Óine Dóine

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

Alternative names 'Óine Dóine' is a Latin transcription by Iliana.
'Oine Doine' is it reduced to ASCII by missing off the accents.
'Oynay Doynay' is an English transcription.
Formation Open circle. Chain hold & V-hold.
Dance Structure ((A1 + A2) x 6 + (B1 + B2)) repeated throughout the music.
Music Structure Part A 4 counts/bar, 9 beats/bar, 6 bar phrases. Part B 4, 2 & 4 counts/bar, 9, 5 & 9 beats/bar, 6 bar phrases.
Music Speed 120 counts/min.
Choreographer Iliana Bozhanova.
Source Iliana Bozhanova in her weekend course for Balkanplus in London, September 2009.

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 Iliana Bozhanova.

There is an interesting polarisation in opinion on this dance. Some people considered the dance relaxingly followable whereas others considered it to be the most tricky in that course of Iliana's! It is a gentle dance to a beautiful sweet sounding song but there too there is a polarisation, in that the meaning of words of the song greatly contradict that sweet impression of its sound.

The style, steps and music are from the Strandzha mountains in south eastern Thrace but were put together by Iliana to create a traditional style dance because the music was so beautiful and having an associated dance would help the preservation of the music.

The reason for the polarisation in opinion as to the difficulty is the rhythm (in addition there are styling subtleties but some people who happily ignore styling also find this dance difficult). On the difficult side, the time signature unusually varied which makes it difficult for those who internalise rhythm before learning steps to simply follow. On the easy side, there is always just one step or one lift per count so those can simply treat the musical rhythm as a metronome, albeit one where the counts aren't necessarily the same length, can find it straightforward to copy. I was in the latter group but unfortunately for my plans of using this as an easy relaxing dance to lead when I learnt it, I estimate (from opinions of those on the course, my attempts at leading it and result of someone else leading more experienced dancers in London) about three-quarters of UK Balkan dancers find it difficult!

In Part A (sung) a bar counts "ONE Two-a three four", i.e. 4 counts with the 2nd one longer. This is conventionally written in Western music notation as 9 beats grouped as 2+3+2+2. In Part B (instrumental) the bars cycle through 3 different rhythms. The 1st is "ONE Two-a three four" (2+3+2+2) like Part A (but confusingly has the same steps as Part A but in a different order). The 2nd is "ONE Two-a" (2+3), i.e. 2 counts with the 2nd longer. The 3rd is "ONE Two three Four-a" (2+2+2+3) which is like Part A in being 4 counts but with the long count in a different place. Most Balkan dance teachers I heard describing such a rhythm as Part B would have described it as 25 counts per bar "ONE Two-a three four FIVE Six-a SEVEN Eight nine Ten-a" (2+3+2+2|2+3|2+2+2+3) but Iliana was insistent that Bulgarian does not have such complex rhythms, only combinations of basic rhythms (I suppose the difference is just a notational one or how the music is conceptualised rather than a difference in the sound).

As for the song, it sounds sweet & the title means 'dear Doine' where 'Doine' is a woman's name and sounds like a love song and the words do start out romantically wondering if the smell of flowers in a field is due to vegetation having been walked on by barefoot maidens recently passing. However subsequent verses reveal that the actual reason was that the village had been raided and the women & children taken away as slaves in a chain (hence the hold of Part A)!

Style: Although smooth & gentle it does travel a moderate amount as the steps forwards are 30 cm and there is a continual subtle undulation. The forwards steps are flattish heel-lead walking steps other than after a lift when (in a smooth continuation of the lift) they are flattish toe-lead. The steps backwards are onto the balls of the feet. The undulation is a very subtle (a cm or so) rise & fall from the knees straightening & flexing on each step. This is accentuated by a subtle (about 1 cm each way from the centre position) swaying of hips in Part A. The lifts when going forwards are small (about 2 cm off the ground with the foot angled down about 15 deg) and beside the supporting foot but when lifting behind going backwards (in Part B2) they are larger (to about 1/3 calf height with foot angled 45 deg down) and behind the plane of the body.


Summary: 9 bars.

Wait through 9 bars of music (in the rhythm of Part A but not sung).

Part A1

Summary: Forwards to the R in R step, L lift, L step, R step.

Start Facing acw around the circle. Weight on L foot. In chain hold (L hand fist holding R hand fingers of person behind, L hand on own L hip slightly to the back, R arm straight).
1 R forwards with slight hip sway to the R.
2 L lift.
3a L forwards with slight hip sway to the L.
4 R forwards with slight hip sway to the R.

A tempting catch is mistakenly to do the lift on the long count (which seems natural because it is the foot motion different from the others on the count different from the others, it is the motion easiest made into a slow done on the long count and it is indeed done that way in Part B!). It would fit in ending up on the correct foot at the end of the bar but, particularly because of the sways, cause a disconcerting feeling of being out of sync with other dancers in the line tempting a mistaken fudge of mistakenly catching up a step and so getting out of sync.

Another catch is that the chain hold is very similar to the Debka hold which is more common in Balkan etc. dancing in the UK so people tend to drop into that. The Debka hold has the L hand in the small of ones back (hence 'half Nelson' jokes) and the R arm can be bent whereas this has the L hand on the L hip & the R arm straight. Failing to keep the R arm straight, puts the dancers too close together.

Part A2

Summary: Part A1 on opposite feet.

As Part A1 but on the opposite feet whilst still travelling acw around the circle (L forwards, R lift, R forwards, L forwards).

Part B1

Summary: Change to V-hold. In in (R, L, R lift, R), (L lift, L), (R, L, R, L). In place (R lift, R infront, L lift, L in place), (R close, L infront), (R lift, R in place, L lift, L close).

Start Facing acw around the circle. Weight on L foot. In chain hold.
Feet R forwards turning to face the centre of the circle.
Arms Change to V-hold.
2 L forwards.
3a R lift.
4 R forwards.
1 L lift.
2a L forwards.
1 R forwards.
2 L forwards.
3a R forwards.
4 L forwards.
Feet R lift.
Body Lean forwards (arms naturally swing slightly back keeping parallel to leaning torso).
Feet R forwards.
Body Straighten up.
Feet L behind.
Body Lean backwards. (arms naturally swing slightly forwards keeping parallel to leaning torso).
Feet L forwards.
Body Straighten up.
1 R close.
2a L forwards.
1 R lift.
2 R in place.
3a L lift.
4 L close.

A catch is that bar 1 has the same rhythm & steps as Part A1 but the steps are in a different order.

Part B2

Summary: Part B1 but backing out & end changing to chain hold with L close, R touch.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot. In V-hold.
1-3 As Part B1 bars 1-3 other than going backwards back to place (backwards (R, L, R lift, R), (L lift, L), (R, L, R, L)). (There is no need to turn to face the centre of the circle or change to V-hold because one is already in that state after Part B1.)
4-5 As Part B1 bars 4-5 in place ((R lift, R infront, L lift, L in place), (R close, L infront)). (Note that forwards & backwards steps are not interchanged relative to Part B1 as in bars 1-3.)
1-2 As Part B1 bar 6 counts 1-2 (R lift, R in place).
Feet L close turning 90 deg cw to end facing cw around the circle.
Arms Change back to chain hold.
4 R close without weight transfer.

The changes at the end of Part B2 from Part B1 are simply a fudge to make the turn into the chain hold for Part A easier & neater.