Social Dance Lessons
Valina Polka's dance lessons
part of Das Ist LustigLLC
Dancing is her love.
Teaching is her thrill.
Seeing her students learn it; That is her passion.
Valina is energetic, positive, disciplined, encouraging and patient. She teaches what she likes to call "Bar room" style polka, waltz, and schottische lessons. Her proven method of teaching is progressive; beginning with very basic steps, then building on that foundation until she can polish the end product. She has a knack for understanding problems students have and helping them find ways to improve. Her method builds the confidence her students need in order to feel great about what they do on the dance floor.
She also teaches German and Dutch folk dancing. With a dance background encompassing most of Europe, the British Isles, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Western Russia and even some Fillipino, she can teach basics from many cultures.
Social dances offered:
Seven Step Polka, Garden Waltz, Grand March, Star Polka, Jesse Polka, Prague Mixer, Zillertaler Hochseitsmarch (Austrian Slide) Jiffy Mixer, American Promenade, Patty Cake Polka, various Schottisches.
Team Building: Folk dancing builds camaraderie. Working together on something besides a tedious office project is often the creative boost needed to get things moving along again. It's also great exercise. Get your office moving again with happy colleagues. Offer folk dance lessons for an afternoon away from the daily grind.
Private or group lessons available at your site. All you need is a large room with a smooth floor, comfortable shoes and some friends to dance with. We'll bring the music player.
The more, the merrier. Call or e-mail for price and availability. (Area code 713) 598-8317 or prostyall(at)windstream.net
Valina taught and is still teaching basic polka, waltz, schottische and social folk dances to the public at various festivals, clubs and dancehalls:
Houston's Continental Club (prior to Brave Combo shows) 2006, 2007
Discovery Green (also alongside Brave Combo) 2007
Mollie B Polka Party Taping in Ennis, Texas 2013
Muenster Germanfest 2007 - 2012
Tomball German Heritage Festival 2006 - 2012
Saint Arnold's Brewery Oktoberfests 2007 - 2009, 2012
Sengelmann Hall, Sculenburg, TX 2009 - 2011
The Woodlands Oktoberfest 2009
Friesenhaus Restaurant 2006, 2007
Wurstfest (alongside Terry Cavanagh's Alpine Express Band)
The Siemens Transformer Division has an Alpenball celebration at the end of their annual conferences. Colleagues, Clients and spouses are invited. From 2008 - 2012, Valina and Ross taught polka and folk dances to prepare guests for the party. Each year, the classes grew, and engineers who were sure they could never dance have found they are quite good at it.
Valina taught school age students at the following:
Kinkaid (3 - 4th grade - Polish folk dance) in Houston - 2007
Queen of Angels Academy (5 - 8th grade - German folk dance) in Dickinson - 2007 - 2009, 2011
7 Lakes High School - 2008 - 2012 (German folk dance for competition)
Clements High School - 2009 - 2016 (German folk dance for competition)
Deer Park High School - 2009 - 2014 (German folk dance for competition)
Kingwood High School - 2012 - 2016 (German folk dance for competition)
Tompkins High School - 2016 (German folk dance for competition)
Whitney High School - 2012 (German folk dance for competition)
Deutsche Samstag - 2010 - 2011 (Social and German folk dances)
Clements, Deer Park, and Kingwood high schools have all placed in the top 5 at state for best German folk dance group in Texas in 2011, 2012, 2016. Clements placed 1st at state in 2013, Kingwood placed 1st at state in 2016. Valina's former Deer Park students have graduated high school and began teaching as well. Their groups also placed int he top 5 in 2016. Valina often invites her students to perform for functions where Das Ist Lustig is performing.
A little history:
With the help of her dancing mother, Valina began taking ballet and tap dance lessons at the age of 3. At age 7, she joined a children's Dutch folk dance group, learning basic folk steps with others her age. She even organized, rehearsed and performed a Dutch duet at her Elementary school honoring the school's namesake. (This was probably her first attempt at coordinating an act for the stage.) She joined an adult Dutch folk dance group with her family when she was 11. With this group, she learned partner dances, new steps and styles. At 18, she traveled to The Netherlands as an exchange student. There she joined an International folk dance group and began learning many difficult and intricate passages. She moved from beginner to advanced in weeks, and just six months later was invited to join the performing group for a show before the end of her school year. Upon returning to Texas, she reunited with the Dutch group, joined a Renaissance festival Irish group, a Russian and Ukranian group, and a German folk dance group. During this time, she learned many new figures, steps, dancing styles and performance techniques. German is her favorite style.
To this day, Valina incorporates Dutch and German dances with her band. Since 1997, she's performed as a professional German folk dancer at festivals and corporate events. She has been teaching "bar room" and folk dancing for all ages and private lessons since 2004. She began teaching school children in 2007, and high school German club dance groups in 2008. The results have been impressive. So far, her dancers have placed in the top three in Houston. In 2011, one of her teams was top three at state. In 2012, two of her teams were in the top 5, in 2013, one of her teams placed first at state.
Exercise, fun, learning about and respecting different cultures, teamwork, lasting friendships, building self confidence and expanding horizons is what folk dancing is all about. Valina can teach nearly anyone to dance, one step at a time.
Valina and Ross taught dance lessons at the Mollie B Polka Party at the Sokol Hall in Ennis, Texas, Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10am - 11:30am. Each day, they went over the basics of polka and waltz, then added a specialty for the day. The following is the schedule they provided:
- Friday's specialties the Jesse Polka, the Garden Waltz, and the Prague Mixer, a dance they learned from some friends who participated in the dance when on tour in Prague. The dance is easy to follow, and tons of fun (and you don't even have to know how to waltz!) It works with any waltz. They've chosen The Blue Skirt Waltz for the taping. They'll be inviting everyone to join them on the dance floor during their first set at 3:30pm to perform the Prague Mixer for the cameras! Texas Sound Czech is planning to play the Garden Waltz in their set at 7:00.
- Saturday's specialties are Seven Step Polka, and schottisch styles for couples and groups. Brave Combo is planning to play a Schottisch or two and the Seven Step Polka during their set Saturday evening around 8pm!
- Sunday's specialties are Huapango, and a traditional Bavarian style Schottisch called a Boarischer. Huapango is a Mexican style of music with a fun dance step to fit perfectly. Yesey G and Her Stars are planning to play a Huapango on Sunday afternoon. The Walburg Boys are very likely to play a Boarischer on Sunday afternoon.