Kujawiak and Oberek
The Kujawiak is a slow, lingering dance that is said to be the most lyrical, romantic, and beautiful of the five national dances of Poland. Originating as a simple, smooth dance from the region of Kujawy, this dance and its music was passed on for generations until it became more embellished when the gentry and nobility began to adopt the Kujawiak and improvise their own additions to the traditional steps and patterns. Over time, from the village, to the fancy balls and parties of the nobility, the Kujawiak’s immense popularity spread throughout Poland until it became ranked as a national dance.
The Kujawiak is often followed by the fast tempo and vibrant steps of the Oberek, also ranked as a national dance of Poland since the 19th century. It is danced in a lively, fiery style, with many stamps, shouts, and yelps. This dance incorporates a plethora of twirls and spins, and appropriately so, the name Oberek derives from the verb “obracac” which means to whirl, spin, or turn. Unlike the Kujawiak , which underwent much transformations from its original peasant form, the Oberek has remained fairly true to its village roots.