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The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

Ciuleandra

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BACKGROUND

Information: A family of dances.

Translation: The tumbleweed dance

Pronunciation: choo-leh-AHN-dra

Region: Romania


COMMENTS

The Ciuleandra we do most often in the United States is an assemblage of steps from the sub-Carpathian region, choreographed for recreational folk dancing by Mihai David to a song about doing the Ciuleandra, sung by Maria Tanase. Tanase's humorous song contains the famous strigaturi often parodied in the United States, spoken over a traditional Ciuleandra melody, played ridiculously slowly for the first part.

The tempo of the actual Ciuleandra melody increases for the second part. Compare this recording with the Folkraft recording.

The dance to that music is the two part dance of circles running around as in Dick Crum's second Alunelul and in a Muntenian dance known as Pandelașul. The folk dance classic by Mihai consists of steps not actually done in Romania to that tune. The "real" dance is actually less spectacular, but far more quirky and has been taught by Dick Crum and Eugenia Popescu-Județ, and I've seen a videotape of it performed that way by some villagers in Oltenia. Basically it consists of step-behind-step-stamps done alternately right and left during the "A" melody, done by closed circles in a shoulder hold. During the "B" melody the entire circle moves as a unit around the dance area, often exchanging places or chasing other circles. It really looks strange if you're used to the other version.

–John Uhlemann


There are 2 parts to the dance as described in the previous email. One in which each circle (it is a group of circles) does some slow steps to the left and right, but they are not the steps that have been done to the "usual" international folk dancer.

The second part has the groups opposite one another in the circle of circles go flying past one another in an attempt to not hit one another, but coming close. The music is in two parts as well, one for each of the dance parts.

The first being a slow version of the "Ciuleandra" that is in most dance groups and the 2nd piece of music is actually called Fedeleșul. The dance is supposed to represent the Ciulene which is the whirling of dried flowers in the southern part of the country at the end of summer.

–Susie in Corvallis


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