Our club performs both Schuhplatter and specialty figure dances from Bavaria and Austria. Many of our dances were influenced by occupations, immigrants to the area and the royal court.
The origins of this dance are found in an early courtship display (Balztanz). Although the form of this dance is known from the middle of the 19th century, older similar forms were practiced. Such dance was described in 1050 by a monk in the knightly poem Ruodieb, wherein similar postures and movements of the Schuhplatter are depicted.
Young men wished to impress marriageable young ladies with their dancing prowess. Initially the style was free without rules. Performed usually in a 3/4 time, one would carry out a series of jumps and hip movements to the time of the music. Characteristically the dancers will rhythmically strike their thighs, knees and soles of the feet and stamp with the feet. Nowadays the dance is usually performed out of tradition, maintaining the older customs.
Austrian Figure Dances
In Austria, folk dances in general are known as Folkloretance, i.e. "folklore dances", whereas the Austrian type of folk dance is known as Volkstanz (literally "folk dance"). Figure dancing is a type of dance where different figures are put together with a certain tune and given a name. Round dancing, which includes the waltz, the polka, Zwiefacher, etc., involves basic steps which can be danced to different tunes. In folk dancing, the waltz and the polka are in a slightly different form to standard ballroom dancing.
Directions to the Elks Lodge
We meet each Wednesday to practice our sets and learn new ones at the:
2255 Santa Clara Ave
Alameda, CA 94501
Parking for the Elks Lodge is located directly behind the building.
Come and join us!