The dance includes several dance motifs performed with different steps, in a defined sequence. These include ozwodne, krzesane (with heel clicking), drobne (short) and zwyrtanie (revolving) steps, typical for dances in Podhale and Beskidy mountain regions. Partners dance without contact, except for the last fragment, when the man embraces the woman with both arms, and they rotate in place in both directions.
The dance shares many elements with other shepherd dances from the Carpathian region (or involves similar elements), and its archaic form of a dance with no body contact indicates that it is one of the oldest dances in Poland. It probably originated in the times of Wallachian migrations along the Carpathian Arch (in Tatra Mountains, in the 15th–17th centuries), and for a long time it continued to draw on the common heritage of Wallachia and the neighbouring region (Slovakia, Hungary, Orava). The dance includes several dance motifs made with different steps and performed in a defined sequence. The steps may include ozwodne (for example, forward, two backward and two to the side, with clapping and stamping), krzesane (with a heel click) and drobne (short), ending with zwyrtany (revolving), in which the man embraces the woman with both arms and they revolve in place in both directions. The dance is performed in a fast tempo (2/4 metre) and focuses on presenting the man’s skills. What is interesting, ozwodny step involves polyrhythm, with the dancer performing triple metre steps to duple metre music. The sequence of dance motifs is pre-determined, but the man may improvise, ornamenting his steps with jumps, kneeling, stamps, arm waving, clapping, heel slapping, and so on. The dance brings to mind bird courtship rituals.
Before the show (the dance), the man stands in front of the band and sings an accompanying song (przyśpiewka), which determines what step will be performed first. After the song, the dancer turns his back on the band and another man escorts a woman to the middle of the room. The man dances in front of the woman, moving forward, backward and to the side, or running around her in both directions. The woman dances with short steps, keeping a distance. Each type of step begins with a special przyśpiewka, which notifies the musicians what to play next. Over the next sequences, the woman dances on her own or, with hands on her waist, revolves in a small circle in the company of other women. Her dance is modest, with short steps, no jumping, and she tries to react to the man’s steps, replying with stamping or revolving in place.
The dance ends with the przyśpiewka “Zielona lipka, jałowiec, lepszy kawaler niż wdowiec” or the call “zielona”, the man embraces the woman’s waist, and partners rotate a few times in one and then the other direction. This is the only moment of direct contact between partners. The dance was performed at wedding and parties, as well as by shepherds (juhasi) overseeing the sheep grazing in mountain pastures, who danced with one another and called it juhaski (shepherd) dance.
Dąbrowska, Grażyna W., Tańcujże dobrze, Warszawa, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, 1991.
Kolberg, Oskar, Dzieła wszystkie vol. 44–45, Góry i Pogórza parts 1–2, Wrocław–Poznań, PAN, 1968.
Kotoński, Włodzimierz, Tańce górali podhalańskich, Kraków, PWM, 1956.Trebunia-Tutka, Krzysztof, Taniec górali podhalańskich, Zakopane, Tatrzański Park Narodowy, 2011.