I don’t know how many are really familiar with our club By-Laws. What today encompasses our dance groups of any and all ages is outlined near the end of the document under Article XVII. The subtitle of that article is “Children’s Cultural Group.”
This article includes six numbered by-laws outlining the purpose, function, and coordination of this group. It might surprise many to learn that the No. 1 under this article does not say a single word about dancing:
“1) The prime purpose of the conductors of the Children’s Cultural Group shall be to teach the children poise and discipline, and instill in them self-assurance and a sense of responsibility.”
No. 2 under that actually calls the cultural activities of “folk” and “traditional” dancing (of all nations) a “secondary function.”
Recently someone asked me how long I had been dancing with my club. I did not think a lot about answering that I began around age 2. The asker, however, was surprised at that and impressed maybe as well.
As I wrote and re-wrote this piece, I thought about that answer of 2 years old and also about the first by-law under the section about the Cultural Group. I and many others have started dancing at age 2 but the German Hungarians began teaching us about poise, discipline, and responsibility at that age or even before that.
The 50th Anniversary History of the Cultural Group states:
“Involvement in the Cultural Group has become the young member’s first foray into club-life.”
The ways in which this group has grown and expanded and evolved means that membership in it need not be capped at any age. In 1976 the Schuhplattler Group formed expanding the Cultural Group repertoire. For other performances, the group is billed as the “German Hungarian Dancers,” usually for black tie type affairs. The Cultural Group then is the first foray, but it can be a continued part of club-life at any age. I became aware of this idea even more strongly as my 2-year-old and his cousins and friends have taken their first dance steps in the recent years.
The framers of our Constitution and our By-Laws wrote them with deliberate language. The founders too of the Cultural Group were specific in their plans for a dance group. As an American club the group was formed, organized and named. It was codified into our By-Laws, purpose and name.
We don’t have a Kindergruppe, Jugendgruppe, a Tanzgruppe, Trachtengruppe, or Kulturegruppe.
We do, and are quite thankful to have, the Children’s Cultural Group with room for all ages to be a part.
Michael N. Fricker
NOTE: The featured image was selected because it shows my children’s group preparing for a performance in the 2003 Christmas show. The theme of the show that year was the revolutionary war and showed George Washington (myself) and Betsy Ross (Michelle Paul) collaborating on the original American Flag. The remainder of our friends played the colonists and we all together performed the minuet in G.
L to R: (front row) Sofi Walter, Mikaela Malofiy, Sasha Malofiy Jr., Kristen Reiter, Janet Malofiy (Cultural Chairman); (back row) Anneliese Simon, Fallon Weyershaeuser, Michael N. Fricker, Michelle Paul (McFadden), & Allysa Reiter.
Visit our Dance Group page for more information about joining!