The Polka

 

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Jump to variations:

Cross Over Polka | The Double Cross Over | The Forward Cross The Criss-Cross | The Roll Over | Old Lady's Roll Over          The Roll and Roll | Glide Polka | The German Polka |            Polka Militaire | Esmerelda Glide | Four Handed Polka


Record: LS 7-154

A dance, perhaps invented by little Anna Slezak, about 1830, or
perhaps an ancient Scythian dance "known and practiced from time
immemorial."

Position: Closed dance position.

Footwork: Opposite throughout.

Measure
     1-4  HEEL-TOE, STEP-CLOSE-STEP; HEEL-TOE, STEP-
     CLOSE-STEP
     On the first measure, M puts foot to the side and in front on
     the first beat, and closes this foot with the toe touching the
     floor close to his R heel on the second. Then he does a step-
     lose-step, more or less ahead, on the second measure. (He
     steps L on "one," closing R to L on "and," steps L again on
     "two," and holds it through the "and.") Then he does the
     same thing to the R, using his opposite feet.
     5-8  HOP, STEP-CLOSE-STEP; HOP, STEP-CLOSE-STEP;
     HOP, STEP-CLOSE-STEP; HOP, STEP-CLOSE-STEP
     Four two-steps in (closed) dance pos, turning usually once
     around. The hop comes as a sort of little hic-cup before
     each two-step, a sort of grace note. (Some folks rise on the
     toe and back down again. Others do a brief hop, whether
     the music omits it or not. For instance a quick hop on the R,
     and a two-step beginning with the L)


Cross-Over Polka

Measure
     1-8  HEEL-TOE; TWO-STEP LEFT, TWO-STEP RIGHT,
     TWO-STEP LEFT; (repeat to the R)
     Touch the L heel fwd, and the L toe back close to the R
     heel, on the first measure. Then on the next three measures
     do 3 two-steps straight forward, beginning with the L foot,
     and putting in a light sway or jiggle. Then do it leading with
     the other foot.
     9-16 HEEL-TOE; CROSS HER OVER; HEEL-TOE; BRING
     HER BACK (repeat once)
     Do a "heel-toe" with the L foot, and then cross the lady
     over from the R side to the L side of the man (simply slide
     sideways). They do another "heel-toe" and the lady crosses
     back under the man's L arm to place. (She faces directly
     backward, so their shoulders are in line on this cross-over)
     Then they cross her over to the L again, and back to the R.


The Double Cross-Over


Done the same as above, but a "heel-toe; heel-toe" is put in at the
beginning, doubling the time. On the next three measures they do
"step-close-step-hop" for three times. Then they repeat it all to the
other side. Then on the 2nd part they do a "heel-toe; heel-toe" and
then a "cross her over" and hop. They double the "heel-toe" and
put a final hop in all four times.


The Forward Cross

Measure
     1-8  HEEL-TOE, AND THREE TWO-STEPS FORWARD
     (repeat to the other side)
     9-16 HEEL-TOE, CROSS HER TO THE LEFT; HEEL-TOE,
     BRING HER BACK (repeat to the R side)
     After the regular "heel-toe," the man lets go with his R
     hand and takes a smallish two-step to his right, while he
     turns the lady across in front of him in three steps, so she is
     facing directly backward and is standing in line with him.
     Then do another "heel-toe," and she completes her turn,
     coming under his left arm. Then they do another "heel-toe,"
     and he turns her out to his R, holding only R hands until
     she is in line with him. Then they do a final "heel-toe," and
     she ducks under his arm and comes back to place.


The Criss-Cross

The same as above, except the girl is held with both hands. When
she goes out to the L, his L hand is on top, and they face each other
with crossed arms. (Don't go too far to the L. Put the girl just a
little to the L of you) She does a "heel-toe" and unwinds her arms
coming back. Then they do another "heel-toe," and send her to the
R, with his R hand on top. Then they repeat backing up to position.

The Roll Over

Measure
     1-8  Same as above
     9-16 HEEL-TOE, ROLL HER TO THE LEFT; HEEL-TOE,
     ROLL HER TO THE RIGHT (repeat)
     Do a "heel-toe" with the L feet, and then letting go with the
     R hands, roll her over in front of you, completely around L
     face, and to his L side, and face forward again. Then
     another "heel-toe" and letting go L hands, roll her over R
     face, completely around and facing forward on his R side
     again. Roll her over to the L again, and roll her back. (The
     roll over is done in three steps, and is a complete rotation)


Old Lady's Roll Over

It is a little less strenuous if the lady rolls from the R to the L as
described above, and then slides back after the next "heel-toe" with
her back to the man. Then she rolls over once more and slides back
in the same way.


The Roll and Roll

Or you can make it more strenuous by doing a "heel-toe, roll to the
left," then a "heel-toe, roll to the right." (These four measures only)
Then advance forward with the man holding the girl's R hand in
his R, and while he does four polka steps directly forward (one-
two-three, one-two-three, etc.), she does four R face twirls under
his R hand, directly forward. Then they do it once more, and
usually find that twice is enough for anybody's money.


Glide Polka

Usually done in the waltz (closed) position. 
     1-8  STEP-CLOSE, ONE-TWO-THREE; STEP-CLOSE, ONE-
     TWO-THREE
     In the first measure do a "heel-toe" to the L, and then do a
     step-close-step directly to the man's L. Then another "heel-
     toe" and do a step-close-step to his R. It is very similar to
     the "heel and toe Polka;" do it for as long as you wish.


The German (Berlin, Alsatian) Polka

Measure
     1-4  STEP-CLOSE-STEP, POINT   SWING BACK; STEP-
     CLOSE-STEP, POINT   SWING FRONT
     Both starting with the outside foot do a step-close-step.
     Then point the inside foot fwd and swing it around so you
     are both facing bwd (swinging in toward each other) Then
     do a step-close-step in the reverse direction beginning on
     the man's R and the woman's L, and point the inside foot
     fwd as you swing it and as you pivot fwd again.
     5-8  Repeat once more
     9-16 Do the Glide Polka (Step-close, one-two-three), four times
     in all, and repeat from the beginning.


Polka Militaire (Coquette) (Open, waist-shoulder pos)

Measure
     1-4  HEEL-TOE, STEP-CLOSE-STEP; HEEL-TOE, STEP-
     CLOSE-STEP
     Touch the outside foot (man's L, woman's R) fwd and then
     back close to the supporting foot, being a little coquettish as
     you return the front foot close to the other. Then do a step-
     lose-step fwd. Repeat the movement, beginning with the
     other foot (and don't forget to be coquettish), and ending
     with a step-close-step.
     5-8  SLIDE-CLOSE, ONE-TWO-THREE; SLIDE-CLOSE,
     ONE-TWO-THREE
     Taking (closed) dance pos, step to the man's L and close,
     then do a regular polka step while turning (R-face), and do
     another step (this time to the R) and close, and a step-close-
     step while turning. (Sometimes each part is doubled in
     length, or in some cases the short form and the long form
     are alternated. Sometimes children, and sometimes older
     persons, prefer holding hear hands only for the first part.
     Then they face each other and take hands straight across,
     rather wide-spread, for the second)
In the White River Valley, of Colorado, the old-timers were doing
the same dance as follows:   Touch fwd with the outside foot, then
face each other as they touched the same foot close to the
supporting foot (with a coquettish flirtation). Then face directly
bwd, as they did the step-close-step. Then touch bwd with their
outside feet, and face each other as they touched close again, and
then do a step-close-step directly fwd again. Then taking (closed)
dance pos, they did the three-slide Esmeralda for the second part
(see below).


Esmerelda Glide

Can be done in (closed) dance pos, using opposite feet, or side by
side using the same feet.

Essentially the Esmeralda is a "step-close, step-close, step-close,
step." Then in the other direction a "step-close, step-close, step-
close, step." It can be done straight ahead, or in turning as fast as
you please. There are many slight variations but they make no
difference. Essentially it is a "step-close" to one side, or leading
with one foot, and a final step on that foot. And then a "step-close"
three times with the other foot, and a final step on that foot. It
normally takes two measures to one side and then two measures to
the other, and go where you please.

Four Handed Polka

Four people (two couples) can face each other and join hands, and
work up any routine that they please in a four-handed figure. They
can "Bow and Circle," "Right Hand Star," "Left Hand Star,"
"Elbow Swing," "Ladies Chain," "Right and Left," "Dive for the
Oyster," "Do-si-do," or anything else they can think of. It is
important that they adopt a definite number of measures for each
figure (say sixteen) and hold to this for uniformity. Great fun can
be had!

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