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November 24th, 2007 – by: katieroseD
The highlight of weekend was attending a traditional Bavarian dance presentation with dances that began in the 1600’s. In Bavaria, a different dialect of German is spoken called Swabian. Now, Tom and I have really been working to become semi-functional German speakers but when the announcer started speaking Swabian we had no choice but to sit back, drink our beer, eat our bratwurst and kartoffelsalat (potato salad), and enjoy the show.
The group of dancers ranged in ages from 5 to 75 years old. All the female dancers were in long dresses and the male dancers were in lederhosen. The dancers are ordinary people who practice all year for this presentation. Some of the older members have been doing these dances since they were young children.
I was surprised to learn that most men get official lederhosen (which directly translates into leather pants) at the age of 20 years old.
The presentation was a full show with dancing, singing, instrument playing, book readings and dramatic performances. In my mind the “M.V.P.” Award would go to the male dancers who used the wooden benches. Six grown men walked out onto the stage with three benches. The dance started with some stomping, leg slapping/hand clapping, high kicks and patty caking when all of he sudden the men jumped onto the benches then over the benches and finally jumping backwards onto the benches. All I could hear were the benches creaking as the middle bowed slightly. I continued to imagine all the painful nights practicing. Missing that bench means you and your partner are “shit out of luck”!
The whole experience was wonderful! I am continually amazed how important culture and traditions are to the German people.
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