Speaking about Dances by the Danube!

I remember sitting in the Hall at 4666 Bristol Road, the old building referred to as “the shack.” This was a small, deteriorating building at our Neshaminy property, or as the old Schwobs called it “Shaminy.” I was watching the older teenagers/young adults preparing for a dance performance to be presented at the Grand Opening of our new building in January of 1966. I still remember tapping my feet to the music as their rehearsal progressed. I then thought to myself, I can do that too…

I have come full circle, I sat the other night, at the Dancing by the Danube Workshop and was still tapping my feet to the music, only now I was thinking how happy it made me that our young people are still, after almost 60 years, from that day, still on the dance floor smiling, laughing and having a ball.

It has probably been almost two years since we heard from the Landesverband der Donauschwaben, U.S.A., about the idea to host an instructor and his assistants to come to America to teach to us some fine points of the current technique, feel and dances that are the current repertoire in Romania, Hungary and Germany. Our President agreed that we should make it known to the Verband that we were interested in hosting. Plans followed, and indeed we were in the mix.

I don’t think that we ever imagined that we would have an opportunity like this one, in our own town, hosting guests of all ages from Romania, Canada, Lancaster, PA, Delaware, and New York to join in with us in celebrating our culture.

Marlene E. Fricker

From time to time, events like these warrant a different kind of coverage here at our website and for our ongoing record. Checkout the below thoughts about the workshop from om our members and some of our guests:

“The workshop was more than expected, but in the best way possible. We learned so many dances, polka styles and some fun facts about where the techniques are from. We definitely got in a good workout, but we also laughed and made some great memories. I am thankful we have such great connections and are able to share these traditions. I am looking forward to implementing some of these dances into our repertoire in the future!”
-Allysa Reiter

“Taking part in this workshop was such a great experience! I had the opportunity to learn a variety of polka styles and dances  from different regions. Having never actually trained in the various different folk dances, the Müllers Tanz-Haus and the U.G.H. dance group made it a very welcoming and fun atmosphere for my first experience. It was cool to hear back stories on many of the dances that I see regularly performed. I look forward to seeing some of these new dances performed and potentially getting to take part in them.”
-Krista Pinkerton

“On November 7th & 8th we were able to learn from three instructors from Romania. Learning and performing the dances brought me back to our group trip in 2019 when we went to a dance workshop for two weeks. Our two nights were jammed packed with learning their community dances, kid dances and different forms of polka. I’m so fortunate to be a part of this community and be able to partake in experiences like this with some of my closest friends.”
-Michelle McFadden

“I thoroughly enjoyed getting to learn new cultural dances from a new source and perspective. While it’s nice to dance and learn within our own group here at home, being taught by Bogdan and his crew felt fresh and exciting. These kinds of experiences don’t come around very often and I hope it won’t be too long before they can return to teach us again.”
-Joey Reiter

“The dance workshop last week was energetic, informative, and a great learning experience! Every dance either basic or a bit higher level was unique! The instructors were very impressive and fun! It was great to learn the various polkas, figures, and steps; I hope to continue these dances as a group!”
-Mikaela Malofiy

“The Allewiel Jung Volkstanzgruppe from Lancaster Liederkranz want to thank the U.G.H. for their invitation to a great dance workshop.  We had a wonderful time and hope to be able to share some of what we learned with the rest of our group.  Thank you again for thinking of us and your hospitality.”
-Members of the Lancaster Liederkranz

“What a fantastic experience being taught so many different styles of polkas by Bogdan, Andreea, and Denisa! We all had so much fun and I’m so glad we had some visitors join us from other dance groups (both Donauschwaben and Schuhplattler) came out to join us for the workshop! It is experiences like this that really showcase how much dance and culture brings us all together, truly something special. I didn’t know I could Zeppel polka so much in the span of 2 days hahaha. I’m really looking forward to continuing to practice the dances we learned and adding them to our ever-growing repertoire! Hopefully one day we’ll perform them as effortlessly as the Mueller Tanz Gruppe.”
-Emma Walter, Cultural Group Chair

“The Dances by the Danube Workshop was super! I was fortunate enough to have experienced Hansi Mueller’s dance workshop in Hungary and Romania in 2019 over multiple days and it was extensive and exhilarating! As President of the German Hungarians, I was so happy to host the Team here in the U.S.A. giving our members and friends this wonderful cultural opportunity. It made me happy to see so many participants smiling and truly enjoying this dance experience. Bogdan’s energy, technique and the variety of polkas taught were my favorite!”
-Janet Fricker Malofiy, President

“Taking part in the cultural dance workshop led by Mueller’s Tanz Haus was a refreshing experience for me, especially after a hiatus from practices this fall due to school. Despite only attending one night, I quickly picked up the steps and dances, enjoying the chance to dive into diverse cultural traditions. It was enjoyable not only to reconnect with friends and family but also to meet new faces and learn these dances together.”
-Kristen Reiter

“For two nights we learned traditional folk dances from Eastern Europe that varied in difficulty level. This gave us the opportunity to have multiple generations out on the dance floor. Our instructor Bogdan was great as he stood in the middle of the circle for each dance and would instruct us on the new steps for each dance. I wouldn’t be surprised if we incorporate these steps into our repertoire!”
-Sasha Malofiy Jr.

“Dancing, friends, and best of all … a professional Romanian dance instructor!! What can be better than that!? We had a great time learning over 7 new types of polkas including the belly polka and the “arsh” polka! A great time and a serious workout had by all!”
-Sofi Walter

“Coming together to learn new dances has always been something I enjoyed as being part of the club. It was even more enjoyable as over the past week I got to see my children dance around the house doing what they learned. It will forever be a memory ingrained in my heart.”
-Brianne Galgon

“The dance workshop with Bogdan, Andrea, and Denisa was all around a wonderful time. Many of the dances were ones I remembered learning at the 2019 Welttreffen, and it was an absolute blast to learn them again as a group and touch up our polka skills. It was so special as the German Hungarians to have three different generations on the dance floor together. Thank you to Muller Tanz-Haus for the demonstration and camaraderie!”
-Karina E. Fricker

“Thoroughly enjoyed both nights of the workshop   Another great event that I felt brought everyone together  in both friendship and dance. Things we definitely love to do!  A little seppl polka in versions we never knew!! When’s the next workshop!! We are in,  Sign us up!!!”
-John & Connie Reiter

“It was wonderful to be able to participate in the recent dance workshop. Memories took us way back to participating in the U.G.H. Dance Group many years ago. The many cultural dance steps presented were both familiar and some were new. Maybe one day we will be able to once again attend the Heimattage in Ulm or even in Timisoara, Romania and get to experience the unity of dancers from near and far upholding the cultural folk dancing of our ancestors.”
-Michael & Betty Wagner

“On Wednesday, November 8th I brought my granddaughter Evie to the Cultural Dancing Workshop presented by the Hansi Mueller dance instructors. Marlene Fricker opened the workshop with brief comments regarding the instructors and the guests who were in attendance from Delaware, Queens, NY, Lancaster and Los Angeles. As an observer, I found the instructors, Bogdan, Andreea and Denisa to be very knowledgeable and talented dancers. I especially enjoyed how Bogdan mixed in the history of the dances while teaching the dances. All of the dancers participating seemed to be enjoying themselves and I look forward to seeing the new dances performed in the future.”
-Kathi Noel

“The event was a blast! The instructors bounced from one dance to the next – so much polka! The breaks were quick and then it was right back to the dance floor. The lessons pieced together nicely. We warmed up with the children’s dances, moved into different polka styles, and finished with the more complex dances. I absolutely loved this dance workshop!”
-Sarah Polk

“These dance lessons were really helpful for me. Each of the steps for all of the dances were broken down and repeated multiple times. Switching partners through the dances helped me work on my polka. I had such a great time and enjoyed learning with this group.”
-Daniel Polk

“Great workshop! A large group gathered both nights with all ages and backgrounds to learn some new dances. Thank you especially to the Instructors and the Verband, the Stiftung, and the United German Hungarians for organizing and making this happen. It was especially fun to learn different types and styles of polka and hear the areas in Banat that they originated.”
-Werner Fricker III

“What a wonderful two nights attending and participating in the Dances on the Danube workshop. I never knew there were so many different polka steps. Although not for the faint of heart, young and young at heart learned and danced for almost 3 hours each night. It was truly “Schwob Aerobics”. It was wonderful to see our younger generation quickly learn what they were taught. This is a tribute to their commitment to keeping up our culture and also a tribute to all our German Hungarian teachers.”
-Joseph S. Reiter

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