Romania Rustem & Bulgarian Paiduška programme

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The 5/8 or 5/16 rhythm appears to be most prevalent in northern Bulgaria and southern Romania. In southern Romania, and to a lesser extent in northern Bulgaria, the rhythm of two uneven beats is found called by a range of different dance names, with different choreographic sequences and tempos. As always in village dances, the name, rhythm and choreography are interchanged between variants so that a dance of a particular name may resemble closely or distantly the expected characteristics. This also gives rise to other dance families linked to the Rustem. The 5/8 asymmetric rhythm is found in the slow Hora in south Romania and north Moldavia, some women's songs in the north of Romania and some of the dances associated with Căluş and Drăgaica customs,. This might suggest a long history allowing the formation of more variants and the exchange of choreographic elements with other dance types. There are theories that the 5/8 rhythm was introduced by the Turks or was left over from the Greeks, but there is a lack of substantial evidence, and this dance type is not representative of either nationality. Possibly this is an ancient musical rhythm of the Danubian regions and people.

These Rustem & Paiduška dance types have two common features:

I have not included the wider range of dances in 5/8 or 5/16 that are often linked to the Rustem, but have different choreographies and steps, often shared with other regional dance types, click here to see the relationships between 5/8 dances. Note that other 5/8 rhythm dances not based on the two beat pattern are sometimes misleadingly grouped with Rustemul and Paiduška.

The common Bulgarian variant is the Paiduska (Paidusca to the Romanians, and Baiduska to the Greeks) which is believed to have originated in northern Bulgaria. The name is variously associated with meaning "drunken", or from the Bulgarian "haiduk" resistance, or from Turkish "baiduk". The common 10 measure (sometime a little longer) pattern is relatively consistent over the greater Bulgarian population. Villages in Romanian Dobrogea have the Paidusca, but during past history this region has been part of Bulgaria and there is still a significant Bulgarian minority around Babadag. Macedonia has the Paiduska (to the Slavs), Baidusca (to the Greeks), and again this region has been within Bulgaria for much of the past millennia. The similarity of the versions and the names over a wide distribution suggests a relatively recent spread, at a guess possibly through Bulgarian communities during late Ottoman times.

The Rustem in south east Romania, and a variant known as Bugeac after the southern Moldavian region (Budchak in Turkish times), are closer to the Bulgarian Paiduska than the sub-Carpahthian and Oltenian varients. One might hazard a guess that the Rustem and northern Bulgarian variants are the oldest forms, with a more fixed choreography spreading through Bulgarian communities more recently. 

Title Village, Region Choreographic level Dance notes* Source**
*click here for notes
Rustemul Muntenia 3 Mihai David
Rustemul Teleorman, Muntenia 2
Rustemul fetelor Pauşeşti Otăşău, Vâlcea 1
Rustemul Babadag 1

Ţigăneşti, Teleorman, Muntenia

1         Sever Tita
Bugeac Muntenia 2 Sever Tita
Paiduška Bulgaria 1
Plevesko Paiduška Pleven, N Bulgaria 2 Jaap Leegwater
Do Tri Pati

Gradiste, nr. Pavlikeni, N Bulgaria

Paiduška Macedonia, towns 1
Paidusca Caugagia, Dobrogea, Romania 1
Paidusca Plopul, Dobrogea, Romania 1
Sarkina or

Saračinsko or Sarakinskoto

Sarčino, Meglen region, Aegean Macedonia

1         Vase Robov
Paidouskino Aridea, W Macedonia 1 Yannis Konstantinou

* 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  

5/16 in Dobrogea and the south, drifting to 3/8 in places, and near to 2/4 particularly in the sub-carpathians


Open or closed circles in low hand hold


Bidirectional, sometimes forward+backward

Characteristic steps

Travelling: step-hops, gallops, "limping" steps

Crossing steps: single 3 count and double 7 count


Rustemul the wood of a yoke
Resteul the wood of a yoke
Bugeacul the plain in the south of Moldavia known as Budchak by the Turks
Paiduška Variously suggested: "drunken", from "haiduk", from Turkish
Paiduşca from Bulgarian Pajduško
Baiduska from Bulgarian with the P -> B sound shift