Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Wild West?

A few weeks ago a note went around my office inviting everyone to a company picnic. The theme for this year's party was the Old West, complete with native dancers, cowboy-themed games and country and western dancing.

My first reaction was laughter. After all, I grew up in Alberta, and my hometown hosts an annual rodeo, which is part of the qualifying circuit for the Stampede. Poland doesn't even have beef cattle!

But then I became intrigued. How would the Poles interpret the old west?

Today I found out. The dancers (all Poles) wore native costumes with varying degree of authenticity. Some looked similar to what I remember seeing in Alberta and in museums there, while others looked like they might have actually come from India.

Although the dancing was enthusiastic and participatory - audience members were dragged in - one of my Polish colleagues remarked that some of it looked remarkably similar to a Polish waltz.

However, the country music later in the evening and the accompanying dancing was a bit closer to the mark. I was never part of the country scene growing up, and can't two-step to save my life, but hearing several old country songs while sitting in a Polish hall, watching several of my co-workers attempt to line dance made me yearn for the real west.

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