Dance and Music Material
The 2022 dance and music material will be from the areas of Magyarszentbenedek, Szászcsávás, Magyarlapád, and Vajdaszentivány. During the morning workshop the intermediate/advanced class will learn Magyarszentbenedek while the beginner class will learn Vajdaszentivány. In the afternoon all levels will learn Szászcsávás. A women’s dance from Magyarlapád will also be taught as time allows.
The Maros-Küküllő Region
The Maros-Küküllő dialect is bordered on the north and west by the Maros valley. To the east, it blends into Székelyföld along the line described by the Marosvásárhely-Segesvár highway. The scattered villages of the Nagy-Küküllő and Maros valleys constitute its southern extension.
This dialect represents the dance culture of Hungarians living in about 70 settlements, most with mixed populations, including the northeastern part of the old Alsó-Fehér County and the western part of Kis-Küküllő. The area can be divided into three smaller, inner zones.
This most southerly, rather remote, Transylvanian Hungarian dance dialect has preserved archaic features, not only in men’s dances (pontozó and lassú pontozó) but also in couples’ dances (the öreges forduló or ‘old turning’). It even has a women’s song dance circle which is rare in Transylvania and can be found almost solely here.
Magyarszentbenedek is a settlement in the northern part of the Maros-Küküllő region known for its dance, music, and great dancers. The region is also called Kutasföld or Hegymegett.
The characteristic male dance of the region is the pontozó (also called magyar, verbunk, csűrdöngölő, figurázó). It’s an improvised individual dance form, sometimes, however, danced in a set arrangement by a group of friends. The tempo is fast, the inventory of melodies is limited (four or five tunes). The dance features tight, somewhat jerky, small, forceful movements. Its rich and highly evolved inventory of motifs includes fast turning, quick leg-circles, tapping, jumping, heel clicking, and slapping. The men’s dance is often accompanied by women, spinning quickly in a tight circle.
The slow pontozó (also known as ritka pontozó, régies, vénes, or szegényes) is the dance of the older generation, danced individually or in pairs after the sűrű pontozó.
The couples’ dancing is of the type known generally as the lassú and friss csárdás (‘slow and quick csárdás). The movements and motifs of the two forms are very similar, distinguished, of course, by tempo.
The most famous dancer and dance informant of the village is Vincze Árpád who was designated a Master of Folk Dance (Népművészet táncmestere) in 2001.
Szászcsávás is a small village in Transylvania’s Kis-Küküllő valley with both Hungarian and Gypsy inhabitants. The Hungarians of the village preserve a very interesting polyphonic singing of ecclesiastical origin which has been borrowed into secular singing for pleasure. The community, seeking quality entertainment in the early 20th century, invited Gypsy musicians to settle in the village and cater to their entertainment needs with music for the dancing and other events.
The descendants of those musicians are renowned today as the deservedly celebrated Szászcsávás Band. The members of the band each play several instruments and are also excellent dancers.
Gypsy dancing is characterized by the lack of a couples’ hold, but the surrounding communities (in this case, Hungarian) have considerable influence on the formation of Gypsy culture, evident in their music and dance. Thus, in addition to dancing separately, figures with a couples’ hold like that of the Hungarians also appear in their dancing.
Magyarlapád lies at the confluence of the Maros and Küküllő rivers in the central part of Transylvania. The prefix ‘magyar’ indicates the ethnicity of the population. It is a ‘scattered’ Hungarian village. Magyarlapád is famous for its dances and folk songs.
The dance cycle consists of lassú and gyors pontozó (solo men’s dances); leánykörtánc (girls’ circle dance, also known as kapcsos); and the couples’ dances csárdás and szapora. The dancers develop their csárdás dance with the same structural elements. After stamping and cifra figures, they turn as a couple in both directions, opening before they change direction.
Magyarlapád’s characteristic circle dance is called ‘kapcsos’ by the locals. There are two types of girls’ singing dance circles in the Maros-Küküllő region: (1) Song dance circles and (2) women’s circling in small groups during the pontozó. Both types are called leányos or kapcsos or karikás.
Located in the Székélyföld region of Transylvania, Vajdaszentivány (Voivodeni in Romanian) was first mentioned in 1332 as Sancto Johanne. Its diverse population is made up of primarily Hungarians and Romanians, but also gypsies and Germans. Its castle was built in the 18th century in classicist- baroque style. The dance cycle includes the following dances: verbunk, sebes forduló, lassú csárdás, korcsos, cigánycsárdás, and sometimes the Romanian bâtuta. The couple dances of the cycle are turning dances with a closed couple hold during the turning steps and under the arm turning of the woman with a handkerchief.
Music: Dűvő playing the dance cycle