A, ya po lugu

[Full notes] [Summary notes] [Other dances & the source code]

Alternative Names 'А я по лугу' is the original spelling.
'A ya po lugu' is the Latin transcription by Hennie on the course dance listing.
'A ja po lugu' is the Latin transcription by Hennie on the 1st course music CD.
'A, ja po lugu' is the Latin transcription by Hennie on the 2nd course music CD.
'A, ya po lugu' is an English transcription by Hennie.
'A ya po luhu' is an English transcription of how it sounds sung.
Formation Circle of alternate men & women. Walenki-hold with men's arms on top.
Dance Structure (A1 + A2) + (B1 + B2) x 2 repeated throughout the music.
Music Structure 4 counts per bar, 4 bar phrases.
Music Speed 100 counts/min.
Source Hennie Konings on his Russian dance course at Shatski Ozera, Ukraine, 2007.

Disclaimer: Mistakes are quite likely in the notes and no guarantees are made as to accuracy as I wrote them from memory a couple of weeks after being taught it by Hennie. There may be other versions of the same dance or other dances with the same name. Music may differ, particularly in speed, introduction and duration, between performers. The division into parts, bars & counts might not be standard. These notes of the dance are freely distributable (under GPL or CC-by-sa) in so much as the note's author's contribution but the choreography and/or collection were by other people and so their copyright might apply to the dance itself. Better than using notes, go to a dance class where it is taught by Hennie Konings.

A flowing Russian dance that is gentle and simple but somewhat showy and reminiscent of some Sacred/Circle dances, particularly the well-known Walenki, in shape (but with more subtle footwork).

It starts in Walenki-hold with men nominally on the outside (arms over) & women on the inside (arms under) but more practically is taller people go on the outside and shorter people go on the inside regardless of their sex.

(The term 'Walenki-hold' is not an official one or from Hennie. It is a Sacred/Circle dance name from the well known Russian-derived Sacred/Circle dance 'Walenki' ('Valenki' in English transcription) which uses that hold. It is like a basket-weave hold but pairs of arms go alternately right-over-left & left-over-right so alternate dancers in the circle topologically form two separable circles. The circle can be split into 2 concentric circles by the set with arms on top raising their arms over the heads of the others & moving outwards.)

The 'g' or 'h' spelling confusion is because it is Russian sung in Ukraine & transcribed by a native Dutch speaker for a mix of German & English dancers. Both Ukrainian & Dutch use the symbols typically used in their alphabets for the English 'g' sound (Cyrillic 'г' & Latin 'g' respectively) for the English 'h' sound instead. Ukrainian uses 'г', a letter Imperial Russia & the USSR prohibited, for the 'g' sound. The 'j'/'y' alternative is because 'ja' is the German & Dutch transcription of 'я' whereas 'ya' is the English transcription.

The song is about the singer, a girl, complaining about being stepped on by a mosquito (slang for an irritating boy) while dancing with him in a meadow. Possibly not the ideal subject for a sweet sounding dance tune song :-) .

Note that the same tune is also used for at least two other dances in the UK, one Russian & one Sacred/Circle. I was caught out with this when I first lead it. I had told a friend that I would bring back a new dance for her from the dance holiday I was going on but almost all the dances we were taught in the week were either not suitable for her dance event (too complex to teach for other than a performance) or already well known in the UK international dance repertoire. The one exception was this one so I presented it but was surprised at its cool reception until I realised the reason that it wasn't already in the UK repertoire. The tune was so familiar to Sacred/Circle dancers for another dance that it felt odd doing anything else to it. That dance, called Tiene, had indeed been exceptionally familiar to Circle dancers for decades, it being one of those on the original 2 'Dancing Circles' albums which spread Circle dances to recorded music out of its Findhorn origins! Also on those albums was Valenki which has some moves very similar to this dance (but simpler footwork). Oops. In a purely international/Balkan type group, Tiene & Valenki might not be so familiar and this dance could probably be done to this tune without that problem.

Style: Steps low, soft, flat & toe-lead. Despite that it travels moderately briskly in Part A. Steps small in Part B. Stamps are low, flat & virtually silent. A feeling of continual flowing movement.


Summary: Start when the singing starts.

This is after 4 bars of instrumental music.

Part A1

Summary: Walk acw with (R, L, R, stamp L, L) x 3. R, L, R, L touch.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot. Walenki-hold.
1 Turning to face acw around the circle (with lower body, upper body is twisted about 45 deg towards the centre of the circle by the constraint of the hold), walk R forwards around the circle.
2 Walk L forwards.
3 Walk R forwards.
& Close L with a flat footed stamp. The stamp is very gentle, almost inaudible, and done by lowering the body by bending the R knee.
4 Walk L forwards.
2-3 Repeat bar 1 (but no need to turn in count 1 as already facing acw around the circle) twice more (making 3 times of R step, L step, R step, L syncopated stamp, L step in total).
1-3 Repeat bar 1 counts 1-3 (walk forwards R, L, R).
4 Touch close L turning to face the centre of the circle.

Part A2

Summary: A1 mirrored.

As Part A1 but in left-right mirror image (walk cw with (L, R, L, R stamp R) x 3, L, R, L, R touch).

Part B1

Summary: M walk out with 7 steps & touch close starting R foot whilst arms go up to V & down. W same but in & arms go only up.

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot. Walenki-hold.
1 R backwards.
2 L backwards.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 (R & L backwards).
Arms Rise up infront to high V-position keeping elbows straight. When it gets too far stretched to hold hands because of the walking backwards out of the circle (the high V-position should be with arms in the coronal plane of the body about 45 deg from vertical not stretched out lower for increased horizontal reach), let go of hold.
Feet As men but forwards (walk (R, L) x 2 in towards the centre of the circle).
Arms Rise up infront with straight elbows to V-hold similar to the men but at half the speed (so they are only about horizontal infront at the end of this bar) and, as the dancers get closer together, instead of letting go of the hand hold narrow the angle between the arms.
1-3 As bar 1 counts 1-3 (step R, L, R backwards).
4 Touch close L.
Arms Continue arms over backwards & down with straight elbows until they are vertically down at the sides. (Although that is what it feels like, in reality of course the arms go down only slightly behind the coronal plane of the body because of the limitations of the should joint (& even less if, like me, ones shoulders do not bend back far there).)
Feet As men but forwards (walk R, L, R in towards the centre of the circle, touch close L).
Arms Continue the straight elbowed rising infront reaching high V-hold at the end of the bar (it will have arms almost vertical because dancers will be close together then).

Although I've written it as two separate bars, it is one continuous steady motion & is easier to count as 1-8.

Men need to take care not to hit women's heads with their arms when backing out.

Part B2

Summary: B1 with opposite feet and reversed arms & path back to place.

As B1 but reverse the arm motion (men's arms go up to high V-position, down infront, regaining hold and over women's heads, whilst women's arms go down infront) & footwork on opposite feet (7 steps starting with L foot, R touch close) & travelling on the opposite path (men in forwards, women out backwards).


Summary: A1 + A2 x 0.5. Out with 8 steps backwards to V-hold. Bow

Start Facing the centre of the circle. Weight on L foot. Walenki-hold.
1-4 As Part A1.
5-6 As Part A2 first half.
7-8 Turn to face the centre of the circle and walk 7 steps backward (one step per count) starting with L foot whilst releasing hand hold and taking hand hold in as normal V-hold thereby forming one normal circle. Close R on the last count taking weight on both feet.
After Bow forwards from the waist with straight torso then straighten up.