Over the centuries, sailors from Terschelling came into contact with the local dance and music culture in foreign harbor pubs and brought it home. Because they did not remember every step, an island repertoire developed from the preserved fragments, performed in a style of their own. A style characterized by spontaneity and its own rhythm, very different from the old dances on the mainland. The Terschellingers like to stomp and a brisk pace, although the musician is of course the determining factor in the latter. The repertoire includes 32 dances, including very old ones. 5 of these dances were performed only at West. The oldest is undoubtedly 'het Wilhelmus', this is a real Terschellinger dance, dating from the 17th century. The traditional dances were passed on without the intervention of dance teachers. There was no question of uniformity, nor of precision. This sometimes gives a somewhat messy impression, but spontaneity and fluency make up for a lot.
Shortly after the Second World War, modern dances began to displace traditional ones. Yet, people on the island continued to long for the old dances with the cozy harmonica music. When a few people from Hoorn took the initiative in 1947 to set up an association, the interest turned out to be so great that another departement in Midsland was created within a month, because they did no longer fit in one room. Three years later, a departement in West was added. The first two departments are still active today. They each have their own board and their own practice room and they give demonstrations in traditional costumews during the summer season. Abroad (from Harlingen on) there is joint action. The performances give visitors an idea of the traditional island dance culture and it's costumes.
The dates for the demonstrations in 2023 are not yet known.
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