The Polka is originally a Czech peasant dance. There is a story that it was invented by a peasant girl, one Sunday. By 1833 it had reached Prague, and from there it went on to Paris, the rest of the continent and the US. In England it never became very popular. After the second world war, Polish immigrants in the US adopted the dance, although the name has nothing to do with Poland: Pulka is Czech for 'half-step'. In states such as Minnesota polka is still very popular.

Polka is also a country and western dance.

While the UCWDC is known to have adopted Houston style CW2S, they did not adopt our version of Polka. At the time the UCWDC was forming and gaining power, our version of Polka did not have lilt, in fact the word was never applied to Polka here. I worked my tail off to get rid of the bounce that most newbies have naturally. It was desired that you be as smooth as possible, and some instructors referred to the count as QQS,QQS, while others wanted you to apply equal time to each of the three steps in each triple. Along comes the UCWDC and the term "lilt", and we all start making it look like progressive East Coast Swing.:>)) [Bob Wheatley]

Electronic resources

There is a newsgroup alt.music.polka and a web site http://www.polkanet.com/ .

What are Polka Dots?

According to Funk's _2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings, & Expressions_, p. 929.

So popular did the dance become that tradesmen vied with one another to attach the name to jackets, hats, gauze, and even articles of food. About 1880 [...] an American dress fabric was introduced, ornamented with round, evenly spaced dots of uniform size which, following the prevailing custom, the maker called _polka dots_. Actually, however, the textile bears no other connection whatsoever to the dance.

This file is part of the FAQ list for the newsgroup rec.arts.dance. The FAQ list is being maintained by Victor Eijkhout (victor at eijkhout dot net, talk about vanity), who appreciates being sent additions or corrections on the material in this collection. Copyright 1994-2001 lies with the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

Listen up: Victor did not write most of this stuff; he just collected it. So don't send him any dance questions.

You may link to this page and make copies for private use in any form, but reproduction in any means, including book or CDROM, is not allowed without permission from the copyright holder. When linking, the page may not be displayed in a frame: use the full window, or open a new one.

It goes without saying that the maintainer of this FAQ takes no responsibility for any inaccuracies in the information presented here or for any use or abuse of this information. The maintainer is neither a doctor nor a lawyer.

Last modified on: August 12, 2001.