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August 27, 2015


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In come cities of Russia most of people knows the simple (hop) slide-close-slide polka. And it happens that a group of people study Polka Mazourka (and some other couple dances) and only a year later they study the "true" (hop) slide-cut-leap polka. And yes, there were the words like "you want us to dance polka mazourka in polka time with an additional hop?"
I think it really was better to study this step in 3/4 time first, so it will not interfear with the simplified polka version, and only then use the 2/4 time.

Interesting idea. I suppose it will be more useful for Alexander, who teaches beginners-19thc group this year.

My experience (rather old - I've taught general polka 2 years ago) was the opposite - last beat of polka music gives a rest to dancers which helps them to think what's going on and only after that when this step is comfortable they can pass easily to polka redowa. One big trouble with 3 beats in polka redowa is that when students are not familiar with hop\temps leve before glisse they loose it when dancing because there is no special beat for it. On the other hand in polka generally there is a clear upbeat for this movement.

As you've seen two years ago, I've tried also to teach polka starting with the earliest different descriptions and it was quite cool. But I need a group of beginners to test this approach=)

Ah, I thought Rostik was teaching beginners this year. My bad! Maybe Alexander will find it useful.

As for the temps levé, yeah, I've noticed people leaving it off in polka redowa in Russia. That's common here; a lot of people never learn to include it. But make them do it! It's important working with the York for 1880s! Once my students got in the habit of the temps levé I couldn't make them skip it even when it would normally be proper. They just kept hopping around like terpsichorean fleas. (Christina, I'm looking at you...)

Of course, learning the step in either rhythm first will make the other one come easier. But my experience is that people have more trouble with the fractional pause in the polka with these steps, and do not have that problem in redowa time. Starting in 3/4 time eliminates that issue until they have the step firmly in muscle-memory.

This is following the same pattern I've always used for [new] waltz/waltz-galop in late-19th century. I had just never thought before to apply it to polka. Waltz to waltz-galop makes "social" sense because waltz is more socially important to know. Polka redowa to polka does not. But I think it makes pedagogical sense.

And yeah, finding an appropriate test group is the problem. I'm not teaching either polka redowa or polka as a starting dance with total beginners!

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