The mazur and mazurek (i.e. small mazur), or in English mazurka, are
general terms for a series of Polish folk dances in triple meter, which
originated in the plains of Mazovia around Warsaw. The people of the
province were called Mazurs; thus, the dance mazur bears the same
name as the male inhabitant of the region. The dances, known abroad
as mazurkas, comprise more than one type: mazur or mazurek, the
obertas or oberek, and the kujawiak from the neighboring district of
Kujawy (see PMC entries on oberek and kujawiak). These dances are
linked by common rhythmic and choreographic traits, especially the
mazurka rhythm discussed below. The name is much younger than the
dance itself, and probably originated outside of the region. This term
appears for the first time in J. Riepel's music dictionary published in
Germany in 1752.
here are a number of basic steps: bieg mazurowy (running step), sideways
step, sliding step, and the hołubiec (clicking heels together, similar to the step
in the krakowiak). There are also many hand positions, figures, and turns that
could be used by couples performing this dance. A different set of group figures
is available for ensembles. Thus, the dance leaves much room for the creativity
of its choreographer and the spontaneity of individual dancers.
Rousing Mazur performed by Song and Dance Ensemble Warszawianka
Mazur is regarded as one of the
two Polish national dances. Like
the Polonaise, it was first danced
by peasants in different regional
versions. Eventually adopted by
Polish noblemen, it had become a
national dance. Mazur also
became very popular in European
courts under the French name of
Mazurka. The rhythm of Mazur is
well known from Mazurkas
created by the famous Polish
composer, Frederic Chopin.
Mazur, by Polanie, is danced to
music from the opera Straszny
Dwor (the Haunted
House), written in the 19th
Century by Polish composer
Mazur from the opera „Straszny Dwór”
(The Haunted Manor); Stanislaw Moniuszko,
performed August 2005 in the open air at Wawel castle, Cracow.
Kontusz - polish nobility costume Costume from the time
of Warsaw Duchy
Music – Mazur from opera „Straszny dwór” by Stanisław Moniuszko
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