Bauern Dance

Bauern Dance

I would like to know the origin of the barn dances. I thought naively, that they were called that way because they were danced in barns. A friend told me, that she read somewhere that, they have german origin (bauern dance, peasants dance), that’s why they are also called germans. So you learned sessioneers, could you confirm this?

Re: Bauern Dance

In England, a ‘barn dance’ is generally understood to mean a dance gathering - much like the Irish ‘Ceil

Re: Bauern Dance

A similar argument arises over the relationship between "contra dance" and "country dance". I’ve heard arguments for either being the original. Trouble is, the documentary evidence is so scanty that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, so it’s difficult to determine which came first.

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Re: Bauern Dance

"contra" and "country" have nothing to do with each other — it has to do with "contra" as in a different language (I think French or Italian, originally) - Brad defined it at https://thesession.org/discussions/455

Zina

Re: Bauern Dance

In Sweden we’ve got a common kind of dance tune called ‘schottis’ (swedish spelling for schottische) that sounds and feels exactly like the Irish Barndance. And the interesting thing is that there is another name for this kind of music and that is ‘Rheinl

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Re: Bauern Dance

I read a bit about traditional music and dance in various countries years ago when I was a student. From what I can remember this Bauern dance theory seems somewhat unlikely. When the German upper classes developed some interest in music and dance of the lower classes in the 19th century they called it Volkstanz and Volksmusik, Volk being the ordinary people, farmers, labourers and all. I never found the term Bauerntanz (farmers’ dance) mentioned. I may be wrong; ask your friend for her source.
Interesting though that these dances are called germans (where?when?)
greetings from Germany,

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Re: Bauern Dance

i’ve also done some research about the barndances while posting this thread: According to a site about Donegal fiddling, the german origin of the Donegal highlands and barndances seems certain. The barndances are called germans in Donegal (from german schottische)

Re: Bauern Dance

I think two things are getting mixed up here. Types of dance like polkas, mazurkas, schottische and rheinl

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Re: Bauern Dance

I don’t know about Germany or Ireland, but here in Sweden they did certainly dance in the barns.

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Re: Bauern Dance

Perhaps the building of a new barn would have been an important event in the life of the village and there would have naturally been dancing and general jollity to celebrate. Just a thought.
Trevor

Re: Bauern Dance

I agree that there are two issues — "barn dance" as a generic type of music and dance, and "barn dance" as an event. As a dance type, "barn dance" is an alternate term for what would be called a "schottish" in France or other parts of Europe. As an event, yes people really do dance in barns, we still do here in the Canadian prairies and, I’m sure, in other places. I’ve been to a few barn dances — the dancing is done on the second level of the barn where there is often a good sized plank floor to dance on. You wouldn’t want to do anything too fancy or refined in the setting but a barn dance works fine in a barn (imagine that!) as do other old time dances or international folk dances.