On 11 November, 1976 two couples, formerly with the Mannheim Mixers, founded the Rokoko Dancers square dance club.
The name Rokoko Dancers, however, did not refer to the age of the dancers. The idea behind it was rather to establish the club in the town of Schwetzingen with its Rokoko castle. This plan failed though, due to the lack of a suitable location. We did find a home however, in the youth hostel in Mannheim.
Meanwhile, one lady and two gentlemen had joined the four founding members. German law allows the founding of a club with seven members, but for square dance seven is not enough.
We were very fortunate in that this problem solved itself with the first caller of the new club: Lou Popowsky. He had shortly before moved to the vicinity of Mannheim, together with his wife Carol, also a dancer. There she was: our fourth lady!
On 8 January, 1977 we had our first club night. Very shortly thereafter we had an Open House which resulted in a rather sizeable class. This class broke all records, for it lasted nine months and "burned out" three callers: Lou Popowsky, Rusty Marlow and Gerhard Kamm.
After this marathon we started the second class in 1978 with our new club caller Jim Herrington.
On 1 January, 1978 all of us walked through the palace grounds in Schwetzingen to look for a suitable location with a view of having a special dance there.
The first Rokoko special consequently took place in the Rokoko castle in Schwetzingen on 16 & 17 September, 1978, followed by 7 more specials at the same location. Construction work and increasing hire charges in Schwetzingen forced us to move another 12 Rokoko specials to Mannheim and the surrounding area.
By the way, the stroll through the palace gardens in Schwetzingen at the beginning of the year, on 1 January, starting at 2:00 pm, has in the meantime become a tradition as has the club's birthday celebration in Lenzkirch-Saig in the Upper Black Forest. At that location, we celebrated our 2nd club birthday in 1978, together with square dancers from Offenburg, Lahr, Emmendingen and Freiburg. By now even the restaurant and hotel businesses adjust their autumn break to our schedule.
35 years have just flown by. We have undertaken a lot: 20 Rokoko specials; Winter Jamborees in1980 and 1985 in Plankstatt; Easter dances on the Saturday before Easter; dances between Christmas and New Year. We even celebrated a square dance wedding in our club hall at that time, in a German army barracks in Mannheim.
We also had quite a turnover of callers. After Lou Popowsky and Jim Herrington, Holger Willm, Joachim Bradl, Roland Federle, Michael Knöthig, John Sanderlin, Leroy Gonzales, Mike Goff, Gerhard Kamm and Don Casper called for us. One of them faithfully over all those years celebrates our birthday with us: Lothar Weidich Thanks, Lothar and Uschi; we hope we will be able to enjoy your company for a long time to come.
This year we will also celebrate our 35th birthday. As every year, everybody who can make the time and would like to dance with us on Saturday, 12 November, 2011 in Saig is very warmly welcome. Between 11:11h and 12:12h we would like to welcome you in the "Haus des Gastes" in Saig with a glass of champagne in order to toast to many more wonderful years of square dance.
Starting at 14:11h (2:11 pm) we will really get going with the motto "Nothing is impossible" - just wait and see! At 20:35h (8:35 pm) we will move on to the after party.
As always, the weather will be perfect - no reason to stop you coming.
We are looking forward to welcoming you.
Your Rokoko Dancers from Mannheim
Engl. Translation: Ursula Kreis