German Polka Dance Tradition Featured in “Dutch Hop!” Film on NET

News Release Date: 
November 11, 2020

For Immediate Release

German Polka Dance Tradition Featured in “Dutch Hop!” Film on NET

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nov. 11, 2020) – The hammered dulcimer, accordion, trombone and bass blend to create unique polka melodies and the 100-year-old dance tradition of the Volga Germans.

Meet the musicians, dancers and families who treasure this cultural gem and keep the tradition alive in the Platte River valleys of Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming in “Dutch Hop!” It premieres Saturday, Nov. 28 at 5:30 p.m. CT on NET, Nebraska’s PBS & NPR Stations.

“Dutch Hop!” is a new local film by Chris Simon and Anne Hatch which will be broadcast by NET. It features the unique polka music and dance tradition of the Volga Germans who brought it to the Great Plains.

A Polka Nuts band member plays a hammered dulcimer.“NET helped the team take our work from the hard drive to the screen. The film now has the ability to reach a larger audience and bring the Dutch Hop story beyond the Platte River valleys,” said producer Anne Hatch.

Dutch Hop is not the “ump-pa-pa” polka that is familiar to most people. Little known by folks outside the community, Dutch Hop dancers add a bounce to their steps and sometimes an extra hop or a stomp to the smoother traditional polka dance.

“The music will make you tap your feet and find a partner to try out the steps. Don’t be fooled, it looks easier than it is!” said Hatch.

John Fritzler and His Polka BandThe “Dutch Hop!” film features those who treasure the melodies, including Steve Deines from The River Boys, whose family has played Dutch Hop for more than seven generations; sisters Michele Haddick and LaRae Szafraniec, who were young girls when they formed The Polka-Nuts with their dad, Mike Gaschler; and Randy Eckhart who took over his dad’s band, the Dutch-Hop Music Makers, and struggles to keep the tradition alive in a changing world.

In anothThe River Boys courtesy Wyoming Folklife Collection, Georgia Wier.er part of “Dutch Hop!” Dorothy Richard of Scottsbluff tells how the music of her father’s accordion soothed the family through hard times working the sugar beet fields.

The film also includes music from some of the top Dutch Hop bands such as The Polka-Nuts, John Fritzler and his Polka Band, The River Boys and Randy Eckhart & the Dutch-Hop Music Makers.

“Dutch Hop!” repeats on NET at 8:30 p.m. CT, Monday, Nov. 30; 7 p.m. CT, Saturday, Dec. 5 and 8 p.m. CT, Thursday, Dec. 10. The program will also be available for livestreaming at these same dates and times at netNebraska.org/live.

            # # #

MEDIA CONTACT:  Kim Rogers, 402-660-5521, krogers@netNebraska.org

NET, Nebraska’s PBS & NPR Stations, is the statewide public media service dedicated to creating opportunities for Nebraskans to engage with critical issues, compelling stories and quality entertainment. NET serves each of Nebraska’s 93 counties with 52,560 hours of programming each year on four television and two radio channels, plus online and mobile content. In addition to providing free, high-quality educational programming for children, NET provides programming in the arts, award-winning news and current affairs information and emergency alert services. For more information about NET, visit netNebraska.org.