Polka is a very fun couple dance that is born from the typical dances of Central and Eastern Europe. In America, this dance is practiced in immigrant communities and in ballrooms as a very special dance, although many families of European descent dance the polka at weddings. Polka is fast, exciting, and fun!
Part 1 of 2: Learn the Steps
Step 1. Listen to polka music
You can try listening to Jimmy Sturr, Walter Ostanek and his band, and the Brave Combo, but also any good internet radio has a polka music station that will give you those catchy beats. In addition, most country music also has a good polka beat. The accordion is only a recommendation, but it is not necessary.
Step 2. Take your partner in a classic ballroom position
The man's left hand and the woman's right hand should be extended at an angle where the hands are level with the woman's shoulder. The man's right hand should be placed on the woman's left shoulder blade and the woman's left hand should be gently placed on the man's shoulder. You should feel a solid connection, neither too delicate nor too heavy.
This is the position they will hold throughout the dance. Make sure to always keep your back straight and your hands closely interlocked. The polka is confident and carefree and that should reflect your stance
Step 3. Learn the steps of the person who leads
There are few dances that are as basic as the polka. The fundamental thing is only three steps: right, left, right. Then repeat it on the other side: left, right, left. That's it! Here's the basics:
- Take a step forward with your left foot
- Take a step forward with your right and take it next to the left
- Step forward with your left foot again
- Take a step with your right foot (passing your left foot)
- Reach for your right foot with your left
- Step forward with your right foot again. Voila!
Consider them full step, half step, half step. Full step, half step, half step. The first step is longer, followed by two short steps
Step 4. Learn the steps of the person you follow
The steps of the woman are the same as those of the man, but you must start with the right foot back: back, together, back. Back, together, back. Here are more details:
- Back off with your right foot
- Bring your left foot next to the right
- Come back with your left foot
- Step back with your left foot (passing right foot)
- Bring your right foot next to your left foot
- Step back with your left foot again. Boom! Finished.
Remember that the first step is the longest, followed by two shorter steps. So it's full step, half step, half step. Full step, half step, half step
Step 5. Do the steps to the beat of the music
Polka music normally has a marching rhythm of 2 beats per measure. Right, left, right matches 1 and 2. Left, right, left matches 3 and 4. In this way, you should take three steps for every 2 times. If you can't find polka music, country music will do.
Polka is synonymous with fun. Just imagine a brewery in Eastern Europe filled with people having the best time of their lives dancing and relaxing! Put your own style, either way you will get carried away by the music
Part 2 of 2: Combine the steps
Step 1. Dance polka to the side
With the same three-step movements and holding your partner in the same way, try to dance the polka but to the side. Rather than being a ball-change step or a small drag, it will probably look more like a jump. It can be very lively and cheerful. Try to dance back and forth, forming a square, and go back and forth again.
Don't change the alignment of your body. Keep your feet in front of your partner and just move them from right to left. Keep your back straight, your arms raised, and let your legs do all the work
Step 2. Start spinning
Why? Because it is time to make it more sophisticated. You've already danced polka back and forth, and side to side, but it's not time to start spinning yet. The lead person determines whether the pair turns left or right, and those two turns are done in the same way:
- Start with a basic polka. After a measure or two, the guide should begin to turn forward and to 2 o'clock on his left, right, left, and then turn backward (towards 7 o'clock) to his right, left, right. This is a basic right turn. Turning to the left is just turning to the opposite side. A full 360 degree turn must be completed in 4 counts. Try to do them many times and often!
- If you are dancing to the side, it takes 2 beads to do a 180 degree turn, turn around and then end up facing the other direction. If you are leading, you can circle your partner many times. Just try not to get too dizzy!
Step 3. Dance in the promenade position
This is fancy terminology that refers to starting out by taking your position. Instead of holding your partner in front of you, each of you should place your foot at the height of your joined hands and rotate 90 degrees. Your hands and torso are held in the same position, but your feet should face forward.
If all that seemed confusing to you, think about tango. The two sides are looking at each other, straight torsos, but their legs are moving to the side, pulling them forward. It is similar, but with less roses and sauces
Step 4. Add some jumps
If you are dancing polka in the promenade position, your legs are open and capable of jumping! If you are not in that position, it means that your partner is in front of you and doing those jumps will cause their knees to bump. So take advantage of that free position and bring your knees a little higher with each step (and higher in the first full step of each cycle) of time 1 and 2, specifically.
Remember how your gym trainer forces you to skip (run in the same place while lifting your knees)? This step is exactly the same, only you do it voluntarily. For times 1 and 3, add a little energy to your stride. It can be so much more fun when you get carried away
Step 5. Change legs
Back in the promenade position, switch using a different leg. Since they are open, you and your partner can start with the outside legs, start with the inside legs, or start with opposite legs. You can create an interesting mirror effect that looks no different.
Just to clarify, this can be done only in the promenade position. Using the same leg when in front of your partner can make it seem like you are both playing bumper cars while dancing
- Always dance on the edge of the dance floor moving clockwise.
- Take small steps to avoid being stepped on. It will also prevent you from getting tired very quickly