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The Century of the Waltz and the Polka

Exhibition has ended

from 19. 4. 2013 to 5. 5. 2014 / Location: České muzeum hudby

Exhibition from the Monarchy exhibition series.
České muzeum hudby, Karmelitská 2/4, Praha 1 

Social dancing is again becoming a popular form of entertainment. The waltz and the polka are dances that came into being on the territory of the Habsburg empire, and contributed greatly to the origin of social dances for couples during the ‘long nineteenth century’ from the French Revolution to the outbreak of World War I.

Both have remained alive and extraordinarily popular to this day and have penetrated into dance music as well as concert music all over the world in all social strata, including folk culture. Our exhibition presents these two dances in their broader contexts via superb exhibit items of world-class importance. Included is the phenomenon of balls and other festive dance events, demonstrating both their private and their social significance. Balls and dances played a major role in efforts to achieve Czech territorial and national emancipation, as well as in establishing burghers as an important part of social and political life in the Habsburg empire. Inseparably connected with dance were also social attire, fans, and dance programmes, as well as traditions of social etiquette.

The Blue Danube waltz is certainly better known than the Austrian anthem. And what dance has received such praise as the polka  Wasted Love (also known as Roll Out the Barrel), which helped win a war?

Those visiting the exhibition will have an opportunity to reminisce about the most beautiful waltz of their lives, to learn their first waltz or polka, to see both dances rendered by leading dance artists, to listen to famous compositions in unique recordings and live performances, and to put together their own dance programmes.

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