Bohemian National Polka
Cathleen Myers & Alex Lerman & Transit of Earth

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.

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

Cathleen Myers is the Dance Mistress of the San Francisco Dickens Fair and the Artistic Director of PEERS (the Period Events & Entertainment Re-Creation Society), which produces full-scale historical costume balls and dance classes almost every First Saturday (for details of PEERS' 2011-2012 Season, see her website at A dancer since childhood, Cathleen has researched and taught historical dance in the Bay Area since 1987. In her copious spare time, she also performs occasionally with the Alameda Vintage Dancers and with her own group, the PEERS Flying CirCUS, a historical music, dance and theater performing ensemble, most notorious for their recurring Peerless Music Hall and Le Theatre des Vampires. For more information about the Dickens Fair, particularly our all-day Fezziwig’s Victorian dance party, please see . And, for the first time, Cathleen is the co-Dance Director at WorldCon 2011, the "Oscars" of Science Fiction/Fantasy.

Alex Lerman has studied, performed, and co-taught vintage dance with Cathleen Myers since 2002. In 1992, before Alex knew he liked to dance, he wandered into an Irish pub with the intent of listening to music. He was unwittingly dragged into a dance lesson despite protestations. He was soon hooked, and teaching Irish Ceili dancing 18 months later. He's taught and performed various forms of vintage dance ever since, in venues as diverse as pubs, studios, weddings, formal balls, and the YMCA. Alex's fascination with improvisational performing arts extends to improv acting, and he currently teaches a popular series of improv acting classes in Berkeley.

The gifted and accomplished musicians of the newly named Transit of Earth are William Allen, Paul Kostka, Stanley Kramer (and Susan Kramer when she's in town), Craig Martin, Robert Schultheis, and Nancy Solomon. They are veterans of both the Bay Area Country Dance Society and the San Francisco Free Folk Festival, and, can play everything from Classical to English Regency to folk music and beyond. And they know how to play beautifully and effectively for both ballroom dancers and country dancers.