The group began in 2001. Our desire is to preserve our rich culture and heritage, introduce our community to traditional Donauschwaben folk dancing, to instill a love and appreciation for dance and to be a symbol of Donauschwaben culture in Canada.
The Donau Dancers bring their unique dances and costumes to many events; cultural, corporate, local, and international. They have been involved in numerous multicultural festivals in Canada and abroad, travelling to Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Mansfield, Frankenmuth, Toronto, and Windsor. During the Kitchener Oktoberfest, North America’s largest Bavarian festival, the dancers are always a hit, and have thrilled audiences at numerous venues throughout the region. They also march in Canada’s grand Thanksgiving parade. Building new relationships with other Donauschwaben groups and instilling a love and appreciation for dance come hand in hand with the Donau Dancers. And of course you can enjoy them every other year at Christkindl Market.
The Donau Dancers is a group which believes in exploring traditional folkdances and perhaps converting them into a unique experience using imagination and skill. Because the Donauschwaben homeland follows the Danube River, these include dances from southern Germany, Austria, the Czech and Slovak Republics, former Republic of Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, and Russia. The core focus of the group is on “Donau-Schwäbische Tänze” and keeping those traditional dances alive.
The group’s repertoire contains a series of folkdances performed to contemporary German hits. This means that their dances range from the slower, traditional style to the energetic, out-of-the-box style.
The Schwaben Dancers are an energetic, Germanic folk dance group who love to entertain and electrify their audience. Their dances draw on their ancestral cultural origins from the Rhine region and blend them with the regional influences of the Danube River Basin. A plethora of artistic infusions from the Alps skirting the Carpathians across the northern Balkans to the Black Sea molded this distinctiveness. The cultural richness is further enhanced by several centuries of Hapsburg influence. In addition to a classical repertoire they have a selection of non-traditional choreographed compositions. By merging long-established steps and patterns with contemporary music they demonstrate a variety of styles and tempos. From the leisurely and uncomplicated to the nimble and intricate, a group engaged in extending the horizons of folk dance.
The Men's ‘Tracht’ is typical for many cultures in the region. It consists of a black vest with silver buttons and black pants. The modest ensemble is completed with a white shirt and black shoes. Men also have the option to decorate their vests with pins.
The Ladies' ‘Dirndl’ is the standard costume for performances. It consists of a black bodice with an aubergine skirt. Accenting trim lines of the outfit an aubergine rope with black and aubergine ruffle. Under the dirndl, a white cotton blouse is donned and petti pants (bloomers). The apron worn over the dirndl is an aubergine satin with black lace tied in the front, on the left side. The side the apron is tied on determines their marital status. The dirndl is worn with white ‘trachten’ socks and black character shoes with 1-2" heels. Ladies also have the option of decorating the top portion of the dirndl with pins.
An exquisite piece, the Ladies' ‘Tracht’ is worn for more formal occasions and performances. It consists of a burgundy skirt worn with a black lace apron tied in the back. Under the skirt, there are two starched white petticoats to add additional fullness. On top, a black velvet vest with a white cotton blouse is worn. White ‘trachten’ socks and black character shoes finish this costume.
In the past, they have travelled as far as Germany and Hungary to demonstrate and learn about their culture. Were co-participants at the opening celebrations of the Donauschwäbisches Zentralmuseum in Ulm in the year two-thousand. Journeyed to competitions and gatherings in Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Detroit and most recently Cincinnati.
They perform numerous times throughout the year, at many different locations and events. Locals closer to home include Niagara Falls, Orillia, Toronto, Windsor, Leamington, Delhi and Milverton (just to name a few). They have performed at Casino Rama, the main stage at the Vancouver Olympics Torch Relay 2010, and at the Toronto Waterfront Festival: Tall Ships Challenge. They are especially busy during Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, North America’s largest Bavarian festival, where the Schwaben Dancers perform through-out the region — and march in Canada’s greatest Thanksgiving Day parade.
And finally, to end the year, volunteering to perform at the Kitchener Christkindl Market.