Performed mainly by adults is a European dance form known as Schuhplattler. This “folk” dance has originated from the Alpine regions of Bavaria and Tyrol located in southern Germany and Austria. This dance style involves the use of “acrobatic” body movements. Furthermore, this dance is also extremely popular for its colourful costumes. In addition, this dance as of today is also performed in many parts of Europe due to the influx of a large German migrant community.

a. History/origin of the Schuhplattler:

According to the history of this dance, it was first officially publically recorded in the year 1030 AD.  It was in fact a monk belonging to the Bavaria region who observed this dance and described the “leaps and hand gestures” used frequently in details. However, it is over the years that this dance form gradually evolved as farmers, hunters belonging to various Bavarian regions began practicing this dance style regularly. Furthermore, it was only in the early 18th century that “acrobatic” body movements were eventually included in this style of dancing. In addition, it was eventually during the late 19th century that traditional costume clubs (locally known as Trachtenvereine) for this dance form was first established in the Bavaria and Tyrol region, which then gradually spread within the German communities living in America as well in other parts of the world.

b. Costumes used in the Schuhplatter:

The costumes used mainly in this dance style are as follows:

  1. Lederhosen: Basically a form of knickers worn by the performers. Due to comfort it provides for especially during summer months, the short Lederhosen are commonly used as compared to the long one.
  2. Dirndl: Essentially a servant’s dress comprising of a long skirt, bodice, blouse, and apron which was created during 18th century. Furthermore, during the winter months this costume is made from wool, heavy cotton, or linen, while during summer it is made up of a lighter material and possesses short sleeves.

c. Music involved in the Schuhplatter:

The musical instruments traditionally used in this dance form include a zither i.e. a form of a stringed instrument, and a guitar. However, nowadays the accordion or the concertina is mainly used.

d. Training availability and the dance technique involved in the Schuhplatter:

In terms of technique, this dance involves the performers using movements such as stomping and clapping. In addition, hands are also held flat while performing this dance style. Furthermore, marches as well as acrobatic body movements are also used in this dance. As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this “folk” dance is mainly performed in Austria and Germany.

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