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Region Detail Pirin (but originally from Demirhisar region).
Alternative Names 'Arap' was the Latin transcription given by Nina. Also the transcription given by Ibrahim & the name commonly used in the UK for it.
'Aràp' was the Latin transcription given by Iliana Bozhanova.
'Zaiko' or 'Zajko' (meaning 'Rabbit'), from the name of the tune commonly used ('Zajko kokorajko'), is also commonly used in the UK.
'Zhèni me mamo' is another name Iliana used, being the name of tune she used.
'Zheni me mamo' is that reduced to ASCII by missing off the accent.
Formation Open circle. W-hold.
Dance Structure Part A repeated in the 1st part of the music, Part B in 2nd.
Music Structure 4 counts/bar, 4 bar phrases.
Music Speed 90 counts/min in Part, 120 counts/min in Part B.
Translation Literally 'Arab', colloquially 'dark skinned person' or 'Turk'. Used in the sense 'Turk' here.
Source Nina Kavardjikova in the 2005 Eastbourne International Folkdance Festival. Other versions from casual dancing in the UK, Iliana Bozhanova in a the 2009 Balkanplus weekend in London and Ibrahim Rizevski in the 2010 SIFD Summer School in Swansea.

Disclaimer: Mistakes are quite likely in the notes and no guarantees are made as to accuracy. There may be other versions of the same dance or other dances with the same name. Music may differ, particularly in speed, introduction and duration, between performers. The division into parts, bars & counts might not be standard. These notes of the dance are freely distributable (under GPL or CC-by-sa) in so much as the note's author's contribution but the choreography and/or collection were by other people and so their copyright might apply to the dance itself. Better than using notes, go to a dance class where it is taught by Nina Kavardjikova.

A staccato dance done in a very distinctive style that is a Bulgarian stereotype of Turkish. It is traditional and common in the Pirin region of Bulgaria and in neighbouring Macedonia.

I count the phrases it as being 4 bars of 4 counts, "ONE two THREE four". Nina counted it as 8 bars of 2 counts, "ONE two". Either work. I find counting in 4s easier but in conventional Western musical notation it probably is 2 beats per bar. Part A is done in the first half of the dance. Part B is switched to when the music speeds up about half way through the recording. I forgot to note when the arms are raised in Part B; I have assumed that it is bar 3 count 3, as in Part A, which fits but that might be wrong.

Being a widespread traditional dance, Arap has been taught with different steps from different sources but the staccato styling remains similar. This is the version from Nina. The commonest version I've come across in the UK is roughly like Part A of this version without progressing to the syncopated Part B.

The commonest tune I've come across it done to is 'Zajko kokorajko' which is a children's song about a buck rabbit dressing up in fine clothes to woo a fox (or a chicken, or a fox that turns out to be a chicken depending on version/report/translation) but at the end fleeing without his clothes when hunters arrive. It allogorically fits with the posing but cowardly rabbit as traditional Bulgarian stereotype of a Turkish occupier. Of the three times I've been taught Arap by professional teachers in dance courses: Nina did it to an instrumental version of 'Zajko kokorajko', Ibrahim did it to a sung version of 'Zajko kokorajko' and Iliana did it to 'Zhèni me mamo'. According to Nina, it can be done to any tune of suitable rhythm, speed & styling. Nina & Iliana presented it as a Bulgarian dance but Ibrahim as a Macedonian one; this is not contradictory because there is a regional ethnic culture that spans the border region where Macedonia (Republic of Makedonia), Bulgaria (Pirin region of) & Greece (Greek Macedonia region of) meet.

The name 'Arap' is, like the dance, pronounced staccato. The emphasis is on the second syllable ("a-r-AH-p").

Style: Very staccato. Snooty & upright. Jerky. Bouncy in Part B.


Summary: None.

No introduction. Dancing starts at the start of the music or a whole number of phrases thereafter.

Part A

Summary: Travel acw starting R in (kick + click, step) x 3.5, pause. Back L R, close + click, click. Facing centre R across, L in place, close + click, click. Arms down-up in bars 3 & 4.

Start Facing acw around the circle. Weight on L foot.
1 Click L heel to the ground in place whilst kicking the R leg infront. The click is done by briskly raising & dropping the L heel about 1-2 cm. The kick is done as a knee-lead lift (i.e. raise R knee infront leaving R lower leg dangling verticalish) followed by a straightening of the R knee whilst keeping the foot horizontal and slightly lowering the R knee so as to end with the leg straight & the foot about 10 cm above the floor. Note that the motion is done slightly ahead of the beat so that the click and the end point of the kick coincide with the beat.
2 Step on R in place. (This forward walk is so discrete compared to the previous kick that it feels almost unnoticeable, but of course is needed in order to travel forwards & to change feet.)
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 in mirror image on opposite feet (click R heel whilst kicking L forwards, step on L).
1-3 Repeat bar 1 counts 1-3 (click R heel whilst kicking L forwards, step on L, click R heel whilst kicking L forwards).
4 Pause.
Feet Walk L backwards.
Arms Swing down to V-hold.
2 Walk R backwards.
Feet Close L foot to R foot with a click of both heels simultaneously to the floor (the R foot clicks by doing a raise & drop as in bar 1 count 3, the L foot joins it for the drop part at the end of the closing).
Arms Swing up to W-hold.
4 Click both heels to the floor (repeat the R click of count 3 with the L foot doing the same in mirror image).
Feet Turning to face the centre of the circle, drop flat footed onto R foot across infront whilst flicking the L foot up behind.
Arms Swing down to V-hold.
2 L in place.
3-4 Repeat bar 3 counts 3-4 but facing the centre & on opposite feet (close R foot to L foot clicking both heels to the floor raising arms to W-hold, click both heels to the floor again).

Part B

Summary: Bars 1-2 as Part A. Back L R, crossing triple step in place. Facing centre R across, syncopated L ball change in place, R lift. Arms down-up in bar 3 only.

Start Facing acw around the circle. Weight on L foot.
1-2 The same as Part A bars 1-2 (travel acw starting R in (kick + click, step) x 3.5, pause) but a bit bouncier.
1-2 The same as Part A bar 3 counts 1-2 (swing to V-hold, walk backwards L & R).
Feet Drop/leap onto L across infront.
Arms Raise to W-hold
& R in place.
4 Drop/leap onto L across infront.
1 Turning to face the centre of the circle, leap onto R foot across infront flat footed with knee a bit flexed whilst flicking up the L foot up behind.
2 Pause.
& L in place on ball of foot.
3 Drop onto R foot in place swinging L foot up behind again.
4 Leap onto L in place flat footed with L knee bent whilst lifting the R leg infront (it is a knee lift, i.e. with lower leg vertically down).