Bohemian National Polka
by Cathleen Myers of PEERS
When the polka first took American and European ballrooms by storm in the early 1840's, it was a choreographed dance incorporating lots of steps and style from its Eastern European folk origins. These folk steps were eventually edited out of the elegant mid-19th century ballroom polka. "The Bohemian National Polka" is a delightful modern reconstruction of what the original polka may have looked like in the 1830's before it became a smash-hit "ballroom dance." The Bohemian National Polka, choreographed for the ballroom by celebrated dance historian Richard Powers of Stanford University, is based on a reconstruction by Czech dance historian Frantisek Bonus and is enjoying a new wave of popularity at Bay Area Victorian balls.

Instructor Cathleen Myers is the Artistic Director of PEERS (the Period Events & Entertainments Recreation Society), famous for its monthly historical and literary-themed balls. Check us out at and, better still, come to some of our balls. Live music for the class will be provided by the fabulous vintage dance band Bangers & Mash (

For Richard Powers' wonderful notes on the Bohemian National Polka and its choreography, see


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