Music & Dance
                                         
Webster's New World Dictionary defines it as follows:  POLKA CZECH pulka
(polka)..Half step ..A fast dance for couples, developed in Prague in the
early 19th century.  
It was thought to be a rather risqué dance. Anicka Chodimova, nurse maid,
asked the children to keep it quiet and very much a secret. But as with all
secrets, it was told. It spread like wildfire. The composer, teacher Josef
Nedruda heard of the dance and wrote the first tune for it.  
Anna Chodimova was questioned about her part in inventing the dance
step. She was quick to say it reminded her of the Polish soldiers who were
attending the War College in Prague and who were heros of the day. She
was afraid to be connected with this so called "Wild Dance'. Perhaps this is
where the idea originated...Polka (Pulka).
The Pulka as it was know then, was brought to nobles circles and captured
Berlin, Vienna (Wein), Paris, London and gradually swept the whole world.
The dances tiny steps fascinated all classes of the educated as well as the
uneducated, even in Petersburg (now Leningrad) in Russia.  
The fascination of this dance of many years ago can be measured by the
fact that the dancing master of Paris France, charged five (5) pounds
sterling for a lesson in Polka Dancing. The polka made him one of the most
famous dancing instructors of his time. As it usually happens, the
originator of the dance fell into oblivion during the acceptance of the
dance.  Anicka Chodimova entered into an unhappy marriage. She was
forced to work in the field as a farm hand to support her family. She died
August 3, 1881, registered in the town books as "Pauper."
It is also interesting that the composer of the music for the Polka, Josef
Nedurda met a strange and unhappy death. During the night of April 8,
1876, he was found murdered in his home. His murderer was never found.  
Solid proof that the Polka is of Czechoslovak origin, not one of the Polish
composers, even Chopin, or any one since, has used the Polka in his or
her compositions. The majority of the Czech composers however, since
more than 100 years ago, used the Polka tempos for their music. Listen to
the works of Bedric Smetana, Antonin Dvorák, Frantz, Kmoch, the timeless
list goes on. The Strauss family also used the Polka tempo much in their
music.


Helena Kempker