Poland–Polka

In class we dance the polka, and why not? While the polka actually originated in the Czech land of Bohemia and became popular when Viennese composers wrote polkas in the 19th century, the Poles adopted the dance and made it the centerpiece of many popular cultural celebrations. When Poles emigrated they may have left the 3/4 time mazurka behind but they brought the 2/4 time polka with them.

Today you can find a place to Polka in most large cities around the Western world, and not just in traditional Polish beer halls. Polka music is both contagious and ever-adaptable; check out this comprehensive modern polka CD review site to see what’s new in polka. There are even many kinds of Polka in the U.S.: Polish-American (Chicago-style and Eastern-style), Slovenian-American, Czech-American, Mexican-American and the Papago Pima, a German/Arizonan/Native American polka in sometimes called “the chicken scratch.”

In class we’ll dance a traditional Polish polka and leave the chicken scratch for another day. As we dance we’re going to listen to “Ino Ano” by “Bolek” — Bolek Zawadski, to be exact. You can listen to samples of Bolek’s polkas from his album “Memories of Poland.”

So much more information:
About the polka | How to dance the polka: “the polka’s gonna get you hand-clappin’ and toe-tappin’ one two three, just like that” | The many kinds of polka in the U.S. | About
other global polka styles
| The Mexican-American polka | Papago-Pima — “the chicken scratch” | A very graceful Polka | Betty and Merlin dance a less graceful but more charming polka: Happy 50th Anniversary! | “Beer Barrel Polka” performed by Canada’s Polka King, Walter Ostanek | Grammy-winning American polka legend Frank Yankovic (Frank is the older guy in the video) | Most of us know this accordion genius — “Weird Al.”

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