Vallja e Përmetit

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

Alternative Names 'Valle E Permetit' is how it was called by Martin in 2001.
'Vallja e Përmetit' is a spelling correction of that by Cees.
'Vallja e Permetit' is that reduced to ASCII by missing off the accents.
'Dance from Përmet' is an English translation of the first name.
'Valle Përmetare' is how it was called by Martin in 2005.
'Valle Permetare' is that reduced to ASCII by missing off the accents.
'Përmeti dance' is an English translation of the second name.
'Valle Pogonishte në Përmeti' is a more precise name by Cees.
'Valle Pogonishte ne Permeti' is that reduced to ASCII by missing off the accents.
'Pogonishte dance from Përmet' is an English translation of the third name.
Formation Open circle with leader at the right hand end. V-hold.
Dance Structure ((A x 6) + (B1 + B2)) repeated throughout the music with several variations to Part A.
Music Structure 4 counts/bar, 5 bar phrases.
Music Speed 110 bars/min.
Source Main version from Martin Ihns at the 2001 & 2006 Balkan Festivals in Zetten, The Netherlands. Alternative version from Yves Moreau at the 2013 Rivieradance dance course in Torquay, UK. Additional origin information from Cees Hillebrand in 2015.

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 Martin Ihns.

A combination of a step equivalent to the common Albanian Pogonishte (essentially the same as the ubiquitous Greek Sta Dhio) with a more unusual looking one with a big lifts & trickier rhythm.

To me, the music's rhythm sounds like "ONE (two) Three Four" with the second beat almost reduced to a pause but the official rhythm might well be 2 beats per bar. Part A is done to the instrumental section of the music and Part B starts each time the singing does. Part B done twice is shorter than the singing so one has to go into a Part A after counting 2 of Part B rather than waiting for the singing to stop. It is tempting to use the distinctive start of the woodwind playing as the starting of the 2nd Part A after Part B but, although it sometimes works, it does not always work because it sometimes starts half a bar after the start of Part A. When that happens, it feels as if one is out of time with the music, stepping on the wrong foot, when is in time but it joins correctly into the start of the following Part on the correct foot.

The version below is Martin's 2001 version. The 2006 version had Part B in a group of 3 instead of 2 (so the final one is done partly to Part A music instead of the first part A being done to Part B music which is easier as one does not have to anticipate the music change) and the turning to face the centre in Part B was one step later (bar 2 count 2 instead of bar 2 count 1) with the first step of bar 2 being a forward step around the circle instead of a sidestep.

Yves's 2013 version was essentially the same but done to a different (less raw folky, more poppy) piece of music which had Part B in a group of 5 instead of 2 or 3 (Yves said that the number of repeats varies to fit the repeats in the whatever music is used), no variations in the Pogonishte of Part A and a different emphasis of the lifts in Part B (those in the middle (bar 2 counts 3 & 4) reduced from dramatic to subdued but that at the end (bar 4 counts 3-4) increased; the main lift (bar 1 counts 2-4) is still the most dramatic).

When the Dutch Albanian folklorist Cees read an earlier version of these notes on my web site, he gave more detail of the naming of the dance & its origin. Martin got the dance from Andrea Kokkeri, a choreographer of the Albanian National Ensemble. It is in the Çam style. The high leg lifts are for men to show off the kilt-like part of their fustanella, the quality of the garment being a status symbol.

Style: Controlled light steps, bent knees. When stepping, it has a "toe leads" feeling with the foot almost brought to rest briefly against the floor before it actually makes contact and weight is transferred. Lifts have "knee leads" not foot leads.


Summary: Initial music is for (5 x A), start during it.

There is music for 5 of Part A at the start (not 6 because there is no preceding Part B music, the end of which is used for an additional Part A during the rest of the dance). Start at the beginning of the music or at the start of any Part A thereafter.

Part A

Summary: Pogonishte (basic step optionally with variations).

Start Facing the centre. V-hold. Weight on L foot.
1-2 R side.
3 L across behind.
4 R side.
1-2 L across infront.
3 R side.
4 R across infront. (These 2 bars comprise a basic Pogonishte step.)

The variations are same as in Pogonishte but only the cw turn, acw turn & Yemenite are used. The turns are done sparingly & the Yemenites are done taking up the whole penultimate Part A of the dance.

Part B1

Summary: Step R, L lift back-bike, step R & L, R lift behind, L lift infront, pause, L R L to the side, cross R & L.

Start Facing acw around the circle. V-hold. Weight on L foot.
1 R forwards.
2-4 Sweep L foot forwards, up, backwards & down in a big light back-bicycling motion with toes pointed slightly down ending closing L foot to the R foot.
1 Turning to face the centre, R to the side.
2 L across infront.
3 Lift R foot behind and a bit to the side. This is an ungainly lift which looks a bit like a dog cocking. It is done by bending lower leg back from the knee about 20 deg, the upper leg back from the hip about 20 deg and rotating the leg from the hip about 20 deg acw but not pointing the foot.
4 R close lifting L high infront. This lift is normal graceful one, up to near waist height if possible and with toes pointed forwards.
1 Pause with L foot in the air (maybe with a further light bounce-like lift by raising the R heel off the ground with an emphasised light fall into the next step).
2 L to side stepping onto the heel.
3 R across behind.
4 L to side stepping onto the heel.
1-2 R across infront normal step.
3-4 L across infront turning to face acw around the circle.

Part B2

Summary: Step R, L lift back-bike, step R & L, R lift behind, L lift infront, pause, L R L to the side, cross R & L.

As part B1 (R forwards, L back-bike, R lift behind, L lift infront, pause, L R L to the side, R & L crossing) but remain facing the centre at the end ready for the next Part A.