Writing Folk Dance Descriptions
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When you write dance notes for your personal use, they only need to be a reminder of what you saw, heard, and subsequently researched. If you are writing dance descriptions for public consumption, however, they must be polished and have some requisite information.
The following is an example of a set of dance notes that has the items discussed above.
|TRANSLATION:||Bride's cook (see Background)|
|SOURCE:||Dick Oakes learned this dance from Dr. Anthony (Tony) Shay who learned this couple version of Sukačko kolo from the Croatian State Folk Dance Ensemble "LADO " when he was with the AMAN Folk Ensemble (aka, AMAN International Music and Dance Company) of Los Angeles, California.|
|BACKGROUND:||Sukačica is from the Prigorje area north of Zagreb in Croatia. A sukačica is a woman who prepares the special soups, roast meats, and cakes for the wedding feast held at the bride's home after the church ceremony. The guests often sang a humorous song (Sukačice, domarice...) in honor of the sukačice and sometimes the song was accompanied by spontaneous dancing, during which the guests might have taken partners and danced their local "drmeš" (shaking dance) in couples or in circles of three or four dancers. Dick Crum, noted Balkan dance researcher, learned a circle drmeš to the same music in the village of Gračani during 1954 that is called Sukačko kolo. While the dance described below also is more properly called Sukačko kolo, we are using the name "Sukačica" to differentiate it from the circle dance.|
NAMA 2 (LP) 1002, Side A, Band 5 "Sukačko Kolo"
Festival Records (45rpm) FM-4002B "Sukačko Kolo"
Mediterranean (45rpm) 4002B "Sukačko Kolo"
Geisler, Richard. "Sukačko Kolo" (sheet music), The Yugoslav Collection, The Village & Early Music Society, 15181 Ballantree Lane, Grass Valley, CA 95949-7633.
|FORMATION:||Cpls facing in any dir, side-by-side, with W to M R, inside hands joined and held down in "V" pos, outside hand flat on hips with fingers fwd and thumb back.|
|STEPS/STYLE:||The shaking or bouncing is especially noticeable in the first and third Fig. Ftwk is the same for M and W unless otherwise indicated.|
|NOTE: This Fig is written for M; W use opp ftwk.|
|1||Turning away from ptr, step L, bending L knee and swinging joined hands fwd (ct 1); bounce on both ft slightly apart (ct 2); bounce on both ft slightly apart (ct &).|
|2||Repeat action of meas 1 with opp ftwk, swinging joined bwd on ct 1.|
|3-12||Repeat action of meas 1-2 five more times. Both M and W take wt on L on final ct & in preparation for Fig II.|
|NOTE: The bounces may be danced as shifts of wt but are so flat and close to the floor that the impression is the same as two bounces.|
|II.||CHORUS (CPL TURN)|
|NOTE: The low hop in this Fig should be danced in place as a pivot with the R ft to provide the momentum for turning. Formation is shldr-shldr blade pos with ptrs facing each other, knees bent. There is almost no up-and-down motion during the turning.|
|1||Turning CW, step R across in in front of L with the toe angled to the R (ct 1); low hop on R (ct 2); step L swd around ptr (ct &).|
|2-16||Repeat action of meas 1 fifteen more times.|
|NOTE: If the cpl prefers, a hop-step-step may be danced during the Chorus instead of the step-hop-step described. If this is the case, wt must be taken on the R by both M and W at the end of Fig I.|
|NOTE: Formation is with ptrs opened out side-by-side, W to M R, inside hands joined. Both hands are held up at shltr height, elbows slightly bent, palms fwd.|
|1||Step L swd with stiffened knee and moving hands to L (ct 1); bend L knee as R is raised off floor (ct &); step R next to L with stiffened knee and moving hands to R (ct 2); bend R knee as L is raised off floor (ct &);|
|2||Repeat action of meas 1;|
|3||Step L swd with stiffened knee and moving hands to L (ct 1); bend L knee as R is raised off floor (ct &); touch R next to L with stiffened knees with hands remaining to L (ct 2); bend L knee as R is raised off floor (ct &).|
|4-6||Repeat action of meas 1-4 to R with opp ftwk.|
|7-12||Repeat action of meas 1-6. On final ct &, ptrs take wt on L in preparation for Fig IV.|
|NOTE: If the hop-step-step var is to be used in Fig IV, both M and W retain wt on R.|
|IV.||CHORUS (CPL TURN)|
|1-16||Repeat action of meas 1-16, Fig II.|
|Repeat entire dance from beg. M must have L ft free and W R ft free to begin Fig I.|
|VARIATION FOR CHORUS|
|If the cpl prefers, during the Chorus Fig ptrs may face each other and, leaning over twd each other with free hands on hips (W begins with wt on L, R ft free), dance 6 meas of drmeš steps to M L and 6 meas of drmeš steps to M R. Joined hands are held down in "V" pos between ptrs and are swung across in front of body on ct 1 and out to side on ct 2 throughout the entire 12 meas.|
Sukačica (Sukačko Kolo)
/ Sukačica gledi strica |
zgorela joj gibanica. / Chorus
/ Dunaj, Dunaj, Dunaj ve,
Dunaj vodo ladna. / / Sukačica, domarice,
zgorele vam gibanice. / Chorus / Zgorele vam gibanice;
prismudile i purice. / Chorus / Sukičica, pile peče
iz pileta voda teče. / Chorus / Tancale su celu noćku
pojele su s'perjem kvočku. / Chorus
The cook looked at the old man
and her gibanica (cheese pie) burned.
Danube, cold water!
your gibanica has burned. Chorus Your gibanica has burned;
the turkeys have gotten singed. Chorus The cook roasts a chicken
and all the water comes out of it. Chorus They danced the whole night
and ate a hen, feathers and all! Chorus
Used with permission of the author.