Welcome to our website

This is the website of Liz Mellish and Nick Green, independent academics and researchers, whose work is centred on dance, music, customs and ethnography of Romania, Bulgaria and surrounding areas in southeastern Europe.

Please visit our other website on ethnography at eliznik.org.uk.

Some recent posts …

Publications by Vera Proca Ciortea

Head of dance research at the Institute of Folklore (Bucharest). Vera Proca-Ciortea (1915-2002) from Sibiu studied at the National Academy of Physical Education in Bucharest (1932-1936), then further in Berlin (1937-1938) and again in Germany (1962-1981). She was a lecturer at the Institute of Physical Education, a university professor at …read more

Publications by Emanuela Bălăci

Dance researcher at the Institute of Folklore (Bucharest). Emanuela Bălăci (born 1930) studied at School of Choreography in Sibiu, and was a teacher at the School of Art in Sibiu (1952-1953), and then a folklorist-choreographer at Institute of Folklore (Bucharest) from 1953-1972, leaving to live in Germany from 1973. Her …read more

Publications by Constantin Costea

Dance researcher at the Institute of Folklore (Bucharest). Constantin Costea (1931–2002) from Bucharest was a dancer, choreographer and researcher. Between 1948 and 1959 he was a dancer, soloist and assistant ballet master at the C.F.R.Giulești Ensemble and a ballet master (folklorist choreographer) at the Institute of Folklore Bucharest from 1952. …read more

Publications by Andrei Bucșan

Dance researcher at the Institute of Folklore (Bucharest). Andrei Bucșan (1921–1995) from Bucharest graduated from university in literature and philosophy. He initially worked in industry until 1951 when he became a researcher at the Institute of History in Bucharest (1951-1954), then at the Institute of Ethnography and Folklore (IEF) (1954-1974). …read more

Balkan folk dance in the UK

Balkan dance performance 1988

The “Balkan dance” scene emerged as a sub-scene of the recreational “international folk dance” scene in the post second world war period in the US, UK, Netherlands and other western European countries, as well as in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. However the history of interest in dances …read more

Kruggel family of Mausdorf

The Kruggel family can be traced in Lutheran parish records back tot he mid 18th century in the village of Gross Mausdorf, in the then Danzig region of Prussia. Complete family tree My first luck was that my grandfather drew out a family tree a long time ago which has …read more

Romanian traditional dance books

Over the past century more than 200 collections of national and traditional dances have been published in Romania. The table below includes all that I know about, however, there are more books, particularly those with small print runs and those that have been produced more recently. A few are authored …read more

Publications authored by Anca Giurchescu

Anca Giurchescu (1930-2015), etnochoreologist and Romanian dance researcher, published numerous works in many languages during her career covering over six decades. This page lists the majority of her works in the table below. Anca published two books on her ethnographic research: 1. Folclor Coregraphic din Tara Vrancei, 1974, (co-author Constantin …read more

Meter in dance and music

This blog note explains the way I (as a partially competent musician) have rationalised the concept of ‘meter’ from the perspective of dancing (at which I am more competent). The problem to somehow mediate between a dance concept and the established de facto western classical musical understanding of ‘meter’. From …read more

Variation or improvisation?

At academic meetings the themes of ‘improvisation’ and the ‘individual’ are common, but what does this actually mean in the context of a chain dance? Here I summarise the three logical constructions that could be termed ‘improvisation’. First construction … non-Western music, in which one cannot really distinguish between improvisation …read more

Defined by concept and rules

Western classical works in music and dance are generally quite tightly fixed and rigid compositions, which can be notated, and are played or danced near identically every time. However, this is not typical of social dancing and many forms of music. … establish the rules according to which a dance …read more

Topic: Dance structures

Nick, as a scientist by training, profession and upbringing, has always taken an interest in dance structural analysis methodologies, where structure is the organisation and arrangement of the parts in a system of dancing. In participative dance genres the focus often is on the repetitive patterning and the relationships between …read more

Politics of representation, identity and minorities as portrayed through local dance in the Banat Region

This paper will examine the politics of representation and identity as portrayed through dance by the co-located ethnicities in the Banat region of Romania using three main parameters, the ‘representation’ that the dancing is portraying, the context in which the dancing takes place and the adaption of the dancing to …read more

Crazy week, the disorganised and the organised: Fărșang and “inverted” weddings in the Banat mountains

During crazy week (the week in which lent commences) carnivalesque events, in various manifestations, take place in many villages in Banat. The commonalities between these events are that they focus around local music, dance and customs and only local people are involved. Although each event may be nominally organised by …read more

Carnival (fărșang/fășanc) in Banat

Carnivalesque events known as fășanc, fărșang or fășang, nunta cornilor take place in Banat during the week preceding the start of the pre-Easter fasting, postul mare, (the precise week depending on catholic or orthodox calendars). These events mark the transition between the end of the winter and the beginning (re-birth) …read more

A sciency look at dancing the Romanian way: physics of the movement of the centre-of-mass

2018 science approaches Graz

This analysis is based on a comparison of my particular experience of two dance cultures-western classical dance training and participation in Romanian traditional dance. I discuss aspects of movement of the centre-of-mass based on a consideration of vertical and lateral movement in the context of very fast stepped dances that …read more

Francis Davy born 1812

Possibly the second illegitimate son of a teenage mother, who a few years later marries just before a daughter is born. My grandfather documented the family information that he was a “Woolcomber”, location Normanton and his name is on the wedding certificate for his son Christopher Davy and Rosetta Beech. …read more

Family trees

If anyone researching their family thinks there could be a link please e-mail us info (at) eliznik.org.uk Beech family from Little Wenlock, Shropshire Davy family from Otley, Yorkshire Amelia Briggs, née Davy Emily Maston, née Davy Francis Davy Ruth Wraith, née Davy William Davy Ford family from Wellington, Shropshire Green family from Osmotherley, North Yorkshire Thomas …read more

‘Va dorim success, felicitare’: competition and community participation in Romanian dance festivals

This chapter explores Romanian dancers’ participation in organized dance competitions, both within Romania and internationally, and investigates the informal competition that exists between the members of the Banat Romanian dance community. It includes three themes. The first traces a historical trajectory on the changing importance of performances of local, regional, …read more

Our research

The “Research” section of our personal website covers our published work in academic dance research (ethnography, anthropology and ethnochoreology) and our involvement in local dance practice. Please see our website at eliznik.org.uk for dance, costume, music and ethnography. You can find on us Academic.edu – Liz Mellish and Nick Green – …read more

The cultural development of folk dance festivals and the sustainability of tradition: Introduction

This book is a collection of case studies written by authors who have a long term research interest in folk dance festivals as part of their overall research as dance ethnologists, ethnochoreologists or anthropologists. The chapters that follow draw on the authors’ research on the role of folk dance festivals …read more

Presentational folk ensembles on the festival stage: a window into a participatory and social local dance scene in Banat Romania

This chapter discusses the relationship between local dance groups at festivals and sustaining local dancing in the community. Festivals in south east Europe traditionally include food, drink, music and dancing, and in Timișoara this format is used for many events from the village Saint’s day to the large international folk …read more

What is an (ideal) international folk dance festival? Voices of participants and organisers in international folk dance festivals in Romania and beyond

This chapter explores the question of what is considered as an (ideal) international folk dance festival by drawing from longitudinal ethnography among festival organisers in Romania, participants in international folk dance in festivals within Romania and Romanian participants in festivals elsewhere, as well as from archival and published sources. It …read more

The cultural development of folk dance festivals and the sustainability of tradition

The ‘Cultural Development of Folk Dance Festivals and the Sustainability of Tradition’ is a collection of case studies written by authors who have undertaken long term research on folk dance festivals, in many different locations, as part of their overall research as dance ethnologists, ethnochoreologists or anthropologists. All the authors …read more

Interview: Folclorul romanesc in spatial european

În luna noiembrie a anului 2016 am avut plăcerea să fiu invitat de colegul meu de breaslă din Timişoara, coregraful Marius Ursu, pentru a preda jocuri populare sud-moldoveneşti în cadrul unui seminar la care au participat studenţi din mai multe centre universitare, membri ai unor ansambluri folclorice studenţeşti. Alături de …read more

Social dancers in Balkan folk dance performance: communities, traditions and sensory concepts?

This paper considers perspectives from dancers within a particular genre of recreational dance known as “Balkan folk dance” in the UK. Through asking participants about their understanding of dancing I consider, firstly their preference to Bulgarian dances over Romanian dances, secondly their lack of relationship to Bulgarian dance groups in …read more

The south east Europeans are (still) dancing: recent dance trends in Romania and among south east Europeans in London

Twenty five years since the changes in regimes in southeastern Europe, local dance is still thriving and has even taken on a new vibrancy both within this area and among southeast European economic migrants. This paper evaluates these trends by focussing on two examples, recreational dance groups for adults in …read more

Bulgarian tracks: the road to the Koprivshtitsa Festival (and back again, and again)

The Koprivshtitsa, National Festival of Bulgarian Folklore, has been held (around) every five years since 1965, and throughout its fifty-year history has drawn an ever-increasing audience of Bulgarian music and dance enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. This paper asks why many participants travel to this festival for every …read more

Interview: Englezii Liz Mellish si Nick Green promovează dansul popular bănăţean prin cercetări academice dar şi jucând brâul pe contratimp

În ultimii 10-12 ani, în spectacolul de închidere a “Festivalului Inimilor” prezentam cursanţii de la Seminarul de coregrafie organizat de Casa de Cultură Timişoara în timpul festivalului. Ajutaţi de dansatorii noştri, cursanţi din Olanda, Japonia, Anglia, Belgia, Franţa şi multe alte ţări, prezentau publicului din Parcul Rozelor câte un dans …read more

Dance, field research and intercultural perspectives: The Easter customs in the village of Svinița

Dance, Field Research, and Intercultural Perspectives, edited by Selena Rakočević and Liz Mellish, is a result of joint field research carried out by members of the Sub-Study Group on Field Research Theory and Methods in the village of Svinita, Romania in May 2013. The field research and subsequent book wasbased …read more

Placing of Svinița’s identity as seen from the perspective of community dance culture

The paper aims to situate the dance practices in contemporary Svinița (Serbian: Svinica) within the surrounding regions. During the short time the research group spent in Svinița, we attended and participated in two evening dance events. These events were in many ways typical of community festival occasions found across the …read more