Tag Archives: Folk Dancing

I’d Rather be Dancing Dutch Folk Dances

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The Netherlands (Holland) is known for windmills, wooden shoes, tulips, Rembrandt, and Delft tiles and porcelain. The Dutch also have a long history of folk dancing.

Baonopstekker is a dance we do at Phoenix International Folk Dancers, though we end the sequence a little differently. Instead of dropping hands and turning in place, we keep holding hands in the large circle and do eight quick sidesteps in line of direction before starting the sequence over again. We call it the pancake dance, because of the flattening of the circle that occurs during bars 9-12. But the lyrics of the song have to do with the bean harvest.

De Horlepiep is the Dutch version of the Sailors’ Hornpipe:

Gort Met Stroop means “grits with syrup.” Very cute dance:

Mazurka voor een Mus means “mazurka for a sparrow.” Kudos on the film editing:

Ronde has courtly 16th century styling:

Te Haerlem in den Houte means “in the woods of Haerlem.” The music is from the 17th century:

Zigeunerpolka means “gypsy polka.” The music is very familiar to me. My German parents may have had this on vinyl (or even shellac). It may have originated in northern Germany, but was also danced in the Netherlands.

Bellendans (bells dance) is done to the tune of Jingle Bells. I wish I’d known this dance when I was teaching music in the elementary school. This would have been a good activity for the last day before Winter Break.

M is for Moldova: I’d Rather be Dancing Moldovan Folk Dances

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Location of Moldova. Used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike Unported License.

I had to look up where Moldova is. It’s that country colored red in the map above, in eastern Europe. That’s Romania on its west, and Ukraine wraps around its eastern side. It’s had a complicated history. For a time it was called Moldavia (or that was its English name, depending on what you read). Part of Moldova was included in the Soviet Republic for a time. Part of the territory traditionally known as Moldova is now within Romania’s borders. Some Moldovan people speak Hungarian.

Of course, I had to check out their folk dances. All the ones shown below are new to me except for the first one.

Mari Kiz is a dance we do at Phoenix International Folk Dancers. It consists of a 4-measure pattern danced in line of direction, and a variation danced into the center and out again:

Çekirgä, danced beautifully (though solemnly) by this group of children:

Hora de la Soroca:

Long Hora:

Ördög Útja (also known as Drumul Dracului):

Ostropat, a pretty couples dance:

Öves:

Sârba ca la Sud. I think there is more than one version of this dance; this is particularly spirited:

Video of the Week #352: F is for Folk Dancing

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I’d Rather Be Dancing Kurdish Folk Dances

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The Kurds are an Iranian ethnic group native to the mountainous region of Kurdistan located in southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria. Their dances (at least the ones I found on YouTube) are characterized by line formation and joined hands (often pinkie holds). Dancers at the end of the lines typically twirl scarves. There is a sameness to the dances, though variations in steps, direction, arm movements, height of foot raises, bounces, shoulder involvement, and music. Sometimes heads turn in unison.

A men’s dance group:

Beautiful Kurdish costumes:

Kurdish dance from Iraq:

Women’s dance group:

Smartphone footage from a Kurdish wedding celebration (I think this is called Yepyeni Hallay):

I remember learning this dance at Phoenix International Folk Dancers: Şemmamê

Aliyo Dino Grani Halay. Being danced in the street in a multi-generational setting, this may be a wedding or a festival:

This dance is called either Tin Tin or Teen when danced to the song Tin Tin Tini Mini Hanem; it’s also known as (Hey) Ghuma Ghuma or (Hey) Khuma Khuma, after the original song it was danced to:

Oee Naze:

Zozan:

Creative Juice #275

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Creative Juice #275

Instead of getting bombed at some lame New Year’s Eve party, stay home and read these awesome articles! Something for everyone here.

I’d Rather Be Dancing Kosovan Folk Dances

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In the 4th century B.C., there existed a Kingdom of Dardania in southeastern Europe. In the 1st century B.C., it was annexed by the Roman Empire, and then by the Byzantine Empire. For centuries thereafter, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantines for its control. By the 13th century A.D., it was part of Serbia. Then the Ottoman Empire took over.

When the Ottomans were defeated in the Balkan Wars, Kosovo (as the Dardanian kingdom came to be called) was ceded to Serbia and Montenegro. Both those countries joined Yugoslavia after World War I.

During the latter part of the 20th century, conflicts arose between Kosovo’s Albanian and Serbian populations, resulting in war in 1998-1999. Kosovo declared its independence in 2008. It is surrounded by Serbia to the north and east, northern Macedonia to the southeast, Albania to the southwest, and Montenegro to the west. Its area is 4,203 square miles, with a population of approximately 1,800,000.

Because of its Balkan location, Kosovo shares aspects of its culture with its surrounding nations, including its folk dances.

Ajšino Oro is one that we dance at Phoenix International Folk Dancers:

Aškali Gajda is danced with a shoulder hold. The leader twirls a red cloth:

Kalač is an interesting dance in multiple meters. It starts out with men and women in segregated circles which eventually merge:

Karafili is similar to a Greek Syrtos:

Šilovačko Oro:

Ženska Šiptarska Igra was originally a women’s dance:

Vallja E Gjilanit reminds me of Aškali Gajda but with leg lifts. It appears to be a men’s dance. Many Kosovan dances are similar to this one:

Shota and Rugova:

There are bits of five dances in this video, and I don’t know their names. Comments on YouTube said a dance was Albanian, and the costumes Macedonian, but since they are bordering countries, it’s not surprising there would be some crossover. My guess is that this was filmed at a Kosovan festival. You’ll want to be sure to watch to the end–there’s an exciting sword dance:

I’d Rather Be Dancing Italian Folk Dances

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The people of Italy are very musical and love to dance. Here are some beautiful dances from the Big Boot.

Chi Balla is one of the dances we do at Phoenix International Folk Dancers. It was choreographed by the American, Ira Weisburd:

I don’t know what this dance is; I found it on YouTube, and the notes say it was filmed in Tuscany:

Neapolitan Tarantella is the music (and dance) I most associate with Italy:

Mazurca di Sant’ Andieu:

Gatij Ed Goj is a dance attributed to Occitania/Italy. I didn’t know what Occitania is, so I looked it up. It’s a region in southern Europe where the language Occitan was the original language (an area that is made up mostly of current day southern France). I don’t understand how a dance could be Occitan and Italian; maybe the music is from Occitania. It is lovely music, though, and a lovely dance:

Il Cantico delle creature:

Passu Torrau is a simple dance, and there are many different versions:

Graziella Mazurca:

Bomba Latina is a line dance choreographed by Italian Joey di Stefano, shown leading the dance, based on Latin steps:

Tarantella Montevergine is one more Italian tarantella, beautifully danced by the Tucson International Folk Dancers at the Phoenix Folk Dance Festival in 2017:

I’d Rather Be Dancing Breton Folk Dances

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Brittany is the large peninsula of the northwesternmost corner of France. The Bretons have their own dialects which are used in addition to the official French language. They also have beautiful folk dances.

Hanter Dro is a very simple dance, suitable for warm-up:

Avant deux de Touches:

Bal de Jugon is a couple dance in two patterns:

Gilgoden is a circle mixer in two patterns:

Jabadao is a vigorous dance. The signs on the backs of the dancers in this video suggest to me that this might be a competition:

Kost Ar C’hoad:

Valse Écossaise, a waltz:

An Dro Retourné is a circle dance with two patterns. The first pattern has a pinkie handhold.

Bannielou Lambaol is a simple, two part dance that is often taught in elementary school in the US:

I love the music to Le Laridé a 8 temps:

I’d Rather Be Dancing United States Folk Dances

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Some US folk dances are all-American; some steal borrow liberally from other countries. These are some of the US-originated dances we do with the Phoenix International Folk Dancers.

12th Street Rag is inspired by the Roaring Twenties. We do it with couples promenading around a large circle or oval.

Chi Balla was set to an Italian song by the American choreographer, Ira Weisburd. It is a mixer, meaning that each time the dancers finish the 8-measure pattern, they progress to a new partner:

It’s been a while since I’ve danced Cotton-Eyed Joe, and I’m not sure if this is the version we do:

Cumbia Semana is a dance with a Latin flavor choreographed by Ira Weisburd:

I know this dance by the name Mozart Hassapiko. Ira Weisburd and Eli Ronen choreographed it using dance steps from the Greek tradition.

This dance is called Hot Pretzels, maybe because of the way the couples’ arms look as they exchange positions:

Yolanda is danced to a Venezuelan song. Ira Weisburd teaches this dance, but it’s not clear to me whether he is the choreographer or not; one website attributes the choreography to Bea Montrose:

Virginia Reel is an old American barn dance:

Some remember Salty Dog Rag as being introduced in the 1950s by Ricky Holden; others say it goes back to the ragtime era circa 1911:

This video claims to be the official choreography for the Macarena, which is danced to a Spanish song but originated in the United States. I only knew the original set of movements, but I like these variations because they make the dance more interesting and fun:

I’d Rather be Dancing Turkish Folk Dances

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The Turks love to dance, and they have beautiful music to dance to. Here are some Turkish folk dances that we do with the Phoenix International Folk Dancers.

I used to teach Ali Paşa to my fifth graders:

Kirmizi Biber (means hot pepper):

Kendime (kids hear “Candy Man”):

Ordu:

Turkish hora, a variation on the Israeli hora:

Turkish Kiss actually originated in Israel:

There are other Turkish dances that we do at PIFD, but I couldn’t find good quality videos of them; but here are some other Turkish dances that I’ve never done.

Tuvak:

I feel like our group has done a dance by the name of Şemmamê, but I don’t remember these steps. Apparently there are multiple variations. This is a Kurdish dance:

Arabim Fellahi (My Arabic Farmer) features stomping and a little shoulder shimmy:

Bariş Halay has some interesting jump bounces and knee circles: