Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt’s Main Page
Pomeranian Dance, Music and Song
Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt is the name of a Wisconsin performing group. What do you think “Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt” means? Understanding those German words will help you to understand what the group does.
Pommersche (sounds like, PUMM-er-sheh) means Pomeranian. Pomerania is a region near the Baltic Sea that is now a part of Germany and Poland. Many of the people in the dance group had great-grandparents who came to Wisconsin from Pomerania.
Tanzdeel (sounds like, TONTS-dale) means dance group. The first part of the word (Tanz) means “dance” in German. The second part (Deel) is the word for “hall” or “big open space.” In many German homes the Deel was where people would hold parties and dances.
Freistadt (sounds like, FRY-schtott) is the last word in the group’s name and it means “free city.” Many Pomeranians were German Lutheran. They moved to the United States for religious freedom. Freistadt, Wisconsin was settled in 1839. That makes Freistadt the oldest German settlement in Wisconsin!
The three parts of the name, Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt, tell us that this is a Pomeranian dance group from Freistadt, Wisconsin. The name is long, so the group often uses PTF for short.
Where did the dancing start?
The Pomeranian-American community in Freistadt kept many of their old traditions. One of those traditions was folk dancing. But after many years in the United States, the villagers in Freistadt forgot most of the dance steps. Then in 1977, a group of people in Freistadt wanted to revive their ancestors’ folk dance traditions. They formed Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt to do that.
If you want to see Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt perform today, you can find them at ethnic festivals, like Milwaukee’s Germanfest, the International Institute’s Holiday Folk Fair, and Pommerntag. They will be wearing brightly colored outfits that represent the original settlers of Freistadt and dancing lively group dances that they have revived.