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Free polka lessons & introduction!

The polka is a gay, fast-traveling dance that is easy to learn, but requires lots of energy. The polka was originally a Czech peasant dance. The dance was first introduced into the ballrooms of Prague in 1835. The name of the dance (pulka) is Czech for "half-step,” referring to the rapid shift from one foot to the other. The polka is the state dance of Wisconsin. In the 1990’s, polka regained popularity among country-western dancers.

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The Basic Step of the Polka

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Polka Learning Area


The Moves

The basic Polka step is a continuous series of step-close-step “triple steps.” Some people liken the basic movement to “galloping.” Like the two step and Viennese waltz, the polka is a fast traveling dance that is generally danced around the perimeter of a large dance floor.
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The Music

Polka music is written in 2/4 time and the tempo is fast, usually more than 190 beats per minute. The polka was originally a European peasant dance and was danced to lively folk music. Perhaps the most well-known polka song is the “Beer Barrel Polka,” made famous by Frank Yankovic.

Polka Music Examples >>
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The polka was originally a Czech peasant dance that became popular in the mid 1800’s. European immigrants brought the polka to Wisconsin and polka became the state dance of Wisconsin. Polka is very popular among country-western dance competitors.
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Tips & Info

Here are some "universal tips" for learning how to dance a partner dance such as polka.

  • First, acquire a few audio CD's of the music and play the music over and over in your home or automoble. Next, count the step timing in time to the music. This you can do sitting down, perhaps while driving. For example, for waltz, call out the 1,2,3 1,2,3 step timing in time to the music. For foxtrot, call out the step timing using slows and quicks. For cha cha and rumba, it's important to recognize the first beat of each measure. Otherwise you may dance on the incorrect beat. If necessary, have your instructor assist you in learning to count the step in time to the music. Dancing in correct time to the music is absolutely essential. Continue this "sitting down and listening" exercise for as long as necessary until you can easily and automatically count the step in time to the music. The Ultimate Ballroom Practice CD sold by The Dance Store might be a helpful
  • Next, practice the basic step, including the step timing, until the step is automatic - like tying a shoe. Using east coast swing as an example, practice the triple step, triple step, rock step basic until it's automatic. Next, practice this basic to music until it becomes automatic. Many basic steps can be practiced without a partner.

At this point, your brain is "freed up" to allow learning steps and patterns because you no longer have to concentrate on timing and step counting.

Many folks get frustrated if they can't dance competently immediately. Certainly individuals vary in dance aptitude, but all dancers must go through the awkward stages before they get to the polished stage.
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