GT Niculescu-Varone – part 1: collector of dance words

GT Niculescu-Varone – part 2: table of dances names
GT Niculescu-Varone – part 3: locations

(One of the) first folk dance collectors in Romania was G.T. Niculescu-Varone (1884-1984). Varone, a Romanian folklorist, was born in Bucharest in 1884. He graduated in law from Bucharest University in 1908, and between 1905 and 1930 he worked as a librarian in the Geological Institute in Bucharest.

Niculescu-Varone tells us that … Between 1919 and 1930 I roamed the country far and wide, also through unpaved places, with map in hand, noting and selecting a rich ethnographic and folkloric material while reflecting about authenticity and making comparisons with the folklore of neighbouring people. [9]


He published a series of books and articles in the 1930s based on his earlier research. These books include a listing of dances, many quotations of strigături (rhythmic shouts) and the sources of his references, but no descriptions of the actual dance steps.

  1. In his first book, Jocuri romanesti necunoscute, published in 1930 [1], the first section lists the dances he had collected alphabetically by dance name and the second section gives a bibliographic index of dance names from many published sources.
  2. His second book published in the following year, Alte Jocuri Romanesti necunoscute – Noi contributii la folklorul nostru coreografic [2] has a second alphabetic listing of the dances he had collected.
  3. In 1931 [3] he also published the first version of Dicţionarul Jocurilor Populare Româneşti in which he divides the dances listed into those he found in published sources, dances he collected during his trips over 11 years, and national dances.
  4. He was the first researcher to document dances in Basarabia [10] in his 1932 Folklor Roman coreografic – material inedit [4] in which he also included a scattering of dances from the adjacent region of Botoșani on the west side of the Prut river.
  5. At the age of 95 in 1979 he published an updated second version of the Dicţionarul Jocurilor Populare Românești [9] which also includes additional dances that he had collected from around Botoșani, as well as other dances from places including Icold in Transylvania and areas around Bucharest.

It is regretful that the author does not give a detailed analysis of the steps for each dance to some extent. Even a literary description of the dance steps would have been for Romanian choreographers, on both sides of the Prut, an extremely valuable source in their selections for representative suites of dances. [10]

During the 1930s he also published the books: Jocurile Noastre Nationale (1933) which discusses ‘national dances’ [5], Folklor romanesc din Ardeal (1935) a monograph of the comuna of Nadășu, near Huedin, in Cluj county [6], and a book Strigături alese de la hora that lists selected strigaturi for Hora dances [8], and in 1938, the larger Jocurile Nationale Româneşti that references discussion on the national dances [1].


  1. Niculescu-Varone, G T (1930). Jocuri românesti necunoscute: cu un indice alfabetic si bibliografic al tuturor jocurilor noastre populare. București: Imprimeriile Independenta.
  2. Niculescu-Varone, G T (1931). Alte jocuri românesti necunoscute - noi contributii la folklorul nostru coreografic. București: Imprimeria Penitenciarului 'Vacaresti'.
  3. Niculescu-Varone, G T (1931). Dicţionarul jocurilor populare româneşti - coreografie populare. București: Imprimeria Penitenciarului 'Vacaresti'.
  4. Niculescu-Varone, G T (1932). Folklor român coreografic - material inedit. București: Tipografia 'Dimitre Cantemir'.
  5. Niculescu-Varone, G T (1935). Folklor românesc din Ardeal - Comuna Nadășu, plasa Huedin, județul Cluj. București: Tipografia Seminarului Monahal Cernica.
  6. Niculescu-Varone, G T (1935). Folklor românesc din Ardeal - Comuna Nadășu, plasa Huedin, județul Cluj. București: Tipografia Seminarului Monahal Cernica.
  7. Niculescu-Varone, G T (1938). Jocurile naționale Românești. București: Editura Ziarului Universale.
  8. Niculescu-Varone, G T (1943 (1938)). Strigaturi alese de la hora - ediția a doua, cu adaugiri. București: Editura Universul.
  9. Niculescu-Varone, G T & Gainariu-Varone, Elena Costache (1979). Dicționarul jocurilor populare Românești. București: Editura Litera.
  10. Horujenco, Ion (2020). Contribuții la cunoașterea folclorului coregrafic din Basarabia. Ion Horujenco (editor), Revista "Dunarea de Jos" - Dansuri populare, artă, ritual, divertisment, 223: page 10-12. Galati: Centrul cultural Dunarea de Jos.