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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in folk dance

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Dance Is My Village

My international folk dance group is not a heathen or pagan group. In fact, I’m the only Asatruar in it. Most folk dance groups, festivals, workshops, and cruises are secular and intercultural, except for the ones specifically associated with a particular ethnic group or church / temple. Our group’s mission is to preserve the world heritage of dance. And of course, also to have fun. But my dance group isn’t just a place to do an activity; it’s also a community.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Teaching Folk Dance at the Moot part 3

In the last great Ice Age, when cave bears roamed the snowy earth, peoples across Europe, Asia, and North America all honored the Bear. Because bears hibernate, they return in the spring, along with the sun, the warmth, and the fertility of the land. It would make sense to do a dance with loud drumming in the spring to wake them up, thus bringing the blessings of springtime, but Tot Ursi is still performed to this day in Romania, and it is part of the winter solstice celebrations. Like winter solstice traditions of burning a Yule Log to keep the light alive while the sun is god, Tot Ursi is danced to keep the Bear spirit alive while the bears are gone. (For further reading on Bear spirituality, see Alan Leddon’s book Religion Laid Bear.)

In Tot Ursi, meaning "All Bears," the dancers can growl and make bear-like sounds, but they also make “brrrrr” sounds, which don’t sound like a bear at all. I think the “brrr” sound may be a form of lalling. Lalling is making nonsense sounds such as “lalala” in a song, or for ritual purposes. Lalling is named after the Germanic god Lollus. I found Tot Ursi while doing genealogical research on my last name (for more info on that topic, see my blog post  Lollus, Löhl, and Ursul din Lăloaia )

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    I remember that song!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I suddenly remembered the childhood song: "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" when I got to the last line of this article.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Teaching Folk Dance at the Moot part 2

I’m preparing to teach Basic Folk Dance at Southwest Frith Moot. My time slot between the other things on the schedule is a half hour, so I’ve selected two dances, Hora and Tot Ursi. Tot Ursi is a procession dance and the Hora is a round dance. Tot Ursi is so simple that I can teach it before I teach any actual dance basics, so I can teach Tot Ursi, do a short lecture teaching dance basics, and then teach the Hora. The dance basics I need to teach for the second dance include what “line of direction” means (move to the right, starting on the right foot), how to hold hands (dancing in a circle round, left hand up and the right one down,) and how to cut in.

My mom and I dance with the Ethnic Express Folk Dancers. We dance to bring people together—ourselves, most of all—and to preserve the world heritage of dance. I’m the only heathen in the dance group. Mom and I originally got into folk dance as an activity we could do together when I was in high school. Even when she can’t dance, our folk dance friends are a big part of our life.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Schedule change for Pagan Pride Day 2017, I'll be teaching Folk Dance at 2pm instead of 1pm.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Babatunde, I will be teaching this Basic Folk Dancing class again at Las Vegas Pagan Pride Day 2017, Sept. 30, at 1pm, at the Unit
  • Babatunde
    Babatunde says #
    can you teach me and where are you thanks??
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Babatunde, the moot is in Arizona, but the event is full. I'm in the Las Vegas, Nevada, area. I do plan to teach this dance at the

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Teaching Folk Dance at the Moot part 1

Folk dance is ritual. Dances are performed for holidays, weddings, the agricultural cycle, and to bring people together. I’m going to teach folk dance at an upcoming heathen gathering.

At the dawn of agricultural, newly settled villagers who needed to work together on farm tasks danced together to learn how to move as a unit and co-ordinate with each other, and to build team spirit. Those are also some reasons for military marching. There are folk dances that actually are forms of military drill, such as the vari hasapikos, a Greek men’s dance for a four man team, that teaches how to read a leader’s hand signals and follow them in unison.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Dancing Goddesses is a fantastic book. I recommend it.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    My local library has a copy of Dancing Goddesses: folklore, archaeology, and the origins of European dance by Barber. It's a fasc

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Folk Dance Magic

Dance can be an ecstatic experience. Folk dances tell stories, preserve cultures, and draw communities together. Some dances encode history, preserve martial arts moves, or mimic work such as planting and harvesting. Mixer dances serve a social function, as do dances for specific celebrations. Some dances are forthrightly fertility rituals, and some are magic spells.

The song and dance Mayim Mayim (Hebrew for "Rain, Rain,") is a rain dance. That is, it is a ritual performed to make it rain. Rain Dance is a short film I directed featuring the Ethnic Express Folk Dancers of Las Vegas, Nevada, performing Mayim Mayim. 

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