Polonaise had been danced by peasants for centuries and was formally called The Walking Dance. Later it gained popularity among Polish noblemen and the name was changed to Polonaise. This was when it also became a National Dance, popular in all regions of Poland (hence the variety of costumes).
The 17th century French chronicler Jan Le Laboureur commented, "Je n'ai vu jamais rien de plus grave, de plus doux, ni de plus respectueux." (I have never seen anything more dignified, more soft, nor more respectful).