The Wiwat is one of the more vigorous dances in Poland. Most of its varieties are typically performed in the region of Wielkopolska, but they were also known to Ziemia Lubuska and to the regions bordering with Wielkopolska. Wiwats were being danced by a solo pair, or by pairs forming larger groups or lining up behind the leading pair. Steps in the wiwat can be based on walking (marching), trotting, sliding or turning. Dancers have often held their respective attributes in their hands: female dancers held white scarves, male dancers carried a glass or a ritual whip.

> Read more

The wiwat would traditionally mark the beginning of weddings, dancing and community celebrations. The names of particular wiwat variants derive from the initial words of songs sung at the beginning of the dance in the front of the accompanying musicians. These songs are dedicated to ta particular person, or may be connected with the locality or context of their performance. There are wedding wiwats, wiwats for matchmakers, wiwats for parents, but also wiwats derived from names of the locality or of the region (e.g. the wiwat of Domachowo or the wiwat of Szamotuły). The wedding wiwat began with the bride and groom or the leading groomsman and bridesmaid, although it was sometimes initiated by the parents or guests of honour. Wiwats were also danced during local feasts, albeit in a less ceremonial fashion. Wiwats were performed by a solo pair or a group of pairs. Depending on the occasion or the region, the tempo of the dance could be moderate or vivid, performed in the 2/4, 2/8, 3/4 or 3/8 metre. The dance begins with a man inviting a woman to dance with him, and then asks other pairs to accompany them. He calls the musicians for a wiwat by announcing its name or singing an excerpt from the song. If the leading dancer calls "za soby proszę" (behind me), other pairs line behind the leading pair or form a group in the chamber. When he calls "za soby i przed soby" (behind and in the front of me), other pairs most often form a circle. Depending on the tempo, the steps of the wiwat could feature walking (marching), trotting, sliding or turning (so-called krokane). On special occasions, e.g. weddings, the dancers hold characteristic attributes in their hands: girls hold white, folded scarves in their right hands while boys carry ritual horsewhips with handles made of deer legs (so-called harapnik). Sometimes during a solo dance the man holds a glass and a bottle in his hands. The Wiwat generally consists of two parts. In the first part, called "running" (sometimes "adoration"), the pairs (in the open position) move along the circle and against the sun with small steps, similar to a running motion. The second part features the fast whirling of pairs (in closed position) to the right with straight steps from one leg to the other leg, with the dancers shifting their weight onto the right leg. Such wiwats would be preceded by a short polka. Often, an energetic stop takes place after whirling, accented by steps taken on the spot by the male dancers to mark the pace. This course of the dance is repeated several times. Wiwat was danced as the first component of the dance suite and an introduction to lively entertainment. It was followed by the przodek, równy and other dances.


Bobrowska, Mirosława; Budzik, Kazimierz; Linette, Bogusław; Pawliński, Sławomir. Folklor taneczny zachodniej Wielkopolski [The Dance Folklore of West Wielkopolska]. Poznan: Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna i Centrum Animacji Kultury, 2014.

Bobrowska, Mirosława; Budzik, Kazimierz. Wielkopolski folklor taneczny: Ziemia    Szamotulska [The Dance Folklore of the Wielkopolska Region: The Case of Szamotuły]. Poznan: Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna i Centrum Animacji                 Kultury, 2007.

Glapa, Adam; Kowalski, Alfons. Tańce i zabawy wielkopolskie [Dances and Games of the Wielkopolska Region]. Wrocław: PTL, 1961.