Bavarian Folk Ensemble
By Dick Oakes
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THIS IS HISTORICAL INFORMATION ONLY
The Gebirgs Trachten Erhaltungs Verein D'Isartaler (literally mountain costume upkeep of club the Isartal) was a group formed by Morry and Nancy Gelman in 1962 in Los Angeles, California.
In November, 2009, Morry wrote, "I was fortunate to have five of the best folk dance men in Southern California for my first attempt to form a Bavarian-style folk dance group in California that would meet on a regular basis. Nancy (Nan) and I were thinking "kolos" when we settled in the Los Angeles area after seven years in Germany, so we went to the Hollywood Playground 'Kolo Nite'. Dick Oakes, John Skow, and Vic Wintheiser were there. I only knew John and he introduced me to Dick and Vic. They all seemed to know we had been to Bavaria. John asked if I could show these three men how to schuhplattle. I said that I'd be happy to show them what to 'practice'.
The playground had a locker room, so I suggested that if they could come at 7:00 p.m. the next week, we could practice for an hour in the locker room beofre kolo nite started. The three of them showed up and they got 'initiated' with the 'Kreuz-schlag'.
After two or three times in a small crowded locker room at the playground, I suggested that we might meet early on a Tuesday night at the school where the Westwood Folk Dancers met. We thus practiced in a small room next to the gymnasium. That's when the three others, Bill Garber, Sid Heyman, and Dave Slater, looked in, having heard about the practice, and asked if they could join.
There were three married couples at this period of dancing. Four single women came from the Westwood and Santa Monica folk dance groups. We were still somewhat an informal group at this time, but we performed for a Folk Dance Federation of California, South, monthly folk dance festival. I then called this first group of American dancers D'Isartaler, after a Munich regional group (Gau).
Nan and I began our first teaching at a the 1959 Stockton Folk Dance Camp, teaching Bavarian (Munich style) Schuhplattling to American men and women, on the invitation of Walter Grothe."
VIDEO: Reit im Winkl Schuhplattler
Dick Oakes and Lynn Callahan
IN SLOW MOTION
A year later, the group had grown to 13 members.