Story written by Rick Archer
Polka is an attractive partner dance used to Polka-rhythm
Western music. The starting position for SP is the
Sweetheart Position (see picture). Both the lady and
the man start every pattern with their right foot.
I have been
teaching Synchronized Polka for several years now, but I
have no idea what its true origins are. My memory draws a
blank. So for the fun of it, I reviewed the SSQQ
Schedules I have saved on my computer. I discovered to
my surprise that I taught a "Same Foot Polka Patterns"
Crash Course on Saturday, January 24, 1998. I also noticed
that in the following summer of 1999 I taught a
Synchronized Polka Crash Course.
I think it is
safe to assume the origins of Synchronized Polka date back
to sometime in the late Nineties. Let me be honest
here. I vaguely remember someone showing me a couple
moves long ago, but I have no idea who that person was.
So let's just do it this way. Synchronized Polka
was not my idea, but I suppose I deserve some credit for
developing the dance and making it popular.
I am fairly certain the idea for Synchronized Polka
originated as an offshoot of the Cotton Eyed Joe.
Like SP, the
Cotton Eyed Joe has everyone starting on their right foot
from a side-by-side position. In addition, the Cotton
Eyed Joe is based on Polka-rhythm music.
Who, When and Where Synchronized
Polka made its leap from the Cotton Eyed Joe to become a
dance in its own right are three questions I can't answer.
What I will say
with certainty is that SSQQ was completely responsible for
turning the elementary same-foot patterns into a dance with
its own style and identity.
Synchronized Polka ever become as famous as Argentine Tango
or Swing? Probably not. However anyone who
enjoys Western Dancing will certainly be interested in
learning the moves.
Polka patterns have lots of advantages. They are easy
to lead, they give the lady a much-needed break from going
backwards all the time, and the patterns are visually
pleasing to watch. Plus there is a grace to
Synchronized Polka patterns that reminds people of the Waltz
Waltz. Synchronized Polka has a nice flow to it.
I remember 2007
as the year I began to take Synchronized Polka seriously.
Previously I had
only offered Synchronized Polka as a once or twice a year
Crash Course. The dance is so easy to learn I figured
two hours was more than enough time to get the hang of it.
However I could
not help but notice the size of the Crash Courses kept
growing. Wouldn't it be nice if we could have a second
Crash Course? In other words, once I realized there
was a growing popularity, I decide to explore a little bit.
That is another way of saying, "If I could make up some new
moves, that would help pay the rent."
asking around the studio if anyone knew any more
Polka moves. Someone mentioned that Scott Ladell, one
of our instructors knew some interesting patterns.
I knew Scott had
been instrumental in developing advanced levels to the
emerging Western dances known as Triple Two
and Night Club. Sure enough, he had
tinkered with Synchronized Polka as well. Even better,
he was willing to share his new patterns with me.
Thanks mostly to
Scott's patterns, in March 2007 I taught my first "Advanced"
Synchronized Polka Crash Course. The class was huge.
I knew I was on to something good here. I taught the
same Advanced course again in July. Afterwards I had
one student after another ask if there was "more". I
smiled and replied, "I sure hope so!"
I continued to
tinker with the dance. In March 2008, I offered my
very first month-long course in Synchronized Polka.
Here is the promotional write-up:
Experienced Western dancers know that Polka-rhythm music
will tire you out. This explains the popularity of
alternatives to Polka such as Triple Two and Western Cha
Cha. Synchronized Polka has been around for
several years, but in 2007 this pretty dance system
really began to catch on. Unlike Western Cha Cha and
Triple Two, Synchronized Polka is used right
along with your regular Polka. In other words,
Synchronized Polka enhances what you normally dance
to Polka songs.
Danced mostly from the Sweetheart Position,
Synchronized Polka has many advantages. It is easy
to learn, easy to lead, it gives the lady a much-needed
break from her double turns and it allows everyone to
dance forward. People don’t get tired out quite as
much. Best of all, the patterns are graceful and
The class was a big hit.
We had nearly 40 students and
lots of fun. The only problem with
the course was remembering the patterns. Since I had
not grouped the various patterns into an overall "system"
yet, it was easy to forget some of the patterns I had
Another problem was keeping the
patterns straight. It
was common to start
one pattern and accidentally slip into another pattern.
I laughed and told the men to quit worrying about it.
As long as the ladies kept smiling, what difference did it
of a New Era
On Sunday, May
29, 2011, I began a new Synchronized Polka class. This
was my first dance class at the "New SSQQ".
One thing that
made this class easy to teach is the fact that everyone
starts out going forward from Sweetheart. It makes a
big difference when everyone can see what you are doing.
Although we had a big class - 40 people - the room was more
than spacious enough to accommodate our group.
By the way, the
first hour of our class on Sunday, June 5, will be a
complete review. If you missed last week and would
like to join us in progress, please do so! We will
catch you up and get you on the right foot.
Marla was nice
enough to take these pictures. She had a little spot
in the corner and snapped everyone as they went by.
Here we have Ginny and Chris. They were nice enough to smile for the camera.
Joe and Patty
ignored Marla completely. If you look behind Patty,
you will see Elsa with the big eyes. Elsa is wondering
what she gotten herself into. Fortunately, later on
she cheered up enough to tell me she enjoys reading my
Newsletters. I turned to mush. I just wish I had
a better picture of her! Elsa met her husband Jay at
SSQQ. They were married in 2002.
Our class was
remarkably balanced, but we had two extra ladies. Gina
was nice enough to dance lead to balance us out.
I love this
picture. Did you notice the suspicious-looking "Shadow
Couple" in the background? I don't think they paid!
Lyn. Do you see how nice they look together?
Well, I can ruin that in a hurry. I have a picture of
Lyn dancing with me. I better see a $5 bill in my hand
soon or next week I am posting that picture!
Here we were
practicing how to switch partners for a dance known as the
"San Antonio Stroll". Everyone liked it, but not
everyone could remember the moves well enough to enjoy the
dance once I put on the music. Too much too soon!
Here is my nemesis
Ann. She is happy because she is telling me more about all the wonderful places she
has traveled to. That's the main reason Ann took this
class - Ann just wanted to bug me some more!
how Ann treats me poorly!)
So what do Fran
and Chris have in common. Fran met her husband Gus at
SSQQ. Chris met his fiancée Pam at SSQQ.
Their other halves are busy dancing elsewhere in the circle.
It was Marla's
birthday. First we all sang the Happy Birthday Cha Cha
song, then I took advantage of the situation to give her
a new spatula and a new baking pan. Are those wonderful
presents? It shows what a sensitive guy I am.
Then to make sure I got
out alive, I gave her a necklace. There were about 20
women ready to lynch me for giving Marla kitchen stuff.
This is Jay
dancing with Carolyn. Jay is Elsa's husband from an
Here I am
dancing the Lariat with Yolanda. I love saying her
name. 'Yolanda' just rolls off my tongue. I like
dancing with her too.
I don't know if you can
tell, but we had lots of fun. I would like to thank Marla
for taking the pictures.
Don't forget, there's plenty of room for more starting in the
Second Week of class! Please come join us!
have a question, please email