The Roma people are bands of nomads who originated in India but have migrated world-wide. It is estimated there are 5 million Roma today, but it’s hard to verify, since they are by definition itinerant and aren’t generally counted in censuses. They are sometimes known as gypsies, a term that is disliked for its pejorative connotations.
The Roma people are accomplished musicians and dancers. The composer Franz Liszt was deeply influenced by the Roma music he heard. And folk dancers cherish the dances in Roma style.
Mahala Mori Shej, performed at the Phoenix International Folk Festival in 2018:
Chef is a Roma dance from Romania:
Chikulata Chickita is a Greek Roma dance:
Cine Are Noroc Are is a Roma dance from Romania with an interesting toe-heel figure:
Dana is another Roma dance from Romania. Listen for the call of the loon in the beginning of the music:
E Shukar Romnji is a Roma dance from Hungary:
Mori Shej is another Roma dance from Hungary:
Opa Cupa is a Roma dance from Serbia:
Phiravelman Kalyi Phuv is a Roma dance from Macedonia:
Sherianqe (to the song Ketri Ketri) is a Roma dance from Albania:
Beautiful and interesting stuff here.
At Phoenix International Folk Dancers we recently had a guest teacher, the remarkable Karen Faust, who taught us this French Folk Dance (so much fun!). Branle Gai Alsacien:
Which made me wonder, what other French dances do I know?
An Dro Retourne:
Le Laridé. I remember this music, but I don’t think I ever actually learned the steps. Apparently, there are several versions of this dance, and it’s done to several different pieces of music.
Bannielou Lambaol is often taught to children because it is quite simple:
Branle Normand. I suspect this might have been filmed at a Dutch Orff Shulwerk class. I’m basing this guess solely on the fact that the instructor is keeping time with a tone block, a typical elementary general music class instrument.
I am not sure if Bourée å deux temps is the name of the dance or of the band which is playing:
This video shows beautiful performances of several French folk dances, but I don’t know the names of any of them:
The last three dances are actually French Canadian, but I’m including them with the French dances.
Les Salut is another dance commonly taught to children.
My favorite part of my favorite ballet. I could watch this all day.
My heritage is German. My father grew up in Bavaria. My mother was from Silesia, which after World War II became part of Poland. My parents met in Berchtesgaden, married in 1951, emigrated to the United States in 1952, and I was born that November. I’ve always had a special love for the land of my ancestors, full of beauty and culture. Germany has many beautiful and whimsical folk dances.
First up is one the Phoenix International Folk Dancers do, D’hammerschmiedsg’selln, which means “the blacksmith.” It’s also taught to schoolchildren.
Kreuz König. Watch the groups in the back—the girls go airborne!
Mein Mann ist gefahren ins Heu (Man in the Hay):
A Ländler is a dance popular in Austria, Bavaria, and the German-speaking part of Switzerland. This is the Niederbayrischer Ländler (meaning that it comes from lower Bavaria):
One of the more well-known Ländlers in the United States would be the one that Maria danced with Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. You can see the some of the same styling as in the previous video, with the hand-clapping and the turns and the positions of the arms:
Sauerländer Quadrille #5:
Reit im Winkl is named for the town in Bavaria where the dance originated. It is a Schuhplattler, in which the men do a lot of stamping and slapping of thighs, knees, and shoes:
Schuhplatten is so much fun that Conan O’Brien went all the way to Germany to learn how:
“First the work, then the fun.” Yes, every German and German-American kid has heard that.
Creativity + skill = masterpiece!