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Ennis Daily News

Polka dance-off Friday night

By Mark Warde

Every Memorial Day weekend for nearly three decades, like the Swallows returning from Argentina to Capistrano, so do the past winners of the National Polka King and Queen dance competition.

Friday, May 27, on the 30th anniversary of the start of the dance-off, Ennis anticipates more than half of the previous winners to come back to dance once again in a festive event an hour before this year’s King & Queen contestants square off on the dance floor at the KJT Hall. The Katolická Jednota Texaská (Catholic Union of Texas), with a 3,500 square foot, hardwood dance floor, is located at 1216 S. Paris St.

At last count, 17 of the 29 winners had committed to the special occasion, the All-Star Dance-Off, at 8 p.m. The 2016 King & Queen event is slated for approximately 9 p.m. The Mark Jirik Band, from Denmark, Wisconsin, will be performing live during the competition.

Last year’s champions, Michael and Deborah Svatek-Logue, hail from the Houston suburb of Richmond, Texas. They were the first runner-up in both 2013 and 2014 before their coronation in 2015.

Nick and Shirley Macik were crowned in 2013. It was the eighth trip to E-Town for the Austin couple.

Stories and history abound in the lives of the 29 pairs, not to mention the scores of others who have whirled to the tunes of the dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. The Polka originated in the middle 19th century in Bohemia, which is now part of the Czech Republic.

This year marks both the 50th National Polka Festival in Ennis as well as the 30th King & Queen dance-off. The weekend will draw 19 bands and crowds exceeding 40,000 revelers. Details, including the complete schedule of events can be found at nationalpolkafestival.com.

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