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The Polka.

The origin of the polka is being discussed in some of the Parisian journals. The universally popular dance is said to have been invented in 1830, by an Austrian cook, who, finding herself dull in her kitchen, sang and danced to the now well-known measure. The cook’s mistress having surprised her during the performance, she was requested to dance and sing in the presence of the composer, Joseph Neruda, who took notes of the performance. The polka passed into Prague, then to Vienna, and was danced for the first time before the Parisian public by a Hungarian artiste at the Odéon Theatre in 1840. Plenty of animated polka music was written successively by Lanner, Strauss and François Hunai. But the real polka mania did not break out in Paris till the year 1844, when it was danced with great success by a select few at the Salle Valentino, in the Rue Saint-Honoré, the premises now occupied by the Nouveau Cirque. Crowds used to assemble round the dancers to admire the different pretty figures which composed the true polka, which was then acquired with difficulty and was not the simple close and rushing dance at present known by that name. So popular was the polka in Paris nearly half a century ago that the dancing-masters had for clients ladies and gentlemen of all classes, and even judges, lawyers, and doctors did not disdain to take lessons in what was then considered as one of the greatest acquirements for a ball-room dancer. —Galignani.

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