Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria

The Austrian folk dance movement

Applicant: Dr. Helmut Jeglitsch, Vorsitzender der Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Österreichischer Volkstanz
Province: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Vienna
Domain: Performing arts
Year of inclusion: 2011

The Austrian folk dance movement is rooted in the research and collecting activity of a few persons at the end of the 19th century. It has borrowed much from rural traditions, despite the fact that these elements have mostly become indistinguishable. Concurrently to the systematisation and chronicling of the various dances, a concentration and alignment towards Austrian peculiarities was begun. Yet, instead of simply collecting and safeguarding the dances for posterity, they are increasingly taught and thus saved from extinction.

In the centre of the folk dance movement’s identity lies the collective dancing across the various age groups and skill levels, rather than the performance by professional dancers. It should be highlighted that a canon of Austrian basic dances has formed over the years, which has found its way into the repertoire of dances in Austria and South Tyrol. The dance performances of the Austrian folk dance movement usually work in a similarly set cycle, starting with the entrée, followed by the dance sequence, and ending with a finishing circle.