Bulgarian Street Party

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

Formation Open circle or spiral. Leader on R end. V-hold.
Dance Structure Short sequence repeated throughout the music.
Music Structure Various. Usually 4 bar phrases.
Music Speed Various. Usually about 120 counts/min.
Music Lively modern Bulgarian folk-pop.
Source Public partying at the Koprivshtitsa festival in 2005.

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 when Bulgarian folk dance partying is going on.

Very simple party dances. These are not dances that were taught in workshops but those that were actually danced by people partying in the streets and cafés when I went to the Koprivshtitsa festival. When danced to modern Bulgarian folk music in Koprivshtitsa town centre in evenings, individual circling spirals often contained hundreds of dancers with on the order of a thousand dancers in total.

The steps were very simple (three quarters of dances were just the basic Pravo (Dance 1) with variations) but done enthusiastically with a party atmosphere. The tunes included both traditional & pop folk music. A lot of it was in 4 beats per bar counted as 2 (2+2). Other timings were mixed in, particularly 2+2+3 (Ruchenitsa), and 3+3. However, they were usually danced as 2 counts per bar (2+2+3 becoming 4+3), albeit not necessarily of the same length. Occasionally a longer beat was inserted in as a musical embellishment in which case the dancing was adapted to fit by simply putting in a brief ad hoc pause in whichever lift or step it occurred in.

There is a risk that these notes include some spurious non-Bulgarian dances because maybe some of the leaders were tourists or a Chinese-whispers effect had changed the steps as they propagated down the lines, it often being the case that the leader was out of sight in such big lines. As I am not certain of the names of the dances, and not sure which are distinct dances rather than variations, I have simply numbered them rather than naming them.

I have omitted Nestinarksi because, although the crowd joined in at the end, it was really a religious dance (a Ruchenitsa done as a fire-walk) being done as a performance and that the music ended before all the massive crowd had tagged on suggested that audience participation was not intended. I have also missed out a dance that was equivalent in steps to the Greek Kalamatianos done to Macedonian Lesnoto music because I have already written that up as a Lesnoto variation in my Lesnoto notes.

Suitably infectiously & relentlessly jolly music is available on the album 'Колекция - Хора и ръченици от Тракия' (transcription 'Kolektsia - Hora i rachenitsi ot Trakia', translation 'Collection - Horas & Rachenitsas from Trakiya', reference 'cd 2402195-75' from Bofirov Music). I bought a CD of it from a market stall in Koprivshtitsa, as it was the best of the ones I heard demonstrated, and since then I have bought several more copies online as presents.

Style: Enthusiastic partying. No particular regional styling (e.g. lifts could be low or high, knee-lead or foot-lead, bent-kneed or swung across with straight knee, increased with hopping, reduced to touches or replaced with low flat Triple Steps in place). When the ad hoc pauses were in steps, they were done as a staccato pause whilst the foot was raised (styling ranged from subtle to sharply hooking).


Summary: None.

None. Join in whenever one feels like it. (The difficulty with so many people was finding somewhere to join in. Politely joining on the end of a line was often impractical as the end was not only a long distance away but changing rapidly as more people joined. Often the music for a danced ended with people still looking for the end to join on. If friends were already in the line then joining in between them was convenient. The commonest solution was just to push in anywhere but that feels awkward for the polite British and I don't know if it was the normal Bulgarian method or from tourists from other cultures.)

Dance 1 (Pravo)

Summary: R side, L across infront, R side, L lift, L in place, R lift.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot.
1 R to the side.
2 L across infront.
1 R to the side.
2 L lift infront.
1 L in place.
2 R lift infront.

This crosses the music being a 3 bar sequence to typically 4 bar music phrases.

The directions of the body varied. Some danced with the body remaining facing the centre as notated above. Usually it was turned 45 deg cw of the direction to the centre of the circle for the 2 travelling steps (so they became more like R & L forwards). That was typically the case when the travelling speed increased (sometimes it became a run). Some stayed facing that way throughout including for the lifts.

Dance 2

Summary: As Dance 1 but 4 travelling steps instead of 2.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot.
1 The same as Dance 1 bar 1.
2 The same as Dance 1 bar 1.
3-4 The same as Dance 1 bars 2-3.

This is essentially just Dance 1 with the travelling stretched to fit the music.

Dance 3

Summary: Run R,L,R,L. Stop on R, kick L, L back, lift R.

Start Facing 45 cw of the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot.
1 Run R forwards.
2 Run L forwards.
2 Repeat bar 1 (R & L running steps forwards).
1 R in place coming to an abrupt stop facing the centre of the circle and leaning slightly backwards (the lean in a natural action to avoid falling over with the abrupt stop).
2 Lift L infront with a kicking motion.
1 L backwards with a slight lean forwards (not needed for balance but just ornamentation matching the previous backwards lean). It needs to be quite a big step to compensate for inward travelling of bars 1-2 (unless the circle is small enough for that to be absorbed into curvature of the circle).
2 Lift R infront.

Dance 4

Summary: R & L walk cw around circle. (R side quick, L across behind quick, R side, L lift), mirror.

Start Facing 45 cw of the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot.
1 R forwards acw around the circle.
2 L forwards acw around the circle.
1 Facing the centre of the circle, R to the side.
& L across behind.
2 R to the side.
1 Lift L infront.
2 L to the side.
& R across behind.
1 L to the side.
2 R lift infront.

Although the steps are simple, it was easy to follow visually and the sequence length fits the music phrasing, I found it confusing to write down the timing of because the obvious mirrored repeat within the sequence does not fit the music, appearing in different places with respect to the bars.