Katjushka, Vallja e Katjushkës, Pajtushka (L*) – Albanian

*My definition of a living dance is one that is currently danced in its area of origin by locals for their own purposes, not for an audience beyond their community. Dancing could be in a social club, a party, a wedding, a street fair, a religious ceremony, etc. For more about Living dances. click here

Though it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, when Albanians use the word Pajtushka, they’re referring to a Quick-Slow rhythm used to accompany the pan-Balkan dance Pajduško (to use the Slavic spelling). The footwork is a combination of hop-steps or lift-steps (4), followed by 3 step-steps, 2 hop-steps 1 lift-step. This 4-3-2-1 pattern is used throughout the Balkans and Turkey.

2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ygy5sa7LJII

For more examples of the Quick-Slow trans-Balkan-style Pajtushka/Pajduško, click here

However the Albanians have a much more popular dance they call Vallja e Katjushkës, or simply Katjushka, which has the same 4-3-2-1 foot pattern, but to a straight 3/4 waltz-like rhythm. This gives the dance a smoother, gliding feel that’s quite enchanting.

Ira Weisbrud teaching in New York. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-ZFQ-ogSZE

Some music…

Lyrics are sung, but not displayed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yY3hUF6nGgk


JOHN UHLEMANN Wrote: “I have had the pleasure of “learning” this dance several times. The first time was in an Albanian bar in St. Louis on the anniversary of Albanian independence. That group of young immigrant women did 4 variations (adding turns and claps, but basically the same dance). They called it Kajtushka (as did one of our instructors in Albania). I just got back from southern Albania where it was both taught and just “done in line”. Claps were added during the 3 steps to the left, as well as on the final “cross step” (as on some of your videos). In Saranda they omitted the claps altogether. By the way, doing the 3 R-Ls to the left as a grapevine is a very “north Macedonian” thing to do – the Bulgarians do not normally do Pajduško that way. Arm swings are not done in Albania. The melody in most of your YouTube videos was common, but the band almost always switched to other tunes as the dance went on, particularly “Barbaro Vasiliko”. Of all the places we danced, all the locals did it.”

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