Polka-ing round the Christmas tree

Thought it was all comic songs and sentimental ballads in the UL’s Victorian sheet music collection? Think again! These nineteenth century composers and their illustrators also favoured us with dances galore – perfect for dancing around one’s drawing room to pianoforte accompaniment of an evening. Read on to admire a selection of seasonal polkas, galops, and quadrilles…

Around the Christmas tree : quadrille / by H. Van Landeghem.

Title page colour illustration: Christmas tree by ‘T. Packer’.

Around the Christmas Tree


Christmas echoes : quadrille / by Dan Godfrey.

Title page colour illustration: miniature christmas scenes by ‘T.W. Lee’.

Christmas Echoes


A merry Christmas : polka / composed by W. Smallwood.

Title page colour illustration: a robin sitting on a branch.

Merry christmas polka


A happy new year : galop / composed by W. Smallwood.

Title page colour illustration: goldfinch among flowers.

Happy new year galop


If, like me, you are now off to spend your weekend learning nineteenth century dance styles, try Youtube for plenty of instructional videos. The Early Dance Circle has a good overview of dance history and resources, and you can view a helpful pamphlet on The Art of Dancing Quadrilles on the British Library website.

Happy polka-ing!


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