Dance with Stars in your Eyes

Frankie Yankovich, America's Polka King

Frankie Yankovich, America’s Polka King

Music to dance to. From the Waltz to the Slide, people love to dance. In ethnic neighborhoods where I grew up, old country and the new thrived together as far as dancing went. We lived close to the Puerto Rican neighborhood, so we danced the Tango and Rock n Roll during lunch hour. We loved Elvis and Little Richard, but we could also Polka.

In fact, I’m related by marriage to the famous Frankie Yankovich, whose Slovenian style polka music never varied. Known as the America’s Polka King, he grew up in South Euclid, Ohio. I’ll bet you’ve dance to his renditions of Who Stole the Kishka?, The Too Fat Polka, Hoop Dee Do, The Tick Tock Polka, and my favorite, The Beer Barrel Polka.

Dance lives today as a way to express emotions. What’s one of the most popular show on television, Dancing with the Stars. Dance is more participative than Classical music, because you can actually express your emotions with another human being. I can polka fairly well. Tango some. Twist, Jitterbug, well not so much, except for Strauss Waltzes of course, I can still dance to those.

God weaves enjoyment into our lives through the music He created. Even when Elvis swiveled his hips and the old folks passed out, I think God chuckled. My next blog goes a whole different direction. How can you define Jazz? You can’t put it in a box. label it, or write an essay that will describe it accurately. Satchmo, Lewis Armstrong described it like his religion.

Armstrong said, “I was raised a Baptist, always wear a Star of David in honor of the Karnofsky family, who took me in as a child and lent me the money to buy my first cornet. I’m baptized as a Catholic, and a friend of two popes. Jazz is like that.”

Duke Ellington said it simply, “It’s all music.”

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