“To spin” is what an exuberant East European dance form known as Oberek means when literally translated. This “lively” folk dance is said to have originated from Poland, and is considered to be the fastest among the five national dances that exist in the country. Furthermore, this dance style is renowned for the use of body movements such as dance lifts and jumps. In addition, a social form of this dance called “Polish-American Oberek” is also available.

a. History/origin of Oberek:

According to the cultural history of Poland, this dance style is said to have originated from villages in Mazowsze located in central Poland. Furthermore, the word “Obertas” is said to have first been used in a book written by Korczynski Lanczafty in the year 1679. In addition, Oberek is supposed to belong to a group of dance forms which make use of the “mazurka rhythms”. This dance is also considered to be a “national dance” because it is performed by all strata’s of the Polish society.

b. Costumes used in the Oberek:

The costumes used in this dance form vary according to the gender, and they are as follows

1. For women:

The attire worn by the performers include skirts made from wool, white petticoats comprising of lace and ruffle, white embroidered shirts, flowery embroidered vests, bright handkerchiefs, and long braids tied using ribbons.

2. For men:

The attire worn by the performers include long dark coloured vest, pants made from striped cloth, white shirts, and a pair of black high heel boots.

c. Music involved in the Oberek:

The musical instruments mainly used in this dance style include a violin, a large drum, and an accordion. In addition, the music composed for this dance style is accompanied by singing.

d. Training availability and the technique involved in the Oberek:

In terms of technique, this dance involves the performers (i.e. a couple) arranging themselves in a circle and “spinning and twirling” around. In addition, the performers also dance in an “anticlockwise” direction. Furthermore, this dance also involves the performers changing their axis of rotation at certain intervals. As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this “energetic dance form” is mainly performed in Poland.

image credit

e. Some Oberek Dance Videos:

Carpathia Folk Dance Ensemble performing one of our Polish Folk Dances at Rock Creek Dance Academy’s year-end “Dancing Around the World” Recital in June 2014.
Most Romantic, Beautiful Polish Folk Dance: Kujawiak Oberek. 2 of Poland’s National Dances performed in solo form by ‘Polanie Polish Song and Dance Association’ dancers Veronica Chmielarski and Thomas Miazga at the University of Calgary. Choreography by Jesse Wilms.
Polish dance “Oberek”. Ballet by Igor Moiseev. Igor Moiseev State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble.
Translate »