Culture and traditions

Typical dances of Germany: folk and traditional dances

Although Germany does not have a national dance, if we find different traditional dances, among which the Schuhplattler, the polka and the waltz. In what follows, we explain the history and characteristics of each one. Also, we indicate the regions in which they originated.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.


This typical dance comes from the alpine regions of Bavaria and Tyrol, hence in Spanish it is known as «tyrolean dance«. It is popular in both Germany and Austria. Literally, his name means "hitting shoes."

Its exact origin is uncertain. However, there is evidence that it was already practiced more than a thousand years ago. It is a popular dance, since it evolved from the hand of farmers, hunters and woodcutters of small towns.

It is from the eighteenth century when it begins to practice as it is known today. At the end of the 19th century, traditional costume clubs from Germany were created, in which these dances were the main activity.

Although in principle he danced as a couple, his best known style ended up becoming an activity for men. In the past they carried it out to impress women. Nowadays, it is also traditional among children.

Men hit the sole of shoes, thighs and knees with the palms of their hands. Meanwhile, women revolve around them. It has no rules, it is improvised, and even acrobatics are executed.

The Schuhplattler: traditional dance of Germany

During the performance, it is common to imitate some typical professions of the country, such as lumberjack (Holzhacker). There is more of 150 songs with which you can practice the Schuhplattler.


Polka emerged in the 19th century in Bohemia, a territory that currently belongs to the Czech Republic. It is believed that its creator was Anna Slezáková, a woman who danced to accompany a folk song called "Uncle Nimra has bought a white horse."

Music teacher Josef Neruda was responsible for developing and popularizing it. Little by little, it spread throughout other countries such as Austria, France and the United Kingdom. It also became part of German culture.

It is a dance that takes place in couple. It has a two-by-four beat and is fast time. It is common to be represented in important parties such as Oktoberfest. In Germany, we also found the Oom-pah, which derives from polka.

This dance is also popular in some areas of South America such as Brazil and Argentina, where it is practiced in some cities, among which we find Quilmes. It is also practiced by the Germans of the Volga, inhabitants of Latin America whose ancestors were Germans from the Volga River area in Russia.


This composition was very popular between the 18th and 19th centuries in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, especially in Bavaria. It is of peasant origin, although later the elite of the society began to practice it.

His music can be instrumental or also accompanied by the voice. It has a three-by-four beat and is danced as a couple. It's a choreography intense, in which the rhythm is marked with the footsteps.

When dancing, the couple's bodies get quite close. For that reason, at first I was frowned upon. The Church and the authorities tried to ban it, since it was not considered appropriate.

As in the rest of dances, when you practice them you usually wear the typical German costume: the Dirndl and the Lederhosen. If you want to know more about this topic, visit the following article: What are the typical German costumes for men and women?


The word "waltz" comes from the verb walzen, which in German means "turn." It began to take place from the twelfth century, but it was not until the eighteenth century when it became popular.

Same as him Ländler, from which he received influences, the Waltz was condemned in the early nineteenth century. However, he later became accepted. It had its heyday after World War II.

Typical dances in Germany

Is a ballroom dancing for couples, with a slow rhythm and a three by four beat. It has different variants, such as the English waltz or the Viennese waltz, which is faster.

To practice it, you must have a straight pose, as only the legs move. Rotating and reciprocating movements are performed. The man puts his right hand on the woman's back and with the left they shake hands.

Numerous prominent musicians composed waltzes known around the world today, such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Frédéric Chopin or Johann Strauss, author of "The Blue Danube." You can listen to this waltz in the following video.


He Zweifacher It is a regional dance of southern Germany, practiced mostly in Bavaria. It is from the 18th century and its name is translated into Spanish as "two times" or "double".

No osbtante has other names like Schweinauer or Schleifer. In total, you can dance with 112 different songs, which are known with 474 names different.

It is a fast-paced dance and irregular times. It runs in pairs, in a close position. It has similar steps to those of the waltz. However, some parts remind the polka.


He Maypole refers to the trunk of a tree decorated with colored ribbons that is planted in the Maifeiertag, a holiday celebrated on May 1. In other countries, it is known as May Day.

The center of the celebration is the tree, known as maypole. Around this one a traditional dance is carried out: each participant takes one of the tapes that hang from the tree. Women rotate in one direction and men in the opposite. In the following video of Youtube We can see a representation.

During this holiday, the Germans, dressed in traditional costumes, gather outdoors, dance and taste the local cuisine. This festival of pagan origin commemorates the Start of Spring.

This article has been shared 119 times.

Finally, we have selected the previous and next article of the block "Cultural diversity"so you can continue reading:

Leave a Reply