Macedonian Folk Dances
The Macedonian folk dances have a prominent place in the Macedonian folklore and musical tradition. With respect to style, choreography and customs associated with them, folk dances can be classified into 5 groups or regions: western, southwestern, southern, northern and eastern.
Western – Tetovo, Gostivar, Debar, Mavrovo, Kicevo, Krushevo and Porece
Female dances are elegant and gracious, while male dances are firm, with complex movements (Teskoto, Nevestinskoto, Chamche, Metkalisteto)
Southwestern – Bitola, Prilep, Ohrid and Prespa Lake, Lerin, Kostur, Voden
These dances are characterized by epic choreographic elements and complex rhythmic structures (Komitsko, Berance, Masko oro, Kasapsko)
Northern – upper Vardar, Polog Valley (Tetovo, Gostivar), Skopsko, Skopska Crna Gora, Skopska Blatija, Veles, Ovce Pole
Eastern – Kumanovo, Kriva Palanka, Delcevo, Pehcevo, Kocani, Berovo, Stip Radovis and Pirin Macedonia
Macedonian folk dances are numerous and varied. Their names derive from: place names, personal names, crafts, animals, instruments, type of dance, type of hold, customs etc.
Macedonian folk dances are performed during religious holidays (Bozik, Vodici, Veligden, Gjurgjovden, Spasovden, Petrovden), state holidays and weddings, usually in the center of the village, in front of churches, schools and houses.
The dancers form in a circle and hold together in several ways: by hands, by shoulder, by the waist, under arm and by arms down. Each dancer performs the same movements and steps, usually to the right (ccw), except in certain dances, which are performed to the left (cw).
The dance melodies are played on traditional instruments: gajda, zurla, tapan, kaval, tambura, tarabuka, ut, dajre. The chalgii ensemble (which consists of a violin, clarinet, ut, lauta, kanon and dajre) is characteristic of the towns.
Macedonian folk dances abound in choreographic movements: pivot turns, dropping to knees, jumps, hops, vertical movements, crossed steps, side steps, accented steps, kneel dancing and many others.
Change in the rhythm is characteristic of many folk dances: fast, slow and a transitional part.
Most common metrics: 2/4, 7/6 (3,2,2). Other metrics are also found: (3/4, 3/8, 4/4, 6/8, 5/16 (2,3), 7/16 (2,2,3), 8/16 (3,2,3), 9/16 (3,2,2,2), (2,3,2,2), 11/16 (2,2,3,2,2) and (3,2,2,2,2), 122/16 (3,2,2,2,3), 13/16 (3,2,3,2,3), 18/16 (2,2,3,2,2,2,3) and 22/16(2,2,3,2,2,3,2,2,2).