LA MAZURCA PIEMONTESE

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(as performed by Il Quartiere Italiano, San Francisco Bay Area, California)

Performed in many countries, mazurkas are usually flirtatious couple dances. In Italy, La Mazurca is danced primarily throughout the northern part of the country, although Sicilian versions do exist. This is a courtship dance which shows its character in a series of mimed teasing and coaxing, with first the women, then the men, promenading before one another to give each other the once-over.

This mazurca is danced to “Oi Bela Vorejsse V’ni,” a traditional song of Piemonte in Piemontese dialect. In the teasing lyrics, the man tries to entice the woman to go away with him. She replies that, if he wants to marry her, she’ll gladly join him; otherwise, she’ll just wait where she is.

This dance is done with no less than three couples, and it looks nice with five to six couples. If you want more couples to participate, a second circle could be set up if the dance area is large enough.

BEGINNING POSITION: Double circle, partners facing each other, men with backs to center of circle. Man and woman hold multi-colored ribbons between them (1 yard lengths in several festive colors, knotted or sewn together about 6” from either end) both in right hands at approximately shoulder level. Man’s free hand on hip, woman’s free hand holding skirt. Circle moves counter-clockwise (CCW).

 

STEP A.   Starting to man’s left, woman’s right (Circle moves CCW):
  1. Two DAHL steps *.
  2. Using two waltz steps, both Man and Woman turn under ribbons following line of direction [Man turns under CCW, Woman CW].
  3. Repeat #1 and #2 for a total of four times.
STEP B.  Closed social dance position
  1. As the couples get into position, the Man hands his end of the ribbons to the Woman so that she holds both ends in her R hand.
  2. 8 turning waltz steps, moving CCW.
  3. End last waltz step so that the Men have their backs to the center of the circle.
Step C: Mazurca Sequence
  1. Still in social dance position, 2 MAZURCA steps * CCW [Man starts with L foot, Woman with R]. Drop social dance position and Man takes 6 small running steps CCW to reach next Woman; Woman runs 6 small steps in place while waiting for next Man to reach her.
  2. In social dance position, 2 Mazurca steps CCW with new partner. Remain in social dance position and, with 6 small running steps, couple makes one complete CW turn in place.
  3. Repeat #1 above.
  4. With 4 small running steps, couple makes one complete CW turn in place, and uses the last two counts to separate into beginning position.
Step D Repeat STEPS A, B, and C with new partner. At the end of STEP C, Men form small circle, backs to the center, shoulders almost touching, hands behind their backs. Women face their partners, placing ribbons in their L hands and holding skirts teasingly at their sides.
STEP E. Women promenade.
  1. Men do 14 waltz steps in place in their circle, beginning with R foot, and look the women over appreciatively as they pass by.
  2. Women perform 14 turning waltz steps CW around the circle, flirting with the men as they pass them.
  3. By the 14th count, Women should have reached the partner whom they just left [not necessarily their original partner, depending on the number of couples dancing]. Partners take R hands; on counts 15 and 16, Man turns Woman CW under raised arms as they exchange places with two waltz steps.
Step F: Men promenade.
  1. Women form small circle as Men did in STEP E.1. above, but holding hands. Women do 14 waltz steps in place, beginning with R foot and turning their heads to look to the L and R (matching foot movement), trying to watch the men as they pass without appearing to do so.
  2. Men perform 14 waltz steps around the circle CW facing line of direction [they DO NOT turn] trying to catch the attention of the Women as they dance by them.
  3. Repeat STEP E.3. when Men reach the partners they just left.
STEP G.  Balance sequence. [This sequence begins with Men with their backs to the center of the circle, facing their partners in the outside circle, still holding R hands.]
  1. Partners do a waltz balance toward each other and back, starting with R feet (counts 1 and 2).
  2. Man turns Woman CW under raised arms as they exchange places with two waltz steps (counts 3 and 4).
  3. Partners do one waltz balance toward each other (count 5). Still holding R hands, Man steps back and goes down on one knee as Woman curtsies to him (count 6).

Definitions of Dance Steps:

Dahl Step: A step-lift step [not a step-kick!] done to a waltz tempo (3 beats per step. Count: step-lift-down).

  1. Step to the R with the R foot (beat 1).
  2. Swing the L foot across the R, while lifting up onto the ball of the R foot, raising the R heel (beat 2).
  3. Lower the R heel (beat 3).
  4. A second Dahl step would be done beginning to the L, reversing directions.

Mazurca Step: A sliding, rocking step done to a waltz tempo (3 beats per step. Count: slide-together-back).

  1. Body facing forward, pointing R toe to the R, slide the R foot to the R and lean body slightly to R (beat 1).
  2. As you bring L foot toward heel of R and land on ball of foot, kick the R foot slightly forward and straighten up the body (beat 2).
  3. Hop slightly back on L foot, bringing R heel in front of L ankle (beat 3).
  4. Dancers may continue to the R repeating Steps 1-2-3, or the step may also be done to the L, reversing all directions.
Abbreviations Used
R – Right CW – Clockwise
L – Left CCW – Counter Clockwise

Jackie Capurro, Il Quartiere Italiano

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