Neda Voda Nalivala
(Bulgaria)

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

Region Detail Pirin.
Dance Structure (Series of variations each repeated twice) repeated until the end of the music.
Formation Short lines (or open circle to fit room). W-hold.
Music Structure 5 counts/bar, 11 beats/bar, 2 bars/phrase, 4 phrases/verse.
Music Speed 125 counts/min, 250 beats/min.
Alternative Names 'Neda Voda Nalivala' is a Latin transcription of the name. The 'Balcony Dance' is how it is called in English.
Source Tony Mounter (who learnt it from 'heli' in Walberswick who probably learnt it from Laura Shannon or Yves Moreau) in Ipswich, UK, in 2013 and Jaap Leegwater at the 2006 Balkan Festival in Zetten, the Netherlands.

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.

Known as the "Balcony Dance" as it was traditionally danced by women on balconies. It can be danced in a small space.

The music is formally 11 beats per bar arranged 2+2+2+2+1+2 and is danced slow-slow-slow-slow-quick-slow but I count it "ONE Two three four A five" where the "A" is a shorter count that feels like it has been slipped in ahead of count five.

Often this is imagined as women dancing on moden urban type balconies in very crammed conditions. I personally am unsure about that. The dance is in the feet & if those were visible from below in on a narrow balcony then other parts would be visible which would have traditionally disapproved of. In some areas of Bulgaria a traditional house structure had an upper floor consisting of rooms around 3 sides of a large open area - essentially an above-ground veranda. Dancing on a "balcony" like that would have been much more practical.

I have come across it in several places with different sets of variations (done twice each then repeated from the start). Nearly always it has started with the side to side one so I have called that the 'Basic'. Usually that was followed by the in and out variation so I have called that 'Variation 1'. On occaisions when there were more variations, those varied a lot. I have since found on the web a copy of Yves Moreau's published notes from way back in 1984 and the version then indeed comprised only those two parts.

I first lead it in 2014 in a memorial dance morning at a Circle Dance event for a friend who died as it was in her selection of favourite dances. Hence I did it with the variations she was used to. She had learnt it from heli so used the version I learnt from a tribute dance session that was recorded for her year in 2013 as Tony who lead there had also learnt it from heli. I think heli learnt it from Yves Moreau, a Bulgarian dance specialist, so although the styling might have undergone changes in being passed on, I expect the steps were authentic. The sequence is below as Basic (side to side) x 2 + Variation 1 (in & out) x 2 + Variation 2 (three lifts) x 2 + Variation 3 (Grapevine & brush) x 2.

However I previously, in 2006, learnt it directly from Jaap Leegwater, another Bulgarian dance specialist. His sequence is below as Variation 3 (Grapevine & brush) x 2 + Variation 4 (in & out with leap) x 2 + Variation 5 (quick steps) x 2 + Variation 6 (three lifts hopping) x 2 + Variation 7 (three lifts turning) x 2. His variations were more stage theatrical though so when I came leading it for Balkan dancing I used the combination of the more folky 2013 steps with the directly learnt 2006 styling.

Style: Upright. Restrained in distance of travelling. Light & nifty footwork. Steps low. Weight taken initially onto balls of feet in steps. Lifts are infront with upper leg about 45 deg below the horizontal, lower leg vertically down & foot relaxed horizontal unless otherwise specified.

Introduction

Summary: None or start with melody.

No introduction. Start immediately or skip the first 1 or 2 parts & stand still through them as an introduction.

When Tre Diki played it for the Balkan Festival, they conveniently added an introduction of 2 bars of drum solo.

Basic: Side to side

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

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L ft.
1
1 R lift. This is a lift followed by a heel lead (dig) bounce down by flexing the supporting leg at the knee.
2 R walk to the side. The supporting leg straightens so as to give an up-down-up feeling to completing the bounce on the previous count.
3 L walk across in front.
4 R walk to the side.
a L step across in front. A small brisk step that is will be reverted almost immediately.
5 R in place returning the L ft to lifted infront ready for next lift.
2 Repeat bar 1 R to L mirror image. (L lift, L side, R across infront, L side, R across infront quick, L in place).

Variation 1: In & out

Summary: As Basic but travel in forwards instead of R & out backwards instead of L.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L ft.
1 As Basic 1 bar 1 but travelling forwards instead of to the R. (R lift, R L R forwards, L forwards quick, R in place.)
2 As Basic 1 bar 2 but travelling backwards instead of to the L. (L lift, L R L backwards, R backwards quick, L in place.)

Variation 2: Three lifts

Summary: As Basic but replace the first to walks of each half with 2 more lifts.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L ft.
1
1 As Basic 1 bar 1 count 1 (R lift).
2-3 As count 1 repeated twice more (making it (R lift) x 3 in total).
4-5 As Basic 1 bar 1 count 4-5 (R side, L across infront quick, R in place.)
2 Repeat bar 1 in mirror image. (L lift x 3, L side, R across infront quick, L in place.)

Variation 3: Grapevine & brush

Summary: Grapevine (starting R side, L across infront), R side quick, L brush. Mirror.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L ft.
1
1 R to the side.
2 L across infront.
3 R to the side.
4 L across behind.
a R to the side.
5 L foot brush forwards to the side. This is a small brush of the ball of the foot straight or with a convex curve (starting forwards then curving out to the right).
2 Repeat bar 1 in mirror image. (Grapevine L starting L side, R across infront, L side quick, R brush.)

This differs from all the previous variations this one in not starting with a lift and ending with a step-replace.

Variation 4: In & out with leap

Summary: As Variation 1 (in & out) but bar 1 final counts leap forwards & bar 2 count 1 lift high across.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L ft.
1 As Variation 1 bar 1 but on the final 2 counts instead of stepping L forwards & R in place, leap onto L foot in front & leap onto R in place. The forwards & replace is very quick with the 2nd leap being done staccato in the first half of count 5. (R lift, R L R forwards, L leap forwards quick, R leap to in place brisk.)
2 As Variation 1 bar 2 but with the count 1 L lift being a high lift to upper leg horizontal & lower leg slightly hooked (L lift across, L R L backwards, R backwards quick, L in place.)

This is really just a stylistic variation of Variation 1 but it looks & feels different enough that I treat it as a different variation.

Variation 5: Quick steps

Summary: (R side quick, L close quick) x 4.5. L heel infront touch. Mirror.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L ft.
1
1 R to the side. Small almost flat (but heel lifts slightly whilst ball virtually skims the ground) step.
& L close. Small flat step.
2-4& Repeat counts 1-& 3 more times.
a R to the side likewise. (Making it R side & L close 4.5 times in total)
5 Touch heel of L foot to the ground infront with straight knee.
& Pause (so the heel touch was staccato).
2 Repeat bar 1 in mirror image. ((L side quick, R close quick) x 4.5. R heel infront touch.)

This differs from all the other variations in rhythm of the steps.

Variation 6: Three lifts hopping

Summary: As Variation 3 (three lifts) but hop during lifts.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L ft.
1
1-3 As Variation 3 (three lifts) but L hop once during each lift.
4-5 As Variation 3 1 bar 1 count 4-5 (same as the Basic, i.e. R side, L across infront quick, R in place.)
2 Repeat bar 1 in mirror image. (R hop with L lift, L side, R across infront quick, L in place.)

This is really just a stylistic variation of Variation 3 but it was easier to notate as a separate variation as it forms the basis of Variation 7.

Variation 7: Three lifts turning

Summary: As Variation 6 (three lifts hopping) but turn 360 deg (bar 1 acw, bar 2 cw) during hops.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L ft.
1
1-3 As Variation 6 (three lifts hopping) but release hold (arms remain in W-position) and turn 360 deg acw in total on the spot during the 3 hops.
4-5 As Variation 6 1 bar 1 count 4-5 (same as the Basic, i.e. R side, L across infront quick, R in place.)
2 Repeat bar 1 in mirror image. (R hop with L lift x 3 turning 360 deg cw, L side, R across infront quick, L in place.)

Regain hand hold at the end of a series of this variation ready for the next one.