dance technique - turing and spinning

Music for download - „Na piecu łoroł

Once we feel that we can trace the musical phrase in the melody and the moment of “ONE” in the dance phrase, and once we have managed to relax our body on the “tennis court” and on the “sailboat”, it is time to master the skill of turning and spinning in sync with the rhythm. This skill is important because in the end, we want to be able to dance in a couple and spin together – supporting each other and propelling this four-legged vehicle, protecting each other at the same time.

The ability to spin in a couple on the spot, in 2 or even 4 directions around a circle is one of the basic choreotechnical elements in Polish traditional dances (both in the mazurka and polka rhythms). When we were having conversations with older dancers they very often emphasised that the ability to dance dynamically on a small area, e.g. on a wide wooden floor plank, on a cut stump, a bench or unhinged door has always been considered a highly valued skill. To perform the turns and spins correctly, gracefully and with energy, you need to master the ability to release the energy and find the proper momentum – this will help you spin with your dance partner around a circle efficiently.

Despite appearances, the movement of spinning depends not only on our legs and the steps that we make to the rhythm. The original impulse and energy of the spinning is generated in the upper part of the body – it starts with the hands, arms, then moves to the shoulders, the spine, and goes right to the hips. The energy released in the upper body activates our body, starts its “engine”, and this generates a rotational movement in space accompanied by a smooth step.

We want to show you a few simple exercises that can help you understand what is happening in our body, how to release the energy needed for the spin and how and where it is generated.

In the video material we will deal with the following issues:

- releasing the energy needed for the spin,

- performing simple turns on the spot in 4 bars,

- spinning around a circle in 2 bars.


The TEACHING METHODOLOGY OF NON-THEATRICAL POLISH TRADITIONAL DANCES that we propose here is an outcome of 25 years of workshop and educational work. What is important, this pedagogical experience was taking into account contemporary predispositions and skills of the generation of Poles, who were deprived of lively contact with traditional dance and music.

Our methodology encompasses dance lessons and exercises rooted in the natural mobility of our body and the activities of daily living that we perform. Hence, the methodology presented here is a key to mastering the basics of non-theatrical Polish traditional dance forms characterised by the even double meter (polka rhythms), as well as odd triple meters (e.g. mazurka rhythms). This methodology will help you feel and understand the rhythm. It will also help you move in tact with the rhythm, dance solo, dance in a couple and a group, dance around a circle and in a loose group. Following our lessons, you will also learn to spin in both the open and the closed arrangement.

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In our system, the process of learning to dance – learning the steps of a given dance form, is supposed to go hand in hand with the process of learning and acquiring social attitudes, learning to interact with the partner, with whom the dance is being  performed and with other persons/couples that partake in the same dance event and share the same space-time as we do. We want traditional dance and music to be a pretext for an encounter with the other person, just as it used to be in the past.

Our dance tutorials are intended for viewers of all ages, both beginners and intermediate students, both amateurs and dance education professionals, who want to explore traditional dances in their non-theatrical forms as a new movement formula.

We hope that our project will fill in the gap and provide the viewers with easily accessible educational materials that present the methodology of teaching Polish traditional dances in their non-theatrical forms.

As far as the learning process is concerned, our dancing skills and the ability to move in sync with music, will be acquired through our acquaintance with the music. Getting to know the music you will dance to is essential – without it, our dance will be detached from its base and its rhythmical and melodic source.

Secondly, if you want to dance, knowing the steps of a given dance are not the only key to it. Of equal importance is the cosy and friendly atmosphere of the dancing event, which will provide you with a feeling of comfort, acceptance and safety. These elements will bring a feeling of relaxation in your body, triggering joy and good mood, which will make it easier for your to feel the rhythm, catch the beginning of the musical phrase, feel the pulse and catch the essential moment in the tact – the “ONE”. After all, dancing is not to be hard work but a pleasant form of entertainment, a leisure time spent in a nice atmosphere.