Cherkessia Kfula

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

Alternative Names 'צ׳ךקסיהק' is the original spelling (of 'Cherkessia').
'Cherkessia Kfula' is an English transcription
Sometimes simply called 'Cherkessia'.
'Cherkessia' is a common English transcription but there are many others possible including 'Cherkessia', 'Cherkassia', 'Cherkerssia', 'Chirkassia' etc..
'Cherkesiya' is a Dutch transcription.
Formation Circle. Shoulder or V-hold.
Dance Structure ((A x 2) + (B x 2)) repeated throughout music.
Music Structure 4 counts/bar, 4 bar phrases.
Music Speed 180 counts/min.
Source Tony Mounter, Sally Fletcher & Jan Savage in Ipswich with the additional hamming-up from Ken Masters, Stefan Freedman & myself.

Disclaimer: Mistakes are quite likely in the notes and no guarantees are made as to accuracy. 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.

A simple lively fun party-style widespread traditional Israeli dance that can be hammed up exceedingly bouncily (I don't know if that leniency is an authentic Israeli feature of the dance or not but it's fun done that way :-) ).

The first 3 Grapevine variations are standard. The 4th (double leaps) came from me copying the very bouncy way Ken jokily did the Grapevines. The 5th (double speed), which I got over a decade later, was from copying Stefan's joking in the Grapevines & me applying that to the steps in place too. All Cherkessias variations are jokey. The 1st & 2nd were from me adapting the ideas from Grapevine variations 4 & 5 to the Cherkessias. The 3rd was from me importing a step from an Armenian dance.

Style: Israeli, Sacred/Circle, barn-dance, hammed-up or anything. Lively & fun.


Summary: Clear from the music.

Start at the beginning of any Part A musical phrase.

Part A

Summary: (Grapevine L starting R across infront) x 3. Rock (R across infront, L in place) x 2.

Start Facing the centre.
1 Grapevine L (cw) around the circle (R across infront, L to the side, R across behind, L to the side).
2-3 Repeat bar 1 two more times (2 more Grapevines L).
1 Step heavily (almost a drop) R across infront.
2 Step heavily L in place.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 (R across in front, L in place).

Part B

Summary: (Cherkessia starting R across infront, mirror) x 2. Rock (R across infront, L in place) x 2. 4 Cherkessias, rock across on R & back on R twice.

Start Facing the centre.
1-3 4 Cherkessias. As each takes 3 counts, they cross the bars of the music but end up back synchronised after 4 of them in 3 bars. The 1st Cherkessia is R across infront, L in place, R close. The 2nd is the mirror image (L across infront, R in place, L close). The 3rd & 4th repeat the 1st & 2nd.
4 Repeat Part A bar 4 ((R across in front, L in place) x 2).

Grapevine Variation 1 (walking)

Summary: Walking.

The style can start off walking. It still covers a lot of ground with fairly big steps. This can be done with conventional Israeli styling (downward emphasis on the first step of the Grapevine etc.).

Grapevine Variation 2 (running)

Summary: Running.

It soon progresses to running. (The Israeli styling can be maintained.)

Grapevine Variation 3 (flying)

Summary: Leaping.

For more exaggeration, do "flying" Grapevines (leap, raising the R leg high across infront, on the first step). (This goes rather counter to conventional Israeli Grapevine styling which goes down on the first step but seems to fit this dance well.)

Grapevine Variation 4 (hamming up, double leaping)

Summary: Flying with leaps on count 4 as well as 1.

Get really bouncy in Grapevines with leaps (combining light high lifts arcing across infront) not only when the R foot goes across on the 1st step of the Grapevines but also when the L foot goes to the side on the 4th step. As these are on successive counts, the R leg appears to follow the L one in the air.

(This is nothing like serious Israeli style but it fits & is fun! I copied it from another member of the group I was in. Maybe he invented it.)

Grapevine Variation 4 (hamming up, double counting)

Summary: Two steps per count (fitting in 6 Grapevines & 4 rocks).

Step twice per beat (i.e. 1-a-2-a-3-a-4-a) instead of once (1-2-3-4) so a Grapevine takes only half a bar. Do 6 Grapevines instead of 3 in bars 1-3 and do (R across, L in place) 4 times instead of 2 times in bar 4.

(This is much more manic tempo than serious traditional Israeli style, which was mostly designed to be sustainable aerobic exercise.)

Cherkessia Variation 1 (hamming up, leaping lifts)

Summary: Leaping lifts in across & close steps.

Style the Cherkessias similar to the Variation 4 Grapevines by doing high lifting leaps on both the crosses & closes. It this needs some care taken so as not to get in a tangle or get out of time the music. If done with straightish knees in the lifts then the pair of legs lifting combined with the necessity of starting of the second lift of each pair slightly before the first lift has completed when the music is fast; then the pair of lifts effectively become a scissor-kick.

(This is nothing like serious Israeli style either! I came up with it when working out how to style the Cherkessias to go with Grapevine Variation 4.)

Cherkessia Variation 2 (hamming up, double counting)

Summary: Two steps per count (fitting in 8 Cherkessias & 4 rocks).

Step twice per beat (i.e. 1-a-2-a-3-a-4-a) instead of once (1-2-3-4) so a Cherkessia takes only 3/8 of a bar instead of 3/4 of a bar. Do 8 Cherkessias instead of 4 in bars 1-3 and do (R across, L in place) 4 times instead of 2 times in bar 4.

(This is nothing like serious Israeli style either! I came up with it when working out how to style the Cherkessias to go with Grapevine Variation 5. Fast Cherkessias are more characteristic of certain Romanian dances like 'Şchioapa'.)

Cherkessia Variation 3 (hamming up, rotating lifts)

Summary: Hey Par leg rotations in close steps.

This can look dramatic and almost impossible (it gives the illusion of the leg spinning around at the knee). Instead of simply closing the foot during the Cherkessia, make the foot travel on a path with a loop in it. This comprises raising & flexing the knee, moving the foot in a cw circle relative to the knee (lower leg transcribes a conical path with knee at apex) and re-straightening the knee all done whilst the upper leg angle moves across to side. This takes longer than the conventional plain motion but that can be accommodated by taking only half a count for each of the across & in place leaving 2 counts for this elaborate close (i.e. rhythm "1 & 2-3" instead of "1 2 3") which visually fits too.

(Again, not serious Israeli style! I came up with almost by accident by copying the dramatic move in from the Armenian Dance 'Hey Par' and bodging the timing to fit.)