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Carnival Dancing

For me, dancing has been in my life ever since I can remember. When I was five I started dancing in a German Carnival Club. Starting on November 11th every year, people in some areas of Germany celebrate Carnival. In German we call it Karneval, Fastnacht, or Fasching, and it celebrates the time before lent. There are several Carnival Clubs in my area, also in the 900 people village I grew up in. A Carnival Club in my area usually consists of several dance groups, a prince and princess, and other representative figures.

Each club prepares an evening of entertainment each year (called a Prunksitzung) where all groups of the club perform and there are also some people who give a ‘Büttenrede,’ which is a funny speech most comparable to stand-up comedy, but still not quite the same. For the Prunksitzung other Carnival Clubs are invited and are allowed to bring one or two of their show acts to perform at the host’s Prunksitzung. There is usually an audience of around 250 to 400 people for each Prunksitzung who also pay an entrance fee from which the hosting club benefits. I started dancing when I was five and did it until I had to leave my home village for my studies when I was 19. So, every year in April we start training for a Fasching season that usually lasts from November 11 to approximately the middle of February, depending on when the time of lent starts. There are different kinds of dance: the Gardetanz (tanz is the German word for dance), which is really hard to describe which is why you should just watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PcfT9w2_zk

Then there is also the so-called Showtanz. For a Showtanz the trainers come up with a theme that the dance revolves around. There all different kinds of themes, as e.g. Michael Jackson, Bollywood, Starlight Express, at a saloon, etc. Then they choose music, choreography, and costumes that fit the topic. This would be an example for a Prunksitzung and a Showtanz with “warriors:”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ax4KNhbMwko

Moreover, there are also single performers, the so-called Tanzmariechen or Funkenmariechen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TboaL37DHC8

There are many levels of skill and some performers only dance and perform for fun; others also compete in different tournaments.

The club in my village has been around since 1952, and ever since then those dances have been performed each year, giving kids in the area an opportunity to be physically active and have fun.

For me, dance practice was the highlight of each week and so I also started training groups myself when I was 16. I am still active in my Faschingclub and support them as much as I can, because I think it is a terrific chance for everybody.

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