Life in Romania must be a perpetual pep rally -- or at least that's the way the Romanian Folk Ballet of Bucharest portrays it. The company, on its first visit to North America, presented a program of music and dance at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall Saturday evening that concentrated almost exclusively on zingy, shouting, stamping pieces.
Although not mentioned in the group's title, the musicians, both singers and instrumentalists, occupied at least half the program, performing folk, "rearranged" folk and popular songs on such native instruments as the Pan flute and cymbalon.
The dancing, nearly all ensemble work, with rhythmically complex and incredibly fast. The dancers' arms were used mostly for clapping, and their feet snapped out the rhythms while performing small, quick steps alternating with legs-together traveling jumps and knees-together Charlestonlike movements. The men and women often performed the same steps, though in separate lines. The few "couples dances" were sedate, the only rests in an otherwise frenetic pace.
The dancers were dressed in beautiful embroidered costumes from the many regions of Romania they represented. One thing they all had in common -- besides being tireless -- was a genuine joy in performing and sharing their culture with the audience.