Jeni Jol / Rumelaj

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

Alternative Names 'Jeni Jol' is the name of the dance.
'Yeni Yol' is an alternative spelling (English transcription & Turkish spelling).
'Rumelaj' is commonly used as its name but that is actually the name of the music.
Formation Open circle. V-hold.
Dance Structure Short sequence repeated throughout the music.
Music Structure 4 counts/bar, 4 bar phrases (dance crosses music).
Music Speed Typically 80-120 counts/min.
Translation 'Jeni Jol' means 'New Road'.
'Rumelaj' is the European part of Turkey.
Source The Basic step (common version & Circle Dance version) from several places including Norwich, London & the Netherlands. The alternative timing was from Ibrahim Rizevski at the 2003 Eastbourne International Folk Festival & the 2010 SIFD Summer School in Swansea, UK.

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.

A simple dance that is popular largely because of its atmospheric music which is available in lots of versions & is well liked by live bands. The dance is usually done with lots of hammed up hip motion.

I have come across several versions of the steps. Notes for three versions are included below. The names of the versions are not standard (each has been treated as definitive from the source I obtained them!).

The version I've called 'Common Version' is the one most popular in the UK & my favourite. It is a basic step (and improvised variations such as the turn) done with large hip movements which are often hammed up with a party atmosphere. It is most often done to the tune 'Rumelaj'.

The version I've called 'Circle Dance Version' is the same but someone has lengthened the basic step so that it does not cross the music. This makes it easier (it is very easy even without that). I've called it such because I've come across it mostly in Circle Dance events whereas International & Balkan folk dance events tend to like to stick to what are considered authentic folk versions.

The version I've called 'Alternative Timing Version' was the one taught by Ibrahim Rizevski (a Macedonian folk dance specialist). The biggest difference was that it was started in a different place in the footwork sequence with respect to the music bars. Other differences: it was done to a tune different from 'Rumelaj', had a turn with a different footwork sequence to the basic step, was done with the bit in place facing 45 deg to cw of rather than facing the centre and was done without the distinctive exaggerated hip movements (he explained that the hip motions done in the West were the Gypsy way of doing it not the normal Macedonian - in non-Gypsy Macedonian it was traditionally a bride's dance where such hip swings would have looked too slutty!).

Style: Loads of exaggerated hip movement if done in the common UK manner. Toe leads.

Basic Sequence (Common Version)

Summary: Travel R with 2 touch & steps R & L, touch R & 3 steps on the spot, touch L & 3 steps on the spot.

Start Facing acw around the circle.
1 Touch R foot lightly to the ground infront (just toes of foot).
& Raise R hip.
2 Walk forwards onto R foot dropping the hip back to normal.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 but with opposite feet (L touch, hip lift & step).
1 Turning to face the centre, touch R foot infront as in bar 1 count 1.
& Raise R hip.
2 R close.
3 L in place.
4 R in place.
3 Repeat bar 2 but on opposite feet (L touch, L hip raise, L close & R L in place).

This is only 3 bars even though the music is in 4 bar phrases. The dance crosses the music but this does not seem awkward.

Turn (Common Version)

Summary: Turn 360 cw during travelling steps.

Whilst travelling by touch & step R & L in bar 1, turn 360 deg cw. Maintain the travelling around the circle during this.

Basic Sequence (Circle Dance version)

Summary: As Basic Sequence (Common Version) but repeat bar 1.

Start Facing acw around the circle.
1 As Basic Sequence bar 1.
2-4 As Basic Sequence bars 1-3.

This is a simplified version that has the sequence extended so as not to cross the music.

Basic Sequence (Alternative Timing Version)

Summary: As Basic Sequence (Common Version) but start 1 count ahead. Subdued styling.

This is Ibrahim's version. The main difference is that it starts on a different beat in the bar (also the styling & turns to the centre are much subdued).

Start Facing acw around the circle.
1 Walk forwards onto L foot.
2 Touch R foot lightly to the ground infront (just toes of foot). Slightly turn in the R heel over the front of the L foot.
3 Walk forwards onto R foot.
4 Touch L foot lightly to the ground infront (just toes of foot).
1 Turning 45 acw to face 45 cw of the direction to the centre of the circle, L close.
2 Touch R foot lightly to the ground infront (just toes of foot).
3 R close.
& L in place.
4 R in place.
3 Repeat bar 2 on the opposite feet (facing 45 deg cw of the direction to the centre of the circle, R close, L touch infront, L close, R in place).

Turn (Alternative Timing Version)

Summary: L forwards, R touch infront. Travelling turn 360 deg cw in 2 Triple Steps. Forwards R, L. R in place, L touch infront, L backwards, R close.

Start Facing acw around the circle.
1 L forwards.
2 R touch to the floor infront.
3-4 Triple step (R, L, R to counts 3, &, 4) commencing a 360 deg turn whilst continuing to travel acw around the main circle.
1-2 Triple step (L, R, L to counts 1, &, 2) completing that 360 deg travelling turn.
3 Facing acw around the circle, R forwards.
4 L forwards.
1 R in place.
2 L touch infront.
3 L backwards.
4 R close.