There are in many cases difficult for me to know if a direct translation of Swedish dance term makes sense in a foreign language.. For this reason, in many places on this site the Swedish name is used, with a link to this site where the meaning of the name is explained. If there is a proper translation of any of these terms to English, I would appreciate to be informed about this.
The dance starts with (druff) polka for 16 bars, that mostly is danced clockwise. Then the couples walk behind each other in a ring, with the leader's left arm on the left shoulder of the leader in front of him (16 bars).
During the next 16 bars all the leaders head inwards towards the centre and starts handclapping (e.g. on knees, hands, shoulders and above the head), the followers dance in a ring outside the leaders, headed forwards and using polka steps. Then the described dance sequence is repeated with a new partner.
The dance starts with all the dancers in a ring around the floor. The first bar is danced with waltz steps, the leader heads towards the follower to the left (the follower towards the leader right), without releasing the ring. The second bar is danced with waltz steps with leader headed towards the follower to the right, without releasing the ring.
Two variants of the waltz are used - but just one at the same dance. Either the steps above are repeated once more, or clockwise waltz is started from here, where the leader dance with the follower to the left of him three turns. If the the steps above are repeated, the waltz in couples will last for only two bars. The ring is then re-established with the follower to the right of the leader, and the sequence described is repeated.
This is a Swedish dance with three beats per bar. This is a type of polska that however mostly is referred to as a gammaldans. The dance use eight bars per sequence, with two bars with dalsteg, one bar walking steps, four bars turns and one bar for assembling.
See also Hambo
Note: The Swedish gammaldans mazurka is not the same dance as the mazurka danced in other parts of Europe.
The music has three beats per bar. In Sweden the first melody is mostly danced using a variant of hambopolkett, but where the step on beat three in the bar contains a small jump. The landing on beat 1 in the next bar is on both feet, the weight has however to be on the front foot.
The second melody is mostly danced as "skånsk" mazurka, with eight bars per sequence - two bars dalsteg, two bars with two turns outwards from each other with frykdal steps, two bars with frykdal steps forwards side by side, two bars where the couple makes one turn together but side by side.
During later years it has become slightly more frequent that the European type of mazurka is also danced in Sweden. The European mazurka is however not a traditional Swedish gammaldans.
See also Mazurka
This is a gillesdans that now is so common at the gammaldans events that I have included it in gammaldans. The pace in the dance is similar with snoa. The dance contains 5 times 4 bars, where (if) each bar is counted as four beats. One dance lasts normally for just one sequence, and then there might be 4 extra bars in the end, if so most people repeat the first part of the dance once again. A very brief description of the dance is:
Sequence 1: Walking steps forwards (4 beats), walking steps backwards (4 beats), polka forwards (4 beats), snoa two turns (4 beats).
Sequence 2: One turn from each other forwards (4), one turn towards each other backwards (4), polka and snoa as above.
Sequence 3: Pancake turn from each other and forwards (4), pancake turn backwards and towards each other (4), polka and snoa.
Sequence 4: Walking steps forwards with double hand hold and the follower walking backwards(4), walking steps with kept hand hold backwards and with the follower making one turn counter-clockwise (4), leader polka steps, follower one clockwise turn under leader's arm (4), snoa (4).
Sequence 5: Leader walking steps forwards, follower turns once clockwise under leader's arm(4), leader walking steps backwards, follower turns once counter-clockwise under leader's arm (4), leader polka steps forwards, follower turns twice clockwise under leader's arm (4), snoa (4)
This dance can be danced in several ways, although one of the most common is the druff polka (quick quick slow sideways, turn on slow 180 degrees). The music has two beats per bar. Polkett is similar to the druff polka but contains a small jump on 'slow'.
See also Polka
Polska is a group of dances containing a lot of variants, that in many cases have been evolving for a long time. Today almost all dances in this group use 3 beats per bar, although they probably have developed from music with even counts. The group contains some variants that are rather demanding to dance. Some of the most popular variants today are bingsjöpolska, bodapolska, orsapolska, bondpolska, hamburgska, pols and slängpolska. Hambo is also a polska, although it is mostly referred to as gammaldans today.
See also Polska
This is a mazurka variant from Finland and the northern part of Sweden, that runs over sixteen bars. It starts with the couple side by side with the leader's right hand behind the follower, and the follower's hand on the leader's right shoulder. At the first three bars Frykdal steps are used.
At the fourth bar the follower change position to the left of the follower by making a half turn counter-clockwise in front of him using three steps. During the next three bars once again Frykdal steps are used, with the follower to the left of the leader. Then the follower turns clockwise in front of the leader, and the couple dances waltz clockwise for the next eight bars.
This dance is probably well known in other countries. The music has four beats per bar and four bars per sequence. It is mostly danced with two bars schottische steps and two bars snoa turns.
See also Schottishe
Two or four beats per bar. The dance contains walking steps and turns, with one step per beat and one turn per two beats. The walking can be omitted. The pace in the music is as when walking.
See also Snoa and Polka
The waltz is probably well known for most of the readers. The gammaldans waltz has a pace that is similar to wiener waltz, and is otherwise also more similar to wiener waltz than the modern waltz. The waltz has three beats per bar and is danced both clockwise and counter-clockwise, with one step for each beat. A rather common variant is the stigvals.
See also waltz
Bakmes is an element of many dances, and can be used in most dances. It is common in many polskor, and can well be used in dances like waltz and polka.
There are many variations of bakmes, but basically it is danced counter-clockwise, with the leader positioned to the right of the lady, and with the steps outside the partner. In many cases the bakmes uses two bars to make a complete turn. The waltz section contains a short video with the variant. It can also can be danced clockwise, and is then in waltz called stigvals.
This is another element in some dances. In most cases only the leader dance enben, while the partner for example might continue with the same steps that preceded the enben variant.
Enben is danced using just one leg for a complete 360 degree turn, while the other foot is kept lifted, in many cases used for keeping the balance or add power to the turn. The feet are placed outside the partner to the right.
The variant is often used in Bingsjöpolska, but can also be used for example in Bodapolska, hambo, schottische and waltz.
This variant requires balance, and will probably need some practising before it runs smoothly. It is eventually possible for both persons in the couple to dance enben at the same time, e.g. in waltz, but it is rarely seen.
Enben is mostly only danced clockwise, but in schottische I also sometimes dance it counter-clockwise.
See also video for Bodapolska, the tail part of it contains an example of enben
Last updated: Jan 24, 2023