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Today’s mini-lesson might help your kids get a little energy out on a cold, indoor day — and you just might laugh a bit in the process.
It’s time to polka, people.
It’s hard for us to imagine, but dancing the polka was once considered the cultural pinnacle of cool. What was originally a Bohemian folk dance made its way to the ballrooms of Vienna in the mid-1800s, and all the cools kids were dancing the polka like crazy. Local composers quickly caught on to the fact that the people wanted to polka, and nobody delivered original dance music better than the Strauss family.
Here’s your quick mini-lesson:
- WHO: The Strauss family. Father Johann I, brother Johann II, and another (lesser known) brother, Josef. The more famous Johann II wrote a little tune you probably know called the Beautiful Blue Danube. Our piece for today, the Winterlust Polka, was written by other-brother Josef.
- WHAT: Dance music for the 1800s. This piece is classified as a polka-schnell, which simply means fast in German.
- WHEN: The Winterlust Polka was completed in 1862.
- WHERE: Vienna, Austria – Europe’s cultural capital in the 1800s.
- WHY: Competing hosts went to extreme measures to create the most grand, most elaborate parties for their wealthy friends. The story goes that Strauss’ patron installed an ice-rink in his ballroom to host a winter festival carnival that would out-do everyone. The Winterlust Polka is said to have premiered at this ostentatious event.
- HOW: Watch this video for a little polka lesson! One-and-two…three-and-four…
Enjoy the Winterlust Polka and have a little dance party of your own! Party like it’s 1862!