Dutch Hop Symposium
Session I: Dutch Hop: The Leap from the Old World to the New
Dr. Timothy J. Kloberdanz
Dutch hop music is close to the heart and soul of Germans from Russia and one of the great symbols of the German Russian culture.
Where did the Dutch Hop begin? Thousands of Germans from Russian participate in this tradition however not all share this art form. The Dutch Hop represents a leap from some Volga German villages to cities of the central plains states to the Rocky Mountains.
The Dutch Hop was practiced at a vast array of celebrations from weddings to anniversaries yet:
· It has nothing to do with Dutch culture
· It is not a hop. Dutch hoppers don’t hop, they stroll but with oomph.
· It does share spontaneity since there are no written arrangements, no prepared steps.
· And some of these customs were picked up from the Ukrainians.
· Wedding march on dance floor
· Special honor dances for parents
· Special dance for wedding cooks includes breaking a dish on the floor
· Theft and ransom of bride’s shoe
· Women dress like men, men dress like women
· Carrying the bride and groom in chairs around the dance floor
Session II: Dutch Hop: Polka with Attitude! A Conversation with Musicians
Gwen K. Meister
· Robert Schmer, accordion and band leader
· Steve Deines, bass and vocals
· Jerry Hergenreder, trombone and vocals
· Joe Herman, hammered dulcimer
It’s interesting to note that the Dutch hop musicians do not refer to sheet music to play. They have picked up the songs by ear and play without reading music and this makes the music fun for them. The band works together to go with the flow and they enjoy the crowd as much as the crowd enjoys them. If the band gets distracted by the dancers and forget where they are in the song, they will always find their way back to it. Most of the musicians learned to play by on to job training.
Dutch hop bands don’t play concerts per se. It’s the dancing that makes the music and the songs more adaptable. If the dancers are enjoying it, the band will play the long version or play the song again. If the mood shifts, they will play a shorter version.
While the musicians carry on the Dutch Hop tradition, the number of dancers was dwindled. The band hopes for more dancers to help carry on the interaction which is critical to the success of this music.
Dutch Hop Symposium
Session III: Dutch Hop: Dance with a Bounce! A Conversation with Dancers
Georgia Wier and Anne Hatch, Facilitators
Dancers Dorothy Richard, Stan Schilling, Al Kukus, Marol (Klein) Goodwin, Lila Ellard, Wally Schmidt, Tim and Mary Trostel and Gene Wilkens shared their stories of how Dutch Hop has been and remains a part of their lives. From two day weddings to dancing on their parents’ shoulders to learning the dance only recently, these dancers clearly showed their joy when it comes to the Dutch Hop. The dance is not choreographed and since there are no costumes or uniforms, this tradition is truly by and for the people.
Food Demonstration-German Sausage
Paul Loos at Immanuel Lutheran Church
Photos Courtesy of Donald Riemer
This collaborative effort was written by Dona Reeves-Marquardt and Lewis R. Marquardt, produced by Bob Dambach, and edited by Ryan Sailer. Executive producers were Bob Dambach and Michael M. Miller.
Major funding produced by Arthur E. and Cleora (Reutscher) Flegel, North Dakota State University Libraries’ German from Russia Heritage Collection and the members of Prairie Public.
Everyone enjoyed the presentation as clearly evidenced by the lines in the bookstore to purchase the DVD immediately after the show. The video is ideal to share with our children, grandchildren and as a program for our chapter meetings. The documentary is dedicated to Margaret Aman Freeman.