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I posted the April playlist Thursday. Head here for all the details!
I was planning to start this week off with Flight of the Bumblebee, but there are epic thunderstorms all over the south right now, so this feels more appropriate. Plus, dancing the polka is a great rainy day activity, no? #bringingbackthepolka
This is not our first turn around the dance floor. If you’ve been following along since the beginning of the year, you might remember we danced the Winterlust Polka from a different Strauss brother back in January. Today the more famous brother takes center stage.
First, a cool language moment: the title of this piece in German is “Unter Donner Und Blitz.” Spy anything familiar? I never realized those reindeer names meant anything until I started teaching this piece! Donner = Thunder + Blitz = Lightning.
And that’s the extent of my ability to teach you anything in German.
Johann Strauss was known as the “King of the Waltz.” But the polka came along and made the waltz seem like yesterday’s dance. The polka was sort of a street dance at the time — originating in the villages of Bohemia. The dance gained popularity and became the cool thing to do amongst the fancy people of Vienna in the mid-1800s. Strauss and his contemporaries worked hard to satiate the people with new music, but their thirst was endless. Everyone who was anyone was dancing the polka.
This piece, like all waltzes and polkas, was written to give people party music. I taught a seminar at a homeschool convention last weekend and one of my main points was reminding parents not to take classical music too seriously — because much of it wasn’t very serious in it’s time. Especially the party tunes.
Back to the weather. This piece is intended to replicate the sound of thunder and lighting with clever use of drums and cymbals. See if you hear it:
And, FYI, if I ever become a conductor, I’m totally working his moves at the 1:15 mark. #windshieldwiper
Enjoy this little piece of classical music/dance history!