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Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt

Pomeranian Dance, Music and Song
Freistadt, WI

What do you and your friends talk about on the school bus? Things that happened at school that day? Sports you play? Have you ever had a really good idea on the bus? Young people from Freistadt were on a bus when they thought up the idea to form their dance group!

It all started in 1976 when a Pomeranian band from Freistadt, Wisconsin, Alte Kameraden hosted a performing Pomeranian dance group from Erlangen, Germany. Before they returned to Germany, the dancers invited the people from Freistadt to visit them in Erlangen. One year later, forty young people from the Freistadt area went to Germany. They stayed in the dancers’ homes and learned Pomeranian folk dances.

This family in Hamburg, Germany hosted Freistadt, Wisconsin travelers. Craig Tews is kneeling in the front, and George Radtke’s sister is behind him.

slide show

Click on the slide show to see more photos from PTF’s first trip to Germany.

The kids from Wisconsin loved doing the dances! They flew back to Wisconsin wishing that they didn’t have to stop dancing. On the bus home from the airport, they talked and talked and got the great idea to start their own dance troupe in Freistadt.

The group of young people from Freistadt asked the German dance instructors to come to Wisconsin the next year. The instructors came and stayed for one and a half months. They taught the enthusiastic Pomeranian-American kids even more folk dances. The Wisconsin kids rehearsed every night of the six weeks!

What did the young people do?

Many of the original young people who went to Germany are still in the group as adult leaders. George Radtke and Craig Tews went on the first trip to Germany. George is now the director and Craig is the choreographer for the adult group. The young people on the bus came up with a great idea! Their enthusiasm for folk dancing developed into a tradition that is now very meaningful to their Pomeranian-American community.

The young people in Freistadt learned to do folk dances, but they did more than just that. They revived the Pomeranian tradition of folk dancing that had almost faded away from their community. At the same time, they started a new tradition in their community and in many Freistadt families. That’s the tradition of being in a folk dance group that performs at public events and represents the community’s heritage. Today, the tradition of Pomeranian folk dance is kept strong by Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt’s careful research, frequent rehearsals, numerous performances and strong popularity in Wisconsin.

Are you interested in finding out even more about Pomeranian dances, songs, and music? Then go to Resources for Students for links and book suggestions.

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“A lot of the folk dancing that we had done here was pretty much forgotten. It was very vague. There were remnants of it left but certainly not complete enough to go up on stage and do a real performance.”

– Norman Boehlke

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