Back to Polka (Form)
POLKA. A couple-dance form from central Europe which found favor and spread in the mid-19th century, from 1844 onward. Paul Gifford communicates that a leading dance master from New York, Allen Dodworth, claimed in a book he penned that he had introduced the polka to the society of that city in 1843. Dodworth had just returned from Paris where he learned the dance, and where he repeatedly went to learn the newest fashions. The title page to the “Jenny Lind (1)/Jenny Lind's Favorite Polka” published in 1844, states that it is “as played by Dodworth’s Coronet Band.” The form found its way into Irish traditional music and was especially popular in the South-West of the country. In Scotland the polka is categorized as a Circle Dance along with the waltz, the various forms of the mazurka, varsovienne and schottische. The Polka was not introduced to the country districts of Shetland until after 1890 (Flett & Flett, 1964).
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