Shall we polka? – Czech dance

The Argentinians have tango, the Brazilians have samba and we the Czechs have the polka. It is a traditional dance dating back to the 19th Century. It quickly became wildly popular and soon spread throughout the whole world. Its modified versions can be found almost everywhere – the United States, Scandinavia, United Kingdom or even in Mexico. It is as much part of Czech nature as our love for beer, good music and food. Let’s learn more about polka so you can impress all your Czech friends.

Polka is a lively couple dance which is danced around the dance floor. The legend says that it was one Czech girl called Anna Slezáková who came up with the dance on one boring Sunday afternoon. Although this story is nice for the tourists, the real truth is probably a bit less interesting. The origin of the name polka can according to some scholars be traced to the Czech word “půlka” which means half and it is referring to the half tempo and the half jump step of the dance.

The 19th Century was a time of National Revival and so polka is symbolizing all that is truly Czech. Ever since then it assumed the position of the national dance. If you come nowadays to any local dance you are certain to hear the polka music at least couple of times and see people of all ages jumping happily around the dance floor.

The famous tune “Škoda lásky” or as you might know it Beer Barrel Polka or Rosamunde will definitely be played and everybody has to join in . This very infectious melody was composed by Czech musician Jaromír Vejvoda and I am sure there is a version in your language too. If yes tell us about it.

But the main reason why the Czechs love to polka is because it is fun. So let’s put on your dancing shoes and let’s polka. You don’t have to be perfect, just enjoy yourself! Don’t forget to share your comments with us. Are you interested in learning polka or any other dance? What is your national dance? We want to know.

[Čeština]

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