Alsace 101: Alsatian Folk Dance Group and Country Music
March 04, 2019
If you’ve ever been to Alsace, chances are you’ve seen the traditional costumes either on souvenirs, signage, or worn by members of folk dance and music groups.
The Geudertheim Country Music Society has a 182-year history in Alsace. The first president Jacques Roser, a soldier of Napoleon I, and the Roser family held the presidency of the society for 111 years—from 1836 to 1947— and the Henches family directed the society from 1922 to 1991. Since then, numerous other families have held the post, but these two long-time directors are credited for establishing the society and cultivating its tradition.
The outfits for each member are prescribed by their roles, identifying their social status: the dancers, musicians, and the young people—called “conscrits”—have distinct coats, hats, and vests for the men, and skirts, embroidered aprons, and hats for the women.
Another group, Le Groupe Folklorique de Hunspach, has been an official society since 1976, and is located in the far northeast of Alsace, about 7.5 miles from the German border. The troupe of about 15 musicians and 30 dancers also perform in authentic costumes, which are prescribed by various statuses: different outfits are worn on working days or Sundays. The costumes vary for single or married women, children, and for special occasions such as weddings.
There are many opportunities throughout the year to observe the performances, with more information available at the Alsace tourism site.