Norway, Sweden

POLSKA DANCE – SWEDEN AND NORWAY

What is Polska dance?

The term “Polska” can also refer to a Scandinavian folk dance, particularly in Sweden and Finland. In this context, Polska is a traditional dance form that originated in the 16th century and was possibly influenced by Polish courtly dances.

Polska dances in Sweden and Finland are typically performed in 3/4 time signature, which means they have three beats per measure. The dance can be performed by individual couples or by sets of several couples. The dance movements often involve graceful turns, steps, and twirls, with the dancers maintaining a close connection with their partner.

Why is it called Polska?

The name “Polska” for Poland has its roots in the Polish language. The term “Polska” translates to “Poland” in English. It is derived from the Polish word “pole,” which means “a plain” or “a field.”

The name “Polska” reflects the geographical characteristics of the country. Historically, Poland was known for its vast expanses of flat plains and fertile agricultural lands. The term “Polska” can be understood as “The Land of Fields” or “The Land of Plains.”

a. History/origin of the Polska dance:

This dance form is said to have been originated during the 17th century and has also been heavily influenced by the Polish culture. Furthermore, this dance is also said to have developed from court dances such as polonaise or 2/4 time minuet. In addition, the Polska also possesses elements belonging couple and set dances that are still performed by the Finnish and Danish community. However, it was from the ¾ time minuet that the Polska dance style was eventually developed. It is said that the ¾ form of this dance is what is commonly used especially in countries Norway, Sweden, Swedish speaking areas in Finland, and Denmark.

b. Costumes used in the Polska dance:

The costume worn by the performers in this dance form varies according to the gender, and they are as follows

1. For men:

The attire worn includes stripped sleeveless waistcoat, white long sleeves shirt, yellow, black, or dark blue colour breeches, a pair of high heel boots, and a hat.

2. For women:

The attire worn includes a high necked long sleeves white blouse, a tight fitting bodice, a bright shawl, a skirt, a head dress, leggings, boots, and a small vest.

c. Music involved in the Polska dance:

The major musical instruments used in the Polska include flute such as the nikelharpa, clarinet, bagpipes, and the violin.  Furthermore, nowadays the diatonic accordion is frequently used.

d. Training availability and technique involved in the Polska dance:

In terms of technique, the dance involves two major components and they are as follows:

  1. The procession: This feature of this dance style basically involves the performers walking behind one another in the clockwise direction.
  2. Turning point: This feature basically involves the performer pivoting and turning.

Furthermore, the men performers usually use movements such as squats, leaps, or cartwheels while performing. As for training centers/schools, there are a few available around the world for those interested in learning this “partner” dance.

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