I’d Rather Be Dancing Macedonian Folk Dances

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Macedonia_region_map_wikipedia

Map showing location of present-day North Macedonia and former (heavy dotted line) boundary of historic Macedonia, by ГоранМирчевски, used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

Ah, the beautiful dances of Macedonia!

Ajšino Oro is a lovely dance, but a little tricky, because the dance does not follow the same structure as the music. In most dances, we can say “the music will tell us,” because when a certain musical phrase repeats, so do the dance movements that accompany it. Not true in this dance.

Belasičko Oro is one of my favorite dances. It has four patterns. Unfortunately, this video starts after the dance has begun.

Dimna Juda is named after a female non-human entity in Macedonia folklore. This is a simple dance that many U.S. elementary general music teachers use in their classrooms (as I did).

Ivanice is a sweet dance of one repeated pattern. Once a group learns this dance, they will often converse with one another while dancing, because their concentration is no longer required for the steps. This video is a little over-exposed, but the dancing is so nicely done.

Lesnoto is an easy dance pattern that fits many Macedonian songs. This is a popular dance for the town square or for festivals, and again, many dancers will converse with one another or sing along while dancing.

Makedonsko devojče (Beautiful Macedonian Girl) is a well-known song and a favorite among folk dancers. Our group (Phoenix International Folk Dancers) often uses it as a last dance in our Tuesday night sessions. It fits the Lesnoto step perfectly.

Jovane Jovanke has only two patterns. The common Lesnoto step is done during the singing, and a transitional “in and out” step is done during the instrumental sections.

Bavno Oro is another dance I like a lot. It has three patterns. The first is the Lesnoto step; the second involves two touches with the left heel, one with the right, and a grapevine. The first two patterns repeat, followed by a third, which is more involved, and which coincides with an increase in the tempo. I have never mastered the third pattern.

Ventzi’s Arap is also fairly simple, with only two patterns. I like this video because of the wonderful dancing and the beautiful costumes, but our group does this dance to different music (Katerino Mome).

Žensko Za Râka is a dance I’m unfamiliar with, but it looks like fun:

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

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