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Ivan Mrkvička - Rȃčenica

The Ratschenitza ( Bulgarian Ръченица in IPA phonetic spelling [ ˈrɤt͡ʃɛnit͡sɐ ]) is a Bulgarian folk dance in the 7/8 rhythm , with the typical intonation 2-2-3 (short-short-long). The dance can be found all over Bulgaria, but stylistically it differs greatly in the various regions of the country. He has been the namesake of the Ratscheniza nunatak on Alexander I Island in Antarctica since 2017 .


In contrast to the dance dance called “ Horo ” ( Bulgarian Хоро ) in Bulgaria , the Ratschenitza is usually danced solo or in pairs, sometimes also in threes (Ratschenitza po trojki). When people talk about folk dances in Bulgaria, they usually talk about “Hora i Ratschenitzi”. So “Narodni Hora” are not simply “folk dances” and “Horo” is not the umbrella term for everyone, but only for the dances that are danced in a circle or row, with the dancers holding hands, shoulders or belts.

The name "Ratschenitza" comes from "Ratschenik", a cloth that the dancers hold in one hand (raka) while dancing and swivel or swirl. Since the dancers at the Ratschenitza are not involved in a row and are therefore not forced to be considerate of the neighboring dancers, they can use the existing freedom to present their dancing skills and their strength and stamina. This gives the Ratschenitza the opportunity to perform a variety of choreographic improvisations .

Usually the hands are supported on the hips when doing the ratchet. Often, however, the movements mentioned above are performed with the scarf or the dancers clap their hands in front of the chest, above the head, behind the back, above or below the extended leg. Men can also perform rhythmic strokes with their hands on the thighs and feet.

However, there are also Ratschenitzi in a circle with a hand or belt setting, which in Bulgaria are called "Horo-Ratschenitza" or "Hvanata Ratschenitza".

Rhythm / emphasis

The typical rhythm of the Ratschenitza is the odd 7/8 (or faster 7/16) time, in the classic form with the distribution 2-2-3 (two eighths - two eighths - three eighths, or short-short -long). The Ratschenik variant for men has the rhythm 3-2-2 (long-short-short) with a slow tempo.

However, not all dances in 7/8 time are necessarily Ratschenitzi, but only those with the rhythm distribution 2-2-3 and a tempo of 320 eighth notes / minute (Allegro) or faster. With different tempos, different rhythmic structures or different accentuations, the dances can be completely different despite the same rhythm.


  • Herwig Milde, Belčo Stanev: The Bulgarian dance folklore. Balsies, Kiel 2004, ISBN 3-925594-58-2 .