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Rezijanka I and II

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Information: A pair of dances.

Translation: Dances from Rezia

Pronunciation: re-zee-AHN-kah

Other names: Rezia valley inhabitants call the dances by their songs, Lipa Ma Marýca, etc.

Region: Soč River Valley in Italy


Billy Burke was sent by the AMAN Folk Ensemble to the 1971 summer folkdance course at a Sports Center on Badija in the Adriatic, near Korčula, directed by Dr. Ivan Ivančan. He brought the dances back from the camp to teach at the subsequent AMAN Institute. Mirko Ramovs, a Slovenian dance researcher from Ljubljana, taught the Rezijanka dances as he had documented them among the minority Slovenian population in northern Italy. The AMAN Orchestra recorded it for the AMAN Institute.

The AMAN Institute Syllabus, volume 2, has the Rezijankas:

The Soč River Valley in Italy is the source of the unusual and charming Slovenian Rezijanka dances. The dances are highly reminiscent of French Bourrées, the men and women dancing in opposing lines, but each performer dances for his own satisfaction and no effort is made for communicating with a partner.

–Maimon Miller

Dick Crum says that neither the dances nor the music were in the right style for the area.

Other questions:

Rezijanka I doesn't fit the Val Rezia pattern of dancers staying on their own side during the "high" section and crossing over and back during the "low" section.

The dance style is more sedate than usually taught. The musical style is also sedate, unlike that of Val Resia musicians.

I quess I'll add my two sense concerning the dances from Rezije or Val di Resia (Italy). Billy Burke learned two Rezijankes at the Letnja Skola Folklora, Badija kod Korčula, Croatia (then Yugoslavia) in the Summer of 1971 from Mirko Ramovs, a Slovenian dance ethnographer, and returned them to the United States via AMAN with new recordings done by the AMAN Orchestra (Miamon Miller and friends).

Although referred to as Rezijanka I and II, Ramovs actually called them by their names, Ta Plazina (Rezijanka I) and Ta Lepi Moj Čérni Potök (Rezijanka II) in his books with dance and music notation "Slovenski Narodni Plesovi" 1971 and "Plesat me Pelji" 1980. He collected them in the Val di Resia region of North-eastern Italy. He actually documents Ta Plazina from Osojane February 2, 1967 as danced by Giuseppe Buttolo born in 1916, and Ta Lipi Černi Potök (different spelling 1980) as collected off of a film from UCJA February 2, 1970 as danced by Giovanni di Lenardo. Both were collected during Carnival, a prime-time for dancing in Val Resia to this day as Larry Weiner can well attest to. The confusion over the names can most likely be attributed to Anthony Shay (then co-director of the AMAN Folk Ensemble) who most likely compared them to Marija Sustar's "Slovenski Ljudski Plesi Primorske" Ljubjana 1958 which uses the terms Rezijaka I, II, III for three different notated dances.

As far as the style for these two versions and those which I've been teaching I can only say this: I was not present in Badija in 1971 but do have the highest respect for Billy Burke's ability to learn and recreate dances. They do appear to have a somewhat "reconstructed" feel to them. To this I will add my own experience and challenge at presenting this material in a "teachable" somewhat "standardized" manner. Susan and I observed and learned a number of dances from Val di Resia in the Summer of 1981 from the Gruppo Folcloristico "Val Resia." This is a local amateur performance group which traces its preservation and presentation of Resian folklore back to the early 19th century. One Ella von Schultz-Adaiewsky published a collection of songs and dances from Val Resia dated 1883 and 1887.

Although the dances I observed had certain "rules," the actual "footwork," that is, weight changes and weight-baring foot varied from dancer to dancer even in the performance group. I chose a suggested men's and women's pattern based on many considerations which I won't go into now. I also had heard that Mirko Ramovs had been there on several occations after his published dated from the late 1960s and early 1970s. I filmed this group on several occations in both recreational and performance situations. Larry Weiner also has films from Carnival where the dancing appears to be at a much more spontaneous level. Yves Moreau, with whom I made my first trip to Val di Resia in the late 1970s, has also had a Slovenian group at his Heritage Festival which presented dances from Resia.

To bring this to an end, I only want to add that the inhabitants of Val di Resia do not refer to their dances as Rezijanka rather by the name of each particular dance-melody or song. Ironically, the two which I most commonly present (Lipa Ma Marýca and Čérni Potök) are musically similar (Čérni Potök is actually the same as Rezijanka II) but structurally different than what Billy Burke presented.

Steve Kotansky


Ramovs, Mirko. "Problem zapisivanja individualnih varijacij rezijanskega plesa" (the problems in notating or describing the individual variations of Rezija dances). In: Rad XV kongresa saveza udruzenja folklorista Jugoslavije u Jajcu 12-16 sept. 1968 (15th Congress of Yugoslav Folklorists held in Jajče, Bosnia, September 12-16, 1968). Sarajevo: 1971. Of the three Slovenian dance types, Rezijanka typifies the improvisational.


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