For Charleston-ites, a page from Polish-American Polka


Outside Underarm Turn (in place, with hop)

DT: Here is the same figure as the last one but with a hop. Monique, on what count does the arm go up to lead the underarm turn?

Monique: I think in polka there is a difference than in many other forms of dancing where there is preparation in the count preceding the count where you start the turn. In polka most of the music is so fast that the lead and the movement are both done on the first count. If you were going to turn on one – you could turn on any count – but if you turn on one, the arm does not go up on 8, but it might go up on 8 ˝ or 8 3/4 .

DT: Morley, any points?

Morley: To feel the lead better, the follower should press on the leader’s hand. She should keep her elbow forward of her shoulder and her hand slightly forward of her elbow, and actually press a little bit on the man’s hand.

The lady is not traveling
here so it is optional
for her to hop or not.
Here she is hopping on
the turn.

DT: And if she doesn’t do all that?

Morley: It would be hard to help her. She would be turning all by herself, without any help from the leader.

Monique: Resistance, it's called.

DT: What is the Polish word for polka?

Morley: Polka.

Monique: In French-Canadian dances we have a step that is called the polka step, which is not a dance itself but just a step. “Step together step hop, step together step hop”. And we do have a few polka dances.

DT: Is that “step together step hop” the ballroom polka?

Monique: It was adopted by ballroom. Most of the folk dance polkas are “hop step-together step, hop step-together step”.

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