Za Pojas (L*), за појас dance family – Pan-Balkan

*Living Dances

This dance pattern is often known by a name particular to a region, such as Kopačka, Bugarka, Cigančica, Šopsko horo, Šopsko za pojas, Godečki čačak, Dimna Juda,

Za pojas territory

Za pojas translates as “By the Belt”, the way people (used to) hold on while doing this family of dances. It’s a rather large family, covering dances from Eastern North Macedonia, West Bulgaria, South Serbia, extreme southwest Romania, and bits of East Kosovo.

Za pojas structure

What the family has in common is a 10-measure (20 count) structure, consisting of 2 measures of one kind of step, plus 3 measures of another kind of step, (5 measures) then the whole 5 measures repeated starting on the other foot (10 measures total).

At 2:51 you begin seeing a group of Macedonian men from the village of Pijanec, (Delčevo), in the East of the Republic of Macedonia dancing the Macedonian men’s dance “Za pojas” or “Kopačka“, using a belt hold. By 3:15 the whole village joins in (za pojas used to be a men-only dance) holding hands down. Basic pattern – 2 pairs of walking steps followed by 3 step-hops; first starting to the right on the right foot, then to the left on the left foot.
Bugarka from Surdulica, Serbia, 2017. At 0:10 watch the tail end woman in high heels to get a good view of the basic step. This time it’s a pair of hop-step-steps, followed by 3 sets of two-steps.
Cigancica by a Macedonian performing group in Adelaide, Australia. Same footwork as Bugarka (above) only faster.

One direction or two?

The two dances above move back-and-forth, though with bigger steps to the right than to the left, thus slightly progressing overall. However, the same 10-measure pattern could be used to progress even more in one direction than the other, (especially if the 5 measures in one direction are not quite the same footwork as the 5 measures in the other direction,) as in Šopsko horo, also known as Šopsko za pojas.

Šopsko horo (“V” handhold) First 5 measures – 2 pairs of walking steps (backwards), followed by 3 step-hops; Second 5 measures – 2 pairs of walking steps followed by a step-hop and two 2-steps.

1st & 2nd Generation dances

2G Šopsko za pojas (by the belt) with many variations.
2G Godečki Čačak is not a Čačak, but a fixed choreography of some Za pojas steps.

Here’s a chart showing how Za pojas relates to the other Taproot patterns

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: