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Society, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Dec., 1937), pp. 117119 Published by: English Folk Dance + Song Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4521112 . Accessed: 06/04/2011 16:40
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6. and takes place during the wedding ceremonies. For men and women together: (a) numerous individual couples: Weselny (b) jigs for one man and one woman: Krzesany Sabalowy Drobny For men alone: Zbojnicki-5. In the first place. the mountains of the High Tatra are the only strictly alpine region: south of them lies Czecho-Slovakia and north of them Poland. Since the information I have obtained is first-hand and since these dances are a very living art indeed. are known as Go6rale. which till recent times and sometimes now.The Dances of Podhale (Poland) BY JOSEPH NEEDHAM IN the long line of the Carpathian chain. in which the bridal crown is replaced by II7 . is a usual sight in a holiday town such as Zakopane. a leather waistcoat. performed by the country people for their own pleasure. The characteristic dress of the men. All the dances arerecreationalin character. 2. for it is worn on working days as well as on festivals. The groups may be classified as follows i. yet nevertheless it is interesting that one important group of them is danced by men only. also embroidered and trimmed with fur. and a flattish black hat in which a large feather is stuck. it is clear that in the Podhale region there exists now no strictly ceremonialor ritual dance. The Weselny is essentially the Goral form of the Polka. or 7 men. performedon one special occasion only in the year. and the inhabitants. it is probable that an account of them may be of interest to English dancers. which stretches from east to west through central Europe. The foothills and valleys of their northern slopes form the Podhale district of Poland. with an embroideredwhite cape on top. It is associated with the Oczepiny ceremony. tight white embroidered woollen trousers. last a week. mountaineers in many ways resembling the Scottish Highlanders. I have recently had the opportunity of coming into close contact with a group of the mountaineers and of studying their dances.
called after a mountaineer who formerly played well on the ancient oblong violin. as well as light taps with the toes. like all her companions. such as those who followed the legendary hero Janosik. in a free way. The word Drobny is not so much used to describe a special dance. one must realise that there is no set form for these jigs. I936. This they have previously sung to the musicians.* The axes are now thrown into the centre around the girl's feet. but holding hands into the centre.meaning to strike sparks as from flint and steel. Six men. but hooked across the other rather closely. and the music being faster.the married woman's bonnet. in white blouse. perhaps. The axes are not ice-axes for they have no pick. but less fast. to our Robin Hood. while another man (or a woman) leads out the girl partner and dances polka steps with her or pirouettes before raising his hat and handing her to her partner. The Goral is largely concerned with the merits of individual dancers. In general. dressed in white shirts. as in Longborough great capers. The Sabalowy. so long as they suit the rhythm. for instance. the white embroidered trousers. just as for the jigs. and in which the old women buy back the bride from the best man and his friends by a gift of bread and wodka. and from time to time an emphasising of the rhythm by three heavy stamps. but are used for cutting the dwarf-pine which grows on the upper mountainslopes. The dance * The presence of the girl is not an essential feature of the dance. in an analogous way. Janosik appears in innumerable ballads. not passing round anticlockwise as before. is similar to the Krzesany. the Bampton and Bledington Morris. similar to that of Russian or Cossack dancers. but differing from it in that the free foot is not thrown right forward. The name Krzesany is derived from the verb krzesac. and the black hats with the long feather each. This concludes the dance. The jig dances are danced as follows: the man goes up to the musicians and sings the tune which he wishes them to play-there are words to most of them then waits a few moments. and the steps involve much striking of the heels together. The following description of it is as I saw it in August. and the dancer may therefore introduce whatever special motions he pleases. as to characterise some of the tunes which are suited for the performance of small sliding steps. and the men continue to perform this step. brandishing their peculiar axe-walkingsticks (ciupaga) to the tune of a stirring warlike chant. ii8 . moving round in the reverse direction and clashing their axes upon an axe held up in the centre of the circle by a girldressed.ng the leg or foot in a way reminiscent of the Tyrolese dancers. there are not many local peculiarities such as separated. Since the villages in Podhale are not very distinct. march in a circle. such as hand-clapping-a sign for the partner to turn round-or slapp. The girl now leaves the set. They then perform a step not unlike the Bampton back-steps. the men do a variety of kibby-step. The word Zbojnicki is derived from the term Robbers. red bodice and red skirt-the whole reminding an English dancer of the basket figure in an English sword-dance.
and in this case it was preceded by a sort of jig to the same tune done by a man and a girl both holding axes and using the special kibby-step. Warszawa. illustrated by Z. and a fine set of women dancers was led by two sisters of most striking appearance. Rytard. but to these was formerly added the Podhala bagpipe. soon become delightful. Nowin'ski'sbirthday. now aged over 8o. The tunes are all of a recognisable similar feeling. They are smaller than the Scottish bagpipes and larger than the Northumbrian smallpipes. and of course. and as it was Dr. interspersed with polkas for the whole company and another dance. and a succession of jigs was performed. The wodka was soon circulating. one felt that one was again in the presence of the Morris in another of its many manifestations. Parnas for their kindness in helping me in many ways to understand the folk-dances of Podhale." The highlanders have a custom of hoisting people into the air if the occasion demands it. The number of holes is six. I had an opportunity of examining and hearing two of these instruments. until the time came for the visitors to depart. Stanislaw Mroz. for I was told that this final figure was a fairly modem innovation. As the evening warmed up the time came for the Zbojnicki. Miss Markson. but with the free leg very much bent and raised. An English dancer would thus be reminded in turn of Eynsham. The general effect is really very fine indeed. of very small compass. In conclusion I wish again to express my thanks to Mr. Mr. a mouthpiece. and ending abruptly. To-day the typical music is provided by two or three violins and a 'cello or double-bass. Through the kindness of my friends Waclaw Nowifiski and the poet Mieczystaw Rytard. Nowi'nski. On entering the room and seeing the six men dressed in white. Hotarski and Prof. Later on. and Longborough: but sometimes an arming figure was introduced-like that of an Adderbury stick-dance-the axes being held in the free hand.is still developing. he and his wife were treated in this way several times. The music used for all these dances is contained in the following collection: Muzyka Podhala by S. I noticed in the Krzesany the fairly frequent use of hockle-back steps. I930. The bag is of goat-skin. IIg . often modal. My second impression was of the great beauty of these country people: the men were all remarkable to look at. After this there was a return to the jigs. or kobza. who pressed out on to the verandah to play us a welcome. some " melodje angielskie" were called for. and though at first strange to an English ear. Mierczynski. Stryjel'ska: Ksiaznica-Atlas. Bampton. They produce the effect of a subtly modulated monotony. played by one of the last surviving masters. I was privileged to be present at a dance given at the house of the highlander Antek Hotarski in the village of Koscielisko. Dr. Arriving in the twilight in carriages. from central Poland. we were met by the fiddlers. and the company insisted on performing a polka to the tune of " The Girl I Left Behind Me. the Oberek. and the pipe itself is in the form of the head of a chamois-an animal still fairly common in the upper valleys such as Dolina Hlinska-there is a drone.