Der Schuhplattler

Among all national folk dancing being shown in this country, the Bavarian one has found a great number of admirers throughout the years. While watching the performance of a “Schuhplattler” (shoe slapper) one might ask “How did this kind of dance originate?”

It is therefore interesting to know that this dance can be traced back to the 11th century in the area of the Bavarian and Tyrolean Alps. Here the majestic beauty of the Alps impress upon its people the wonders of nature. The people of the Alps tend to hold on to customs taught by their fathers. If you look at the Bavarian “tracht” (formal wear) today and compare it with hundreds of years ago, you will find very little change.

The Schuhplattler is considered a copy of the behavior of the Spielhahn, also known as the Auerhahn. During mating time this bird, the “Don Juan” of all birds, dances proudly in circles, flapping his wings while making musical sounds, very much like our waltzes. The Schuhplattler as it developed is the imitation of this flirtation dance.

There are many different Schuhplattler dances. Each area of Bavaria and Tyrol specialized in its very own. The Haushammer is considered the most basic of all Schuhplattler dances. Some dances are named after places, such as Reit im Wink’l, Ruhpoldinger, Wendelstoana and Ammerseer. One is even called Auerhahn, just like the bird.




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