Round dance

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As dance (also: Reien , rows , row dance , from Old French raie , "Dance"), various dances called to be paced by several unitary moving dancers or cracked. The dancers stand in chains or circles (circular dance , ringed rows ), in two opposite rows (front row) or in pairs one behind the other. The songs and chants that were intoned were also called rows or rows.

Originally, the vocal accompaniment was a characteristic feature of the dance dance. Josua Maaler (1529–1599) explicitly explains the word round dance as "Dänz in ring wise, when you sing to it".

The round dances include circle dances like the Kolo , row dances like the Branle (or the Hau [l] t Barrois or Haulberrroys ) or the An Dro , dances with two rows facing each other like the Bourrée and step dances like the Pavane .

Curt Sachs uses Reigen ( choir dance ) as a general term for all group dances in contrast to single dances and couple dances. He differentiates:

  • Circular dance : single and multiple circles, figure eight shapes, open circles
  • Serpentine : movement in serpentines, spirals and labyrinthine shapes
  • Front row : one row, or two opposite rows
  • Place Swap roundelay : Crossing the dance, quadrille, leaves dance, bridge dance, chain dance


Giulio Romano : Apollo's Dance with the Muses, around 1540

The ancient form of dance was the Greek chorea ( Greek  ἡ χορεία hē choreía "dancing, the choir dance, round dance "), a preferably cultic dance of several people to sing. The word χορός ( choros , cf. German choir ) designates the dance floor in the oldest sources and still in Homer , but then also the group of dancers who were also singers, and finally the dance to singing itself.

Homer tells of the cheerful circle dances of young men who were danced alone or together with the women, at weddings, at the grape harvest or simply out of youthful exuberance.

middle Ages

The name Reigen first appeared in courtly poetry of the Middle Ages in the Middle High German form "der reie". Neidhart is the name of a peasant dance form that was danced outdoors in summer. The dancers formed a chain or stood in pairs one behind the other. The cracked ree of farmers stood in contrast to the courtly dance that was entered. The round dance is a choir dance , the dance is often a couple dance. But this distinction is not sharp and is later even reversed. The distinction runs through many European languages:

Middle High German reigen ( ree , row ) dance
Middle Latin chorea ballatio
Italian carola danza
Provencal corola dansa
old french carole danse

There is much evidence of the contrast between these two concepts. However, a uniform difference cannot be read from the numerous written sources. For Curt Sachs, however, the form of the dance is clearly definable: a chain of dancers who move hand in hand, either in an open or closed circle, or in a solid line.

In the culture of European chivalry , round dance played a special role alongside minnesong . During this time, a fixed norm of dance and the associated song developed. Minstrels were not allowed to attend the intimate events, which is why instrumental music is never reported at such events. However, at Runkelstein Castle near Bolzano there is a performance of a round dance from around 1395, with the dancers being instrumentally accompanied by two lute players. Zoder interprets this picture as a swab dance.

The dance was usually paced to a song that was sung by a singer who also led the dance. The other participants each joined in the chorus. This form of alternating singing between the lead singer and the choir is called the "Rondel-Typus". It was already available at the end of the 12th century. From it later the rondeau , the virelai and finally the balade (from Provenance. Balar "to dance a round dance") emerged.


One of the first books with descriptions of courtly dances is Domenico da Piacenza's “De arte saltandi et choreas ducendi / de la arte di ballare et danzare” in the 15th century . The title (German, “of the art of dancing and performing round dance”) again puts round dance and dance side by side. The chorea , the dance of antiquity, is led by a lead dancer. The counterpart to this is jumping dancing, saltare (Latin for “dancing, jumping” , to salire “jumping”). Domenico calls these two forms Bassadanza and Ballo in Italian .

This pair of opposites of round dance (= step dance) on the one hand and jumping dance on the other hand is typical of courtly dances since the Middle Ages. This sequence of "Reigen" and "Sprung" ( Passamezzo - Saltarello , Pavane - Gaillarde , Allemande - Tripla , Allemande - Courante , Sarabande - Gigue ) is the original form of the later suite .

Various dances or dance songs composed or arranged for the lute in straight beat were also called chorea around 1600 . The Haulberroys round dance , which is usually kept in straight beat, and the saulterelle in three time, as documented by Pierre Attaignant , were already outdated dance forms towards the end of the 16th century.

Modern times

Hans Thoma : The children's dance, 1884
Reigen in the Black Forest (around 1915)

Today (since the 18th century) the word "round dance" is usually used colloquially in the sense of circle dance , even if it is not sung.

The old round dance form as a dance to ballad singing has been preserved on the Faroe Islands as a Faroese chain dance . The danced ballad can also be found in Scandinavia .

Reigen (circle dances) in this sense can still be found in the folk dance of many nations. Examples are Kolo and Hora in the Balkan countries , the Russian Chorowod , Rounds in England , or the Sardana in Spain . Since the 1980s, such "international dances", especially circle and chain dances, especially dances from the Balkans, Greece and Turkey, have also been increasingly danced outside of their area of ​​origin.

Since then, a completely different direction has developed parallel to folklore dances : the so-called sacred dance , which is also known as sacred or meditative dance . Simple circle dances serve as the basis. In contrast to traditional dances, the only thing that matters in sacred dance is reflection and meditation. Sacred dance is becoming more and more popular in spiritual and church groups and is also used in educational and therapeutic areas. The creators of these artistic dances generally make generous use of the treasure trove of folk dances and folk music and process their elements into their own choreographies.

From the art music the round dance a. a. used by

See also


To the Breton round dance:

  • Corina Oosterveen: 40 Breton dances with their cultural background. Publishing house of the miners Hofmann & Co. KG 1995, ISBN 3-927240-32-X .

Web links

Commons : Circular Dances  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c The ranks. In: Johann Christoph Adelung : Grammatical-Critical Dictionary. Volume 3, p. 1051 f.
  2. Hans Dagobert Bruger (Ed.): Pierre Attaignant, two- and three-part solo pieces for the lute. Möseler Verlag, Wolfenbüttel / Zurich 1926, pp. 2, 6 and 32.
  3. ^ Curt Sachs : A world history of dance. Berlin 1933, p. 98 ff.
  4. ^ Walter BlankenburgChoir. In: Friedrich Blume (Hrsg.): The music in past and present (MGG). First edition, Volume 2 (Boccherini - Da Ponte). Bärenreiter / Metzler, Kassel et al. 1952, DNB 550439609 , Sp. 1230–1263
  5. ^ Curt Sachs : A world history of dance. Berlin 1933, p. 161 f.
  6. rows, dance , m . - Section: II 1). Meaning . In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 14 : R - skewness - (VIII). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1893, Sp. 644 ( ).
  7. a b Curt Sachs : A world history of dance. Berlin 1933, p. 182 ff.
  9. Swabian Dance
  10. ^ Austrian folk dances , new edition, first part, collected and edited by Raimund Zoder. Austrian Bundesverlag, Vienna 1958
  11. ^ Willi KahlBallad. In: Friedrich Blume (Hrsg.): The music in past and present (MGG). First edition, Volume 1 (Aachen - Blumner). Bärenreiter / Metzler, Kassel et al. 1949, DNB 550439609 , Sp. 1115–1138
  12. ^ Hans Hickmann:  Dance. In: Friedrich Blume (Hrsg.): The music in past and present (MGG). First edition, Volume 13 (Syrinx - Folk Dance). Bärenreiter / Metzler, Kassel et al. 1966, DNB 550439609 , column 89–110, here column 95
  13. Joseph Müller-BlattauForm. In: Friedrich Blume (Hrsg.): The music in past and present (MGG). First edition, Volume 4 (Fede - Singing Pedagogy). Bärenreiter / Metzler, Kassel et al. 1955, DNB 550439609 , Sp. 523–556, here: Sp. 547
  14. Guido Adler (ed.): Handbuch der Musikgeschichte. 2nd Edition. Berlin 1930, Volume 1, p. 396.
  15. ^ Adalbert Quadt : Lute music from the Renaissance. According to tablature ed. by Adalbert Quadt. Volume 1 ff. Deutscher Verlag für Musik, Leipzig 1967 ff .; 4th edition, ibid. 1968, volume 2, foreword (1967) and introduction and p. 53.
  16. ^ Konrad Ragossnig : Handbook of the guitar and lute. Schott, Mainz 1978, ISBN 3-7957-2329-9 , p. 107.
  17. ^ Siegfried Behrend : Nicolaus Schmal von Lebendorf [Mikuláš Šmal z Lebendorfu]: The best of the lute book 1608. [Dedicated to the owner of the Jaroslav Borsita von Martinic collection ] Collected for guitar, freely edited and edited. Musikverlag Zimmermann, Frankfurt am Main 1981 ( Chorea, Gagliarda, Chorea, Tanz, Curanta, Saltarella, Corrente, Nachtanz, Chorea (dance), Dimmiamore, Chorea, Chorea inharmonica, Intrada, Chorea, Corrente, Tanz, Intrada ).
  18. Hans Dagobert Bruger (Ed.): Pierre Attaignant, two- and three-part solo pieces for the lute. Möseler Verlag, Wolfenbüttel / Zurich 1926, p. 32.