Sunday, March 20, 2011

Roll Out The Barrel, We'll Have a Barrel of Fun

Even if you think a Polka is a hick dance, I'll bet you can't listen to one and keep you toes from tapping.

In the beginning of my International Ballroom quest, I was a dance snob. Growing up in Minnesota, Polka-land dance State of the Union, I thought I was beyond polkas and headed for the sophisticated English dance. Imagine a child of the Great Depression being a snob about anything, but I'm ashamed to say I was.

I had several dance partners in my 35 years of ballroom competition but the one I had the longest was a Polish guy from the Baltic ethnic area of NE Minneapolis. He had fantastic rhythm and had won polka contests all over the state before we danced ballroom together. He kept asking me to come Polka dancing for recreational dancing. I kept refusing.

After a couple years, I put on a full skirt, Cuban heels and walked in the door of Czech Hall. OMG.... I've never had such a lively, exhilarating, just plain old good time. People were there in their native Baltic costumes, dancing the Polka most of the night. That did it, no more snob. We continued to dance ballroom, but at least once a week, headed for the Polka spots.

My husband's life was mostly baseball. He refused to dance but encouraged me to pursue my hobby and passion of dance. He'd watch my ballroom but couldn't keep his toes quiet during a polka. Can you?


  1. My father was 100% czech and played a button accordian in a polka band before I was born. We grew up with Polka dances and at least an hour of it each Sunday on tv. :) Wisconsin and Minnesota are pretty similar. :)

  2. I've not really had any exposure to Polka dancing.
    The husband and I took ballroom lessons about 15 years ago. I can say I LOVED it. And had a really, really good time--when I wasn't dancing with my husband! He couldn't hear the beat in anything, so he had a real hard time leading. (Or following for that matter!) I bet HE could go without tapping his foot. He just simply can't hear the beat of a tune. (He's awful if he tries to clap in church.)

  3. Hubby and I took ballroom dance classes in Hawaii. I think we danced for about 10 years.

    That all stopped when I couldn't find new dance shoes that fit my expanding feet!

    Miss dancing!

  4. WOW!!!! I'm toetapping away!! How lovely and lively!! Thank you!!! Now I've got the polka dance bug!!!! :-)

    Take care

  5. The polka! I love it, and I don't mind admitting it. Nothing more real than a polka at the local dance hall. Haven't been in years, but it is, indeed, toe-tapping stuff and fun!

  6. I have not danced the Polka, but have watched many times. That is a dance for people who are in good shape, have stamina and great lung capacity!
    Yes, it is what toe-tapping was made for!

  7. Polka is a blast and goodness, it will work you out. Haven't done it in years and not sure I could today. Think an enterprising sort could start a polka weight loss program.

  8. Texwisgirl,
    Lucky you. I'll bet you had a fun family. A Chech girl invented the polka in 1834. Looked that up for this post but didn't use it.

    Big D,
    You've mentioned that before, that Husband doesn't have music ability. Let's give him a big shot of rhythm for his birthday. Wouldn't that be nice if we could. I've met a few people like that. That Kate gosslin was the VERY worst. When she was on DWTS, it was embarrassing to watch her. Often I think those people are just too self-conscious to allow the music to come in.

    Aaawww, get shoes and dance some more. Ten years is a long time and to give up all that nice, wonderful fun. Recall it.

    Old Kitty,
    Is there much Polka dancing in England. I always wanted to go to Blackpool for the dance festivals.

    Please drop in at the local dance hall and dance a polka for me. Go up and ask the cutest guy to dance and say, "This dance is for a friend." Good way to meet guys. !!!!!

    You are soooo right. I think that's the reason so many Minnesota people live to such ripe old ages..... AND you see them out dancing the polka. They've torn down most of the huge old dance places with those gorgeous floating floors. What a shame but I think they just got too expensive to run .

    Last time I danced a polka I noticed I was winded half way through it. Not like in the old days, huh? If we had kept doing it we'd be rare'n to go now.

    Polka dancers are happy people. Love you all, Manzanita

  9. I used to watch Lawrence Welk. This brings back memories. I remember polka from gym class. I'm afraid I'm not a great dancer. You should see me at line dancing class going the wrong way.

  10. Wow, I'm impressed! You've packed so much into your life - but this was somehow unexpected!!

    Have a great day!!

  11. Don't ya just luv it.

  12. What a fun post!! And I love to hear a good ole polka.

    My sister and I used to polka around our living room. How much fun we had.

  13. I don't think I've ever, ever danced a polka and that's just a bit sad. I've jived and done plenty of ballroom but never a polka. I'm not sure I could manage one now without pulling something vital so I'll stick to the toe tapping. Thanks for sharing the great music.

  14. Kay,
    I was lol at your going the wrong way. I've done all the embarrassing things too in all my years of dancing.

    Red Nomad Oz,
    Yeah, I've had a long, busy life, loved it, but I'm ready to stay by the fireside now.

    Thanks for stopping. Fun polka !!

    Sounds like a fun family life, dancing around with your sisters and now you're all going on a cruise together. What a nice close family.

    You may never have danced a polka but you had the best in your own back yard. I danced International ballroom and all of my teachers were English. You guys are the cream of the crop !!!!! How I loved to dance with your English chaps.

  15. My husband, the Big Tuna, is a fourth generation American Pole. Been to a zillion Polish wedding, seen it all.

  16. Fabulous! I love how you confessed you were a dancing snob and then led us into how you were turned around by the lively and energetic polka. You are right- I have to tap my toes. It sounds exhilarating!

  17. I danced once with a ballroom champion--and I can't remember anything more fun in all my life. I'm not what you would call coordinated, either. But with him it didn't seem to matter. He could be dancing with a blow up doll and make it look good.

  18. I can deal with it. However, I would have pegged you for a lady who refused to forget the flapper image of the '20s, and carried the Charleston right through the Depression!

  19. Growing up in MN I love a good polka. We had some played at our wedding. Its hard to keep still if the polka is a good one.

  20. Mrs. Tuna,
    Polish weddings are great fun. Love all the costumes.

    It's funny how a "young snob" can grow up and accept things. Thanks for stopping.

    There's nothing like a strong leader so you know where he wants you to be. BUT the sad thing, there are soooo few good dancing men. A blow up doll LOL . I bet it was a thrill to dance with him.

    Hey there... I just like all dancing, love all beats and rhythms, especially Flalmenco. Yeah, my aunts taught me the Charleston when I was three. My first performance number. No kidding.

    What was your home town? I grew up in Ortonville and Milbank, SD. Ortonville is smack on the SD border and Milbank on the SD side. I like weddings that play a little of everything. That way everyone can get up and dance.

  21. I grew up in Duluth.

  22. I love the polka. Texas has a strong Czech and German heritage, so it's a popular thing here.

  23. Polka was one of the few dance steps I knew how to do. I enjoyed it a lot. Makes you smile big.

  24. And I thought Pennsylvania was the Polka Capital!

    I don't mind a song or two but when MusicFest rolls around every August, the local feed tv station puts daily broadcasts of the Polka tent. It's more German than here. And there they all are, dancing around and it amazes me that no one bumps into eachother! But after awhile I have to turn it off.

    Now I can listen to Irish and Scottish folk music all day!

    Do you have any pictures of your ball room dancin' days??