Carpathian Brâul

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The Romanian Brâul family of men's dances, now has mixed and women's versions. The word Brâul comes from the Dacio-Illyrian language 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 The belt hold no longer exists in Romania except in the name of the dance and has been replaced by front or back cross-hand hold, shoulder hold, or simple low hand hold. There are three basic regional types of the Brâul.

The Carpathian Brâul originated in the Carpathian regions of north Muntenia, west Moldavia, and south east Transylvania, but is now also found across north Oltenia, south Muntenia, Dobrogea and all of Moldavia. The Moldavian version is called Corăgheşte and the Transylvanian version is sometimes known as Mocăneasca (shepherd's dance). The music is in 2/4, but the steps are often syncopated, for example Brâul pe şase (Brâul in six) qSSSqSS, Brâul from Făgăraş qSSqS, and Corăgheşte qSqqqSSS. The dancers are usually connected by holding their neighbour's shoulders, or in low hand hold, and the dance moves to the right, unlike the Danubian and Banat versions when the dancers usually return to the same place. There are also newer fixed choreography versions of the Brâul such as Brâul Zbarcii.

The southern Transylvania Brâul is found in villages of the Mărginimea Sibiului, Ţara Oltului (Făgăraş), and Bran regions. The dances are characterised by the basic qSSqS rhythm. The 'classic' Brâul is from the villages near Făgăraş in Ţara Oltului (Bucium, Viştea, Arpaş). In addition to the men's dance there are girl's and mixed variants. The figures are predominantly two measures of hopping on the left foot while the right does combinations of flexations or heels clicks, followed by two measures of a common conclusion motif. This Brâul is found in the Mărginimea Sibiului villages of Sălişte, Sibiel, Gura Râului, Saadu, and Tălmăcel. There can be an introductory simple travelling step (plimbări) before the syncopated travelling step. The figures are based on more stamping rhythms than in  the Făgăraş Brâul and include crossing and heel clicking motifs similar to those versions on the southern side of the Carpathians. There are some variants thought to be older which are known as Brâul Şchiop (found in the villages of Jina, Poiana, Rod, Sibiel, Tălmăcel) and Danţul, in which the rhythmical patterns are not purely the qSSqS but include patterns of differing lengths and have extra stamps added.

 

Title Village, Region Choreographic level Dance notes* Source**
    *click here for notes    
southern Transylvania              
Brâul de la Făgăraş Făgăraş 1         many
Brâul de fete de la Viştea Viştea 1         Corneliu Botos
Brâul de la Jina Jina 1         Traian Rapisa

* Some dance notes in Romanotation are available, click the . Please note these are not detailed notes and should only be used as a reminder after the workshops.

** Our "source" is only indicative of the route to us or the UK and may not be the original source

 

Dance characteristics  
Music

Fast 2/4 played on fluier or violin, and more recently accordion in Muntenia and saxophone in Transylvania

Formation

Lines in shoulder hold, although for recreational dancing this is usually changed to V hold

Choreography

Unidirectional, to the right

Travelling (plimbări) alternating with figures (figuri) in place

Characteristic steps

Travelling (plimbări): steps syncopated to the music, low hops, stamps

Figures (figuri): stamping (cu bătăi), crossing (cu câlige) or heels clicks (cu pinteni)

 

Etymology  
Brâul brâul (belt)
Brâul fetelor the girl's brâul
Brâul pe şase brâul on six
Brâul pe opt brâul on eight
Brâul Şchiop limping brâul
Mocăneasca of the shepherds
Corăgheşte (and variants) from local word for boat corabie (from Slavic Korab)