Skandia CD, track 17


Credible English Title Old Hambo-polska.


Heritage Swedish.
U.S. Source As learned and danced in Dalarna, Sweden (1947-48, 1950-51) by Gordon E. Tracie, and taught at Skandia Folkdance Society, Seattle.
Category Traditional couple dance.
Motivation and application Recreational, non-performance-oriented.


Type Triple-meter (3/4) polska rhythm.


Function Individual couple dance.
Character and form Smooth, relatively slow tempo.
Footwork Opposite.
Specific steps Open waltz, hambopolska (as described below).
Dance holds Simple hold: inside hands joined at shoulder height, elbows bent. Hambo hold (described in Appendix A).
Formation Couples in circle, progressing in LOD (CCW).


    A.  Forestep (Open waltz forward):
With simple hold, beginning on outside foot, 3 open waltz steps gliding forward in LOD (not in place!) on all counts, thus:
1 1 - 2 - 3 Waltz step forward starting outside foot, joined hands brought forward so partners are slightly back-to-back.
2 1 - 2 - 3 Waltz step forward starting inside foot, joined hands brought backward so partners are slightly face-to-face, where they exchange a nodded "acknowledgment."
3 1 - 2 - 3 Waltz step forward starting outside foot, hands forward again, partners facing straight forward or slightly back-to-back.


Transition to closed hold:
M steps R, forward or between W's feet, turning toward partner so as to begin taking closed position: W steps L, slightly turning CW, while also beginning closed position.
  2 M steps sideways L and slightly forward with L, completing closed position, W touches R ball of foot beside L foot but retaining weight on L, while completing closed position.
  3 M touches R toe on floor beside L heel without shift of weight. W steps R between M's feet landing on heel first, then sole (as in a natural walking step).

5 - 7

B.  Turn (Hambopolska rotation):
In closed hambo hold, couple dances hambopolska turn (as described under Turning Step, below) for as long as desired.
    Transition to open hold:
When it is wished to return to the open pattern steps (Forestep) again, the regular full turning steps are ended with the next-to-the-last (i.e., 7th) measure of an 8-measure phrase, and the following step is taken:
8 1 M steps R, making only part of a CW pivot, so as to end facing LOD. W steps L, following M's semi-pivot, to end facing LOD.
  2 M steps L and W steps R, dropping closed position to rejoin inside hands with partner.
  3 M steps R, W steps L, so that outside foot is free to begin first open waltz step of Part A. Forestep.

The Turning Step Rundpolska as danced in the hambopolska and hambo:


Man's step:
Step R in LOD, slightly to own R, to begin CW pivot.

Note:  This is the "leading" step, which moves the turn forward in LOD. In most versions of the Hambo, this step is emphasized by a slight "dip" - a settling down on the full flat of the R foot, with a slight bend of the R knee. (See further notes below, Hambo Dip.)
2 Continuing CW pivot, step L slightly sideways and forward in LOD, but close in to R foot, while raising body on ball of L foot to come up from the "dip."
3 Further continuing CW pivot, bring R close beside L and momentarily step on it simultaneously with the L, so as to have weight on both feet, and then quickly release weight on R foot, so that it is free again for a repeat of step on Count 1.

(With the above three steps, occupying one measure of music, M completes one full turn CW).

Pattern of M's step is thus: R, L, Both.

Woman's step:
Step L, following (not initiating) M's "dip," to outside of M's R foot.
2 Describing an arc with R foot around behind L, (keeping R close to floor and not "flicked" in the air), touch R toe beside L foot arch without shift of weight, so as to raise up from "dip" on L foot.
3 Step lightly forward into LOD on R, completing one full turn CW with partner.

Pattern of W's step is thus: L, touch R, R.

Basic Hambopolska step:

  COUNTS 1 2 3
Step pattern chart:  Man R L Both
Woman L Touch R R
Suggested verbal cue:  Man Lead (R) Turn (L) Assemble (Both) *
Woman Turn (L) Touch (R) Step (R)

* Avoid the word "Together" which implies a change of weight to the opposite foot!

The Hambo "dip" is used only during the actual turn and not in the preceding pattern or transition steps.  It should be used discretely, and come as a natural movement in response to the music.  If overdone, it can give the awkward appearance of "sitting down" on the first beat of each measure!  The deepness of the dip depends both on the "bent" (pun intended) of the man who leads it, and upon the room available.  A crowded dance floor will necessarily require a certain amount of restraint in dipping, especially with inexperienced dancers.


As with dances everywhere, there are many versions of the hambo to be found in the land of its origin, Sweden - all of them equally "authentic" if not equally "traditional."  The variant described above is said by many folk dancers and fiddlers in Sweden to be a comparatively old one.  Up into the 1950's, it was an accepted way of dancing the Hambo in the Lake Siljan and Dalälven River district of Dalarna in central Sweden.  To the south, in Helsingborg, Skåne, a similar version, now called gammalhambo (old hambo), is known but no longer danced.  Since an earlier designation for the Hambo was its full name, Hambopolska, it seems appropriate to so entitle this older version of the dance in order to distinguish it from the common "dal step" variety widely known today as simply the Hambo.

It will be noted that in this version of the Hambo, the dancers move forward in LOD in both Part A. and Part B.  Therefore, it is not necessary for all couples to dance the same part simultaneously.  Continuous dancing of the closed-position turn, once a standard practice with the polska, is still to be found in some sections of Sweden, notably Dalarna, from whence this version comes.

Copyright © 1997 Skandia Music Foundation Hambopolska

You may freely distribute this document provided you agree to retain this copyright notice and mention that a recording for this dance is on the Viking Skandia CD, available from www.folkdancing.com.