balkans, in dances such as the Serbian Čačak and the Bulgarian fast Pravo Horo.
In dance, the Sârba mostly refers to a lively 3-measure structured social dance, this is generally referred to as 'common Sârba'. The similar slower Brâul bătrân with Sârba belongs to a very ancient and widespread dance form throughout the Balkans.
Sârba is found in the same areas as Hora with the highest variety of variants being found along the sub-Carpathians. Unlike Hora, an open circle formation is the norm, apart from south Oltenia where it is generally danced in a closed circle.
The name Sârba may mean 'Serb like', and the same dance is known in Greece as Servikos.
The 'common Sârba'
- The common Sârba alternates between travelling or resting phrases and phrases for improvisation or more complex steps. The dancers at each end are the leaders, with other dancers joining into the middle of line during the dance. In some areas there are Sârbe with a number of figures where the change of figure is indicated by commands from the leader. The other main type of Sârbe have a fixed choreography and are possibly newer. Ciuleandra is a specific type of Sârba from north Oltenia and Muntenia. It is danced in small circles, which change places with other small circles in the dance area.
- fixed form dances to Sârba music are also generally known as Sârba
- dances with commands (the leader uses commands to determine the sequence) to Sârba type music, often with a 3-measure motif, have many names other than Sârba but are classified as Sârbe
- Some Sârbe are similar to Brâuri and some Sârbe are called Brâul
|common Sârba||Sârba, Brâu||shoulder hold||3 measure phrases non-concordant with music||step-step, step-hop, step-hop||2/4 (in compound time ~6/8)|
|fixed form Sârba||Sârba lui 22, Sârba studenţilor, Chindia, Hora Nuţii||shoulder hold, hands joined at shoulder height||bi-directional figures||hops, heel clicks, crossing, toe & heel actions||2/4 (in compound time ~6/8)|
|command Sârba||Arcanul, Raţa, Lăzeasca||shoulder hold||3 measure phrases non-concordant with music||hops, heel clicks, crossing, toe & heel actions||2/4 (in compound time ~6/8)|
BUCSAN, A. (1971) Specificul Dansului Popular Românesc, Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România.
GIURCHESCU, A, Romanian Traditional Dance, Mill Valley CA: Wild Flower Press, 1995.