We continue our “When I’m Not…I Am” series, highlighting the multiple layers and lives we lead outside of our jobs. We are, none of us, one thing. We are, all of us, visionaries in our own way.
Today, we’re talking to Christian Siebert, one of our Patient Care Coordinators. Christian is always helpful and cheerful with our patients and customers, bringing a kindness and charm to everyone he meets. While we know Christian as an actor outside of work, we wanted to talk to him about a different kind of performance in his life.
Tell me about the “I am” part of your “When I’m Not…I Am.” What do you call yourself?
Schuhplattler, Bavarian Schuhplattler, German Schuhplattler, or just German folk-dancer. It’s a traditional form of folk-dancing from Bavaria and Tyrol in the South of Germany. We wear traditional clothing such as Lederhosen and Dirndls.
How did this come to be such a big part of your life?
My grandfather and his German immigrant parents joined my specific club – D’Oberlandler Milwaukee – when he was 8 years old. When they came to America, they wanted to find others who spoke German and celebrated their heritage. My entire family started dancing when we were able to walk on our own, and we’re currently on our third generation of “plattlers.”
Tell us about some favorite memories and experiences in the life of a Schuhplattler.
One of my favorite memories is when our club hosted the 25th Nordamerika Gaufest in 2015, which is the biennial national competition. We also won first place in the group dance that year!
Another favorite memory is when we traveled to Füssen, Bavaria, in 2017 to attend a Gaufest hosted by our mother-club, D’Neuschwanstoaner Stamm. It was my first time to Europe. Traveling and being with the Schuhplattling community is my favorite part.
There are clubs all over the U.S. We have friends in Illinois, California, Minnesota, Texas, New York…all over!
Are there challenges with this kind of dance life?
The biggest challenges are the expense of traveling, our clothing, and upkeep, but it is well worth it!
What, if you can pick one, is your favorite part of folk dancing?
My favorite thing is summed up in the tagline of the Gaufest we hosted: “Dance, Eat, Sleep, Repeat!” A weekend of this with friends from all over the country, celebrating German culture and relationships, is always so much fun!
Below are some pictures, and our first-place performance in 2015 is here:
Christian, we love your visionary spirit, and thank you for sharing your gifts with us!