The Hora of Frumusica, a perpetual dance

Frumusica, Cucuteni Culture, 4500 B.C. Circular dance performed by four girls. The circle of the dancers is built around a center above which the ritual object should have been placed, perhaps a bowl. It is around this object, and to the axis that crosses its center, that the dance takes place.

Curt Sachs states that each circular dance has a magical object in the center. In the case of prehistoric matriarchal cultures in the center lies a pit, but also a bowl, which according to Neumann, is a symbol of the mother’s womb and fertility of the earth. In this case the material element is strictly implied to the spiritual one, in an incredible contamination of form and matter. The Hora (from the ancient Greek Koros, Horo in Bulgarian) is a circular dance very common in the Balkan area that is performed during the most important ceremonies and weddings. Many archaeologists (Gimbutas, Garfinkel, Dragomir) have recognized one of the oldest circular dance in a class of ceramic artefacts found in some Romanian Neolithic sites (Frumusica, Beresti, Grenovka, Luka Vrublevetskaia, Draguseni, Trusesti, V millennium BC). If we analyze the object called “Hora” of Frumusica, from the formal point of view four female figures arranged in a circle are recognizable, of which only the anatomical features of the buttocks are clearly distinguished; from the functional point of view, the object was probably used as a support above which a container (a bowl?) was placed in which the votive offering was placed. In our hypothesis, the artifact/dance is related to the container/offer above and the center of the dance corresponds to the cosmic axis on which the bowl is placed with the sacrificial offering.

From the whole it is possible to deduce that the only purpose of the prehistoric artist was to create a dancing mechanism with a precise idea of movement in order to produce energy. The artifact does not reproduce a rhythmic dance with large movements and quick enlargements or narrowings of the circle. This is confirmed by the fact that the dancers are tightly connected to each other at shoulder level. So we can assume that the circular movement is very slow and not skipped.

frumusica e grecia
Left: Hora di Bodesti, discovered in 1942. The ceramic artifact depicts a circle formed by six female figures, each of which holds his arms knotted over the shoulders of the figure at his side. The prehistoric artist has neglected to model the head, the arms and the legs. lingering on the buttocks. The object gives no indication of the rhythm of the whole and the movement in progress. Together with the rock carvings this kind of artifacts documents the existence of ritual dances linked to the offer of gifts. Culture of Cucuteni (4000 – 3300 BC). On the right:- The Bronze group of Olympia (Greece, IX century B.C.) is composed of seven female figures, with their arms fastened over their shoulders. The set of dancers is resting on a metallic circle that somehow suggests to us how the dance in progress took place on a predetermined course without variations (from Soar, Katy , Circular Dance Performances in the Prehistoric Aegean, 2010).

While during the dance the movement produces energy and magic, in its fixed two-dimensional (image) and three-dimensional reproduction (artifact), the simple form carries out a symbolic transformation of reality.

As the mask concretely expresses “the other dimension”, that of magic and myth, so also the ceramic object of Frumusica, while preserving its nature as a material object and its supporting function, is in all respects a dance that, according to the magical-religious thought that has elaborated it, produces the same effects of the original act made concretely in reality. With one difference. While a dance performed in three dimensions, develops itself in space and time, from beginning to end, and the energy produced by it over time is destined to run out, its copy, image or artifact, is subtracted from the dominion of the natural and human laws and adheres to an absolute space-time dimension. In this way, the dancing figurines of the Hora of Frumusica never stop dancing. The artifact then performs a perpetual dance, whose magical effects will be felt forever.

Hora di Tell Aviv
Port of Tel Aviv, April 1939. Young Jewish women from Germany, just arrived in Palestine express their joy by dancing the “Hora”.

Autore: Gaudenzio Ragazzi

(English). My name is Gaudenzio Ragazzi, a long time ago I graduated in Philosophy with a master in History of Theater. To realize my thesis on the "origins of dance", a theme that still today boasts only two or three specialized researchers in the world, I became a scholar of Prehistoric Iconography. In the last thirty years I have not been able to escape the responsibilities of life. So, after the death of my father, I led the family artisan company that produces tailored shirts. A few years ago I decided that it was time to resume my studies and complete the research I had started as a young man (that nobody else had yet completed). Good luck Gaudenzio! Mi chiamo Gaudenzio Ragazzi, molto tempo fa ho conseguito la laurea in Filosofia con specializzazione in Storia del Teatro. Sono diventato uno studioso di Iconografia Preistorica per realizzare la mia tesi di laurea sulle "origini della danza", argomento che ancora oggi vanta nel mondo solo due o tre studiosi di una certa levatura. Negli ultimi trent'anni non ho potuto sottrarmi alle responsabilità della vita. Così, dopo la morte di mio padre, ho guidato l'azienda artigiana di famiglia che produce camicie su misura. Alcuni anni fa ho deciso che era arrivato il momento di riprendere i miei studi e di fare da vecchio quello che non ho potuto fare da giovane (e che nessun altro nel frattempo aveva completato). Buon lavoro Gaudenzio !


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