Albanian folk dances

Albania is a small country in geographic size, but has a rich cultural heritage, musical tradition and especially folklore that is characterized by great diversity: each region has its own distinctive costume, music, dances, and rituals. Albanian folk dances have a character and style of its own and Albanian history and culture from antiquity to present time.

National Center of Folk Activities related to the National Cultural Heritage Day plans to organize the “Parade of dances, songs and folk costumes” on 29th of September in Tirana. This will be a unique project which will energize the artistic life of the city, in this important day for the Albanian culture, bringing closer to people different typologies of our National Folklore.

National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances was created as a professional ensemble in 1957. Costumes are the greatest asset of this ensemble, not only from its originality, but also by the variety of colors and are estimated as rare values of traditional culture of a nation. Costumes are without doubt one of the most powerful manifestations of our traditional culture. Their development has proceeded in parallel with the social, historical and cultural human development.

Albania also has a rich tradition of dances with a great variety of choreography and costumes mainly depending on the origin. There are epic as well as lyrical dances. Particularly famous for their elegance, rhythm and drama are the dances of Tropoja, Devoll, Lunxhëria, the couples’ dance of Rrajca (old man and woman) , Lab dances and the Çam dance of Osman Taka.

traditional albanian clothing for little boys

Traditional Albanian clothing for little boys

The traditional Albanian polyphonic music have big differences between the dances from the Gheg people of northern Albania and Tosk people living in the southern part of the country. The music is performed at a wide range of social events, such as weddings, funerals, harvest feasts, religious celebrations and festivals such as the well-known Albanian folk festival in Gjirokastra.

The interpretation of Albanian folklore music varies a great deal from polyphony (songs without instruments) to flute or bagpipe polyphony to other kinds of songs and instruments altogether. Northern Albania uses specific types of instruments such as: lahuta (single string instrument), orchestra with cifteli which is unique for the northern Albanian music, sharki and flutes, drums. def or daire. While in the south iso-polyphony is particularly popular, a “masterpiece of the oral heritage of humanity” protected by UNESCO. Dances are accompanied  by a “sazet”, an orchestra with def, violin, clarinet, llauto and fiz-harmonika. Besides folkloric music, Albania has a rich tradition in urban music from Shkodra (jahre songs), Elbasani, Korça (serenades) Vlora, Përmeti, Leskoviku, Berati and Delvina (saze songs).

Albanian Folk dance

Albanian Folk dance

The Albanian folk dances, of the Gheg people in the north have more solo character than those from the Tosk people which have more social character, expressed in line and semi circle dances. Albanian folk dances called Valle in Albanian might be divide in dances from the North, the South and the Middle of Albania.

The most popular Albanian folk dances in Albania are the Valle Pogonishte, Vallja e Kukesit, Valle Napoloni, Vallja “Shamia e Beqarit”, but there are many other dances such as: Valle Tropojes, Valle e Gajdes, Valle Çame, Valle dyshe, etc. which express different costumes, music, songs and dances.

  • Valle Pogonishte is a traditional dance from South Albania danced for every festivity and by everyone. It is danced in an open and mixed circle of people. The style is proud. Dancers bounce twice gently on every count.
  • Vallja e Kuksit or Kukes-dance is originating from the Kukës region in the north. This dance has become popular as a wedding dance throughout the entire Albanian communities.


  • Valle Napoloni or the Tirana Wedding-dance has the look like dance in couples and the steps are typical for Tirana. Valle”Shamia e Beqarit” is the last dance at the wedding, danced by the bride and groom, burning the bachelor’s scarf.
Valle Napoloni

Valle Napoloni

  • Valle e Tropojes is the original music of the highlands in Northern Albania. Folk dances from the Tropoja district have a distinct character and style, as also the Dibër district has.

Valle e Tropojes

  • Valle e Gajdes or Bagpipe-dance is a traditional dance which Albanian historians recognize it as an Illyrian dance. It doesn’t come from somewhere.
  • Valle Çame originating from Albanians living in the border areas with Greece in Epirus, South Albania. Osman Taka dance is a traditional dance the Çam people, which has become very popular in Albania.

    valle shqiptare

    Valle Çame of Osman Taka

  • Valle dyshe is a dance for two men (although female too) and it’s the same all over Albania, from the North to the extreme South in Saranda, and can be considered as a specific dance style for the Albanians.

Valle Dyshe

The Albanian folk dances of the Albanian people have their own unique character and styles, which distinguish them from those of the neighboring countries. The character is often described as being related to the desire of complete freedom of the Albanians.

All the people that shall be in this day in the capital city is invited to participate in activities that will be organised to celebrate together our national traditions. This activity will be a chance to see the music motifs, style of dancing from all regions, with diverse themes, with outstanding choreography.

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