The Society of Folk Dance Historians


Search Site The Web

Berace

a family of dances

Background:

Pronunciation: beh-RHA-cheh

Other names: Beranche, Beratis

Translation: from the city of Berat (Albania)

Region: on the Balkan Peninsula: Tosk regions of south and west Albania, west (Aegean) and Bitola, Macedonia, Lerin/Florina, northern Greece,

Rhthym:

five beats thus: long-short-short-long-short. First and third (long) beats usually subdivided into 4 equal or unequal counts, resulting in 4 against 3 when played in 12 or 13. Third beat is commonly lengthened, but not as long as the first and shortened as tempo increases. Fifth beat is commonly shortened:

12/8: 3+2+2+3+2 - most common

13/8: 3+2+3+3+2 - most common

14/8: 4+2+3+3+2

11/8: 3+2+2+3+1

11/8: 3+2+2+2+2

Versions:

as performed by "Shota" ensemble from Kosovo, Serbia

as performed by "Pirin" ensemble of Bulgaria

Bufsko Oro or Bufskoto (from Buf town) among Aegean Slav Macedonians in America

Berache (Slav Macedonian) = Beratis, Lotzia, Simbethiariko (Greek & Vlach) from Kastoria, starts onto left

Zhensko Beranche/Bajrache (Kostur). A stage choreography of leader's steps of Sta Dhio-like 12/8 dance as spread by the community of folklore groups from ethnic dance groups who immigrated from Greek Macedonia to Skopje after the 1947 Greek Civil War. Called Beratiko (Greek), Berace (Kostur Slavs), Bajrace (Skopje), Beraçe (Prespa, Albania). Timing of weight shifts differentiate the versions:

Zhensko Beranche/Bajrache (Kostur) - Pece Atanasovski 1972

Zhensko Beranche/Bajrache (Kostur) - Stanimir Vishinski 1986 Struga Seminar

Zhensko Beranche/Bajrache (Kostur) - Kosturchanki ensemble, women from villages around Kostur/Kastoria, in Aegean/Greek Macedonia.

Berance = Pusceno = Bufskoto / Armenskoto (Slavic Aegeans in Skopje) = 3-bar variants from Buf and Armensko Aegean musicians used the Pusceno (Mala Prespa, Aegean Greece) = slightly different dance in 11/8 (32222) = similar dance from near Prilep. In the 3 Florina Albanian villages the tune Berache = Startsko, Yerondikos, and Teshko. The 2-bar dance is Beratche. The 3-bar dance is Pushteno (Slavic Macedonians) = Levendikos danced to Lytos (Greek).

Beranche = Gerontikos (Edessa, Aegean Macedonia), (Florina) = Starkoto (Slavic)

Berati (Greek) = Beranche (Macedonian) = Beratçe (Albania) < Woulter Swets

Beratis = Beratiko (Epeiros) = S-Q-S or Q-S-S

Beratis in slow 8 (3-2-3) (Epirus). Beratis / Beratiko (Flambouro/Florina) = 7/8 Goranxe (Albanian) to which Albanians do an incredible dance where the men to the floor like dominoes and up again.

Beratis/Beratiko (Flambouro/Negovan & Flamburo community in Rochester NY) = 12/8 Levendiko tune. Dance = Sta Dio-type dance = Berache (Prespa Albanians in Chicago), 2 meas Berache of Florina and Prespa starts both measures with a touch or lift.

Bufsko / Armensko (American Macedonian) = Puscheno = Lytos / Levendikos (Greek)

Levendikos (coined by Greek musicologist, Simon Kara) = Pushteno (Florina) = 17/16 (2+2, 3, 3, 2+2, 3). 5 major pulses which may vary, = Dafino, Vino in 12/16 in northernly areas. SQQSQ: in the north S = 3 and Q = 2, in Florina Q = 4 and S = 3, or QQSSQQS. Florina 17 "Pushes" while northern 12 is heavier with heavy down beat on 1st and 3rd pulses. Florina natives will push and stretch the first and especially the third dance bars.

But Puscheno now appears in Greece beside Levendikos/ Lytos: eg Dora Stratou CD 20 Macedonian Dances, LP "Florina" co-produced by Yanni Constandinou, himself a native of Armensko/Alona. Even V. Papachristou in a recent book on the dances of Florina uses Puscheno in parenthesis and this from a man who in a previous book on Greek dances made the spurous claim that the term Puscheno which he first heard while visiting Florina in 1964 and which struck him as ugly and offensive was the invention of the younger generation and that the oldest inhabitants of the village had always called it by the Greek name Lytos.

Puscheno (Macedonian) a specialty of the Bufcani who are numerous in upstate NY (and Detroit and Toronto). The melody most associated with the Beratis/Berache is also known and played as such by the surronding Macedonians but is danced as a 3 meas slow Puscheno.

Documents:

Sound recording: Wouter Swets, Chalgija #2 CD (PAN 2007, 1992)

Bob Leibman's posting on timing