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Formation Open circle. W-hold.
Dance Structure Single figure repeated throughout the music.
Music Structure 3 counts/bar, 7 beats/bar, 12 bar (or combinations totalling 12 bars) phrases.
Music Speed Less than 80 counts/min.
Source Detailed styling from Paul Mulders at the 2010 Eastbourne International Folkdance Festival. Linear version from a Christmas party performance by the Živko Firfov group in London 2008.

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 very traditional slow bride's dance where the steps are relatively simple but the styling is crucially important. The main styling feature is a slow raising of the heel of the foot from which the weight is to leave followed by a slow lowering of the heel onto which the weight is taken. This was to show off the strong beautiful calves of the women (& can get rather tiring on the calves).

The music counts "ONE-A Two Three", i.e. 3 counts with the first one longer. This is conventionally written in Western music notation as 7 beats grouped as 3+2+2. A catch in the music is that some of the phrases complete musically a bar early and are followed by a solo bar to complete the standard phrase length which tends to make one think that one is a bar late in the music and so fudge steps to catch-up a bar only to find one is then a bar ahead of the music after the solo bar. Counting bars or simply ignoring music phrasing and just doing the step sequence in time with the counts can avoid that problem.

I came across this dance several times briefly lead at Balkanplus in London but it was difficult to remember both the sequence (it turned out the catch was it had a near but not quite repeat in it) and styling (which is distinctive and crucial) together for writing down after an event. I later videoed a short segment of it at a Žviko Firfov party but, being done as a performance, it was done subtly (e.g. the changes of facing were reduced to virtually zero) which made it difficult to follow & to lead. I finally had it had taught in detail by Paul Mulders in EIFF when he was did an unscheduled extra class standing in for the intended teacher who was stuck in traffic.

Paul made his extra class of trying to re-introduce the style in old favourite Macedonian dances (in the UK) from which styling details have often been forgotten or ignored. He emphasised that the teaching of this dance should almost all be on the style. Ideally the actual simple steps should not be plainly described (teach the style & have the steps just by following) lest learners prioritise doing the particular step sequence over the more important concentrating on the style. However he did describe it to us due to time constraints we had on learning the dances. The way I describe the dance below, structured on the steps & counts, is therefore inappropriate but that is how my dance notes collection is formatted in general. I have put in the details of styling I learnt but are probably additional subtleties I did not notice.

(N.B. Being Dutch, 'Paul' is pronounced more like the English 'Powell' than the English 'Paul'.)

Style: Macedonian. Steps almost behind the beats. Strong & upright (originally done wearing heavy traditional formal clothing). Quiet & controlled. Every step (except the one which is explicitly stated otherwise) comprises a slow rise of the heel of the supporting foot, the transfer of weight then a slow lowering of the heel of the new supporting foot. Raisings & lowerings are primarily by tilting the foot using the calf muscles not by flexing the knee. (Take care not do a, much easier, creeping step where the rise is done by a leg lift and lowering done before taking full weight).


Summary: V-hold. Raise arms, dip & straighten knees. Start at beginning of a phrase.

Start in V-hold. Wait until the start of the first complete phrase of music. In the phrase before starting to dance, smoothly raise arms in W-hold. Two counts before starting to dance, dip slightly by bending knees. In the last count before starting to dance, rise out of the dip by straightening the knees and smoothly continue this moving up into the first step of the dance in its raise of the raising the heel on the first count of the first bar of the next phrase.

Whole sequence

Summary: (Important: heels up & down in each step.) To the R in R & L Triple Steps. (To the R in R & L steps. Facing centre, small R & L Triple Steps forwards.), ditto but rise in the L inward step. R Triple Step backing out turning to face L. To the L in L & R forwards & L & R backwards steps. L Triple Step in place.

Start Facing acw around the circle. Weight on L foot. W-hold.
1 R forwards about 30 cm.
2 L almost close so L toes end up besides R instep.
3 R forwards about 15 cm. (This bar comprises a Triple Step starting with the R foot.)
2 Repeat bar 1 on the opposite feet (Triple Step forwards acw around the circle starting with L foot).
1 R forwards about 30 cm.
2-3 L forwards about 30 cm.
1 Turning 90 deg acw to face the centre of the circle, R forwards to end up beside L foot but about 10 cm further forwards.
2 L in place.
3 R in place.
1 L forwards to end up beside R foot but about 10 cm further forwards.
2 R in place.
3 L in place.
6-8 Turn 90 deg cw to face acw around the circle & repeat bars 3-5 (acw around the circle in R & L steps, towards the centre of the circle in 2 small Triple steps) except that in the bar 8 count 1 (the L forwards at the start of the 2nd Triple Step facing centre) rise up by raising the L heel further instead of lowering it and raising the R foot behind slightly. I think, in addition to stylistic interest, this rise has the practical use of signalling a reminder that the next bar is where one switches to going to the L.
1 R backwards.
2 Turning 90 deg acw to face cw around the circle, L close.
3 R in place.
1 L forwards about 30 cm.
2-3 R forwards about 30 cm.
1 Turning 180 deg cw to face acw around the circle, L backwards about 30 cm.
2-3 R backwards about 30 cm.
1 L backwards so L toes end up besides R instep.
2 R in place.
3 L forwards to end up beside R foot but about 15 cm further forwards.

Reduced activity versions

Summary: Remove some direction changes &/or reduce up-down motion in the quick steps.

I've seen performances by others that have different ways (but well within legitimate typical folk dance variation scope) of doing some of the steps, doing them even more subtly. I expect this is because the Paul Mulders was trying to teach us quickly (and warned us that he was doing so) so the steps needed to be clearly visually followable. In contrast in performances this is not a spectacular dance for a casual audience but one where doing it extra subtly (and so making the patterns more difficult to follow) can make the dance more intriguing to watch.

In performances I seen by the Živko Firfov group in London the up-downs in the quick steps of the Triple Steps were reduced to almost imperceptible changes of weight and they included variations where Reeder-like steps were used in bars 5-6 rather to remove the turning from & to the centre.

(Another way of making it impressive for stage is doing the dance to even slower music but maintaining a continuous up-down flow which looks as if the dancers are moving in a slow motion film. That requires impressive calf strength & balance in every dancer as a single one failing breaks the illusion. That is unlikely to be suitable for casual participation social dancing.)

No up-down styling version (wrong)

Summary: Distinctive styling missing (wrong!).

I've often seen dancers following this dance (and occasionally even dance leaders teaching it!) oblivious to the styling (doing simple stepping) which loses most of the dance. This is the wrong styling. (Of course it is excusable if ones legs are not fit enough to do the up-down motion.)