For Polka in Nebraska, Just Add Czechs


It's not a great story, but the photo slideshow that goes along with the New York Times' piece about polka dancing in Nebraska is worth a look. The story is about the polka joints throughout Nebraska. Lots of Czechs, lots of polka — polka dance halls and polka shows on the local radio.

But the declining economy has thinned out the people, and those who have moved to Nebraska recently didn't come from Eastern Europe. Fewer Czechs, less polka. The Starlight Ballroom in Wahoo, Nebraska, used to fill with 800 people for Saturday night polka dances then. Now, the dancers come, although they are fewer and older.

“It’s our generation’s fault,” said Darlene Kliment, 68, who owns the Starlite with her husband, Ron. “When we were growing up, our parents would take us to the dances. We’d fall asleep on the side of the stage, or in the booths. But then when our generation grew up, we got baby sitters.”