Social Events, Dances & Gigs
Ingevalds Spelmän plays for Scandinavian social events including dances, festivals, weddings, special occasions and other community events.
Social & Dance Parties
We play for dance parties in Lawrence and in Kansas City. The events are not just for dancing but provide an opportunity for folks to enjoy a fine potluck meal, socialize, enjoy the music and dance a while. Events are currently organized every two or three months.
A typical evening dance includes a potpourri of group mixer dances (led by an instructor), traditional couples dances and some ‘free form’ dance opportunities.
In Lawrence, we use the fabulous space at the Unitarian Fellowship just on the outskirts of town. (1263 N 1100 Rd – From 31st and Iowa Streets, go 2 miles south on US 59 to N1100 Rd. Take a right and go [west] about 3/10 mile) We dance in the old part of the building that was once a large one room schoolhouse. The wooden floor and potluck facilities are perfect for our events. The cozy atmosphere and quiet location make this an excellent venue.
In Kansas City, dances and potluck dinners are held in an attractive space at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1700 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO. This newly constructed hall has a nice wooden floor. (The Kansas City Scandinavian dancers also meet in this space every Tuesday to practice.)
Special Event Parties
Scandinavian Winter Party – One of our big events is the Scandinavian Winter Party held in early January. It incorporates elements from a Norwegian julebukk celebration and described below.
1) Folks are welcome to dress up in fun costumes (nothing scary like Halloween). At an event in Norway that I attended, folks wore masks resembling old farmers, farm animals (cow, goat), fairies, gypsies, etc. Some folks wore wild wigs. One group came as a Nordic tribe dressed in ‘animal’ skins and put on a skit, (pretended to make a fire, chanted and danced around, etc). Some people also danced around the floor with old farming tools (brooms, milk buckets, etc.). Use your tasteful and creative Scandinavian imagination. (Note – dressing up is not absolutely required)
2) It is possible to include interesting activities such as lefse making, cookie decorating, ornament making, and mask making, depending on those in attendance. Volunteers are encouraged.
3) The atmosphere may also be enhanced by reenactments of traditional activities such as processing traditional food items (lefse, flat bread, or porridge), processing flax, knitting a sweater, etc. Again, use your imagination if you wish to contribute to this aspect of the evening’s atmosphere.
4) Part of the program includes time for telling Scandinavian related stories and folk tales.
A brief description of the Julebukk tradition:
The present day Julebukk tradition varies from place to place in Norway. It may incorporate carol singing by masked and costumed children, wandering from house to house In return, the children might collect gifts of fruit, candy and other food items. Typically this event is celebrated between Christmas and New Years day.
Yule / Jul refers to a wintertime festival and is now absorbed into or considered equivalent to the celebration of Christmas. Today the figure or symbol of the Julebukk – or yule goat is seen as a straw goat, sometimes as an ornament hanging from a Christmas tree.
The origins of the Jul start in Viking times when pagans worshipped Thor and his goat. The Jul month or Thor’s month started on the longest night of the year. This was a time for feasting and rejoicing since this was the time that the sun returned and the days became longer.
One tradition that I read about, said that in these early times the sun represented a wheel rapidly revolving across the sky. This gave rise to an ancient custom found in England, Germany and a few other places. Folks would gather on top of a mountain (or hill) and set fire to a huge wooden wheel twined with straw, which after being set ablaze, was sent rolling down the hill. It would either plunge into a river below, extinguishing itself with a big hiss or would roll into an agricultural field, symbolically making the field fertile and productive. A very good YouTube video from Latvia shows the flaming wooden wheel in action here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeRRB7fbSmI
The Jul feast was Thor’s favorite festival. It was customary to burn a very large oak log, his sacred tree. The fire was an emblem of the warmth and light of summer and this would soon drive away the darkness and cold of winter. The fire had to last all night or it was considered a bad omen. The charred remains of this log were carefully collected and were used to set fire to next years log.
I attended a Julebukk celebration in Fagernes, Norway on the grounds of the local open air museum in 1999. This party took place in large timber building on a very cold night with about 18” of snow on the ground at that time. A button box band played the most energetic and fun music for the entire evening. People were dressed in very creative costumes, concealing their identities. Many folks wore high quality masks, transforming them into unidentifiable old rural farmers. At one point, a tribe of primitive Nordic folks arrived on the scene dressed in animal skins, carrying clubs. They chanted, danced, built a make-believe fire, entertaining everyone in the process. Throughout the evening there were tasty snacks and drinks were available. Around the room various traditional activities were re-enacted, including folks costumed as farmers dancing around the floor with a sythe, cutting the imaginary grains as they went. Others were making lefse or other traditional food items, knitting and weaving or raking up the hay.
Video of a mixer dance at the 2014 Winter Party –
Pictures of the Winter Party 2011 can be seen on this history page https://ingevald.wordpress.com/history/2010-current/ Look for the February 12th date.
Pictures of Winter Party: 2009