About Us

The Rathkamp German Folk Dancers (Die Rathkamp Deutsche Volkstanzgruppe) were established by Monroe and Betty Rathkamp in 1959, and have been going strong ever since!  We strive to preserve and perpetuate the folk dances, customs and culture of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and to cultivate a public appreciation of these by performing in authentic costume accompanied by traditional music.

Because dancing is something all can enjoy as a family regardless of age, our group has always maintained its family focus by including children and even grandchildren in our performances.  We especially enjoy involving our audiences -- young and old alike -- in our audience-participation dances!

Our repertoire includes dances from all over Germany, Austria and Switzerland: beautiful and graceful Ländlers with their many figures; Schuhplattlers (foot slapping dances) from Bavaria and Austria; guild (occupational) dances such as Mühlradl (Millwheel) which represents the grinding of grain, and Die Hammerschmiedgesell’n (blacksmith journeymen); wedding dances; and many other folk dances.

Our everyday folk dress includes Lederhosen for the men and Dirndls for the women.  Our special-occasion festive folk dress ("Festtracht") is a Miesbacher Tracht (i.e. from the Miesbach region of Bavaria, Germany).

Our exposure to the Gauverband Nordamerika became the seed for the Rathkamp German Folk Dancers taking the lead in forming, in April 1990, a federation of German folk dance groups in the state of Texas which later became known as the "Deutscher Volkstanzverband Texas" (German Folk Dance Association of Texas),  an association which unites all the German folk dance groups in Texas.  In 1994 we became charter members of the American Federation of German Folk Dance Groups and were represented at the 1997 Bundesvolkstanztreffen in Erfurt, Germany.

In addition to performing for festivals, schools, churches, private parties, etc., we also teach German folk dances to German language students of all ages.  We have performed all over the state of Texas, as well as several states throughout the USA.  We have even performed in Vancouver , Canada as well as in Germany.

About our Dances

Many of the dances which our club performs are Volkstänze and Figurentänze from Bavaria and Austria (with a few dances from the German-speaking portions of Switzerland thrown in). Some examples of our favorite dances include:

Bankltanz
Bavarian Ländler
Böhmischer Ländler
Dreisteirer
Finsterauer Ländler
Hirtenmadl
Hofbräuhaus Ländler
Kronentanz
Muehlradl
Niederbayerischer Ländler
Pinzgauer Boarischer
Puchberger Schottisch
St. Gilgen Figurentanz (Boarischer)
Steirischer
Sternpolka
Untersteirer Ländler
Weiss-Blau (Zwiefacher)
Zillertaler Ländler

We have also performed several Schuhplattlers, including:

Amboss
Andorfer
Bankltanz
Gamssprung
Haitauer
Haushammer
Holzhacker
Reit im Winkl
Schnacklwalzer
Unterwestner

Our repertoire also includes several Volkstänze from North Germany and even a few Jugendtänze, such as:

Changier Quadrille
D'Hammerschmiedsg'selln
Das Fenster
Dölziger Mühle
Feuerfest
Jägerneuner / Jägerquadrille
Kreuz König
Maike
Mein Mann ist gefahren ins Heu
Nagelschmied
Rheinländer
Sauerländer Quadrille
Schwarzbrot
Wolgaster

Periodically our performances will even include an audience-participation dance!

Over the years we have performed many other dances not listed here, and of course we also learn and perform new dances (well, new to us, anyway).

About our Tracht

Tracht is the word used to describe the costume that we wear. We have several different outfits.

Our Festtracht is what we wear on special occasions. Our Festtracht is a Miesbacher Tracht, which means that it is the style that is worn in the Miesbach region of Bavaria, Germany.

The men's Tracht includes a long-sleeved white linen shirt with vertical pleats in front, dark red cloth tie (same material as the women's skirt), green wool vest with red piping, black Lederhosen with green Stickerei (embroidery) on the flap and legs, black leather Hosenträger (suspenders) with Quersteg (crosspiece) embroidered with the Bavarian crest, gray wool knee socks with green trim, black shoes, and a green velour hat adorned with a Gamsbart.

The women's Tracht includes a short-sleeved white linen blouse, black Mieder (bodice) fastened with silver chain/hooks/pins, white linen shawl with cotton lace inserts, dark red pleated skirt with two bands of black ribbon near the hemline, white linen apron, white knitted stockings, black shoes, green velour hat adorned with a white plume feather, and traditional Bavarian jewelry. Most of the pieces are imported from Germany.

Here is a photo of what it looks like.

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