Polish Mazurka Dance (Masovia Women) - Holubiec or Holupca
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Mazurka Dance History Picture
Maourka or the Mazurka Dance History Origins Tite

            The Slavic groups that occupied the area of present-day Poland were first united under the Piast dynasty and Christianized in the tenth century. The royal crown eventually passed to the Jagiello dynasty (1386-1572), under whom Poland enjoyed its golden age. The arts and sciences flourished, and a Polish-Lithuanian state, created in 1569, maintained an empire that reached from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

      The vintage Mazourka (Masovia Women) or Mazurka (English) originated in the province of Mazovie, Poland near Warsaw and became its national dance in Poland's golden age (Sixteenth Century). Originally it was called the "Holubiec or Holupca," named after the brass

metal heels, which they strike while dancing. The Oberek, Polska and kujawiak are related.

      The Mazurka is sometimes called the "Masur or Masurek" by the people of Poland while its name is derived from the tribe called "Masures" who dwell in what was once the Duchy of Masovia (Mazowsze.) From Poland it went to Russia and formed a Russian Mazurka with the soldiers then on to England in 1845 by the Duke Of Devonshire (1833-1908) and became nationalized in Paris, France and other countries.

      However it never gained real attention because it is a very artistic and difficult dance to learn. It was originally performed exclusively as a classic dance, and consisted of numerous figures and steps, all of which it is now divested, except a few of the elementary movements. The music of the Mazourka is in 3/4 or 3/8 measure and Markowsky is credited for composing the first Mazurka. The Mazurka is said to be a interpreted dance, meaning that the basic steps are taught, but it is up to the dancer to interpret it as they see fit. Here is a passage from Henri Celarius book "La Danse des Salons" in 1847 on the Mazurka: "The real dancer of the mazurka not only varies his steps, but more frequently invents them, creating new ones that belong only to himself, and which others would be wrong in copying with servility. One of the great advantages of this dance is, that it leaves to each his individuality, and prevents those, who practice it, from seeming as if formed upon the same model".

      The "Melancholy Mazourka" is said to be the most beautiful dance of all time when executed correctly and was hailed as the "Queen of Social Dances." It seems to express sentiments of sweetness and tenderness. It is full of elegance--of an indolent elegance; it is not a vulgar dance; its slowness has something aristocratic about it, even a little haughtiness. The waltz has more passion, but there is grace also in the undulating and gliding Mazurka. While doing the Mazourka, the movements are always made sideways while the man does not overly exert himself, is very proud in posture and the ladies perform the most perfect grace.

      Princess Maria Nicolaevna, daughter of Emperor, Nicholas I of Russia, who married Maximillian in 1839 is credited with creating the Polka Mazur in 1830 which was basically a waltz. The Polka Mazourka is of Polish origin, and is a very graceful dance. It is a combination of the Polka and Mazourka steps. Slide the left foot forward (count one); bring the right foot up to the left; at the same time raise the left foot, extending it, pointing the foot down (count two); bring the left back close to the right, at the same time springing on the right foot without touching the left on the floor (count three); then execute the Polka Redowa step (count three). Commence the whole with the right foot; the Mazourka part is executed forward without turning; then turn half round with the Polka Redowa step; repeat, and you make the whole round.

      There became many variations of the Mazurka, some were original and some were mixtures of other dances such as: Mazurka-Valse, Mazourka-Schottische etc.
The "Polacco" is a sister dance to the Mazurka, written in 3/4 time and can be graceful and melancholic and other times lively, more animated. and its movements vary.
The Polska has a similar rhythm to the Mazurka and is related. In Russian courts, the Polonaise dance opened the dance and the Mazurka would finish it. By the way, in Latin writings it was referred to as 'Chorea polonica'.

      The Palantines invented the custom of drinking from the shoe of the dancer after dancing an extravagant Mazurka. The Gedrosian Prince has been noted as drinking champagne from Taglioni's shoe after she danced a Mazourka in a five act Ballet. The Mazurka is not at all like the version most people have seen in the "Adams Family Movie" which made fun of the dance and its name.

   Some pattern names of the Mazourka are:
Pas Glisse (basic Mazourka step) | bieg mazurowy (running steps) | Pas Ordinaire | Pas de Flore | Pas Boiteux | Pas de Basque | Assemblies | Phrases | Les Pas Battus (heel strikes) | holubiec (Heel strikes) | Laterales are names of some of the steps of the Mazurka, plus a whole lot more.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Mazovie, Poland 1500s? Masures Ballroom

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music preview clip

Music Titles

$ 1930 La Mazourka Bleue 1853 - Roset Mazurka Video Clip not available at this time 1845 - Magic & Mazourkaphobia (Celeste)
$ 1957 - Mazurka der Liebe ( Belgian) 1854 - Little Blossom Polka Mazurka Video Clip not available at this time 1893 - Mazurka by Leschetzky
  1867 - Perpetual Rose Mazurka Video Clip not available at this time 1897 - La Czarine Mazurka
      1888 - Jolly Girls Mazurka Video Clip not available at this time Bachelor's Life (Zycie Kawalera)
      1905 - The Silver Nymph Video Clip not available at this time 1797 - Dabrowski Mazurka (Nat'l Anthem)
      1922 - La Gran Via Video Clip not available at this time Godfather Mazurka [mp3]
      Gitana Mazurka Brillante Video Clip not available at this time Jolly John (Wesley Janek)
      Second Mazurka Video Clip not available at this time Marieta [mp3] (Spanish Mazurka)
        Video Clip not available at this time Mazurka (Chopin)
        Video Clip not available at this time Mazurka Appassionata [mp3]
        Video Clip not available at this time Mazurka by Cui
        Video Clip not available at this time Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17, No. 4 [mp3]
        Video Clip not available at this time Mazurka in D Major, Op. 33 No. 2 [mp3]
        Video Clip not available at this time Mazurka en Glisado [mp3]
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Mazurka - (Oistrakh)
        Video Clip not available at this time Mazourka Caprice
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Occhi di Bambola (Giovanni Vicari)
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
The Godfather Mazurka & Tarentella
        Video Clip not available at this time Valse de Mazurka
        Video Clip not available at this time Chopin: Art of the Mazurka [CD]
        Video Clip not available at this time Polish Heart [CD]

Night Clubs



Moulin Rouge (Gaite Parisienne) Adelphi Theatre (Celeste) England

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

Video Clip not available at this time 1923 - Croquis polonais 1979 - Monsieur Masure 1843 - A Life For The Czar (Michail Glinka)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1935 - Anna Karenina [DVD] 1986 - L' Ultima mazurka 1887 - Mazurka de Concert
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1935 - Mazurka (Negri)       Die Lustige Witwe (by Franz Lehár)
Video Clip not available at this time 1938 - La Mazurka di papà       Gaîté Parisienne
Video Clip not available at this time 1943 - Scottish Mazurka       Les Sylphides (Ballet)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1949 - Mouse Mazurka (Animated)       The Nutcracker (Bolshoi)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1957 - Mazurka der Liebe      


Video Clip not available at this time 1970 - Mazurka på sengekanten [VHS]       Leo Tolstoy (Before & After the Ball) c.1903
Video Clip not available at this time 1975 - Mazurka del barone, della santa e del fico fiorone       4/25/1830 - 'The Observer' Newspaper
Video Clip not available at this time 1979 - Bialy mazur       $ Chopin Mazurkas (Music Book)
Video Clip not available at this time 1972 - The Godfather [DVD]            
Video Clip not available at this time 1991 - The Addams Family [DVD]            
Video Clip not available at this time La Mazurka del Barone            

Other Related Dances of the time...

Cellarius Ksebka Polka
Chodzony kujawiak Polka Mazourka
Cracovienne Mazourka Schottische Polonaise
Czardas(Cs�rd�s) Mazourka Valse Polska
Dudák Melancholy Mazourka Sicilliene
Half and Half New Polski Mazourka (Desjardins) Skákava
Holubiec or Holupca Obertas (Oberek) Starocesky
La Czarina Mazurka (1897) okraglak Waltz
La Roska (Polka Redowa & Mazurka) Okragly Waltz Mazurka (aka Celarius)
Lisbonienne Owczarek Zezhulicka
Krakoviak Polacco  

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


1830s - Fanny Essler 1940's - Nora White Augustus II (King-1697-1733)
1845 - Celene Celeste (Adelphi) 1950's - Mazowsze Polish State Dance Co. Duke of Devonshire (1833-1908)
1887 - Mdsl. Lelia Trebelli Master Desrat Gedrosian Prince
1890's - Pinafored Girls (Cripple Creek, CO.) Pauline Desjardins Jan Dabrowski (General, c1790's)
1916 - Vera Nemtchinova Peggy van Praagh Marie Nicolaevna (c.1830's)
1930's - Chester Hale Tadeusz Sygietynski   
1940's - Cellia Franca    
1940's - Margaret Banks    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
La Danse des Salons (occasionally available) Cellarius, Henri 1847 London
American Dancing Master (& Ballroom Prompter) Howe, Elias 1891 n/a
A History of Dance Johnston, Reginald S. 1905 Simpkin-Kent & Co.
$ Grammer of the Art of Dancing Zorn, Fredrick Albert 1905 A.J. Sheafe
Dances Today Francisco, Giovannini 1914 Ulrico Hoepli
Dance Lovers Magazine Kimball, Alexis 1925 n/a



Poets / Writers

Frédéric Chopin 1480 - Maruschka Dancers (Sculpture) n/a
Francisco Tarrega      
Leschetzky (1893)        
Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819-1872)        

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Jete' Mazouk Melancholy USC.EDU
Masovia Mazurek, Mazurak      
The Basic Steps: (Click here for full French Version in 1873)
In the Mazourka, all the couples follow a leader, All couples turn in a circle or oval, from right to left, Sometimes the woman will kneel down while her partner executes a Chasse' around her, then reverses the maneuver. All this is done very solemn in character. Posture is very Majestic.
March 19, 2013

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