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The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

Alunelu(l)

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BACKGROUND

Information: A dance family and song.

Originally from Oltenia, a region in southwest Romania, Alunelu entered the Romanian school system curriculum in the early 20th century and spread country-wide. Larisa Lucaci taught it to United States folk dancers in 1955; thence it spread worldwide.

(Being the generic name of a huge and disconnected family of dances, "alunelu" may have nothing to do with the subfamily of birches, Betulaceae, commonly called hazelnuts, cobnuts, filberts, or (noix de) Philibert, named for a Frankish abbot and then saint who died in A.C.E. 684.)

Translation: Little hazelnut. Traditionally, it has been thought that "Alunelul" means "little hazelnut" but Romanian folklore specialist, Theodor Vasilescu, favors the meaning as a contraction of "A lu Nelu" (where Nelu is the name "John" so the meaning is "John's dance") because, with the exception of Floricica ("little flower"), dances are rarely named for trees, plants, or flowers.

Pronunciation: ah-lu-NEH-loo

Other name: Alunelul – the -ul ending, pronounced "-oo" (colloquial) or "-ool" (more formal usage) is a form of the Romanian definite article, the equivalent of English "the;" hence alunelu = "hazelnut," alunelul = "the hazelnut;" Alunelul Comun; Alunelul Cunoscut; The 5-3-1 Dance.

Region: Romania

Meter: 4/4

Formation: Circle, your hands on your neighbors' nearer shoulders.


DANCES


BARS ACTION

  Introduction.
1-2 No action. One version has 4 bars, one has 6. You'll work it out.
 
1.   Fives.
1 Step to R onto R ft (ct 1), step behind R ft onto L ft (ct 2); repeat (cts 3,4).
2 Step to R onto R ft (ct 1), stamp twice beside R ft with L ft, no weight (cts 2,3).
3-4 = 1-2 with opp ftwk and dir.
5-8 = 1-4.
Note: Note: Some say this dance represents the cracking of hazelnuts. Not likely! My dictionary says hazelnuts are a smooth-shelled edible nut enclosed in a leafy husk. Stamp on one and you indeed would have little hazelnuts.
 
2.   Threes.
1 Step to R onto R ft (ct 1), step behind R ft onto L ft (ct 2), step to R onto R ft (ct 3), stamp beside R ft with L ft, no weight (ct 4).
2 = 1 with opp ftwk and dir.
3-4 = 1-2.
 
3.   Ones.
1 Step to R onto R ft (ct 1), stamp beside R ft with L ft, no weight (ct 2), repeat to L (cts 3,4).
2 Step to R onto R ft (ct 1), stamp twice beside R ft with L ft, no weight (cts 2,3).
3-4 = 1-2.

LYRICS

// Alunelu, alunelu, hai la joc, sa ne fie, sa ne fie cu noroc. //
Cine-n hora o sa joace, mare, mare se va face.
Cine n'o juca de fel, va ramine mititel.

Alunelu, . . . Joaca, joaca tot pe loc sa rasara busuioc,
joaca, joaca tot asa, joaca si nu te lasa.
      Hazelnut, hazelnut, come let's dance and be happy.
He (or she) who dances will grow strong and tall,
He (or she) who doesn't will stay tiny and small.

Hazelnut, . . . Dance, oh dance on this spot until the grass grows,
dance, oh dance, never stop or slow down.

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