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The Norse Four

The “Norse Four,” from the Twin Cities, entertained and educated us on May 12 on the history of old Norse courting & wedding customs. The event featured the SG Syttende Mai royalty, grand opening of “A Welcome Home” pop-up exhibit featuring local Nordic collections and crafts, and Norwegian food and drink samples!

Giants of the Earth Heritage Center
163 West Main Street Spring Grove, MN 55974


6:30pm—Welcome and Passport stamped by SG Royalty, viewing of pop-up exhibit.

7pm—Program with The Norse Four began in Immigrant Hall

7:30–Wedding Toast, continued program

7:45–we served Old Norse Wedding food and drink, mingled, Q&A time, more viewing of the pop-up exhibit with local curators Jillellyn Storlie, Rachel Wiste Mattson, and Lee Grippen.

The Norse Four, a talented Nordic Folk Dance and theater troupe from the Twin Cities, presented “Courting and Marriage Traditions of Norway” as our May Passport to Other Cultures celebration. Current Syttende Mai Royalty and court greeted and stamped attendees’ passports and made sure they sampled the traditional wedding foods and drinks (according to old records found by Nordic historians and researchers) after the presentation. The May pop-up exhibit featured local handiwork, art, textiles, and other private collections on loan by community members like you!

About the members of The Norse Four pictured:

Carol Sersland:

Carol grew up in Minneapolis, immersed in the Norwegian folk music and dance community that her immigrant father was at the heart of. They danced his rural Norwegian Telespringar at the first Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 1976. Carol is the Artistic Director of the Norwegian Folk Dance Club and started Fjell og Fjord children’s group when her own daughter was young. Carol performs in communities throughout the United States and on stages such as the Guthrie Theater. Carol wears the traditional bundad (folk costume) from her father’s hometown in Telemark.

Ron Mathisen:

Ron is a folk dancer whose skills and company are always sought in dance circles throughout the US and Norway. Ron and Carol have danced together in the community for decades. His bunad is also in the Telemark style and he himself did the intricate needlework.

Kari Tauring:

A musician, scholar, and storyteller of ancient Norse poetry, Kari joined Det Norske Folkedanslaget (The Norwegian Folk Dance Club) in 2008 to learn traditional Norwegian folk dance from Carol Sersland. Kari and Carol study the intersection of Nordic runes from 160 CE and dances such as Halling (with roots in the Bronze Age) and Telespringar (a 400-year-old rural dance) and other Nordic movement such as skiing. The two perform together throughout Minnesota. Kari will play the Nevelur, a birch wrapped horn dating to 800 CE. She wears a folk costume based on the style of Gudbrandsdal, Norway.

Rachel Ulvin Jensen:

Rachel is a well-known player of Hardingfele (Hardanger Fiddle) within folk music and dance communities and on stages such as the Guthrie Theater. Hardingfele is the Norwegian National Instrument dating to at least 1651. It has drone strings that vibrate in a natural magical way. The sound is trance-inducing and drives the dances. Rachel is part of Twin Cities Hardingfelelag (Twin Cities Hardanger Fiddle Club), seeking to preserve this instrument and its tunes through performance and teaching. She wears a traditional bunad from North Trøndelag.

Graphic of Norwegian Flag
Norse Four in costume
Norsk Four (right to left): Carol Sersland, Ron Mathisen, Kari Tauring, and Rachel Ulvin Jensen
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