Featured News | January 16, 2018
If you’re active in Wyoming’s folk arts scene, you might recall that we’ve been working on a Dutch Hop Polka Project since 2006. Now in its 12th year, the project is still going strong.
Dutch Hop is a social dance that is part of the Volga German descendants who live in Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado. Somewhat similar to polka because it has an accordion and trombone, what makes it unique is the dulcimer. A generation ago, the dances were part of elaborate three-day weddings. Today, dances occur every week around the region. In Wyoming, there has been an annual event in Torrington that skipped 2017. Pine Bluffs and Wheatland have hosted several dances as well. Dances include 1-2 bands and lots of traditional food (sometimes cabbage burgers and baked goods).
In 2012 the project team decided to make a film about the dances, dancers, and bands, hiring Chris Simon, a folklorist and professional filmmaker from Salt Lake City. We filmed over three years in three states and now have a ‘rough cut’ of 2 hours of film (from over 100 hours) that needs to be edited down to 57 minutes.
The Arts Council’s own Anne Hatch has put in long hours over the years, acting as the project’s executive producer. She’s contributed to the project by fundraising (2 NEA grants, Nebraska and Wyoming Humanities, Wyoming Cultural Trust, Colorado Industries, and several private donations) and directing content. The Arts Council has supported the project through Hatch’s time and directly through funds for the editing.
You can check footage in the clip below, and follow the project on Facebook
This in-progress sampler from the Dutch Hop Documentary Project shot in Torrington, WY and Northern Colorado. It features Dutch Hop music by John Fritlzer and his Polka Band and the Polka Nuts. Interviews with community members and experts give context to this unique regional tradition.