Something a little different ...

Discussion in 'Videos' started by Zhena, May 17, 2009.

  1. Zhena

    Zhena Well-Known Member

    Here's a video I really enjoy ... it shows one of my favorite Hungarian dances and it illustrates some of the things that are special to the genre.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARV266U_214&feature=related

    Since this is a partner dance forum, I will point out that the partner section comes after the men's solos, starting at about 3:55.

    The descriptions are based on my understanding, but I don't pretend to be an expert. Even though the clip is a performance, it's not overly choreographed ... it's more like a well-organized tanchaz (dance house = social dance). It's shorter than a set in a tanchaz; only eight and a half minutes. (If it were as long as a real dance, the audience would get bored.) The dancers are working within a well-defined vocabulary; the choreography consists of coordination of the timing and sequence.

    Although I believe these dancers are professional performers, only a few of the moves they do wouldn't be seen at a tanchaz. This performance is very polished, but the moves are not beyond the capabilities of most people (though of course they are easier if you happen to grow up in that culture).


    Points to note in the men's solos:

    In a tanchaz, the men would orient their solos to the musicians. Since this is a show, most of them orient to the audience, but some of them do acknowledge the musicians either at the beginning or the end of their set.

    In a tanchaz, the men take turns in a similar manner and determine who is next up through a process I don't fully understand.

    The men must work within the established vocabulary, but each has his individual style. The syncopations and patterns of the kicks, slaps, claps, clicks, etc. allow for a certain amount of variation, but some moves are allowed and others are not done.


    Points to note in the couple dance:

    The lead-follow relationship in Hungarian dancing tends to be a little more direct and forceful than in modern ballroom dancing. In this particular dance, the challenge for the woman is to know when to relax and when to connect her hand to her torso through the arm in order to receive the impetus for some of the spins. In particular, watch the moves where the hands travel between waist height and overhead in a sweeping pattern. This is the signature move of this dance. It actually feels natural when done properly!

    The rhythm of this middle section is SQQ. The slow is 3 counts and the quicks are 2 counts (7 beats per measure). This rhythm is not unusual. The foot patterns are combinations of step, touch/hold, and triple step.

    The men sometimes break off into solos while the woman either supports him or stands to the side. Women rarely have solos except for the occasional spin in place. This is also typical of Hungarian dances.

    The music gets faster as the dance progresses. In this case, the change is abrupt and includes a return to a straight rhythm (at about 6:40).

    The fast section includes moves where the couples turn around a stationary axis, then change direction to turn the other way. If the couple works well together this can be extremely fast and fun. Believe it or not, there are a lot of variations on how to do this!

    When I first started learning, I used to get nauseous in every class. I would often sit down for 5-10 minutes to re-orient myself. But now I don't get dizzy. My limit is my physical ability to stay upright when the dance is insanely fast. (Side note: I've heard that in a tanchaz when the musicians think they deserve a break, they will play faster and faster until they drive everyone off the floor ...)

    At the end of the dance most of the couples hug, and some of the men pick their partners up a little. This is also traditional ... if you've just been dancing with someone for a half-hour to an hour, it's nice to ackowledge them when it's over.


    I hope you enjoy watching!
  2. Zhena

    Zhena Well-Known Member

    I'm feeling guilty and I won't be able to sleep unless I clear up a potential misconception. The dance in the video is not actually Hungarian, but Romanian. Most of the Hungarian dances being taught in Hungary today are those done by ethnic Hungarians who live within the borders of what is now Romania. The people who researched the Hungarian dances also picked up the versions that were danced by the ethnic Romanians from the same area. In fact there is a third version of this particular dance, the one danced by the Rom (gypsies) who live there also. The versions are distinct and anyone familiar with them would recognize the difference immediately.

    So what you see on the video is a Romanian dance as performed by Hungarians. (... and my conscience is now clear ...)
  3. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    Wow! Thanks for sharing, Zhena!
    So there isn't much of a divide between social and performance. Interesting!

    I love the men's leaps. Also, I think I begin to understand your penchant for skirts. ;) And when the music quickens, violins working up to a frenzy, going way past light speed, beyond ludicrous speed... :shock: :shock: It looks quite fun to do, too, though I'm sure I'd be hurling within a minute. :razz:
  4. Zhena

    Zhena Well-Known Member

    Oops ... I was thinking of the partner parts ... but I believe the men's solos are a little different because they're intended to be watched, not just danced. Even though they work within the same restricted vocabulary, there seems to be a difference between "social" quality and "stage" quality ... when we saw solos of that quality in a tanchaz in Hungary it seemed pretty obvious that those guys were used to performing.

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