UPPDANSNING (Swedish Bygdedans Medal Testing)
Beginning in 1999, Linda and Ross began a quest to earn their BIG SILVER (Stort Silver) medals in Swedish traditional village dances (BYGDEDANSER). During the first weekend in August, there is a Polskmärkes - uppdansning where you can "dance up" (in front of judges and the public). It takes a minimum of five years to earn the Big Silver medal. You choose a set of dances which you will dance for the judges and spend a year practicing and refining your dances. There are 104 dances to choose from, each dance having a point value ranging from 5 points up to 10 points. You cannot choose a dance that you have used in a previous year.
During our five years of participation in the Polskmärkes - uppdansning, the dance judges were Bo Peterzon (from Uppsala), Lena Lindkvist (from Bjorsås), and Ewa Englund (from Sandviken). However, 2003 was the last year for Bo Peterzon as an Uppdansning judge, and Sven Olsson (from Säffle) has now taken his place. When you "dance up", you are not competing against the other dance couples, but instead each dancer is judged on a pass-fail basis against a standard of excellence. The judges must pass you on all the dances you attempt in order to proceed to the next stage. Although you dance as a couple, each dancer is judged separately. Thus it can happen that the woman passes while the man doesn't, or vice versa.
The first year you go for your BRONZE (Brons) medal. Here the dancers must dance three dances whose combined point value is at least 21 points but no more than 24 points. In 1999, Ross and Linda danced for and received their Bronze medals. Their bronze dances were
Polska från Rättvik ( 7 pts )
Bakmes från Ragunda ( 8 pts )
Once you have received your Bronze medal, you can go for your SILVER medal. Again you must choose three dances, but this time they must have a combined point value of at least 27 points. Linda and Ross won their Silver medals in 2000 by dancing
Hambopolska från Södre Dalarna ( 9 pts )
Jämtpolska och Bakmes från Ramsele ( 9 pts )
After obtaining your Silver medal, you are now able to work on the BIG SILVER (Stort Silver) medal. To earn this medal, you must practice for and dance six dances each year for three more years. For each of these years (Stort Silver I, Stort Silver II, and Stort Silver III), you choose three dances whose combined point values are at least 27 points and in addition three "low-point" dances each of whose point values is eight or less. You must dance all three of the "high-point" dances and then the judges will choose one of the three low-point dances which you must also dance. If you dance well enough, you receive a DIPLOMA (Diplom), and when you receive a passing diploma for Stort Silver III, you also receive your BIG SILVER medal.
Ross and Linda danced for and received their diplomas in Stort Silver I in August, 2001. Their dances were:
Polska och Bakmes från Kall ( 9 pts )
Polska från Boda ( 10 pts )
Polskdans - Springdans från Hogdal - Lommeland* ( 10 pts )
[* = polska turn danced both clock- and counter-clockwise]
Bakmes från Klarälvsdalen* ( 7 points )
[* = without acrobatics]
Polska från Bingsjö ( 6 points )
Polska från Ore ( 6 points )
The three compulsory high-point dances and the low-point dance that was selected by the judges are indicated in RED above.
In 2002, they completed their second stage (Stort Silver II). This time their dances were:
Senpolska från Östra Jämtland ( 10 pts )
Gammalvänster från Oviken ( 10 pts )
Polskor från Bingsjö - Polska, Springpolska, and Enbenspolska ( 10 pts )
Bakmes och Pols från Idre* ( 8 points )
Polska från Järvsö ( 6 points )
Senpolska från Torp ( 7 points )
Finally, on Friday, August 1, 2003 they danced for Stort Silver III and their BIG SILVER medals. Their dances were:
Storpolska från Vemdalen ( 10 pts )
Bakmes och pols i turer från Idre ( 10 pts )
Slängpolska från Torp ( 9 pts )
Polska från Södre Dalarna* ( 6 points )
Slängpolska från Malung ( 8 points )
Norsk mazurka från Transtrand ( 8 points )
Each year the Uppdansning is held at a different place in Sweden. In 1999 it was held in the town of Säffle (in Värmland), in 2000 it was held in Oviken (in Jämtland), in 2001 in Orsa (in Dalarna), in 2002 in Trångsviken (in Jämtland) and in 2003 in Orsa (in Dalarna). In 2004, the Uppdansning was again held in Trångsviken, and in 2005 it was once again be held in Orsa. Each year (1999-2003), prior to the Uppdansning, Ross and Linda attended a week-long training camp run by Leif and Margareta Virtanen. The camp is held in Furudals Bruk near Furudal in Dalarna, and is designed for couples who intend to "dance-up" at the Uppdansning. The photograph below was taken in 2001 during the Virtanen's camp. Linda and Ross were practicing Polskdans-Springdans från Hogdal-Lommeland and the photograph shows an optional kick where the man lifts the woman who in turn kicks a plank with her feet.
After you have finished your Big Silver, you can continue dancing what is called "Diplom". Each year, a set of around eight to ten dances is chosen from a particular region in Sweden. Unlike the medal testing where a couple dances alone for the judges, the Diplom dances are danced in a ring of four or five couples. The judges will choose four of the Diplom dances for that year and the entire ring must dance these dances. Here you not only show that you know the dances, you also show that you can keep an even distance from the other couples and dance in a nice ring.
In 2005, the Diplom dances were the dances from the Siljan region of Dalarna. They included Polska från Bingsjö, Polska från Orsa, Polska från Boda, Polska från Rättvik, Polska från Ore, Enbenspolska från Bingsjö, Enbenspolska från Boda, Leksandslåten, and Schottis från Bingsjö. The polskas from Bingsjö, Orsa and Boda are three of our favorite dances. How could we not go? So we traveled back to Sweden again to dance Diplom for the first time. It was fabulous.
In 2008, the Diplom dances were dances from Ramsele and Ångerman-land (Schottis från Ramsele No. 1, Schottis från Ramsele No. 2, Schottis från Ramsele No. 3, Schottis från Ramsele No. 4, Polska och bakmes från Ramsele (Jämtpolska), Gammalpolska från Ramsele, Snoa Polkett från Ramsele (Olsson), Snoa Polkett från Ramsele (Hägg), Polska från Södra Ångermanland, Klackpolska från Norra Ångermanland). Ross and Linda again returned to Sweden to dance Diplom, but this time they also brought sevem regular members of the Scandia DC group in Washington, DC - Lisa Brooks, Carol Carnahan, Andy Feldman, Lars and Marita Johanson, Chris Kalke and Sonia White - who all danced for and received their Brons Medals. They all had a great time, and we were so proud of them.
In 2010, the Diplom dances were the dances from Föllinge in Jämtland (Northern Sweden). Another set of our favorite dances. We had been waiting a long time for the Föllinge dances to be part of the Diplom dances. This was the first time. We just had to go!! The specific Diplom dances were: Hambopolska, Åtabakspolska, Gammalpolska, Hyfs, Löuvnäs-schottis, Norskleitjen, Slakapolska, and Vingelvals.
In addition, six of the seven members of Scandia DC who received their Brons Medals in 2008, retuned to dance for their Silver Medals. They were Lisa Brooks, Carol Carnahan, Lars and Marita Johanson, Chris Kalke and Sonia White. Once again, everyone was successful and now the Washington DC metropolitan area had six more Silver Medals in Swedish polska dancing.
We returned again in 2012. This time the Diplom dances were dances from Lillhärdal and Funäsdalen. The specific Diplom dances this time were: Hambo från Lillhärdal, Bakmes från Lillhärdal (polkettering + hambo + bakmes), Bakmes från Lillhärdal (polkettering + bakmes), Storhurveln från Funäsdalen, Rennländer från Funäsdalen, and Skotsk. Two of of the six members of Scandia DC who received their Silver Medals in 2010, retuned to dance for their first stage of the Big Silver quest. They were Sonia White and Lisa Brooks. In addition, two additional members of Scandia DC, Jim and Lynn Walker, experienced the Uppdansning for the first time with a quest for the Brons medal. All were successful. Hurrah!
We didn't travel to Sweden in 2013, but one of the Scandia DC regulars, Lisa Brooks, did. She successfully danced for the second stage (SS-II) of the Big Silver Medal. Only one last stage to go for Lisa. Congrats!, Lisa!!
Ross and Linda returned again in 2014 with six others from Scandia DC. Ross and Linda danced what is called Fortsättning Dans, a level for those who have already earned their Big Silver medal. They danced three dances for the judges: Särna, Rörbaknäs and Finnskoga. They passed, even thought Finnskoga was challenging. Lisa Brooks danced for and obtained her Big Silver Medal. Sonia White obtained her SS-II Diploma - Just one step away from her Big Silver. Carol Carnahan obtained her SS-I Diploma, so she also is one her way to get her Big Silver. Jim and Lynn Walker danced for and obtained their Silver Medals. And finally, a new member of Scandia DC, Soren Huber, danced for and received her Bronze Medal. Soren had badly injured her foot while on a farm near Tromsø, Norway. She was sure she would not be able to participate in the Uppdansning, and we very reluctantly took her out of the roster. She had been number 44 on Friday, but that slot was now listed as Utgår. She did, however, come to the Virtanen's Training Camp and with just three days left in the camp, she thought she might try a dance - Bingsjø Polska. Amazingly she was able to dance very well, although her foot was still in some pain. We decided that she might be able to dance up in Bingsjø Polska (6 points) and Bakmes & Polska från Idre (8 points), but she was never going to be able to manage her third dance - Bondpolska från Viksta - on an injured foot. Luckily she had been practicing Orsa Polska (10 points) for over a year and decided to replace Viksta with Orsa. We were able to get her back in the Uppdansing in Österdund, still in slot number 44 - just two positions away from the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. She danced beautifully, received rave comments from the Swedish onlookers, and earned her Bronze medal. We are so proud of all our dancers who worked so hard and demonstrated their expertise in Östersund.
Since 2008, Linda and Ross have been traveling to the Uppdansning on the even years - '08, '10, '12, '14. But we made an exception in 2015, to see Sonia White attempt her Big Silver medal. She, of course, succeeded, and we are so very proud of her. Now Scandia DC has four Big Silver recipients. In addition to Linda, Ross and Sonia, Lisa Brooks also traveled to Sweden this year to dance Fortsättning Dans with Tom Sears. Linda partnered Ted Johnson who succeeded in earning his SS-1 diploma, while Ross and Linda danced Diplom. This year's Diplom dances were seven dances from Värmland - Polsk från Finnskoga, Hambo från Hagforstrakten, Slängpolska från Karlskogatrakten, Slängpolska från Svanskog, Mazurka från Eda, Schottis från Karlskogtrakten, and Störing. The judges selected the following four dances for our Diploma ring to demonstrate: Hambo från Hagforstrakten, Mazurka från Eda, Slängpolska från Karlskogtrakten, and Slängpolska från Svanskog. Apparently we did OK since we received our diplomas with "Ja" marked for each of the four dances.
We returned to Sweden in 2016 when the Uppdansning was held in Östersund (Jämtland). Linda and Ross danced both Fortsättning and Diplom. For Fortsättningdans, we danced Bakes från Lillhärdal, Slängpolska från Stugun and Bondpolska från Viksta. The Diploma dances were eight dances from Gästrikland - Polska från Åmot, Bondpolska från Överhärde, Bondpolska från Hedesunda, Trestegsvals från Hedesunda, Bondpolska från Bäck, Polka-polkett från Råhällan, Mazurka/Gubjuck från Årsunda, and Tyskpolska från Jädrås. Ross partnered Soren Huber for her Silver medal. She danced Klackpolska från Norra Ångermanland, Polska från Boda, and Bondpolska från Viksta. Soren began Klackpolska without wearing a hat for her Leksand folkdräkt. During the dance, while Ross was dancing hands free, he pulled out her hat that was hidden underneath his vest and placed the hat on Soren's head. The audience loved it. Carol Carnahan and Ted Johnson danced for their SS-2 diploma, the last stage before the Big Silver. Their big dances were Bakes från Hede (Persons variant), Enbenspolska från Bingsjö and Gammalvänster från Oviken. Their three small dances were Polska från Sudra Dalarna, Slängpolska från Övre Klarälvdalen, and Polska från Alfta elder Arbrå. Sven Olsson, one of the Uppdansning judges, chose Polska från Alfta. Everyone passed. We are so proud of them.
The next Uppdansning in 2017 will be in Dalarna. We don't yet know if it will be in Orsa. There is a rumor that it might be in Boda instead.
Currently there are 14 members of Scandia DC holding medals from Polskmärkes - uppdansning. They are:
Linda Brooks Bronze 1999 Silver 2000 Big Silver 2003
Lisa Brooks Bronze 2008 Silver 2010 Big Silver 2014
Carol Carnahan Bronze 2008 Silver 2010 SS-2 2016
Lindsey Dodson Bronze 2016
Andrew Feldman Bronze 2008
Soren Huber Bronze 2014 Silver 2016
Marita Johanson Bronze 2008 Silver 2010
Lars Johanson Bronze 2008 Silver 2010
Ted Johnson Silver 2014 SS-2 2016
Christine Kalke Bronze 2008 Silver 2010
Ross Schipper Bronze 1999 Silver 2000 Big Silver 2003
Jim Walker Bronze 2012 Silver 2014
Lynn Walker Bronze 2012 Silver 2014
Sonia White Bronze 2008 Silver 2010 Big Silver 2015