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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 103 dances to choose from, each dance having a point value ranging from 5 points up to 10 points. You cannot choose a dance that   Big Silver Medal
Big Silver Medal
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. Sven Olsson 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 Älvdalen ( 8 pts )
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

Polska från Orsa ( 10 pts )
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:

High-Point Dances
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]
Low-Point Dances
Bakmes från Klarälvsdalen* ( 7 points )
[* = without acrobatics]
Polska från Bingsjö ( 6 points )
Polska från Ore ( 6 points )

The three compulsory hight-point dances and the low-point 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:

High-Point Dances
Senpolska från Östra Jämtland ( 10 pts )
Gammal Vänster från Oviken ( 10 pts )
Polskor från Bingsjö - Polska, Springpolska, and Enbenspolska ( 10 pts )
Low-Point Dances
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:

High-Point Dances
Storpolska från Vemdalen ( 10 pts )
Bakmes och pols i turer från Idre ( 10 pts )
Slängpolska från Torp ( 9 pts )
Low-Point Dances
Polska från Södre Dalarna ( 6 pts )
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 to the right 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
  Kicking the Plank
Kicking the Plank
can continue dancing what is called "Diplom". Each year, a set of around 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   Brons Medal
Brons Medal
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.   Silver Medal
Silver Medal
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! & Hurrah!

Currently there are 11 members of Scandia DC holding medals from Polskmärkes - uppdansning. They are:

Linda BrooksBronze 1999Silver 2000Big Silver 2003
Lisa BrooksBronze 2008Silver 2010SS-II 2013
Carol CarnahanBronze 2008Silver 2010 
Andrew FeldmanBronze 2008  
Marita JohansonBronze 2008Silver 2010 
Lars JohansonBronze 2008Silver 2010 
Christine KalkeBronze 2008Silver 2010 
Ross SchipperBronze 1999Silver 2000Big Silver 2003
Jim WalkerBronze 2012  
Lynn WalkerBronze 2012  
Sonia WhiteBronze 2008Silver 2010SS-I 2012