The Danube Gorge in Romania connects the Banat plain region to the Oltenian region through the Banat mountains at the southern end of the Carpathians. The villages at the western end of the Gorge are predominantly Serbian where those at the eastern end are predominantly Romanian. The dance practices of the Serbians and the Romanians living in the Danube Gorge were researched in the 1970s before the flooding of many of the villages to build the hydro-electric plant at Kladovo, and more recently by our late research colleague Selena Rakočević. In this paper I reference the documented collections and research and contextualise this to the dance practices in the surrounding regions. I conclude that this region does not constitute an ethnographic zone, but might be considered as a two overlapping micro-zones, in which we find complex patterns of cultural sharing with connections to the neighbouring areas. This article is an extended version of the section on dance practices within our paper in a publication dedicated to our late research colleague Selena Rakočević.
Keywords: Dance structures
“Structures analysis” (see Kaeppler and Dunin, 2007) is one perspective of dance research which helps understand ideas of dance “families” or types, and ideas of variations, based on the notion that dance movements have to have some form that is recognisable and repeatable for both the dancers and spectators to attribute cultural value and meaning to the movements.
In community dances the ideas of structure tend to be far more organised as it is an activity involving a number of people doing something together in a structured way. This structure involves the arrangement of, and relations between, the movement elements through which dance is created.
As dance researchers, we look for the “stable” features or in scientific speak, the “invariant”. Within all the details of the movements of a given dance genre there will be a simplified stable concept, but this aspect is very dependent on the culture of the dance genre.
Bob Leibman (a mathematician by profession) formulated a system based on his research of southern and western Balkan dances. Using Bob Leibman’s system to notate step “weight changes” we end up with a simple concept that generally remains invariant between different variants with a family of dances – for example Serbian Kolo 0111, Romanian Hora 1101, the ubiquitous Balkan dance 011 etc.
Variations in Balkan dances in terms of weight changes
The following explanation uses quotes from Bob Leibman’s PhD dissertation. Dance takes very many forms, however, in the Balkans the old form is generally a chain dance. The “primary focus of most dancing In the Balkans is the footwork, the patterned movement of the feet and legs” (Leibman, 1992:237). The arms and body are of secondary focus as the connection in the chain by means of their hands or arms “minimizes the possibilities of doing much with the body and arms” (Leibman, 1992:238).
Considering weight changes as a Structures analysis, “for the purposes of getting at an invariant structure which underlies the surface level performances that we see, we need to consider each action taken by the dancer as an action which either does or does not involve the shifting of the body’s weight from one leg to the other” (Leibman, 1992:259).
Considering the most common form of Balkan dances, “most dances in the Balkans are made up of a single dance phrase which, with variations, is repeated over and over. The phrase generally begins with movement onto the preferred foot in the preferred direction of motion” (Leibman, 1992:280).
There are variations between dancers in the chain, and variation between interpretations of the same dance in different communities or contexts, considering the foot with weight support, “in general, a variation on any part of the dance phrase must leave the dancer in position, at the end of that variation, to be able to continue from that point on with the regular pattern. In other words, at the end of the variation, he/she should have his weight on the same foot as all of the other dancers. This is true whether the variation lasts for one count, one measure or the entire dance phrase” (Leibman, 1992:258).
Thus forming a rule for variations, “a sequence of actions which is a variant of another should leave the dancer with his/her weight on the same foot as does that other sequence” (Leibman, 1992:258).
Therefore, “it is the parity (evenness or oddness) of the number of weight shifts rather than the actual number of such weight shifts which is critical and must be the same for all dancers” (Leibman, 1992:259).
To capture this, Bob uses “the notation of modulus 2 arithmetic (the remainder when dividing by 2) in which all odd numbers are ultimately represented by 1 and all evens by 0” (Leibman, 1992:260).
This methodology works very well for the chain dances of Macedonia, Serbia, western Bulgaria etc. where the pattern of even and odd weight changes is generally invariant between variations within the chain and other versions of the dance from the same family of dances.
Extensions to the theory of weight change parity
Direction of movement
The direction of movement relative to the chain of dancers can be notated under the notation, and the whole dance sequence can be formed by a number of sub-phrases (with repetitions), for example the dance Seljancica (Leibman, 1992:281):
There are cases where the underlying structures defined by the sequences of 0 and 1 is not invariant. This case can be seen in the connection between hora in 1101/1101 and hora în patru (Cetvorka) in 0001/1101. “The parity of the two-measure subsequence which they form is preserved — i.e., 00 -> 11 ->, 10 -> 01 or 11 -> 00” (Leibman, 1992:268).
Changes of direction
Leibman comments that changes of direction, “will generally be effected on measures of odd parity. This is a natural consequence of the preference, described above, for beginning lateral movement with the same foot as the direction of motion” (Leibman, 1992:282). Although this is generally the case, there are occasions that this is not the case, such as in Banat brâul.
When considering dances that continue in one direction, which can include a period of dancing in place, compared to bi-direction dances where phrases are repeated in opposite directions, Bob Leibman comments: “If the dance is not entirely unidirectional, then the beginning of each repetition of the dance phrase will almost always be the point at which there is a return to the preferred direction of motion. “Moreover, if the dance involves movement back in the opposite (non-preferred) direction, this movement, likewise, is normally begun with a weight shift onto the corresponding (non-preferred) foot” (Leibman, 1992:280), he gives an example of Srbijanka, “where an extra odd measure of dance is added whenever there is a need to change direction” (Leibman, 1992:283).
Application to Romanian dances
In Romanian dances the change of weight and direction is more often achieved by a conversion of the motif from 0 to 1 rather than insertion of an extra measure. The application of Bob Leibman’s method to Romanian dances is far more complex as the construction of most dance, types apart from the basic hora, does not feature a dance phrase with an invariant weight change structure. More often the dance variation is created by repeats, inserted motifs, and division of rhythmic passages. However, changes of weight have to be conserved during the rhythmic step variations.
- Kaeppler, Adrienne Lois & Dunin, Elsie Ivancich (editors) (2007). Dance structures: perspectives on the analysis of human movement. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 9789630585422 9630585421
- Leibman, Robert Henry (1992). Dancing bears and purple transformations: the structure of dance in the Balkans. Doctor of Philosophy doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.
- Green, Nick (2015). Placing of Svinița’s (Serbian: Svinica) identity as seen from the perspective of community dance culture. Selena Rakočević, & Liz Mellish, (editors), Dance, field research and intercultural perspectives: the Easter customs in the village of Sviniița: pages 115-134. Pančevo, Serbia: Selena Rakočević, Kulturni centar Pančevo. ISBN 978–86–918261–1–6
Keywords: Dance knowledge
This paper explores the transmission of local dance knowledge in contemporary Romania by focussing on ‘motivation’ and ‘continuity’ as key parameters. We examine the methods currently used by dancers to acquire their local dance knowledge; the dance experience of the teachers and mentors who transmit this knowledge; and the situations during which Romanian dancing takes place. We question whether skills acquired during formal training and informal participation work in parallel to produce the required competencies needed for local participatory and presentational dancing. Theoretically, we will draw on the works of Lave and Wenger on ‘legitimate peripheral participation’ and ‘communities of practice’, and Ingold who saw apprenticeship as a learning process through ‘guided rediscovery’. Following Giurchescu, we conclude that Romanian local dance knowledge continues to be acquired through “a combined process of observation, imitation, deliberate learning and training” which enables novice dancers to participate in dancing during both social and performative contexts.
The annual celebration of designated days in villages is a widespread custom in southeastern Europe and beyond. In Christian locations these are often linked to the day of the patron saint of the village church. In Romanian Banat these are usually called ruga, plural ruge (literally prayer). Alternately the day of the village known in Romanian Banat as ziua, plural zilele (meaning day(s)) can be chosen for secular or practical reasons. This paper draws on a five-year case study in Romanian Banat that covers around eighty Saints’ days (Ruge) or village days (Zilele). It presents a comparative analysis of the ‘framing’ of the event space that covers both the functional preparation of the event space and the socially constructed space during the event. This includes an examination of the interrelationship between the physical design of the event space, the actions within the social space during these events, and the community’s knowledge or desire for participation.
The căluș ritual of southern Romania (also found in certain villages in northern Bulgaria) takes place every year at the time of Rusalii (Pentecost, 50 days after Orthodox Easter). The căluș has drawn the attention of many researchers, from a range of backgrounds and disciplines including folklorists, religious historians (spiritual and ritual), ethnochoreologists, and anthropologists. The elements of this ritual have been described in many publications. In 2005 the căluș ritual was listed in the UNESCO list of intangible heritage list.
However căluș is more than just the healing ritual, it is a multi-facet custom that retains a strong place within the collective memory of Romanians. Although the ritual healing is rare nowadays, the căluș customs and dancing continue to take place and are still important in community life in southern Romania.
Our Căluș research
For the last two decades we have followed southern căluș in several overlapping contexts through our personal fieldwork in southern Romania and northern Bulgaria, in written literature and archival sources, and virtually using online resources.
These contexts include:
- The căluș custom during Rusalii in southern Romanian villages (house-to-house and dancing in the street)
- Căluș groups dancing in towns and cities in the period of Rusalii
- Annual Căluș festivals organised at local and county levels during and after Rusalii
- Căluș as a choreography performed by dance ensembles
Our ethnographic web site has three pages about Căluș
Kalush (in Bulgarian script Калуш) is the official transliteration of căluș. Over time, especially since 1990, the number of villages in northern Bulgaria along the Danube that have Kalush groups has steadily declined (parallel to the reduction in the rural population in Bulgaria). Today only the Kalush groups in the villages of Harlets and Zlatiya continue perform at festivals in Bulgaria.
Our themes of interest
- Căluș in its many overlapping contexts
- Căluș as part of Romanian men’s group dances
- Căluș and Romanian identity
- Căluș presentational performance and choreography
- Călușari and 1935 international folk festival in London
- Kalush in Bulgaria – links to Romanian căluș and comparative histories
- Foley, Catherine E., et al. (2022). "Maud Karpeles: Her Contribution to Dance Research and to the Council." In: Svanibor Pettan, Naila Ceribašić & Niles, and Don (eds.) Celebrating the International Council for Traditional Music: Reflections on the First Seven Decades, pages 18-30. Ljubljana: University of Ljubljana Press and International Council for Traditional Music.
- Mellish, Liz. (2006). "The Romanian Căluș tradition and its changing symbolism as it travels from the village to the global platform."
- Mellish, Liz & Green, Nick (2013). "Traditional folk dance performance in the 21st Century: Romanian Căluș versus English Morris: Revivalist versus ex-communist?" In: Kunej, Drago & Šivic, Urša (eds.) Trapped in folklore? : studies in music and dance tradition and their contemporary transformations, pages 81-99. Zurich: Lit Verlag.
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 the Institute of theatrical and cinematographic art until 1973.
She was ballet master of the National Theatre (1944-1947), head of the choreographic section at the Institute of Folklore (1949-1961) and ballet master of the C.F.R.-Giulești Ensemble (1951-1953). She is credited with the rapid dance notation scheme used within the Institute of Folklore. From 1962 she led the Ethnochoreology study group within the International Council of Traditional Music, and was on the Executive Committee of the UNESCO-Paris International Dance Council (1977).
|Proca-Ciortea, Vera||1954||Jocuri Populare Românești||Bucuresti, Editura de Stat|
|Proca, Vera||1956||Despre notarea dansului popular românesc||Revista de Folclor Anul 1 Nr 1-2, pp.135-172||București: Institutul de Folclor|
|Proca, Vera||1957||Despre notarea dansului popular românesc II||Revista de Folclor Anul 2 Nr 1-2, pp.65-91||București: Institutul de Folclor|
|Proca-Ciortea, Vera||1962||Câteva documente grafice privind jocul popular românesc||Revista de Folclor Anul 7 Nr 3-4, pp.79-88||București: Institutul de Folclor|
|Proca-Ciortea, Vera & Giurchescu, Anca||1966||Conferințele internaţionale de terminologie a dansului popular||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 11 Nr 111(1), pp.86-88||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Proca-Ciortea, Vera & Giurchescu, Anca||1968||Quelques aspects théoriques de l'analyse de la danse populaire||Langages 3(10), pp.87-93||Paris: Éditions Didier/Larousse|
|Proca-Ciortea, Vera||1969||On Rhythm in Rumanian Folk Dance||Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council 1, pp.176 -199|
|Proca-Ciortea, Vera||1970||Kinetic Language and Vocabulary||Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council 2, pp.133-141||International Council for Traditional Music|
|Proca-Ciortea, Vera||1978||The ‘Căluș’ Custom in Rumania – Tradition – Change – Creativity||Dance Studies 3, pp.1-43|
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 key publication is “Jocuri din Transilvania de Sud” (the dances from Southern Transylvania) in collaboration with Andrei Bucșan is a choreographic monograph focused on the study of 580 dance variations.
|Emanuela Bălăci, Andrei Bucșan||1956||Folclorul coreografic din Sibiel||Revista de Folclor Anul 1 Nr 1-2, pp.213-248||București: Institutul de Folclor|
|Emanuela Bălăci||1959||Observații în legătură cu unele transformări în jocul popular românesc||Revista de Folclor Anul 4 Nr 1-24(1-2), pp.45-56||București: Institutul de Folclor|
|Emanuela Bălăci||1964||Câteva observații asupra stilului în jocul popular românesc||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 9 Nr 4-59(4-5), pp.509-514||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Emanuela Bălăci||1965||Aspecte ale neconcordanței dimensionale în dansul popular românesc||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor 10(3), pp.291-300||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Emanuela Bălăci, Andrei Bucșan||1966||Metode de cercetare a dansului popular||Revista de Folclor Anul 10, nr. 3, p. 243-250||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Emanuela Bălăci||1967||'Horele mari' - analiză morfologică||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor 12(5), pp.365-374||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Emanuela Bălăci, Andrei Bucșan||1969||Jocuri din Transilvania de Sud - monografie coreografica||Brașov: Casa Creației Populare Brașov|
|Emanuela Bălăci||1984||Some notes on certain transformations occurring in Rumanian folk dance||Dance Studies 8, pp.49-66||St Peter, Jersey: Centre for Dance Studies|
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.
He gained certification in 1975 from the Consiliul Culturii și Educației Socialiste (CCES) as first grade ballet master and worked at the School of Arts “George Enescu” choreography section (1978-1979).
As a traditional dance researcher, in 1961 he published “Jocuri fecioreşti din Ardeal. Structura şi tehnica mişcării” on the boys’ dances of Transylvania covering four dance dialects: Fecioresc from Făgărăş, Fecioresc from Târnăveni-Luuș, Barbunc from Bistrița, and Haidâu from Aiud-Turda. He examined these structurally by rhythm, dynamics, character and construction. His following publications cover the dances from Bihor.
|Constantin Costea||1961||Jocuri Feciorești din Ardeal - Structura și Technica Miscarii Dance||Editura Musicala|
|Anca Giurchescu, Constantin Costea||1962||Aspecte folclorice noi și tradiționale din raionul Toplița||Revista de Folclor Anul 7 Nr 3-47(3-4), pp.97-101||București: Institutul de Folclor|
|Anca Giurchescu, Constantin Costea||1962||Haidăul||Revista de Folclor Anul 7 Nr 1-2 7(1-2), pp.94-117||București: Institutul de Folclor|
|Constantin Costea||1963||Locul jocului fecioresci în repertoriul contemporean de dansuri populare||Revista de Folclor Anul 8 Nr 1-2 pp.85-93||București: Institutul de Folclor|
|Constantin Costea||1965||Aspecte compoziționale în "jocurile de învârtit"||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 10 Nr 2, pp.183-203||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Constantin Costea||1968||Folclor coregrafic Bihor Vol 1 - zona Aleșd||Casa creatiei populare a judetul Bihor|
|Constantin Costea||1970||Folclorul coregrafic bihorean||Zilele folclorului bihorean, ed. I, p.143-154||Oradea: CCA al jud. Bihor|
|Constantin Costea||1971||Probleme metodologice în cercetarea "jocurilor de învârtat"||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 16 nr 2, pp.133-139||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Constantin Costea||1971||Schimb de experienta cu Republica Populara Ungara||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 16 nr 3, pp.257-258||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Constantin Costea||1973||Folclor coregrafic Bihor ** vol 2||Casa creației populare a județului Bihor|
|Constantin Costea||1974||Dansul popular din zona vaii inferioare a crișului negru in contextul folclorului coregrafic bihorean||Zilele Folclorului Bihorean Edition 4, pp.309-315||Oradea: Comitetul de cultura se educatie socialista Bihor|
|Constantin Costea||1976||Dansul popular din zona văii inferioare a Crișului Negru, în contextul folclorului coregrafic bihorean||Zilele folclorului bihorean ed. IV||Oradea: CJÎCMAM-Bihor|
|Constantin Costea||1977||A bihari román táncok (Romanian Dances in Bihor)||Tánctudományi Tanulmányok 1976-1977, pp.301-313||Budapest: Magyar Táncművészek Szövetsége Tudományos Tagozata|
|Constantin Costea||1978||Situația actuală a jocului popular în zona Oradea||Biharea Nr. VI, pp.322-325||Oradea: Editura muzeului Ţării Crișurilor|
|Constantin Costea||1979||Locul jocurilor feciorești in repertoriul contemporan de dansuri populare||Samus, vol. II, pp.105-111||Dej|
|Constantin Costea||1987||Jocurile fecioreşti transilvănene||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 32 nr 1, pp.40-48||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Constantin Costea||1987||Dansul popular - tendințe în evoluție||Anuarul ICED, seria B, nr. 4, pp.134-170|
|Constantin Costea||1988||Jocurile feciorești transilvănene (Atestări documentare)||Revista de Etnografie și FolclorTomul 33 Nr 1, pp.75-90||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Constantin Costea||1990||Aspecte ale Diversitatii si Unitatii in Dansul Popular Romanesc||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 35 nr 235(2), pp.190-193||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Constantin Costea||1990||Structura jocurilor fecioreşti transilvănene (I) - mijloace de expresie||Memoriile Comisiei de Folclor Tomul IV, pp.131-171||Editura Academia Române|
|Constantin Costea||1992||Geneza si evolutia dansul de pereche in spatial folcloric transilvanean||Memoriile comisiei de folclor Tomul II 1988, pp.63-90||Bucharest: Editra Academiei Romane|
|Constantin Costea||1992||Purtatele și învârtitele în contextul folclorului coregrafic||Anuarul IEF, serie nouă, tomul 3, pp.189-201||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Constantin Costea||1992||Repere ale unității dansului popular românesc||Imagini și permanențe în etnologia românească, pp.140-144||Chişinău: Ştiinţa|
|Constantin Costea||1993||Az erdelyi roman botostancok [TheRomanian stick dances of Transylvania]||Martin Gorgy Emlekezete, pp.93-97||Budapest: Magyar muvelodesi Interzet|
|Constantin Costea||1993||Az erdélyi román botos táncok [Transylvanian Romanian stick dances]||Martin György Emlékezeti Visszaemlékezések és tanulmányok születésének hatvanadik évfordulójára, pp.93-98||Budapest: Magyar Művelődési Intézet|
|Constantin Costea||1993||Repere istorice în evoluția jocurilor fecioresți||Memoriile Comisiei de Folclor Tomul VII, pp.49-68||Editura Academia Române|
|Constantin Costea||1994||La danse avec le baton dans le contexte des danses Roumaines des jeunes hommes de Transylvanie||Acta Ethnographica Hungarica39(1-2), pp.121-130|
|Constantin Costea||1997||Jocul feciorești din Ardeal||Călușul - antologie de studii, pp.34-41||Pitești: Tiparg|
|Constantin Costea||2002||Etnocoreologia româneasca / romanian ethnochoreology||Anuarul institutului de etnografie si folclor „Constantin Brăiloiu”serie nouă Tomul 9-10, Jubileul Institutului de Etnografie și Folclor „ C. Brăiloiu ” al Academiei Române (1949-1999), pp.101-117||Bucharest: Editura academiei Romane|
|Constantin Costea||1979-80||Dansul popular în zona Vașcăului (Jud. Bihor)||Biharea Nr. VII-VIII, pp.283-290||Oradea: Editura muzeului Țării Crișurilor|
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). He gained a doctorat from the Institute of Art in 1981.
Whilst at the IEF he researched the region of southern Transylvania in 26 locations, between 1955 and 1965, recording some 580 dances (he notated around 3000 dances during his career). He published books and articles covering the regions of Mărginimea Sibiului, Hărtibaciului valley, Bran, Muscel.
His analytic methods are published in his monograph on Brâul mocănesc in “Specificul dansului popular românesc” (1971) in which he analyses the morphological and structural bases of the dialects of Romanian traditional dances.
|Emanuela Balaci, Andrei Bucșan||1956||Folclorul coreografic din Sibiel||Revista de Folclor Anul 1 Nr 1–2, pp.213–248||București: Institutul de Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1957||Jocuri din Ardealul de Sud||București: Editura de Stat|
|Andrei Bucșan||1958||Breaza||Revista de Folclor Anul 3 Nr 4, pp.45–72||București: Institutul de Folclor.|
|Andrei Bucșan||1958||Jocuri Populare din Muscel și Bran||București: Editura de Stat Didactica și Pedagogica|
|Andrei Bucșan||1963||Dialecte și aspecte stilistice în coreografia noastră populară||Revista de Folclor Anul 8 Nr 1–2 pp.140–43||București: Institutul de Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1964||Similarities entre les danses popuaires roumaines et balkaniques||Revue des études sud-est européennes 2(3–4), pp.607–614|
|Andrei Bucșan||1965||Elemente expreșive în textele de joc||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 10 Nr 5, pp.519–528||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1965||Ritmul șincopat în dansul popular românesc||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 10 Nr 3, pp.331–333||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1966||Jocuri de circulaţie pastorală||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 11 Nr 1, pp.41–54||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan, Emilia Balaci||1966||Metoda de cercetare a dansului popular||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 11 Nr 311, pp.243–250||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1967||Clașificarea morfologică a dansurilor populare românești||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 12 Nr 3, pp.169–186||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1968||Probleme ale ritmului dansului popular românesc||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 13 Nr 2, pp.111–122||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1968||Unitatea specifică a folclorului coreografic românesc||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 13 Nr 5, pp.389–94||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Emanuela Balaci, Andrei Bucșan||1969||Jocuri din Tranșilvania de Sud - monografie coreografica||Brașov: Casa Creației Populare Brașov|
|Andrei Bucșan||1969||Un proiect de catalogare a materialului coreografic||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 14 Nr 3, pp.193–205||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1969||Valorificarea scenică a dansului nostru popular||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 14 Nr 2 pp.152–153||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Tiberiu Alexandru, Andrei Bucșan, Paul Petrescu||1970||Însemnări pe marginea primului festival și concurs internațional de folclor "România '69"||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 15 nr.115(1), pp.87–92||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1970||Aspecte funcțional-tematice în dansul popular românesc||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 15 Nr 1, pp.35–39||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1970||Utilizarea filmului în cercetarea coreografiei populare||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 15 Nr 4, pp.343–348||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1971||Dansul Popular din Satul Drăguș||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 16 nr 1, pp.3–28||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1971||Specificul Dansului Popular Românesc||Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România|
|Andrei Bucșan||1972||Despre caracterul dansurilor populare||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 16 Nr 3, pp.213–23||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1972||Morfologia și tipologia dansului bănătean în complex coregrafic românesc||Folclor Literar 2 (1969–70), pp.129–134.||Timișoara: Univerșity of Timișoara|
|Andrei Bucșan, Emilia Balaci||1973||Review: Jocuri din Tranșilvania de Sud, Brașov, 1969 (Eugenia Săndulescu)||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 17 Nr 2 pp.154–5||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1974||Theodor Vașilescu & Sever Tita - Folclor coreografic românesc, București, Centrul de îndrumare a creaţiei populare și a mişcării artistice de masă, 1972 (A Bucșan)||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 18 Nr 3 pp.251–255||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1974||Unele sugestii pentru punerea în scenă a dansului popular (I)||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 18 Nr 1 pp.15–35||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1974||Unele sugestii pentru punerea în scenă a dansului popular (II)||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 18 Nr 2, pp.95–111||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan et al.||1974||Dansuri și obiceiuri de pe Valea Hârtibaciului||Comitetul judetean pentru cultura și educatie socialista Sibiu|
|Andrei Bucșan||1976||Contribuții la studiul jocurilor călușarești||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor 20 (1), pp.3–18||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1980||Permanente ale stratului vechi in dansul romanesc||Anuarul institutului de cercetari etnologice și dialectologice (ICED), pp.193–202||București: Conșiliul culturii și educatiei socialiste|
|Andrei Bucșan||1981||Mijloace de expreșie in dansul popular romanesc||Revista de Ethnografie și Folclor Tomul 26 nr 126(1), pp.51–56||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1982||70 de ani de început de mişcare coregrafică românească (1848–1918)||Revista de Etnografie și Folclor Tomul 27 nr 1, pp.88–93||București: Institutul de Etnografie și Folclor|
|Andrei Bucșan||1983||Caractere ale dansului popular bănățean în unitatea coregrafică românească||Folclor Literar V, pp.177–185||Timişoara: Univerșity of Timișoara|
|Andrei Bucșan||1984||Trasaturile specifice ale dansului popular românesc și arii coregrafice||Tratat de dialectologie Romaneasca, pp.711–728||Craiova: Scrisul românesc, Conșiliul culturii și educatiei socialiste|
|Andrei Bucșan||1997||Jocurile călușărești în context național și European||Datini: Revistă de Cultură1–2, pp.22–23||București: Fundația Culturală Ethnos|
|Andrei Bucșan||1997||Răspândirea și repertoriile ocaziilor de joc||Călușul - antologie de studii, p.23||Pitești: Tiparg|
|Andrei Bucșan||1999||Modes of expresion in Roumanian folk dance||Trondheim, Norway, Rådet for folkemușikk og folkedans, Rff-senteret|
|Andrei Bucșan||1999(1980)||Expresive traits in Roumainian folk dance||Trondheim, Norway, Rådet for folkemușikk og folkedans, Rff-senteret|
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 from south eastern Europe can be traced back further, to the interwar period, and is linked to early travellers to the region and connections built up between the UK and the “Balkan” countries of southeastern Europe including those between Maud Karpeles, Philip Thornton and leading dance and music researchers of the time in Bulgaria (Raina Katsarova), Romania (Constantin Brăilou, Harry Brauner, Romulus Vuia) and Yugoslavia (Jankovic sisters).
A major landmark was in 1935 when the first international folk dance festival was held in London organised by the English folk dance and song society. This was followed by smaller festivals in 1937, 1938 and 1939.
However, these collaborations were interrupted by the war years and it was only in the years following the end of the second world war that participation in dances from the “Balkans” began to take place in the UK. Over the following 30 or so years the history of international, then Balkan, dancing in the UK followed a very similar trajectory to that in the US and the Netherlands documented elsewhere but on a smaller scale.
The popularity of Balkan dance in the UK arose first in the early 1960s, then peaked in the late 1980s and 1990s and has continued since but with smaller groups and a generally increasing age of participants. The majority of these participants were born in the UK and had no genealogical connections to southeastern Europe.
Prior to 1990 (with the opening up of East Europe and the internet) the scene was dependent on a number of teachers that traded on their “knowledge” from their experience and connections to choreographers in East Europe. The dance repertoire was largely determined by a few home grown “experts” with variable experience of life and dancing in the Balkans and the authenticity of the material they taught was seldom questioned. The UK folk movement has a long-standing stance against “professionalism” so the majority of visiting teachers (and qualifications) came from Balkan dance scenes (such as USA and Netherlands) where a structured and professional organisation had already been established.
The early to mid-1990s brought a major change in the inter-relations between the “source” community and the UK dancers. It became easier for visiting teachers and experts from southeastern Europe to visit the UK and a greater number of the UK dancing participants travelled to Bulgaria, Romania and ex-Yugoslavia for holidays that often included organised dance courses and festivals.
During the same period the new waves of Balkan migrants to the UK set up their community activities including dance groups, but the UK Balkan dance scene has continued as a separate parallel genre with only a few members from either “scene” attending the events of the “other”.
Our research into documentary sources regarding the earlier history of the dance and music connections between the UK and southeastern Europe has included collaborative projects involving archival research as well as access to publications in the public domain . We have especially focussed on UK-Romania connections as this forms a bridge between our research in Romania and our research into the UK Balkan dance scene. In particular we have investigated sources from both the UK and Romania regarding the renowned trip of the călușari dancers from the village of Pădureți-Argeș to take part in the 1935 international folk festival in London, followed by participation by Romanian groups in the folk festivals in London in 1937, 1938 and 1939.
The historical trajectory of the UK Balkan scene is only documented to date in fragmented accounts. Our own publications draw on archival material, informal interviews, responses to a questionnaire that was circulated among long term participants in 2016, and our participation in the London and UK Balkan dance scene over an extended period from the early 1980s, or before, until the mid-2000s so our research is based long term “participating” observation of this scene.
As with all our research, we consider “dancing people” in a “dancing context”. We look at participation and community in the UK Balkan “scene as a “cultural cohort” .
Considering “dancing people” we investigate individual reasons for participation, preferences for socialisation versus structured learning, how participants develop preferences for certain dance types from their personal interpretation of foreign music and dance genres, and how dances are re-created to meet these expectations with this mostly resulting in a preference for dancing to “the” recorded track as opposed to live music.
For the dancing “context” we follow how the “scene” has developed over the years, including the changes in group organisation, the repertoire of dances, and the “rituals” that have become part of group culture. We have followed the changing perceptions of “Balkan” in the UK and how this related to dancing from southeastern Europe both among recreational folk dancers and eastern Europeans living in the UK. We gained a semi-insider view of the contrasts between the various dancing contexts and their inter-relationship with the existing UK Balkan dance scene through our participation in Romanian, Macedonian and Bulgarian dance groups set up by dancers from their respective countries.
From the mid-1980s we travelled to southeastern Europe regularly for dance seminars and tourism. From the 1990s we were joined by an increasing number of UK Balkan dancers. We observed their differing expectations as “folk tourists” and their range of reactions to their ‘new’ travel experiences, as well as the ways in which the local organisers adapted to these expectations, and the confrontation between the folk tourists “imagined” village dances and the local dances presented.
These are short summaries of our papers related to Balkan folk dancing in the UK. Follow the links for the full paper abstract and links.
1930s – 1940s
Maud Karpeles: Her Contribution to Dance Research and to the (ICTM) Council .
This chapter is a collaborative work that followed the life of Maud Karpeles and in particular her role in the establishment and development of the International Folk Music Council (IFDC) in 1935 and the International Folk Music Council (IFMC) in 1947.
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Parts of this chapter are relevant to the history of Balkan dance in the UK. Maud Karpeles had contact with European folk dances, through many exchange visits between dance groups in the 1920s and 1930s organised under the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) by her brother-in-law Douglas Kennedy. This led to the organisation of the 1935 international folk dance festival in London. Maud’s correspondence with institutions and visits to the Balkan countries was aided by her linguist friend Philip Thornton.
The 1940s can be seen as a dividing point in England where EFDSS continued as a practitioner based national folk dance revival community under Douglas Kennedy, whilst Maud Karpeles played a pivotal role in the formation of the IFMC that later became the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) as an international organisation for academic dance and music research, and Philip Thornton became involved in the early years of the formation of the Society for International Folk Dancing (SIFD) in London.
Liz’s contribution to this chapter was short sections on the Romanian călușari dancers at the 1935 international festival in London, the twelfth annual conference of the IFMC in Sinaia, Romania (1959), and the first Festival of the Balkan and Adriatic Countries held in Bucharest in 1962.
Balkan dance scene in UK
Dancing the Balkans in the UK or a being a little Balkan in London, Manchester, Edinburgh .
The UK “Balkan dance scene” is an urban based genre that forms a sub-scene of UK recreational international folk dance. We argue that this forms a separate dance genre with its own traditions.
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In the UK Balkan dance scene people go to dance, where dancing is the goal in itself, there is not a cohesive community among the UK Balkan dance scene participants. As one participant in in the survey completed for this project said “Our groups themselves have a tradition and a life of their own”. The favourite dances in the Balkan dance repertoire have a catchy tune and a set length of around three minutes with a fixed arrangement of motifs. There is no importance on whether this is what the locals dance at the supposed origin. Hence this results in the dances tending to lose their specific “place connection” forming a separate dance genre within the dance space where the participants temporarily reside.
Social dancers in Balkan folk dance performance: communities, traditions and sensory concepts? 
The local dances forms of southeasestern Europe have been translated into other contexts, such as stage representations by professional and amateur ensembles, and under the title “Balkan dance” for foreign recreational dancers. Each of these new contexts create their own independent traditions, cultural cohorts and eventually separate as different dance genres.
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The cultural differences created are the main reason for minimal cross participation when “Balkan” folk dancers meet ethnic Bulgarian dancers; so the Balkan dancers, the Circle dancers and the Bulgarian dancers all have different values when participating in UK groups.
A survey revealed a surprisingly wide range of differing ideas about “dance” from those within the Balkan dance scene. This suggests that members of this affinity group do not have a homogenous idea and concept for dancing.
However, it would seem that “Bulgarian dances”, when compared to “Romanian dances”, are far more easily and successfully re-constructed and re-presented to meet the expectations of the “Balkan dance” genre. This appears to be the basis for the lack of popularity for Romanian dancing within the “Balkan dance” genre unless dances from Romania are substantially reconstructed.
Immigrant Balkan dance scene in UK
Why do Romanians and non-Romanians, both within and outside Romania, choose to take part in choreographed performances of Romanian folk dances? .
My master’s dissertation examined the reasons why people choose to participate in performances of Romanian dance as this material travelled from the Romanian village to the world.
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The reasons why individuals choose to take part in these performances has not greatly changed in time, from the Communist period until today, and from Romanian regional town to global city. They can be grouped under two main headings: artistic reasons, the desire to perform to an audience, to compete and demonstrate athletic ability; and social reasons, a desire to be part of a community and belong to a larger network of people with similar interests, which gives rise to opportunities to travel, and to satisfy rural nostalgia.
In addition, Romanians have an inbuilt connection with their folklore that non-Romanians cannot acquire, hence performances can provide a link to their Romanian identity, either their local village identity, when living in a city or their national identity when living outside Romania.
Performance groups still perform choreographed suites of village dances, but within Romania the details of these suites has evolved over time in accordance with fashions in music and presentation, with Communist regime elements being removed after 1989, whereas in diaspora groups the material tends to be fossilised at the time when the members of the group left Romania.
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 living outside the region.
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It has been suggested that the increased awareness of local/regional/new national identities may potentially be a reaction against adopting a totally globalised identity, and in some instances, this has been linked to the effect of the expansion of the European Union. For Romanians I suggest that increased awareness of regional identities is also potentially a counter reaction to the pre-1989 dominant centralism of nationalism.
For those that moved outside their natal locations to seek work as economic migrants, after a period of settling in their adopted country, many begin to look back with nostalgia at their homeland identity. This often leads to the setting up of community groups of those with a similar background that enjoy shared participation in activities that are linked to their homeland culture.
The national festival of folklore in Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria
Bulgarian tracks: the road to the Koprivshtitsa Festival (and back again, and again .
Contrary to the expectations of many, in 1990 cultural production in East Europe did not cease when the division between west and east became blurred. As migration from east to west has increased so has the number of individuals who follow or re‐follow their tracks from the west to the east to their own or ‘others’ culture.
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For the national festival of folklore held in Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria usually every five years, a possibly unique conflation of two trajectories takes place. The (relatively) unchanging tracks to the town of Koprivshtitsa and across the festival site during the festival by the local participants has met with the changing tracks as this festival found a new market among Bulgarian urbanites and diaspora Bulgarians who are members of ‘horo clubs’.
The Koprivshtitsa festival: from national icon to globalised village event .
Although Koprivshtitsa Festival has evolved over time it has still retained its core function: to provide a showcase of Bulgarian ‘authentic’ or village folklore.
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The changes in the Koprivshtitsa Festival have enabled it to enlarge its semantic field to encompass a global urbanised and touristic audience in the twenty-first century, assisted by communication through modern media and increasing ease of global travel, and the semi-traditional scene in the meadows. Aspects have been added, such as the craft fair that provides foreign visitors the chance to buy folklore memorabilia and the opportunity to themselves become performers, but these still play a secondary role to the main purpose of the festival.
In cases where festivals such as Koprivshtitsa evolve over time, the resulting changes can alter the event to such an extent that the festival no longer fulfils its initial role and their audiences dwindle; often this results in their financial backing being withdrawn, or else the locals turn their backs on the now globalized event and create a new festival that can fulfil the original purpose in the local community.
- Turino, Thomas (2008) Music as social life : the politics of participation, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
- Foley, Catherine E., et al. (2022) Maud Karpeles: Her Contribution to Dance Research and to the Council. Celebrating the International Council for Traditional Music: Reflections on the First Seven Decades. Slovenia, ICTM and University of Ljubljana Press.
- Mellish, Liz (2017) Dancing the Balkans in the UK or a being a little Balkan in London, Manchester, Edinburgh. In: Stepputat, Kendra (ed.) Dance, Senses, Urban Contexts : 29th Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Ethnochoreology July 9-16, 2016 Retzhof Castle, Styria, Austria:. Graz, Austria:260-270 Graz, Austria, ICTM, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.
- Green, Nick (2017) Social dancers in Balkan folk dance performance: communities, traditions and sensory concepts? In: Stepputat, Kendra (ed.) Dance, Senses, Urban Contexts : 29th Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Ethnochoreology July 9-16, 2016 Retzhof Castle, Styria, Austria:238-247. Graz, Austria: ICTM, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.
- Mellish, Liz (2006) Why do Romanians and non-Romanians, both within and outside Romania, choose to take part in choreographed performances of Romanian folk dances? MA Dissertation, UCL-School of Slavonic & East European Studies.
- Mellish, Liz (2016) The south east Europeans are (still) dancing: recent dance trends in Romania and among south east Europeans in London. In: Mellish, Liz, Vlaeva, Ivanka, Peycheva, Lozanka, Green, Nick & Dimov, Ventsislav (eds.) Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe : Myth, Ritual, Post-1989, Audiovisual Ethnographies, Fifth Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe 2016 South-West University “Neofit Rilski”.189-195 Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, University Publishing House “Neofit Rilski”.
- Mellish, Liz (2016) Bulgarian tracks: the road to the Koprivshtitsa Festival (and back again, and again). Ethnomusicology Ireland, 4, 1-10. Dublin, Republic of Ireland: The Irish National Committee of the ICTM.
- Mellish, Liz (2013) The Koprivshtitsa festival : from national icon to globalised village event. In: Duijzings, Ger (ed.) Global villages : rural and urban transformations in contemporary Bulgaria.153-171 London, Anthem Press.