Polka Redowa

{1852 - Late 19th Century}


The Polka Redowa is a mid-19th century couple dance that adapts movements of the Polka to 3/4 time.

According to Allen Dodworth, it was introduced in 1852 [AD85]. The proliferation of music for the dance shortly thereafter is consistent with this date.

The Dance

The Position

Waltz position throughout [TH57, TH58, TH63].

The Steps

One source notes that "the name indicates the dance; Polka step, Redowa time" [MG90]. Many others have similarly simple descriptions [DS69, TS78, CB79, GW84, GW98, TS91].

Where the step is fully described, it's described as a slide (1), close/cut/change* (2), leap (3), turning 180° to the right on the leap. Most sources also have a slight hop on the "&" (i.e., 16th note) before 1 [TH57, TH58, TH63, AD85, AD88, EW94, EW97, AD00], but not all do [EF59].

* Hillgrove and Ferrero technically describe this as a close to third position, but the fact that Hillgrove raises the first foot forward at the same time suggests more of a cut [TH57, TH58, EF59, TH63]. Dodworth and Witherspoon describe it as a "change" [AD85, AD88, EW94, EW97, AD00].

Several sources note that it can turn both to the right and to the left, and that it can also be danced straight forward or backward (Promenade or Pursuit), or even in place (Balance or Set) [TH57, TH58, EF59, TH63].

The Music

Usually specified as redowa [AD85, AD88, MG90, TS91, EW94, EW97, AD00] or mazurka [TH57, TH58, TH63, CB79] music, but there were also many songs at the time that were written specifically as polka redowas.

For a list of over 100 polka redowas with free downloads of the sheet music, see Polka Redowa Music.

Dodworth specifies 60 half notes per minute, or 120 bpm [AD85], which Tousey & Small notes is "much slower than in any other" dance, so it is "not quite so fatiguing, and is therefore more generally preferred" [TS78].


© 2015, 2018 Nick Enge

For more dance descriptions, see our three books on dancing:
The Book of Mixers: 100 Easy-Teach Dances for Getting Acquainted (2022) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge,
Cross-Step Waltz: A Dancer's Guide (2019) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge, and
Waltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living (2013) by Richard Powers and Nick Enge.

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