TRANSLATION: Straight (or direct) dance
SOURCE: Dick Oakes learned this dance from Balkan immigrants in Los Angeles, California.
BACKGROUND: According to Laura Shannon (, a Balkan dance instructor in Scotland, dance anthropologists believe the Pravo to be the oldest dance pattern because it is the most widespread. Found throughout Eastern Europe and Western Asia from India to the Faeroe Isles, it is most common in the Balkans, where it is labelled the 'national dance' of Bulgaria, Albania, and Macedonia. Frequently, the name just means 'dance', and it forms the basic step of many of our most well-known simple dances: Pravo Horo in Bulgaria, Pravo Oro in Macedonia, Sta Tria and Zonaradhikos in Greece, Siganos in Crete, Dropullit and Valle in Albania, Hora in Israel, and Halay in Turkey, Armenia and Kurdistan. This pattern is also found in Hejsza, a dance of the Magyar-speaking Csángó people in North Central Romania. All of these versions move to the right (counterclockwise), but occasionally you find dances that move to the left (clockwise), for example, Hanter Dro in Brittany, Vrličko Kolo in Croatia, and Zervos in Greece. In their basic form these are village dances, unarranged and unchoreographed, which everyone knows how to do and which are the main staple of dancing at weddings, feast days, and other celebrations. They all share the basic three-measure pattern, and each has its own characteristics of style and variations. These variations, added to the basic form by performing groups, urban dance styles, and the improvisation of good dancers, make each one more easily distinguishable as a separate dance.
MUSIC: Nama 1 (LP) 1001, side B, band 4
Balkanton (LP) BHA 402, side 2, band 4
XOPO (LP) XLP-2, side B, band 2
XOPO (LP) XLP-3, side B, band 3
XOPO (LP) XLP-4, side A, band 2
XOPO (45rpm) XEP-309
XOPO (45rpm) X-322
XOPO (45rpm) X-323
Slavjani Folklore Society Records (LP) Sla 1000, sied 1, band 1
Folkraft (LP) LP-26, side A, band 4
DANSSA (LP) 001, side 1, band 1
Request (LP) SRLP 8142, side 1, band 2
Vitosha (LP) VIT 001
or any other Bulgarian pravo music.
FORMATION: Open cir of mixed M and W with hands joined and held down in "V" pos. When danced in short lines, dancers may hold neighbors' belts in "X" pos (na lesa), R arm under.
METER/RHYTHM: 2/4. The music is sometimes presented in triplets and written in 6/8 meter with two dancers' beats of 3 cts each. The 2-bt rhythm is often referred to as "pravo time."
STEPS/STYLE: The style is rather heavy with the knees being always slightly bent and flexing on each ct. There are many variations available to the native dancer, including variants of the basic step: only the first three meas may be danced continuously to the R with meas 3 danced either twd the ctr or away from the ctr. While this freestyle type of basic is determined by the leader, the variations are inserted at the whim of each individual, although, sometimes for more enjoyment, two or more adjacent dancers may coordinate their variations.


  INTRODUCTION - None or at the whim of the leader.
1 Facing ctr, step R swd and slightly diag fwd to R (ct 1), step L near R (ct 2);
2 Step R swd and slightly diag fwd to R (ct 1), pause (ct 2);
3 Step L twd ctr of dance area, turning body so that L shldr is somewhat twd ctr (ct 1); pause (ct 2);
4 Step R bwd away from ctr (ct 1); step L near R (ct 2);
5 Step R bwd away from ctr (ct 1); pause (ct 2);
6 Step L swd and slightly bwd to L (ct 1); pause (ct 2).
  Repeat entire dance from beg.
  A stamp may be added either on ct & before ct 1 in meas 1 or meas 2.
  As the step is made fwd in meas 3, leave the R ft in its previous pos and share the wt on both ft (ct 1), scoot both heels fwd twd ctr keeping the ft apart (ct 2).
  Light, flat-footed triplets (three steps on cts 1&2) may be danced on meas 2 and 3 or meas 5 and 6.
VAR IV.  TROPOLI ("tapping")
  Instead of dancing triplets (VAR III), step on full ft (ct 1); tap other toe, raising supporting heel off floor (ct &); sharply bring supporting heel down to floor (ct 2); tap other heel next to supporting ft (ct &).

Copyright © 2003 by Dick Oakes