Vajta n'Elbasan

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Alternative Names 'Vajta n'Elbasan' is an Latin alphabet transcription.
'Wiggle Wiggle' is a colloquial English name from the appearance of the women's step.
Formation Separate men's & women's lines, women W-hold, men shoulder-hold.
Dance Structure (A + B) repeated throughout the music.
Music Structure 7 beats/bar, 3 counts/bar, 4 bars/phrase, 4 phrases/verse.
Music Speed 95 counts/minute.
Name Translation "I went to Elbasan."
Choreographer Paja Milić.
Source Paja Milić at the 2000 Bognor Regis Paja & Madelon Ex-Yugoslavia dance course & the 2000 Balkan Festival in Zetten. Sally Fletcher & Maureen Felton (who learnt it from Paja Milić) in Ipswich in 2005. Jutta Malzbender in 2019 pointed out that I had got the wrong time signature.

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 by Paja Milić.

A fairly simple but showy dance which is very distinctive in the women's steps. Traditionally men perform that dramatic steps in a separate line infront of a line of women doing the more elegant steps but it is commonly done in the UK with everyone doing the women's steps (mainly just because it is the women's steps that people remember).

The conventional time signature has 7 beats per bar counted "ONE-two-three Four-five Six-seven" but I find it easier to count as "ONE-a Two Three" (originally I counted it in 4s with the 2nd beat quicker but that was confusing, especially as I forgot to write down the latter!).The dance sequence is 3 phrases long but the music is in 4 phrase verses so the dance crosses the music.

The music sounds gentle & is the lyrics are innocuous so one might think from it that Elbasan is a romantic rural village. Actually Elbasan is the third largest city in Albania & was a centre for heavy industry in the communist era!

These notes are based on the brief notes I made from Paja's teaching in Bognor in 2000 except for Part B bar 1 which I learnt from Sally & Maureen (who had also learnt it from Paja) in 2005.

Style: Small & subdued (Women's styling) or big & clunky (Men's styling).


There is no specific introductory music so start at the beginning or after whole number of phrases.

Basic Step

Summary: Women step, touch, 2 hip lifts. Men step with lift, 3 bounces.

The following is what I call a 'R Basic Step'. The 'L Basic Step' is, of course, the mirror image done on the opposite feet.

1 Step R forwards (or on the spot). The step is small, barely rising off the floor and with a toe lead but almost flat footed.
a Touch L foot toes to the floor slightly infront (heel of L foot approximately level with ball of R foot) without weight transfer.
2 Raise & lower L hip whilst maintaining L foot contact with floor (needs a slight straightening & bending of the L knee &/or raising & lowering of the L heel).
3 Repeat count 3 (wiggle L hip up & down).
1 Step R forwards (or on the spot) simultaneously lifting L leg. The step is almost a drop onto the flat R foot. R knee is slightly bent (to enable subsequent lifts and to save the flat footed drop from causing injury). L leg is lifted so that the L foot is up infront at about waist level with the L knee bent about 45 deg and the sole of the L foot pointing forwards.
a Pause.
2 Bounce up & down slightly in place by straightening & bending R knee.
3 Repeat count 2 (bounce up & down).

Part A

Summary: Forwards acw in 4 Basic Steps.

Start Facing cw around the circle.
1 R Basic Step forwards.
2 L Basic Step forwards.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 (R & L Basic Steps forwards).

Part B

Summary: R Yemenite & R swing behind. 2 Basic Steps in place. R swing behind. 3 Basic Steps in place

Start Facing centre.
1-a R to the side.
2 L close.
3 R across infront.
Arms Women to V-hold. Men remain in shoulder-hold.
1-a L to the side.
2-3 Swing R around (cw out to the side, backward and to the L) to across behind L foot taking weight on it in count 4. Emphasis in this bar is on this R swing not the preceding L step.
Feet L Basic Step in place.
Arms Women to W-hold. Men remain in shoulder-hold.
4 R Basic Step in place.
Feet Repeat bar 2 (L to the side, swing R around behind).
Arms Women to V-hold. Men remain in shoulder-hold.
Feet L Basic Step in place.
Arms Women to W-hold. Men remain in shoulder-hold.
7 R Basic Step in place.
8 L Basic Step in place.

It feels natural to return the arms to W-hold in bar 2 rather than waiting for bar 3 so that is an easy mistake to make.