PRONUNCIATION: HAHM-boh-pohl-skah (GAH-mahl-hahm-boh)
TRANSLATION: Old Hambo; Hambo dance
SOURCE: Dick Oakes learned this dance from Gordon E. Tracie who danced hambopolska in Leksland, Dalarna, Sweden, in 1947-48 and 1950-51, and taught it at the Skandia Folkdance Club in Seattle. He presented it in 1953 and 1957 to folk dancers at the Stockton Folk Dance Camp. Lucile Czarnowski learned it in 1939 at the Naas Institute in Floda, Sweden. Ned and Marian Gault taught it at the 1977 Folk Dance Federation Teacher Training Program, Ingvar Sodal taught it at the First Annual North Country Folk Dance Camp in Duluth, Minnesota. Jim LaVita taught it at the 1986 San Diego State University Folk Dance Conference.
BACKGROUND: The Hambopolska (Hambo Polska) is from the Swedish province of Dalarna. As with dances everywhere, there are many versions of the Hambo to be found in the land of its origin -- all of them equally "authentic," if not equally "traditional." The variant described here is said by many folk dancers and fiddlers in Sweden to be a comparatively old one. To this day, it is a common way of dancing the Hambo in the Lake Siljan and Dal River areas of Dalarna, which is often called the "cultural heart" of Sweden. In Hälsingborg, Skåne, in the southern tip of Sweden, a similar version of this dance is known and is now called "Gammalhambo." Because an earlier designation for the Hambo was its full name ("Hambopolska"), it seems appropriate to distinguish it from the common "Dal step" variety widely known today simply as "the Hambo."

In this older version of the Hambo, the turn may be continued indefinitely, employing the Triple Steps of the Föresteg (meaning "foregoing") Pattern only when the M determines. Because the dancers move forward in the line of direction (LOD) in both Part A and Part B, it is not necessary for all couples to dance the same part simultaneously (as in the case of the regular Hambo, where they otherwise bump into each other on the Dal step swings). Continuous dancing of the closed polska turning steps, once standard practice with the Swedish polska, is still to be found in certain sections of Sweden, notably in Dalarna from where this version originates.

MUSIC: Victor (LP) 26-1046 "Styrman Karlssons"
Victor (45rpm) V-24085
Victor (45rpm) V-20036A
Victor (45rpm) V-20087B
Columbia (45rpm) 22048F
Imperial (LP) 1036 "Tip Top Hambo"
Harmony (LP) 30
Electra (LP) INTS 1359, "Dans På Svenska," side 2, band 3
Toni (LP) TLPL 507, "Blå-Olles Spelmanslag," side 1, band 4
Musica (LP) MUS LP 214, "Osa Plays Old Time Dance Melodies," side 1, band 7
or any of several old-time hambopolska selections.
FORMATION:Cpls facing in LOD around the dance area with W to M R side, inside hands joined and held at shldr height, free hands hanging loosely at sides OR on hips, fingers fwd.

(1) TRIPLE STEPS: Beg on outside ft, dance three steps fwd per meas (not in place!), bringing joined hands fwd during the first meas so that ptrs turn slightly back-to-back, bringing hands bwd during second meas so that ptrs turn slightly face-to-face, where they exchange a nodded "acknowledgement;" and bringing hands fwd again during the third meas so that ptrs turn slightly back-to-back. NOTE that cpls continue to progress FWD during the second meas so that they do not obstruct the progress of the other cpls behind them.

(2) TRANSITION STEP: M stamp R, taking wt ("appell"), turning twd ptr to begin taking closed pos as W take small step L twd M to begin taking closed pos (ct 1); M step L swd and slightly fwd with L toe turned slightly inward, completing closed pos as W touch R toe in back of L ft but retain wt on L, completing closed pos (ct 2); M touch R ft next to L heel without shifting wt as W step R (ct 3).

NOTE that there is NO DIP in the Transition Step.


(1) HAMBOPOLSKA STEP: Cpls assume Swedish Folkdance Hold (also called Hambo Hold): Ptrs almost facing with M R arm around W waist, W L hand on M R shldr, M L arm sharply bent and forearm parallel to floor with palm upward and holding W upper arm near elbow, W R arm nearly straight out from her shldr with her hand holding his upper arm near his elbow.

MAN'S STEP (Dip R, Step L, Both): Step R in LOD, turning toe to R to begin CW pivot and bending knee in a "dip" in a natural movement (ct 1); step L swd and fwd and continue pivot on ball of L ft (ct 2); continuing pivot, bring R next to L with only momentary wt on both (ct 3).

WOMEN'S STEP (Step L, Touch R, Leap R): Step L, following (not initiating) M "dip" (ct 1); describing an arc with R ft behind L and close to floor, touch R toe in back of L (ct 2); leap slightly fwd onto R, completing full CW turn with ptr (ct 3).

(2) ADJUSTING STEP: Ptrs dance one step in LOD, opening out of closed pos into open pos with M applying strong pressure to small of W back with his R hand to stop her pivot (ct 1); both take two steps in LOD as W brings her L hand down in front of M shldr and M brings his R hand up to take her L hand and give her support (cts 2,3).


 Cpls begin the dance with three Triple Steps, then do the Transition Step, followed by the Hambopolska Step for an unlimited number of turns. When the M determines, he continues fwd in LOD as he opens the W into open pos with the Adjusting Step. Because the dancers are always moving fwd, it is not necessary to dance the various parts at the same time.
  1. During the Triple Steps, the movement is always FWD.
  2. Ther is NO "lunge" on the first ct of the Transition.
  3. The M applies STRONG PRESSURE to the small of the W back to stop the Hambopolska turn during the Adjusting Step.
  4. The M is the master of the dance and must LEAD it firmly, thoroughly, and unerringly as the W follows the M strong lead.

Copyright © 2012 by Dick Oakes