Tag Archives: Folk Dancing

I’d Rather Be Dancing Armenian Folk Dances

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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.

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:

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:

I’d Rather Be Dancing German Folk Dances

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I’d Rather Be Dancing German Folk Dances

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):

Marklander:

Nickeltanz:

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:

Rheinländer:

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.

I’d Rather Be Dancing Hungarian Folk Dances

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The Hungarians have some of the most beautiful folk dances in the world. Here are a few of my favorites.

Somogyi Karikázó is a wedding dance. Generally, the women dance in a circle while the men dance in a line outside the circle:

Duda Nota is a lot simpler than it looks. This video starts with a little instruction:

Adjon Az Isten. I love this music:

Oláhos:

Születésnapra, which our Phoenix International Folk Dancers call by its translation, “For a Birthday”:

This dance is new to me, but it is quite simple. Körtánc:

Hungary has traditional had a large Roma population. These dances have a Roma flavor:

E Shukar Romnji

Mori Shej. This dance starts out like E Shukar Romnji, but then alternates with a fun variation.

Mahala Mori Shej, a completely different dance. Watch the lady in red in the center who is teaching the dance:

To close, I found this wonderful video of a Hungarian dance troupe at a cultural festival in China. I don’t know the names of these dances.

 

 

I’d Rather Be Dancing Macedonian Folk Dances

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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:

L is for Folk Dances that Start with “L”

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I dance with Phoenix International Folk Dancers every Tuesday night. Here are a bunch of dances we do that start with the letter “L.”

From French-speaking Canada, La Bastringue:

From Romania, La Bordeiul cel din Vale:

From Greece, Lerikos:

From Russia, Lugovon’ka:

From the United States, Louisiana Saturday Night:

From Wales, Lazy Robin (I actually know it as Idle Robin, but idle doesn’t start with “L”):

From Israel, Od Lo Ahavti Dai (on some lists of dances, it appears as Lo Ahavti Dai, so I’m counting it as an “L” dance):

Last Tuesday night, these sweet ladies from Phoenix International Folk Dancers performed one of my favorite dances, Little Miss Greece, so that I could post it here for your viewing pleasure.

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