Dubrovnik songs accompanying folk dance in the 20th century

Today the poskočica or linđo wheel dance is danced in Župa dubrovačka, Konavle, the Dubrovnik coastal region, on the Pelješac peninsula and on Mljet. The residents of Župa dubrovačka call their poskočica "kolo poskočica" and distinguish it from the coastal poskočica. Before the dance starts, the men stand on one side and the women on the other. Although the role of lead dancer did not always exist in the Župa poskočica, one person was always in charge of keeping order at the dance. The dancers did not exchange partners during the dance and the figures which they performed were upućivanje, vjetra and o sebi or s mjesta. The first part consisted of an indeterminate number of six quaver beats, to which galloping pairs were directed to cross the dance area several times clockwise, whereas in Brgat they were directed to move counter-clockwise. The second part consisted of an indeterminate number of three quarter note beats and an interbeat which consisted of three quarter notes, after which the partners would change the leg with which they started the figure. The figure of vjetra consisted of dancers circling the dance area until they come in front of the lijerica player, while in Brgat Donji, it was customary to perform the vjetra figure seven times, with pairs turning and changing direction as they move across the dance area in a counter-clockwise direction. In the third part, the male and female dancers dance separately with their hands placed on their hips, circling around until they reach the lijerica player, at which point they raise their hands in the air, the male dancers press their palms and the female dancers snap their fingers. In the coastal poskočica, which is not identical in every respect to the original coastal poskočica, but rather, can be considered its variation, the lead dancer had a key role. He would first dance a few steps with one girl, whom he would then surrender to her dance partner, and then with the other girls, for whom he would also find partners until the wheel was complete. He would then stand in the middle and shout out commands, such as Desno! Lijevo! Da jon vjetra nije ti sestra! Po jedna naprijed! O sebi! Pušti kolo bijela vilo! ("To the right! To the left! Twirl her around, she's not your sister! Step forward one at a time! Dance separately! Leave the wheel, fair maiden!"). In Župa, such commands were few and far between. Although the command po jedna naprijed would normally lead to the swapping of dance partners, this was not the case in the Župa poskočica wheel dance. The coastal poskočica in Župa consisted of the figures s mjesta and vjetra. The first part consisted of three quarter note beats, to which the dancers snap their fingers with their hands raised, while simultaneously turning around or standing facing their partners. The second part consisted of three quarter note beats, to which the pairs turned clockwise or danced in place in front of the lijerica player. The poskočica was always accompanied by the lijerica and, in the sixties, sometimes by the accordion. One dance cycle or vijađ could last up to half an hour. The coastal poskočica was not performed often—it was mostly danced when women from the coast came to Župa to reap the grain and on the last Sundays of the Carnival, when one coastal poskočica was obligatorily performed along with other dances. The final Carnival dance was reserved for the elders.


The residents of Konavle usually called their poskočica the “kolo” or sometimes the “konavoska poskočica”. Like in the Župa poskočica, in the konavoska poskočica there is no shouting out of commands by the lead dancer or introductory singing. However, when the coastal poskočica – the linđo – was danced, the lead dancer would shout out the commands. The change of figures in the konavoska poskočica was determines by the changes in the accompanying music, which was played on the diple, the lijerica, and later on the accordion. The Konavle kolo or poskočica consisted of two parts, that is, of five dance pieces – upućivanje, vitjanje or ispopazuha, o sebi, s mjesta and the stroll. The first piece consisted of an indeterminate number of six quaver beats, during which the woman rested her arms on the man's shoulders while he gripped her around the waist and they moved in gallop. The second piece consisted of an indeterminate number of three-part beats, to which the pairs turned clockwise seven times. The third piece consisted of an indeterminate number of two quarter note beats, to which the dancers danced separately, holding their hands in the air and twirling along a circular orbit, the women facing backwards and turning a few times, and the men facing forwards. The fourth piece consisted of four quarter note beats, except for the third beat, which was three quarter note. The dancers danced as in the piece before it and when a dancer reached the musician, he would turn towards him, stomping his feet and holding one hand in the air, and the other akimbo. The fifth piece was a stroll, in which the partners held hands with their palms facing down and strolled clockwise so that the women were closer to the centre. The figure of the stroll did not exist in every village – for example, it was recorded in Pridvorje, but not in Ćilipi. After the stroll, all figures could be repeated. Up until 1925, in addition to the poskočica, dances in Konavle also included the izvod kolo, which is reminiscent of the coastal poskočica. In it, the best dancer would start the dance and bring out one girl after another to dance with him, before leading each of them to their partners. The male dancers would take the female dancers by their left arm and stroll around in a circle until the wheel was complete. Then they would all start dancing the poskočica. After three cycles, the women would exchange partners.


Although the poskočica was originally called kolo poskočica in the Dubrovnik coastal region, the colloquial term linđo eventually prevailed. The coastal poskočica was once danced to the diple bagpipe, whereas today it is danced exclusively to the lijerica. The poskočica was preceded by female singing, most commonly in two pairs, which was a distinguishing feature of the coastal poskočica. Humorous verses would sometimes be sung before the dance, such as: Skoči kolo, da skočimo, kolovođo, diko naša! Lijepo ti nam kolom vladaš; migni okom, kreni kolom, kolo nam se okretalo ("Let us jump in the wheel dance, lead dancer, our pride! You lead us well; wink an eye, start the wheel, let the wheel turn") or Sviri, glumče, diko naša. Vodi kolo kolovođa. Kolovođi gaće pale, a glumcu se žlijen držale. ("Play on, player, our pride. The lead dancer leads the wheel. The lead dancer's pants are down, while the player barely has his own."). Songs were also sung between individual dances, in pauses between wheel dancing. Similar to the other dances of the Dinaric zone, the dance itself had an element of selection, namely, the girls who were better dancers and could dance longer and keep up with their partners were considered better, while the honour and skill of the lead dancer, who was an integral part of the dance, were particularly respected. The wheel dances were danced during the festivities and not during Lent. The first wheel dance would always be danced by the village organising the dance, and afterwards, the nearby and more distant villages would also be treated to a dance. In Banići, the start of the wheel dance was marked by the expression zametnuti kolo ("to start the wheel dance"), while in Česvinica the poskočica was called kolo pod lijeru ("wheel dance accompanied by the lijera"). Dances were danced on threshing floors and baling fields. The elderly could also dance during Carnival. The best poskočicas were danced in Slano, Doli, Smokovljani, Majkovi, Banić, Česvinica, Ponikve, Orašac, Osojnik. With slight variations, most often in the introductory part, the coastal poskočica was danced in the entire Croatian Littoral. In certain villages, the lead dancer would first perform his part of the dance by shaking his shoulders and dancing around the lijerica player, after which he would invite young men and women to join the wheel dance, and at the very end, he would pick out several pairs and finish the wheel dance with them, having dismissed the others. The dance of the pairs that remained after the elimination of certain dancers during the wheel dance's extension was called the duška or duščić. The best dancers were the ones that danced finely and lightly, which could be observed during the o sebi figure, when the lead dancer would shout: Tenca senca! Sebi ruke! ("Hands to yourself!"). In some villages, there were commands to swap the female partners, such as Po savanti! or Jena naprijed!, during which each female dancer swapped her partner for the one in front of her. The basic dance figures of the coastal poskočica are šetnja, krilo (which may include clapping), o sebi (which may include clapping), vjetra and preko glave. The figures are danced in the order determined by the lead dancer, except that the preko glave figure always follows the vjetra figure. The first part consists of an indeterminate number of six quaver beats, with each pair either holding each other by one hand with the other hand akimbo or with the woman resting one hand on the man while he has both hands akimbo. The lead dancer can command a change of direction, and then the female dancer passes over to the male dancer on the other side. The second part consists of an indeterminate number of six quaver beats, to which the partners dance the o sebi figure separately with hands raised and fingers snapping. The male and female dancer dance in the same manner for a while and then the male dancer improvises, finishing as he started. The third part consists of three quarter note beats and the figure of vjetra is performed in three variations. In the first and most widespread one, the male dancer changes the manner of dancing while the female dancer dances the figure continuously. The vjetra figure is performed when the couple reaches the lijerica player. The fourth part consists of three quarter note beats. The female dancer stands to the left of the male dancer and they are both facing in the same direction, holding each other by their right or left hand respectively, placing the right hand under the left. They move forward and then make a 180-degree turn. The male dancer then rotates the female dancer, then turns himself and rotates the female dancer again. The dance elements are the same as in the figure of vjetra or preko glave. In addition to the mentioned localities, the poskočica was also danced on the island of Mljet, with its oldest illustration being the Ballo meledano from the album Costumi del Terittorio di Ragusa by Salvatore Cosich from the end of the 19th century, and in Pelješac, where the best-known poskočica is the one from Ponikve.