Traditional dance

The different bygdedans (literally, "country dance") dances are classified according to whether their basic rhythm can be classified as 3/4 time, or as 2/4 or 6/8 time.

Frode Rolandsgard kicks the hat. Photo: Erik Berg.



The different bygdedans (literally, "country dance") dances are classified according to whether their basic rhythm can be classified as 3/4 time, or as 2/4 or 6/8 time. Bygdedans have many variants, and have different names in different parts of the country.Bygdedans are improvisatory dances where the dancer is free to choose from among a repertory of figures and stylistic mannerisms that are appropriate for the dialect.

3/4 time:

Bygdedans in 3/4 time is called springar, pols, springleik, rundom, springer, or springdans, among other names. Within this general dance type are many distinct dialects, some of which differ only in very subtle ways while others have marked differences. One of the most pronounced differences can be heard and seen in the variation in rhythm and stress between the various dialects of the springar. The five major areas where the springar is danced and played (Telemark, Valdres, Hallingdal, Numedal, and Vestlandet) each have their own distinctive 3/4 rhythm that differs from the others both in the relative lengths of the three beats and the location of the stressed beat. These differences are so marked that it can be difficult if not impossible for a dancer from one area to dance to the springar music from another area.

2/4- og 6/8-time:

Bygdedans in 2/4 or 6/8 time can be danced either as a couple dance, in which case it is called gangar, rull or bonde; or as a solo dance where it is called halling or laus. The gangar, rull and bonde are danced in areas that also have a springar dance tradition, with the exception of Setesdal, which has a gangar dance but no springar. The gangar dances of Telemark and Numedal and the bonde ("bound" or "joined," meaning that the dance is done as a couple rather than by an individual) have figures that are nearly identical with the springar traditions from the same areas. The halling or laus is an extremely popular dance that is done in nearly all parts ofNorway and has dozens of local variants. In it the dancer, usually a man, shows his strength and grace by performing various acrobatic feats and kicking a hat held on the end of a stick as much as a meter over the dancer's head. There are also a few women who are known as accomplished halling dancers.


("turning dance") are a group of couple dances which came from the European continent, but which have developed their own local variants in Norway


The vals (waltz) is in 3/4 time. In some areas of Norway such as Gudbrandsdal this dance has existed for a long time, perhaps since the 1700's.


The reinlender (schottische) is in 2/4 or 4/4 time.


The polka is in 2/4 time, but has much faster tempo than the reinlender.


The masurka (mazurka) is in 3/4 time. It is similar to the 3/4 time bygdedans called pols. In areas where the pols dance is very popular, such as Røros, very little masurka is found in the repertory.