Wisconsinites possess a genetic predisposition to polka, established by statute as the state’s official dance. Given the state’s heady 19th-century influx of Eastern and Central European immigrants — the highest concentration in America at the time — it’s only natural that the peasant dance would take root here.
Some cultural historians claim Wisconsin harbors more species of polka than anyplace else in the world. Polka music emanates from across the AM dial. At weddings, one polka per hour is virtually an unwritten house minimum. Polka at Brewers  games, polka in the Capitol building , even polka Masses in churches! In Wisconsin, polka is king.
They ain't the same. The Swiss did the polka step on the first beat of a bar, while the Austrians did it on the last half beat. The Dutch used a backward swing and omitted the hop, replacing it with only a slight rise or roll of the body. The Poles’ polka stepped in measures of four, with the polka lead foot every second step. Czechs did it without a hop. Finns used a 4/4 rhythm and an abrupt heel step and added bits from their own baleful tango. Generally, polka couples turn right continuously without reversing and always move to the right.
The snobbish European elite considered it a madness of the lowest base order but we dug it from the get go. Eastern and Central Europeans also gravitated to the south, where predominantly African American steps were incorporated. A large population of Europeans took their music to Texas and melded border flavors into the music called conjunto. Today, some country-western two-steps are being traded back and forth between country and polka camps.
And in Wisconsin, all forms have melded into one eclectic, happy dance. Wisconsin polka is mainly the Polish mazurka and the Dutch, Swiss, and Czech polkas. The best way to experience it is at one of the state’s many polka festivals, including the annual Wisconsin Polkafest in mid-May in diminutive Concord. Check out www.wisconsinpolkamusic.com  for a great introduction.