Autobiography Letalvsgillet, Degerfors, Sweden
Letalvsgillet was founded in 1980. At present we are more than 80 members.
The name Letalvsgillet is based on the name of the river floating through Degerfors; Letalven.
At the time being we have two dancing groups exercising every week.
Mostly we practise traditional Swedish folk dances but occasionally also international dances.
Beyond dance and music we use to meet frequently for different events like sawing our own traditional costumes where both men and women use to participate. We love to meet for parties. The best party of the year is the Christmas party held a couple of weeks before Christmas every year. We have traditional home-cocked Christmas food and a small theatre act with our own members as “actors”. One year the men and the other year the women are doing the performance. This part of the Christmas party is surrounded by big secret, sometimes not even the “actors” knows what will happen. But the bottom line use to be hilarious!
There are several other dance groups in our neighbourhood that Letalvsgillet have regularly contact with. We meet and learn dances from each other and having a lot of fun together.
The members of Letalvsgillet love to travel and take part of a various things. Twice a year (spring and autumn) we go for a trip in our own neighbourhood to look at something special in the nature like birds and flowers. We are lucky to have some people in the group specialised on these subjects. That gives us an extra input.
During the years we have also made several international travels to Denmark, Norway, Finland, Austria and of course to Degerfors twin town, Oedheim in Germany. Sometimes we travel and make performances together with Degerfors Parade Orchestra.
The dancers and musicians in Letalvsgillet have been lucky enough to win some prices for their show.
In Sweden every town or urban district have its own traditional costume.
Usually we were the traditional costume from the place or district where you are born. That is why we have so many different costumes in our group. Many of us have our roots in other parts of the country or even from abroad.
The biggest event of the year
Midsummer is a big event in Sweden and for folk dancers it is the biggest.
With poles decorated with flowers and leafs we greet the summer welcome with folk dance and music. Every city, town and district has groups of folk dancers performing during Midsummer. Letalvsgillet use to perform at, at least, five places in Degerfors and surrounding areas during one day.
Midsummer is somewhat the great final for all practice during the rest of the year. It gives us an opportunity to show our dance tradition for a big audience.
Degerfors is located in the district of Varmland by the Norwegian boarder.
There are approximately 10 000 inhabitants.
Degerfors is famous for (at least) two things; football and stainless steel.
The football team play in the second division and have been successfully for many years even in the first division.
The river Letalven means a lot to the people living in Degerfors. These days the river is mainly a place for recreation. But in 1660 there was an ironwork founded by the river and that, more or less, started the history of Degerfors. Today we have a high technology developed special stainless steel rolling mill for plate and bar.