Music for download - „Obyrtany” dance

is one of the most popular dances of the Pieniny highlanders and it belongs to the group of the highlanderʼs revolving dances (the so-called zwyrtane dances). The name of this dance derives from the movement, which is called obertanie or obwyrtanie (meaning – revolving, turning, spinning). Depending on the region, from which the dance comes from, it can also be called obyrtka (a spin), łobyrtka (a spin), or simply toniec (dance).

Obyrtanyʼs melody is composed of one-part, which is played at a fast, lively pace in double meter. The dance is accompanied by singing and it is often improvised. Obyrtanyʼs lyrics are usually frivolous, satirical and numerous jibes. In the past, obyrtany used to function as the opening of a village dance party or as a dance woven into other dances.

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The dancer initiating obyrtany usually sings alone and after the first or second verse, he starts dancing with a chosen partner. After that, more couples gradually join the dance and the music gradually speeds up.

Obyrtany is a very cheerful and vivacious dance, with characteristic revolving and ornaments, the number and complexity of which depends on the dancersʼ skills. Apart from revolving (obyrtanie), which is performed on the right leg, the dancers use the so-called podchybywany step (step with a jump) – na stopę (podchybywany step on the foot) and na piętę (podchybywany step on the heel), and they also use the so-called cupkanie (a light tiny stamping step performed in place). The steps are accompanied by clapping, arm gestures and loud lilts or whistling. Obyrtany often takes the form of a competition, which is won by a couple that can spin the fastest and stay in the fast pace of the dance the longest. Sometimes, to show off or honour one couple, obyrtany was danced in one place, “on a single dylina” (i.e. on one wooden floor-board).