I went to Normandy this weekend with the Quayside Cloggies (the ladies North West Morris group I belong to).
I packed pretty light as I didn't want to have to carry much, especially when we were moving between dance spots.
I kept my handbag for essentials like cash and ventolin inhaler, etc. I had enough space to take either my camera or my English/French dictionary in my handbag. I chose the dictionary.
This turned out to be a mistake...
The dictionary came in handy, because I stayed with a lovely French couple who didn't speak very much English.
However, what I hadn't know in advance was that the French Group Alfred-Rossel had also invited a dance group from another twin town in Germany. Die Volktanzgrup de Weileurstenssbligen. (I can't figure out which town it was, but I think its in Bavaria.)
Ottmar from the German group was also staying with Marie and Bernard and his schoolboy English and my schoolgirl German managed to establish that he was a bandertanzer (there's an unlaut on the a, but I get the wrong character when I try to type it).
A bandertanz is a maypole dance, done with adults, not children. They'd brought their maypole (maybaum) 1,100km and here was me without a camera!
It was a wooden pole, a bit taller than my maypole, but also coming apart into two sections. Instead of having a base that they set on the ground, they had adapted their pole (after getting fed up of carrying it in processions) so that the base was in a hand cart that they'd nicknamed the banderwagen. The only drawback is that in spite of a jack at the back, it sometimes moves around a bit when they dance round it.
They don't have a web site (as far as I can tell), they said they had no footage on You Tube (but have promised to try and film the dance for me.)..
Research on You Tube this morning has revealed several interesting facts. There appears to be only bandertanz (aka bandltanz) and it is performed in many different towns. It's always done to the same tune, called (possibly) the bandltanz waltz.
I can't find a copy of the sheet music - if anyone can help, it would be much appreciated.
Some of the maypoles used are massive and can have 30 or more couples doing the dance at the same time.
The choreography is roughly,
1., Couples sway their ribbons in time to the music.
2. Couples either walk or do a slow polka step for eight steps clockwise, then 8 anti-clockwise.
3. Several slow turns with partner, using ribbons gracefully as you pass over and under.
4. Same as three in reverse.
5. Woman face one way, men face the other. A long slow plait is made, going on for as long as you choose.
6. Undo the plait.
7. Each couple do a complete right hand turn together.
8. Women go clockwise, men anticlockwise and turn (left handed) a new partner from the next couple.
9. Repeat this, carrying on in the same direction. This will build up a tent figure.
10. Reverse to undo the tent.
11. Release the ribbons, take your partner in a ballroom hold and polka round the maypole.
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