Schuhplattler is a traditional folk dance originating in the southern German regions of Bavaria and Tyrol. The word schuhplattler comes from the combination of the the two words “schuhe” (shoe) and “platt” flatt, reffering to the way in which the dancers strike their shoes with their open, flat hands in order to create a loud slapping noise. One of the earliest records of schuhplattler dancing came from a poem written by a monk living south of Munich around the year 1050AD who described the facinating courtship dances performed in the local alpine villages, though some historians believe the origin of the dance may be thousands of years prior.
The modern form of schuhplattler dancing is very different than the type of dancing performed prior to the 19th century. Schuhplattler was originally a male-only dance where the dancer would “freestyle” to the music with impressive athletic feats thought to mimic the courtship dance of the Spielhahn (or Auerhahn) bird. Today, the dances have become more standardized, with dance clubs each specializing in their own regional dances. Schuhplattler is now usually performed in a group with synchronized movements that include both men and women, leading to the impressive displays of energetic dances paired with colorful traditional clothing that you might see at our events.