Schuhplattler Gruppe

We preserve, maintain, and enhance the understanding of German tradition with a strong emphasis on the Bavarian region through costumes and customs. A strong emphasis is placed on furthering the engagement of youth in order to pass on knowledge for many generations to come.

The group upholds the following mottoes:

The group maintains, furthers and preserves historical records of Bavarian culture and heritage by means of:

History of the Schuhplattler Dance

The Schuhplattler certainly belongs to the most characteristic of all Bavarian forms of expression. The word "Schuhplattler" has its origins in the fact that the dancer strikes the soles of his shoes ('Schuhe') with his hands held flat ('platt'). The 'inventors' were simple folk: farmers, hunters, woodsmen. It's difficult to determine the exact origin and history of the dance.

"Ruodlieb", a knight's poem written by a monk at Tegernsee monastery (not far south of Munich) in the year 1050, describes a village dance featuring "leaps and hand gestures" that could actually denote an early form of the Schuhplattler.

When the empress of Russia spent time in 1838 at a spa in nearby Wildbad Kreuth, the locals honored her with the performance of a dance that very closely resembled the Schuhplattler. During the dance, the boy was allowed to move however he liked to the melody of a 'Ländler' folk tune, i.e. he would make figures, leap, stomp and slap while his girl rotated in time with the music and did not join him until the waltz began. His unregimented, free 'plattling' was known as "Bavarian dancing".

From about the mid-1800s onward, the Schuhplattler dance moves became increasingly standardized and "group plattln" came into its own. On July 15, 1858, a Schuhplattler dance was performed in Upper Bavaria on the occasion of King Max II's trip through the Bavarian mountains.

In 1861, a "Gemütlichkeit Club" was formed in Miesbach (also south of Munich, not far from the Austrian border), which changed its name to the "Schuhplattler Society" in 1866. In 1883, Joseph Vogl founded the "Club for Preservation of Folk Costume in the Leizach Valley" in nearby Bayrischzell, and from that time onward, the phenomenon of regulated Schuhplatteln developed in the folk costume clubs.

There are about 150 different Schuhplattler dances, and regional differences are evident throughout the areas in which the Schuhplattler is part of the local culture: the Königssee in the east to Lake Constance in the west, from the Danube River in the north to the border of Tyrolia in the south. Wherever the dance is performed, it is irrevocably linked with Bavarian tradition and genuine zest for life.

This text was translated from "Heimat- und Trachtenbote" No. 17 / 1986 + 5 / 1987 + 2 / 1991


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