Hora (dance)

Hora, also known as horo and oro, is a type of circle dance originating in the Balkans but also found in other countries.

Tanec folk ensemble Macedonia 1
A traditional horo playing in Bulgaria


The name (spelled differently in different countries) is cognate to the Greek χορός (choros): "dance" which is cognate with the ancient Greek art form of χορεία (choreia). The original meaning of the Greek word χορός may have been "circle". The course of the seasons was also symbolically described as the dance of the Greco-Roman Horae, and they were accordingly given the attributes of spring flowers, fragrance and graceful freshness.

Also, the words hora and oro are found in many Slavic languages and have the meaning of "round (dance)"; the verb oriti means "to speak, sound, sing" and previously meant "to celebrate".

The Greek χορός is cognate with Pontic khoron, Bulgarian хоро (horo), Romanian horă, kolo or оро (oro) in the languages of the former Yugoslavia, the Turkish form hora, valle in Albania, and in Hebrew הורה‎ (horah). The Khorumi dance of Georgia also might be connected to the Horon dance in the neighbouring Turkish regions, as it rose out of the Adjara region, where Kartvelian Laz people co-existed for centuries with Greek Pontians.

Hora in Romania and Moldova

Stamp of Moldova md423
Hora din Dealul Spirei, 1857
Dancing the hora on Dealul Spirii (Spirii Hill), Bucharest (1857 lithograph)

Hora (pl. hore) is a traditional Romanian folk dance where the dancers hold each other's hands and the circle spins, usually counterclockwise, as each participant follows a sequence of three steps forward and one step back. The dance is usually accompanied by musical instruments such as the cymbalom, accordion, violin, viola, double bass, saxophone, trumpet or the pan pipes.

The hora is popular during wedding celebrations and festivals, and is an essential part of the social entertainment in rural areas. One of the most famous hore is the Hora Unirii (Hora of the Union), which became a Romanian patriotic song as a result of being the hymn when Wallachia and Moldavia united to form the Principality of Romania in 1859. During the 2006/2007 New Year's Eve celebration, when Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union, people were dancing Hora Bucuriei (Hora of Joy) over the boulevards of Bucharest as a tribute to the EU anthem, Ode to Joy (Odă bucuriei). Some of the biggest hora circles can be found on early 20th century movies filmed by the Manakis brothers in Pindus, Greece and performed by local Aromanians.


Horo in Bulgaria

Jan Mrkvička-Shopsko horo
A Shop horo of Bulgaria.

The traditional Bulgarian dance horo (Bulgarian: хоро) comes in many shapes. It is not necessary to be in a circle; a curving line of people is also acceptable. The steps used in a horo dance are extremely diverse. The horo may vary between three and seven or eight steps forward and one to five or six steps back, depending on the specific type.

There are more than five types of horo that are usually danced at every wedding. They differ by the rhythm of the music and the steps taken. There are no two horo dances with similar steps. There are probably over one hundred types of horo dances in the Bulgarian folklore.

In the past, the horo dance had a social role in Bulgarian society. It was mainly for fun, as a contest of skills, or for show, leading to the development of the variety of horo dances. There are hora for people with little skill that can be learned in five to ten minutes, but there are also very sophisticated dances that cannot be learned unless one is fluent in many of the simpler dances.

Oro in Macedonia

Prilep-fête 1919
Women from Prilep playing oro, beginning of the 20th century.

Macedonia uses the Cyrillic spelling of "oro" (Macedonian: оpo). The origins of Macedonian oro vary from its use in socializing and celebrating, to historical dancing before going into battle. Teshkoto, translated "The difficult one", is one of those, danced by men only, the music of which reflects the sorrow and mood of war. The oro is danced in a circle, with men and women holding one another by hand. They are used to celebrate occasions such as weddings, christenings, name-days, national and religious holidays, graduations, birthdays.

Oro in Montenegro

The Hora/Oro circle dance should not be confused with the Oro dance in Montenegro and Herzegovina, which is a paired mating dance. Its name comes from the Serbian орао, meaning "eagle".

Hora in Turkey

Hora is mainly played in Eastern Thrace.

Romani Oro

The Oro is also popular among the Romani people of Eastern Europe, and the dancing is practically the same as that of the neighbouring ethnicities. Romani oros, and Romani music in general, are very well appreciated among non-Romani people in the Balkans, as they also have a reputation as the skilful performers of other folk music there.

The Horah in Klezmer music

The Horah in klezmer music is the same as the traditional Romanian Hora dance. It has a slow, limping gait in 3
and often leads into a faster and more upbeat freylekh or bulgar.[1]

Israeli horah

The horah (הורה), which is somewhat different from that of some of the Eastern European countries, is widespread in the Jewish diaspora and played a foundational role in modern Israeli folk dancing. It became the symbol of the reconstruction of the country by the socialistic-agricultural Zionist movement.[2] Although considered traditional, some claim it rose to popularity due to Hora Agadati, named after dancer and choreographer Baruch Agadati and performed for the first time in 1924.[3]

It is usually performed to Israeli folk songs, and sometimes to Jewish songs, typically to the music of "Hava Nagila".

To start the dance, everybody forms a circle, holding hands or interlocking arms behind their backs or on their shoulders[4] and steps forward toward the right with the left foot, then follows with the right foot. The left foot is then brought back, followed by the right foot. This is done while holding hands and circling together in a fast and cheerful motion to the right. Large groups allow for the creation of several concentric circles.

In the early days, horah was popular mainly in kibbutzim and small communities. The dancing often continued for hours.[5]

The horah became popular in group dances throughout Israel, and at weddings and other celebrations by Jews in Israel, the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. The dance appeared in North America in the early 20th century, well before modern Israeli independence, brought directly from Eastern Europe by Jewish immigrants.

At bar and bat mitzvahs, it is customary to raise the honoree, and sometimes his or her family members, on a chair during the horah. This is also done at many Jewish weddings, following the Israeli tradition.

The song "Hora", sung by Avi Toledano, who represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 1982, is based on this dance.

See also


  2. ^ jewishvirtuallibrary.org
  3. ^ slate.com
  4. ^ https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0009_0_09187.html
  5. ^ Hora history

External links

Circle dance

Circle dance, or chain dance, is a style of dance done in a circle or semicircle to musical accompaniment, such as rhythm instruments and singing. Circle dancing is probably the oldest known dance formation and was part of community life from when people first started to dance.

Dancing in a circle is an ancient tradition common to many cultures for marking special occasions, rituals, strengthening community and encouraging togetherness. The dance can also be enjoyed as an uplifting group experience or as part of a meditation. Circle dances are choreographed to many different styles of music and rhythms.

Unlike line dancing, circle dancers are in physical contact with each other; the connection is made by hand-to-hand, finger-to-finger or hands-on-shoulders. It is a type of dance where anyone can join in without the need of partners. Generally, the participants follow a leader around the dance floor while holding the hand of the dancers beside them. The dance can be gentle or energetic.

Modern circle dance mixes traditional folk dances, mainly from European or Near Eastern sources, with recently choreographed ones to a variety of music both ancient and modern. There is also a growing repertoire of new circle dances to classical music and contemporary songs.

Deșteaptă-te, române!

"Deșteaptă-te, române!" Romanian pronunciation: [deʃˈte̯aptəte roˈmɨne] (listen) (variously translated as “Awaken thee, Romanian!”, “Awaken, Romanian!”, or “Wake up, Romanian!”) is the national anthem of Romania.

The lyrics were composed by Andrei Mureșanu (1816–1863) and the music was popular (it was chosen for the poem by Gheorghe Ucenescu, as most sources say). It was written and published during the 1848 revolution, initially with the name “Un răsunet” (English: "An echo"). It was first sung in late June in the same year in the city of Brașov, on the streets of Șchei quarter. It was immediately accepted as the revolutionary anthem and renamed “Deșteaptă-te, române”.

Since then, this song, which contains a message of liberty and patriotism, has been sung during all major Romanian conflicts, including during the 1989 anti-Ceaușist revolution. After that revolution, it became the national anthem, replacing the communist-era national anthem "Trei culori" (English: "Three colors").

July 29 is now “National Anthem Day” (Ziua Imnului național), an annual observance in Romania.The song was also used on various solemn occasions in the Moldavian Democratic Republic, during its brief existence, between 1917 and 1918. Between 1991 and 1994 it was the national anthem of Moldova as well, but was subsequently replaced by the current Moldovan anthem, “Limba noastră” (English: "Our language").

Hava Nagila

"Hava Nagila" (Hebrew: הבה נגילה‬, Havah Nagilah, "Let us rejoice") is an Israeli folk song traditionally sung at Jewish celebrations. It is perhaps the first modern Israeli folk song in the Hebrew language that has become a staple of band performers at Jewish weddings and bar/bat mitzvah celebrations. The melody is based on a Hassidic Nigun. It was composed in 1915 in Ottoman Palestine, when Hebrew was being revived as a spoken language after falling into disuse in this form for approximately 1,700 years, following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132–136 CE. For the first time, Jews were being encouraged to speak Hebrew as a common language, instead of Yiddish, Arabic, Ladino, or other regional Jewish languages.

Hora staccato

Hora staccato (1906) is a virtuoso violin showpiece by Grigoraș Dinicu. It is a short, fast work in a Romanian hora style, and has become a favorite encore of violinists, especially in the 1932 arrangement by Jascha Heifetz. The piece requires an exceptional command of both upbow and downbow staccato. The character of the piece also demands the notes be articulated in a crisp and clear manner so that the vibrancy of music comes out.

Dinicu wrote it for his graduation in 1906 from the Bucharest Conservatory, and performed it at the ceremony. Subsequently it has been arranged for other combinations of instruments, notably trumpet and piano.


In Greek mythology the Horae () or Horai () or Hours (Greek: Ὧραι, Hōrai, pronounced [hɔ̂ːraj], "Seasons") were the goddesses of the seasons and the natural portions of time.


Keşan is the name of a district of Edirne Province, Turkey, and also the name of the largest in the district town of Keşan (Bulgarian: Кешан; Greek: Κεσάνη, Bizantine Greek: Ρουσιον, Rusion) In 2010 Keşan had a permanent population of 54,314; in the summer this increases to 70,000 because of an influx of tourists. The mayor is Mehmet Özcan (CHP).

Keşan district is bordered by İpsala and Uzunköprü to the north, Malkara to the east, Şarköy to the southeast, Gelibolu and the Aegean Sea to the south and Enez to the west.

Agriculture and commerce are the two most important sources of income in Keşan. Because of its proximity to Greece, there is a daily flow of tourists in and out of the district.

Literacy is 98%.The local music includes gaida, tupan, and hora dance.


The khorovod (Russian: хорово́д, IPA: [xərɐˈvot], Bulgarian: хоро, Ukrainian: хоровод, Belarusian: карагод [karaˈɣot], Polish: korowód) is a Slavic art form, a combination of a circle dance and chorus singing, similar to the choreia of ancient Greece.

Kolo (dance)

In Southeastern Europe, the South Slavic people traditionally dance the circle dance, known as kolo (Serbian Cyrillic: коло), named after the circle formed by the dancers. It is instead known as horo (Bulgarian: хоро) and Oro (Macedonian: оро) in Bulgaria and Macedonia, respectively.

The circle dance is performed amongst groups of people (usually several dozen, at the very least three) holding each other's hands or having their hands around each other's waists (ideally in a circle, hence the name). There is almost no movement above the waist. The basic steps are easy to learn, but experienced dancers dance kolo with great virtuosity due to different ornamental elements they add, such as syncopated steps. Each region has at least one unique kolo; it is difficult to master the dance and even most experienced dancers cannot master all of them. Many variations of kolo are normally performed at weddings, social, cultural, and religious ceremonies. Kolo may be performed in a closed circle, a single chain or in two parallel lines. Both men and women dance together, however some dances require only men to dance and some dances are only for women. The music is generally fast-paced and contains tricky steps. Traditional dance costumes vary from region to region, but Bosnian and Serbian dance costumes typically are the most similar to each other. Men wear a cap, loose blouse tucked into trousers that balloon around the thighs and then tightening from the knee down to the ankle. Women wear long white embroidered dresses with very heavy velvet aprons tied at the waist. Both the dress and apron are embroidered with bright flowers to enhance the females outfit. Generally, both men and women wear embroidered velvet vests. The shoes are called opanci, made from cured skin molded to fit the dancers foot.The dance was used by Antonín Dvořák in his Slavonic Dances - the Serbian Kolo is the seventh dance from opus 72.


Leventikos (Greek: Λεβέντικος, Levéntikos; Macedonian: Пуштено, Pušteno), also known as Litós (Λιτός), Kucano, Nešo, and Bufskoto Oro, is a dance of western Macedonia, mainly performed by ethnic Macedonians and Greeks in the town of Florina, Greece and in the Resen and Bitola regions in the neighbouring Republic of Macedonia.

Reflecting the dance steps: slow-quick-quick-slow-quick, the meter comprises five beats of varying length but these lengths come in different variations:

One is 128, counting the beats as 3+2+2+3+2, with the metric 3's divided into quadruplets, but at higher speed, the metric accents may sound more like 3+4+3+2.

Another one is 168, counting the beats as 4+2+3+4+3, where metric 4's have sub-beats 2+2.The third (second 2) beat may be lengthened relative to its written value in both variations but less so at higher speeds. The last (third 2) beat may be shortened, a common Balkan treatment of meters.

The 128 meter appears in traditional Northern and Southern Albanian ballads, in dance tunes such as Berace, and in Macedonian dances such as Beranče, Bajrače and Bufčansko (Macedonian: Буфчанско; also called Bufskoto or Bufsko). The 168 meter has appeared more recently in various tunes for the Leventikos dance in the Florina region of Greece, and in Macedonian dances like Pušteno, in renditions of the same songs that were traditionally rendered in 118 or 128. For example, for the tune Ibraim Odza there are different performances in both 128 and 168 .

The Levendikos dance performed in Petroussa is very different from the one in Florina.

List of entries in the Eurovision Song Contest

This is a chronological list of all the artists and songs that have competed in the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals and grand finals from 1956 to 2018.

Symphony No. 1 (Ben-Haim)

Israeli composer Paul Ben-Haim's Symphony no. 1 is the first Eretz-Israel symphony and one of the most important works in the history of classical music in Israel.

Union Hora

The Hora of Unity (Romanian: Hora Unirii) is a poem by Vasile Alecsandri, published in 1856. The music of the song was composed by Alexandru Flechtenmacher. The song is sung and danced especially on January 24, when Romanian United Principalities united in 1859. It can very well be considered Romania's own version of the American national slogan "United We Stand".

The poem "Kënga e bashkimit" (The Song of Unity) of Aleksandër Stavre Drenova, published in 1912, is a clear adaptation of Alecsandri's Hora unirii.

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