Lipsi, when DDR created a new dance to stop rock’n’roll

Listening new rock bands was actually impossible for youngsters who lived in Soviet bloc

All western bands were strongly censored by regime, above all rock’n’roll was not tolerated at all. Although listening to Elvis, Rolling Stones or Beatles was very hard matter, the ban was bypassed and their music albums came into DDR, getting really famous. Soviet party’s chiefs worried about the fact that youngers were listening this music, so they decided to think a new dance up. The newborn dance was created to be catched on them in order to eclipse the success of rock’n’roll: Lipsi was born.

Soviet reply to decandent and vulgar Western rock’n’roll

Soviet leaders felt disconcerted by dances which spread out since the end of 50s. They were the opinion that Elvis’ basin movements were almost pornographic, and besides, a tête-à-tête dancing between teenagers was a not- well-identified danger for social order. In order to prevent that this new kind of music could keep influence on DDR teenagers, Soviet leaders were determined to compose a new music and dance, both were suitable to the (chaste) education of Socialist youngsters. About Lipsi, René Dubianski composed its music, whereas dancing was created by Christa and Helmut Seifert dancers. As reported by J.Elke Ertel in his book entitled «Walled In – A West Berlin girl’s journey to freedom«, the name was not choosed by chance. All three authors came from Lipsia which was obviously situated in Soviet bloc. Adapting the latin name of the city, Lipsiens, they created an original name: without good reason, they actually thought that the final «i» would have given an «american» and new-fashioned guise, more fashionable for teenagers. Once music was composed and dance was created, the strict Soviet censorship let pass it: challenge against capitalist West could be begin on the dancing floor too.

A guidelines to dance Lipsi, for perfect party in Eastern German style

Surely, you are now curious to know how to dance Lipsi that is essential to organize a DDR themed party. The lyrics, composed by Dublansky and reported by Anna Funder in C’era una volta la DDRsaid: «These days all the youngsters dance Lipsistep, just it; These days all of them want to learn Lipsistep: it is hip rhythm! Rumba, Boogie and Cha Cha Cha are old-fashioned; out of the blue, a new rhythm has come from nowhere and it is about to be still». The piece is in 6/4, as it was a speedy waltz. The Seiferts created a very simple choreography which is quite similar to a rumba blended with waltz as defined by Ertel, so as the youngs could learn quickly. The most curious aspect was that any kind of basin movements was strictly forbidden, only chest movements were permitted. Dancers almost never moved close to each other, staying at safe distance: all that contributed to create an «innocent» choreography. But even though it was beaten the drum for it, Lipsi didn’t hit the big time. Socialist teenargers continued to prefer Western rock’n’roll with its own unfettered rhythm and, listening to Lipsi, we can’t argue with them. If you want to learn more about history of this questionable dance and everyday life during those years, you could visit DDR Museum in Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse, Berlin.

Cover image: A Lipsi step – Screenshot from Youtube’s video


Haus der Offiziere, an army base settled in south Berlin which has been working till the 90s      

Have you ever heard about Haus der Offiziere?                                         

Wunsdorf, Germany. Approximately 27 miles away from Berlin lies an army base called “Haus der Offiziere,” which stands for the «officers’ compound.» Opened in 1916, the building hosted Kaiser William II’s troops. Later on, it was used over World War II as a Nazi command center. The fortress “operated” until 1994, when the last soldiers permanently abandoned it.

Haus der Offiziere as Moscow secondment during the Cold War

Werner Borchert, 67 years old, works as a tourist guide in the building; the man claims that “Haus der Offiziere appears to be a tiny Moscow in a German territory.” In fact, during the Cold war the building became the center of the soviet army for the Eastern part of Germany. Inside the building were several facilities, such as a theater, a museum, a swimming pool, many barracks and different kinds of shops. The army base, approximately 4 miles wide, is surrounded by an eleven-mile-long wall and can contain about 40.000 soldiers. The complex still worked after the reunification of the country. Since the mid-1990s, the base has been abandoned and left unattended.

How the “forbidden city” appears today

During the soviet regime, it was almost impossible to reach the army base. Due to this reason, the building earned the name of “forbidden city” as German citizens couldn’t get into the building. Today, if you want to visit the ex-army base, it is possible to do so by booking tickets in advance. At the main entrance stands a Lenin statue; also, a set of Nazi vaults is to be found there. Currently, the base belongs to the federal state of Brandenburg; however, the building doesn’t have a real owner who can refurbish it.

Photo: Herr_Rettschlag CC0

Kurt Drummer: the most followed chef by DDR housewives

Kurt Drummer: a tv chef throughtout the DDR period

The Chef Kurt Drummer played an important role during the DDR period. In fact, he was the leading figure of a German tv program called “Der Fernsehkoch empfiehlt”, which means “Advice from the tv Chef”. The show went on air in 1958 on a television broadcaster service which belonged to the eastern side of Berlin. Over his 25-year-long career, Chef Drummer had the chance to undertake food science studies and to be a chef in a well-known hotel chain called Vereinigung Interhotel. Moreover, he won several international cooking competitions in London, Budapest and Vienna.

“Der Fernsehkoch empfiehlt”: Kurt Drummer’s tv show

Kurt Drummer was born in Germany (Gornsdorf) on 20th March 1928. He was both a Chef and a German showman during the DDR period, when almost 650 episodes of his show came out. Drummer started his career in August 1958. The first episode of the cooking show was called “Delicious fish meals”. Over the years, he released lots of episodes in which he showed people his recipes. Drummer’s tv show episodes usually went on every Saturday night and, in some occasions, on working days or in prime time. With a chef uniform and a white hat, Kurt Drummer shared his passion for food paying attention to its nutritional value. His advice was really popular among his audience. One of his suggestions was to use one ingredient rather than another: for instance, margarine instead of butter to make brown bread.

The tv show ending

The cooking show “Der Fernsekoch empfiehlt” was really appreciated by DDR housewives. Thanks to the easy and healthy recipes presented during the show, people enjoyed Drummer’s work. The program was interrupted in 1983 due to Drummer’s health problems. The chef explained to the spectators that he had no longer energy to fetch ingredients and come up with new recipes as stated by the tv contract.

Photo: Pexels CC0