There are very many folk dances traditionally practiced in Germany. Among the best known, however, are the Schuhplattler and the waltz.

1. The waltz

Hochzeitspaar beim Walzertanzen

This dance can be practiced only in pairs. The step pattern in 3/4 time must be strictly observed. Very distinctive for him are the fast body turns. So it is not far that the name originated from the old German word “walzen”(to turn). The waltz is danced in many styles. The best known should be the Viennese Waltz. The most famous composer of waltzes in the world is Johann Strauss(1825-1899, Austrian). The term waltz appeared for the first time in 1781 in one of Friedrich Schiller’s works.

2. Schuhplattler

2 men playing Schuhplatteln

This traditional folk dance is also known worldwide for Germany and Austria. It exists in many different forms, but the basic form is always the same. The most popular forms are the “Holzhacker” and e.g. the “Bankerl” where a bench is used as a sport object. According to a legend, it goes back to the mating dance of the capercaillie and is said to have been practiced similarly in this region for a good 1000 years. Basically, it is a test of strength of boys for the courtship of the ladies present, who are also included in the dance.

The men clap themselves alternately after firm pattern on thigh and shoe sole. Meanwhile, they stomp(platteln) vigorously with their feet on the melodious wooden floor. Obligatory, of course, is the quaint elaborately decorated costume of leather pants, felt hat with feather, flat low shoes and thick knee socks.

Schuhplättler 1950er
Schuhplättler 1950s


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