Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Polka

In the polka there an but two principal steps, all others belong to fancy dances, and much mischief and inconvenience is likely to arise from their improper introduction into the ball-room.

First step. The gentleman raises the left foot slightly behind the right, the right foot is then hopped with, and the left brought forward with a glissade. The lady commences with the right, jumps on the left, and glissades with the right. The gentleman during his step has hold of the lady's left hand with his right.

Second step. The gentleman lightly hops the left foot forward on the heel, then hops on the toe, bringing the left foot slightly behind the right. He then glissades with the left foot forward; the same is then done, commencing with the right foot. The lady dances the same step, only beginning with the right foot.

There are a variety of other steps of a fancy character, but they can only be understood with the aid of a master, and even when well studied, must be introduced with care. The polka should be danced with grace and elegance, eschewing all outré and ungainly steps and gestures, taking care that the leg is not lifted too high, and that the dance is not commenced in too abrupt a manner. Any number of couples may stand up, and it is the privilege of the gentleman to form what figure he pleases, and vary it as often as his fancy and taste may dictate.

First Figure. Four or eight bars are devoted to setting forwards and backwards, turning from and towards your partner, making a slight hop at the commencement of each set, and holding your partner's left hand; you then perform the same step (forwards) all round the room.

Second Figure. The gentleman faces his partner, and does the same step backwards all round the room, the lady following with the opposite foot, and doing the step forwards.

Third Figure. The same as the second figure, only reversed, the lady stepping backwards, and the gentleman forwards, always going the same way round the room.
Fourth Figure. The same step as figures two and three, but turning as in a waltz.

3 comments:

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  2. I love your article. Polka is one of those dances that people who dance socially usually do not know how to dance, unless they came from Europe.
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  3. Polka is my favorite vintage social dance as well. It can be a challenge o find partners, since it's rather hard on the knees many folks don't participate. It's a shame with some many low impact variations you can do to the polka I think every should be dancing it.

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