Arcanul Bătrînesc
(Romania)

[Full notes] [Summary notes] [Other dances & the source code]

Alternative Names 'Arcanul Bătrînesc' is the original spelling.
'Arcanul Batrinesc' is it reduced to ASCII by missing off the accents.
Formation Open circle or line, shoulder hold.
Dance Structure (A + B + C) x 3
Music Structure 4 counts/bar, 4 bar phrases.
Music Speed Music Parts 100 counts/min.
Translation Old Man's Arcanul ('Arcanul' is a type of dance).
Choreographer Theodor Vasilescu.
Source Sally Fletcher in Ipswich.

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.

Although called an old man's dance, this Romanian dance is not suitable for the infirm (so much so that it is sometimes translated as 'Old Style Arcanul' instead). The steps are slow but include lifts, aerial heel-clicks & going fully down & up on one leg (so it is definitely not suitable for people with potential left knee problems!).

According to Romanian dance specialist Nick Green, this is a traditional style dance other than that it would not have been as slow, the slowness being exaggerated in Vasilescu's choreography.

It looks more complicated broken down into bars than it really is because the first figures of Parts A & B both cross the music structure (being 6 counts long whereas the music is in 4s) and because several of the figures start with a preparatory step which is clearly part of that figure in style but is done in the end of the last bar of the figure before.

This was one of the dances which Sally rearranged for the performance at Ipswich Balkan Blues event when our social Balkan dancing group were told at short notice that we were scheduled as performers, not as audience as we had thought. With little time for rehearsals she had to adapt social dances we had been doing into performance dances. This dance was showy enough not to need much adaptation but was trimmed down to 2 repeats and we contrived to always face the audience for Part C (doing individual 180 deg turns on the spot at the end of Part B if needed).

Style: Slow steps. Crouched like an old man in Parts A & B, proudly upright in Part C. Big lifts of the legs in the slow steps across in Parts A & B, crisp staccato & posing in Part C.

Introduction

Summary: 8 bars.

Wait through a full Part C music (8 bars) as introduction. Start when the singing starts.

Part A

Summary: R side, L across behind, R side, L lift, L across infront & R lift. Repeat. Touch R across, side & across. Repeat repeated bit. 4.5 Reeders starting R across infront. L lift.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot.
1
1 R to the side.
2 L across behind.
3 R to the side.
4 Lift the L leg up infront high (upper leg optionally to horizontal or even higher, lower leg vertically down) as the first half of a big slow step across infront. (As if stepping over a sleeping cat, a cat as big as sheep!)
2
1 L across infront finishing that big slow step across infront.
2 Lift R leg so R foot is next to L leg between ankle & calf height (as if stepping over a more normal size cat).
3-4 Repeat bar 1 counts 1-2.
3 Repeat bar 1 count 3 - bar 2 count 2 (combined with the 2nd half of bar 2, this is a repeat of the first figure).
4
1 Touch R heel to ground across infront with straight knee without weight transfer.
2 Repeat count 1 but to the side infront (R heel touch side infront).
3 Repeat count 1 (R heel touch across infront).
4 R close without weight transfer.
5 Repeat bar 1.
6
1-2 Repeat bar 2 counts 1-2 (combined with bar 6, this is a of repeat the first figure).
3 R across infront.
4 L to the side. (Combined with previous step, this is Reeder Step to the L).
7
1-2 Repeat bar 5 counts 3-4 (Reeder Step L).
3-4 Repeat bar 5 counts 3-4 (Reeder Step L).
8
1-2 Repeat bar 5 counts 3-4 (Reeder Step L).
3 R across infront turning to face the centre of the circle ready for the next part (from bar 6 count 3 to here comprises 4.5 Reeder Steps but it gives the impression of being 5 Reeder Steps).
4 Lift the L leg up infront high (upper leg optionally to horizontal or even higher, lower leg vertically down) as the first half of a big slow step across infront.

Part B

Summary: (L across, L hop with heel click, R, L across behind, R side & L lift) x 4. 3.5 Reeders R starting L across infront.

Start Facing the centre of the circle with L foot raised across infront. Weight on L foot.
1
1 Step onto L completing the big slow step across infront whilst turning 90 deg cw to face acw around the circle.
2 Hop forwards on the L foot coming off ground & clicking the R heel to the L heel and parting them again whilst both feet are in the air. (The timing of this hop has to span the beat so that the click, not the launch or landing, is on the loud part of the beat.)
3 Walk R forwards turning 45 deg acw to face 45 deg cw of the centre of the circle.
4 Step L across behind continuing the turn another 45 deg acw to return to facing the centre of the circle.
2
1 Step R to the side.
2 Lift the L leg up infront high (upper leg optionally to horizontal or even higher, lower leg vertically down) as the first half of a big slow step across infront.
3-4 Repeat bar 1 counts 1-2.
3 Repeat bar 1 count 3 - bar 2 count 2 (combined with the 2nd half of bar 2, this is a repeat of the first figure).
4-6 Repeat bars 1-3 (L across infront, L hop with click, R, L across behind, R & lift L twice more making 4 times in total).
7
1 L across infront.
2 R to the side. (Combined with previous step, this is Reeder Step to the R).
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 (Reeder Step R).
8
1-2 Repeat bar 5 counts 1-2 (Reeder Step R).
3 L across infront turning to face 45 acw of the centre of the circle ready for the next part.
4 Bring R foot next to L ready to stamp (this is done subtly so the curtailment of the final Reeder Step is not noticed and it gives the impression of 4 full Reeder Steps).

Part C

Summary: Stamp R, L, R in, out & in. Ditto mirrored. Ditto original ending R raised. Down on R knee, up & stamp R in, out & in.

Start Facing 45 deg acw of the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot.
1
1 Stamp R close to L without weight transfer. The stamp is a flat footed one with the foot lifted immediately afterwards.
2 Step R close to L turning to face 45 deg cw of the centre.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 in mirror image (facing 45 cw, stamp L close to R, step L close turning to 45 acw of centre).
2
1 Repeat bar 1 count 1 (stamp R close to L with foot pointing 45 deg acw of the centre of the circle).
2 Repeat count 1 but with R foot (& leg) turned out to point 45 deg cw of the centre of the circle).
3 Repeat count 1 (stamp R close to L with foot pointing 45 deg acw of the centre of the circle).
4 Step R in place turning to face 45 acw of the centre of the circle ready for mirroring the stamping sequence. (This step is done subtly and goes almost unnoticed compared to the stamps but is a vital change of weight.)
3-4 Repeat bars 1-3 in mirror image (stamp L, stamp R, stamp L in, out & in, step L).
5 Repeat bar 1 (stamp R, stamp L).
6
1-3 Repeat bar 2 counts 1-3 (stamp R in, out & in).
4 Lift R leg to upper leg horizontal infront & lower leg vertically down with foot horizontal. This is done quickly enough to allow a slight pause in that position, for dramatic effect, before the next count.
7
1 Bend L knee and stretch R leg out behind. The degree of bend varies but ideally (for show) is sufficient that the R knee almost touches the floor. The upper body remains upright & the R foot rests on the floor behind.
2 Pause.
3 Stand up by straightening L leg (if needed, the pose adopted in count 1 can be contrived to allow one to aid this by pushing off the ground with the R foot) back into the pose of bar 6 count 4 (R leg lifted to upper leg horizontal).
4 Pause.
8
1-3 Repeat bar 2 counts 1-3 (stamp R in, out & in, step L).
4 Pause (weight does not transfer to R foot as in bar 2 because the subsequent Part A will start with the R foot.