Lad’s dances in Romania

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Inscribed in 2015 (10.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Zamfir Dejeu

Lad’s dances are a genre of men’s folk dance in Romania practised in community life on festive occasions, such as weddings and holidays, as well as during stage performances. Each community has its own variants, all of which display virtuosity and harmonious combinations of movement and rhythm. A special role is assigned to the dance leader and coordinator who trains and integrates group members, while the second leader is selected for his skills as a performer and leads the dance. Dancers group themselves into groups of boys and men aged 5 to 70, which may include Romanian, Hungarian and Roma dancers. This aspect contributes to intercultural dialogue and provides a context for learning more about cultural diversity, by witnessing, for example, local performers dancing at regional events or by observing choreographic styles of different ethnic groups. All community members are bearers and practitioners of the element, and taking part in the dance, be it as performers or spectators, enhances social cohesion. Lad’s dances provide an opportunity for young men to strengthen their social status in traditional communities, particularly among girls and their families in anticipation of marriage.

During this dance in Bihor (Borod) and Zarand (Șicula), the men dance solo with beats on the ground, ponturi, spurs, finger snaps, hand slaps in contretemps, leaps vertically and by leaping similar to scissoring in a fast tempo
The number of the dancers is odd. The group is led by a bailiff (a group leader). It has the club as an auxiliary element, with a propping role. Banu Mărăcine has a particular melody
It is performed in a slow tempo and syncopated rhythm, as a kind of promenade of the lads, as their preparation for what follows. In a circle formation, free posture, the dancers perform (walking more to the right) simple steps
This dance is made of complete figures (ponturi), the new material being present from pont to pont, even at conclusion. We could say that in this type of dance the harmonic moves of arms and legs are very rich
This is a Romanian dance, performed also by the Hungarians from Romania, but on Romanian melodies. It is different only by style, a more interrupted style at Hungarians
This is a Romanian dance, performed also by the Gypsies on Romanian melodies. The dancers use a lot of choreographic exhibitionist elements (beats on the chest, on the mouth and so on), using values of sixteenth within the choreographic elements
This type of dance is the most common and it is danced also by the groups from urban areas. It is performed without the club, in a slow tempo, and the arms swing amply
In this Sunday dance, the first one from the cycle is the Lads dance. A competition takes places between the dancers, cheered in rhymed shouts by the girls from aside to dance at their best
The lad who leads the row of the dancers performs a pont that is retaken by the others and so on till all the lads performed their favorite pont. In the past the dancers had swords in their hands
During the dance, they perform moves of virtuosity, especially: heel clicking, spectacular hopping, leaps that give a special color to the dance. The steps are going to the right, the patters being very small