History of Polka
The polka was initially a Czech farmer dance, developed in Eastern Bohemia (now part of Czechoslovakia). Polka is defined as a lively couple dance of Bohemian source in duple time; was a basic pattern of hop-step-close-step.
The name of the dance (pulka) is Czech for "half-step", relating to the swift shift from one foot to the other.
Anna Slezak, a peasant girl, invented the step, in Labska Tynice in 1834. The polka was first introduced into the ballrooms of Prague in 1835. The music is played in 2/4 time (1 & 2) and sounds cheerful and playful.
The musical band of the Prague Sharpshooters, a military unit, brought to Vienna, in 1839. There both the music and the dance met with extraordinary approval.
In 1840, at the Odeon Theater in Paris, Raab, a dance teacher of Prague, danced the Polka with tremendous applause and was soon the preferred dance at all the ballrooms.
The dancing teachers of Paris seized on the new dance and sophisticated it for their salons and ballrooms. The popularity of the polka spread quickly into the other country in Europe. When it came to the Unites States, it was taken up by the country western set and today is still danced in Country Competitions.
The polka is one of dances, originating in the nineteenth-century, which has survived. After the initial popularity, the polka progressively declined and obtained a low point with the apparition of ragtime, jazz, and the newer dances of the early twentieth century. After the Second World War, however, Polish immigrants to the United States assumed the polka as their "national" dance.
A brief history of some styles of dance: