Folk Dancing from Denmark
Information about the dancing group
We are a group of folk dancers from Denmark. We are amateur dancers and only dance for pleasure. We belong to various associations in Denmark and have only gathered for this trip to the United States. Some of us live not far away from the city of Odense where Hans Christian Andersen, the fairy tale writer, was born. Others live not far away from the town of Billund where the toy producer LEGO has its seat.
For many of us, this is our first visit to the United States. A few of us have, however, been to the US several times. This year our trip starts in Durango, Colorado; from Durango we go to Brasstown, North Carolina, continue to Berea in Kentucky, and we end our visit in Washington DC. This trip is supported by the organization DAE, Danish America Exchange, which has its head office at the Berea College. With the help of DAE many groups of folk dancers and athletes from our two nations have had the opportunity to visit each other.
The folk costumes, the dances and the music all date from the period between 1750 and 1850. Around the year 1900, great efforts were made to collect and preserve costumes or rather models of costumes, notes and dance descriptions, efforts from which we greatly benefit today.
As for the costumes, they are all different as there is no specific Danish national costume; each region of Denmark had its own specific traditional festive costume which people of course did not use for everyday wear. Our costumes are all handmade, the fabrics are woven on handlooms according to the old patterns, and the costumes are handmade and are worn only at performances. Some of the dancers have made their own costume as you cannot go to a shop and buy a ready-to-wear costume. For general and performance practice the dancers wear their ordinary clothes.
The dances and the music also originate from different parts of Denmark.
The number of people dancing folk dances in Denmark is declining, whereas music lessons are highly popular, and many young people are taught traditional music at music schools or at music academies. Today, many new Danish folk music bands are staging concerts all over the world. Of course the old notes from 1750-1850 are used, but with new arrangements. New pieces of music are also composed. The musicians who have joined us for this trip have both graduated from the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense and are going on a tour to Japan next month together with a female singer.