POMMERSCHE DANZ GRUPPE
(Pommeranian Dance Group)
This group is offering its public some specialty that sets it apart from other groups. The POMMERSCHE DANZ GRUPPE provides a powerful calling card among German-oriented communities around their home area of Wausau, Wisconsin.
The POMMERSCHE DANZ GRUPPE have found themselves in increasing demand in many communities of Wisconsin and nationally who require the exuberant Pomeranian German style as an essential ingredient for their festivals, parades, parties and special events. They have performed in Central Park, New York City and participated in the German-American Von Steuben Parades in NYC and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The dancers perform German folk dances from their native homeland, a German province named Pomerania, that was absorbed into Poland in 1945 at the end of WWII. The dancers' love of music and culture, plus their enthusiasm, and encouragement from their audiences, has continued to make them a popular and unique group.
The brilliant colors of their authentic costumes, the "Jamunder Tracht", catch your eye as they perform such numbers as the Putt Yenter and Sauerlander Quadrille. The Quadrille depicts the workings of a Coo-coo Clock. As with many dances and customs, Quadrilles first became popular at the royal courts and then they were adopted by the general public. Later, Quadrilles became unique to northern Germans. Each area developed their own versions, as well as their own descriptive names. The dancers do a number known as "Schwartzbrot" (Black Bread) - a type of quadrille that may have been done in the royal courts.
They perform both couple and group dances in a varied program. Of particular interest is the Wadmal - an interpretive dance of a weaving loom. The four dance parts consist of: threading the loom, weaving (as a shuttle), stretching the yarn, and winding the yarn into a ball and concludes with the unwinding of the ball. Most folk dances have their own meaning and tell a story.
In the group's repertoire they do the Stettiner Kreuz (Stettin Cross) - a very elegant dance, first performed by the royal courts as mentioned earlier in the article. In contrast to the Stettiner Kreuz, they perform the Hammerschmidt's Gazelle (Blacksmith's Journeyman). One of the most important men in the old world was the village blacksmith. The name implies that the dancers are journeymen smiths, in a broader sense the word "Gesellen" means buddies or companions. One member of the dance group hammer's on an anvil, keeping beat, as the dance is performed. This number is not done with finesse, but rather, they appear to be "klutzy" (clumsy).
Wherever they appear, their musical performance strikes up a happy feeling with all people - Gemütlichkeit!
The Pommersche Danz Gruppe started performing, once they had their "tracht" (authentic dress) starting in 2000. Prior to this, the dancers were known as "Die Holzhacker Tanzer" (The Woodchopper Dancers). It's first performance was in Wausau, Wisconsin, being part of the Wausau Log Jam festivities. Being a German group, they were dressed in Bavarian dress; lederhosen and dirndl dresses. This group performed dances from various parts of German including three different forms of the "plattle" (leg slapping and kicking up of heels) primarily Bavarian (Southern Germany) dances. This group concluded is performances at the Lucille Tack Center, turning three busses of people away due to a filled hall.
In 1994, the Pommerscher Verein of Central Wisconsin, organized. It was then that we learned that we really were Pomeranian Germans; thus, the switch to Pomeranian dress and dances. After a six year search and readiness with the formal dress, we began our next journey as the Pommersche Danz Gruppe.
Founder and instructor, DuWayne H. Zamzow.