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Oktoberfest a traditional autumn festival held in Munich, Germany, every October that features beer-drinking and merrymaking, we at Fred Astaire Reston love Beer and Merrymaking!

Polka is defined as a vivacious couple dance of Bohemian origin in duple time; was a basic pattern of hop-step-close-step; a lively Bohemian dance tune in 2/4 time.

The polka was originally a Czech peasant dance, developed in Eastern Bohemia (now part of Czechoslovakia). Bohemian historians believe that the polka was invented by a peasant girl (Anna Slezak, in Labska Tynice in 1834) one Sunday for her amusement. It was composed to a folk song “Strycek Nimra Koupil Simla (Uncle Nimra brought a white horse).” Anna called the step “Madera” because of its quickness and liveliness.

The dance was first introduced into the ballrooms of Prague in 1835. The name of the dance (pulka) is Czech for “half-step”, referring to the rapid shift from one foot to the other.

In 1840, Raab, a dancing teach of Prague, danced the polka at the Odeon Theatre in Paris where it was a tremendous success. Parisian dancing teachers seized on the new dance and refined it for their salons and ballrooms. According to Cellarius, the famous French dancing master of the mid-nineteenth century: “What young man is there, although formerly most opposed to dancing, whom the polka has not snatched from his apathy to acquire, willy-nilly, a talent suddenly become indispensable?”

Polkamania resulted. Dance academies were swamped and in desperation recruited ballet girls from the Paris Opera as dancing partners to help teach the polka. This naturally attracted many young men who were interested in things other than dancing, and manners and morals in the dance pavilions deteriorated. Dancing developed a bad name and many parents forbade their daughters dancing with any but close friends of the family.  Luckily NOT ANYMORE, we teach that too……