Category Archives: Dance

I’d Rather Be Dancing Armenian Folk Dances

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Armenia_(orthographic_projection).svg

Armenia is located in western Asia. It is bordered on the west by Turkey, on the North by Georgia, on the east by Azerbaijan, and on the south by Iran. It was the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion in the late third century. One hundred years ago, during World War I, Armenians living in their ancestral lands were exterminated in the Armenian Genocide.

Armenia has a rich musical and dance heritage. My very favorite Armenian dance is Sirun Aghchik, which is also known by the English translation of the name, Sweet Girl. This wonderful video includes instruction by Tom Bozigian. Pinkies are joined.

My second favorite Armenian dance is Armenian Miserlou, Racine version. I found these notes by Michael Kuharski on Folk Dance Musings:

This dance was developed by Tondee Akgoulian and her family in the 1960’s in Racine, Wisconsin. The Akgoulian family band played for Armenian weddings, parties, picnics, and other events in southeastern Wisconsin for a number of years. This dance was apparently developed for the dance group which sometimes performed with the band. The dance is a mixture of steps found in other Armenian dances done at that time. This description represents the version of the dance currently done in the international folkdance community of Madison, Wisconsin.

My third favorite Armenian dance is Yar Ko Parag. The music is so haunting.

My fourth favorite Armenian dance is Ooska Gookas (also spelled Uske Gugas).

Those are the only Armenian dances I know personally. Luckily, I found lots of videos of other Armenian Dances on Folk Dance Musings.

Very graceful: Aghcheekneroo Par.

Beautiful Armenian costumes in this video: Beejo.

A simple dance, Eench Eenamaee.

A couple dance, Eloo Yar:

Guhnega. This is an old video, and the dancers’ heads are cut off for much of it (but you only need to see their feet, don’t you).

Haire Mamougeh. This is a wedding dance. The two lines represent the two in-law families.

Creative Juice #162

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Creative Juice #162

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

I’d Rather Be Dancing Roma Folk Dances

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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:

Chaj Zibede:

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:

Creative Juice #158

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Creative Juice #158

Beautiful and interesting stuff here.

I’d Rather Be Dancing French Folk Dances

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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.

Le Brandy:

La Bastringue:

Video of the Week #218: What it’s Like to Audition for the Rockettes

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Video of the Week #214: Little Swans

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My favorite part of my favorite ballet. I could watch this all day.