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The St Raphael's German Folk Dancing Group is based in Blacktown as part of the St Raphaels Community for German speaking Catholics. In the interests of carrying on the traditions and culture of their parents and ancestors, the young people of the community formed a folkloric dance group in 1976. The dancing group provided the young people of the community with the opportunity to socialise with other young people of similar heritage and also provided the remainder of the community with entertainment on festive occasions. Since that formative year, the group has expanded its horizons and repertoire to be one which is continually in demand for performances at a variety of functions.

The group performed for many years at the National Folkloric Festival held annually at the Sydney Opera House. It performs annually at Sydney's premier "Oktoberfest" held at the Fairfield Showground. The group has appeared three times on live television on Channel 9's 'Today' and 'Kerri-Anne Kennelly' shows. A highlight for the group is the biannual National Volkstanzfest at which it has danced for the past 14 years in various major cities around Australia.

The group performs traditional dances mainly from the southern regions of Germany and Austria. Emphasis is placed on couples where figure dancing and flirting are characteristic of the dances. A feature of the dancing is the popular slap dance - the "Schuhplattler" - performed by the male members of the group. This typifies the strong physical nature of the dancing which the males use to impress their female partners.

Joe Gurka - Group Leader | Jan 13, 2007