Polka Defined

Polka Defined

Date added to ADN: Tue, April 10, 2012
Originally Published: Sun, January 01, 2012
by The AccessDance Network (About the Author)

Described by the Times of London as embracing the "intimacy of the waltz combined with the vivacity of the Irish jig", Polka is a fun and energetic dance that is easy to learn. It is considered as a music for happy times. As the polka lovers in Wisconsin say, "old time, good time, happy music."

Polka was originally a Czech peasant dance, originating in Bohemia (now part of Czechoslovakia). Bohemian historians believe that a peasant girl named Anna Slezakova invented this dance for her amusement, one Sunday in 1894. She called the step 'Madera' because of its lively and quick nature. The term 'pulka' is Czech for 'half-step', which refers to the quick shift from one foot to the other. The dance was first introduced in 1835 into the ballrooms of Prague. Among the dances that originated in the nineteenth-century, polka is the only one that survived. However, it experienced a gradual decrease in popularity with the beginning of ragtime, jazz and newer dances of the twentieth-century. After the Second World War, Polish immigrants in the United States took polka as their 'national' dance. It has regained its popularity and even became the State dance of Wisconsin.

Polka couples circle the dance floor using a continuous series of step-close-step (shuffle) and hop technique, likened to 'galloping'. A shuffle step pair is followed by a step on one side, and then a repeat of a shuffle step followed by a step on the other. It is executed at a seemingly swift speed. One of the most common versions of this dance is the "heel and toe and away we go". It is generally danced in a ballroom with a large area.

The 2/4 rhythm of polka music makes it great for dancing. The tempo for this type of music is fast with usually 190 beats per minute. Polka is usually linked to the musical instrument accordion, and it is said to be the force behind every polka band. The most well-known polka song is the "Beer Barrel Polka", which was introduced by Frank Yankovic.

After a long day at work, why not hop and gallop you way to relieve yourself of stress. Learn Polka and regain the optimistic you. So go and give it a whirl!

About the Author:
Providing information for Ballroom Dance Lessons, Activities, Dance Competitions and News of the Dance Industry.

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