Dancing with Brigands

From: On the High Uplands
Sagas, Songs, Tales and Legends of the Carpathians
by Stanislaw Vincenz

The Kruhlek
pg 39
….There is a very old dance called the ‘kruhlek”, in which the dancers whirl round with raised axes. Both the ‘kruhlek” and the festive dances at Christmas-time reveal how much significance the weapon had in old time dance. The old stories relate that in former days sharp and heavy spiked axes were flung into the air to whistle threateningly above the dancers heads, and there was so much firing of pistols that nothing could be seen through the thick smoke. Axe after axe flew merrily in the air through the smoke, and axe after axe fell, yet somehow no one was ever knocked down or hurt.

Dance description
pg 43
What did they dance? The depicted their ancestors history and past adventures. They swung their axes at one another, erect and squatting, as though repulsing an enemy; they threw their axes from one to another, as though challenging to a fight. Then after the battle, they united, embraced, and danced in harmony. Then they ran off together with raised axes, gazing into the distance, looking for the enemy, as though storming over the mountains, capturing towns, or fleeing from pursuit; or they trotted almost in the one spot, evenly, slowly, yet steadily moving round, always in a circle…….