Trip to romania

July 26 to August 9, 1980


Please excuse the poor quality of the pictures...the originals aren't much better.......






Most of the dances I have learned over the years were from Isreal, Yugoslavia, Russia, German, as well as many other countries... including ROMANIA. From the first time I heard Romanian music and danced a Romanian dance I was impressed! There is a quality about the Romanian folklore, which includes it's music, the dances, and the costumes, that sets it apart from all other folklore. It can be smooth and graceful or quick and exciting. There are simple dances like the varieties of "Hora's", which can be danced by anyone, even if you have never danced before. Then there are the more difficult dances like some of the "Sirba's" or "Trei Pazesti's" which are only suitable for experienced dancers.


In the mean time I have been lucky enough to visit a number of workshops and seminars for Romanian dances. The seminars increased my love for it and I began to dream of going to Romania some day.....


Well, that dream came true! In the summer of 1980 I took part in a two week workshop in Rimincu Vilcea, Romania, together with a folklore dance group from Denmark, organized by Niculai Apetri. Participants came from all over Scandinavia.... I was the only exception.


I flew by plane to Budapest, Hungary, where I met the rest of the group. We then boarded an Austrian bus and traveled to the Hungarian/Romanian border. This was all during the time of the cold war but I had no problems getting the necessary visa. It was fascinating to drive through the flatlands Hungarian countryside and then through the beautiful Carpaten Mountains.


Just a bit of "tourist" information:


Rīmnicu Vīlcea, city in Romania, capital of Valcea County, 156 km (97 mi) northwest of Bucharest. It is located in the Olt Valley, an area well known for its hot-springs resorts of Calimanesti and Caciulata, and for one of Romania's oldest and most beautiful monasteries, Cozia (14th century). Other buildings of interest include the churches of Saint Parasceva (16th century), the Annunciation (16th century), and All Saints (18th century). A church at the bishop's palace is decorated with paintings by the 19th-century Romanian painter Gheorghe Tattarescu. The city is also known for its folk art, which includes costumes and pottery. Throughout the Middle Ages (5th century to 15th century), Rīmnicu Vīlcea was an active market town. During the years of Communist control (1948 to 1990), it became highly industrialized, with a factory for processing salt from nearby mines, and leather factories. Population (1992) 115,268.


It was summer and very hot and humid! But that didn't stop us... we danced in the mornings and did some trips in the afternoon.




Niculai Apetri and Lillian Jensen








and always to live music!


I went to Romania with the hope of not only learning new dances first hand, but also of getting to meet the people that created this beautiful folklore.... which we did. We visited a factory where the beautifully webbed carpets are made...... the working conditions were terrible. As you can see, the women sit on very hard benches while weaving the rugs.....


We visited a numbered of villages where we were usually welcomed by the whole village greeting us, often wearing their traditional costumes, in spite of the heat. We would join them either indoors at their community center (if they had one) or outdoors where we all danced together.


being welcomed with bread and salt


me being greeted by the villiage children

The village ladies in full costume



Group member Allan Vinther from Denmark dancing with a village lady


applause !!


me and Allan kidding around



dancing outdoors.....


The hospitality of the people in the villages set the mood and the common love for dancing did the rest. The whole village joined in with us for the "Hora", from the smallest child to the oldest person. Doing the dances we had learned danced by the common people topped it all.


Seeing the workmanship of the costumes close up, most passeded down through the generations, made me appreciate them even more. The costumes are colorful and extravagant without being gaudy. The time that is needed to create them proves how much love their makers must have for them. The intricate emboidery is just amazing. And there are a lot of varieties of costumes then I had imagined, each more beautiful then the others.


We marveled at the performances of various ensembles.... among others the "Folklore Ensemble Strugurel". I especially remember a young girl that sang like a lark.... she was great!

And of course, always live music.....



To hear the music live, not just from records, was like nothing I'd experienced before. It has a magic that makes my skin prickle and my feet dance. I enjoyed closing my eyes and absorbing the sounds of the cymbala and pan flute into every cell of myself.


During our stay, the big "Olt-Festival" was taking place, and of course we visited it. It's like a big song contest. People came from miles away to visit it. The photos below can only give a very vague impression of the real thing.


Together with Laila Thulin from Norway




We also visited a number of the monasteries, etc., mentioned above in the tourist information.... but don't ask me which ones! Some have pretty gruesome tales about them... reminding me of Count Dracula, who came from not all that far away!


The food wasn't too great (every try brain? yucky!!!)... but the "Zwitka", a type of schnaps, flowed freely. We were able to walk the streets freely, only occasionally seeing armed police. And I bought some original costumes with me, which I have worn during demonstrations many times.


Of course, we had to end the workshop with a big fest of our own....


We then re-boarded our bus for the return trip. We stayed over a night in Budapest before boarding our planes... me to Germany, the rest back to the various Scandinavian countries.


up-dated: 11.03.2011