Music for download - "Kujawiak Rytla"
The name “kujawiak” appeared for the first time at the beginning of the 19th century. Kujawiak is a dance from the region of Kujawy after which it is named, but it is worth noticing that kujawiak used to be danced also in the region of Łęczyca and Wielkopolska (Greater Poland). Folk names of this dance that functioned before the name “kujawiak” included “śpiący” (sleepy dance) and “kolebany” (rocking dance), among others.
Kujawiak is set in slow tempo triple time (3/4 meter) and its choreotechnique includes numerous elements in common with mazurek and oberek. Contrary to other dances related to them, kujawiaksʼ melodies tend to be set in minor keys, hence their lyrical character. According to some authors, the melody of kujawiak reflects the landscape of the Kujawy region, which is wide open and peaceful. Nevertheless, we should note that folk kujawiaks also tend to have a more lively character, with a variable tempo and a fluctuating rhythm, abundant in changeable accents appearing within a single melody, often interrupted by folk songs.
Kujawiak is usually danced in couples that dance using a relaxed forward step or spin adding numerous ornaments including stamping, arm swings and bowing. As a national dance, kujawiak used to be a specific combination of a “chodzony” dance (walking dance or pacer) with a slow revolving dance. The music composition of kujawiak most often encompassed a two-part instrumental form. Kujawiaksʼ reached the peak of their popularity at the turn of the 19th and 20th century.
Elements of kujawiak dance can be found in the compositions written by F. Chopin, H. Wieniawski, K. Namysłowski, W. Osmański.