Elizabeth and Alfred Ullrich


German, Swiss
German, Swiss

Elizabeth Ullrich



Elizabeth Ullrich was born in Dresden, Germany. At the age of ten, she joined a Turnverein class. She went on to schooling in Leipzig and Berlin, majoring in phsical education. She choreographed the gymnastic drills and exercises performed by 2,500 women and girls at an annual Turnfest in Frankurt.

Elizabeth and Alfred Ullrich, 1975 In 1925, three weeks after she and Alfred Ullrich were married in Dresden, Alfred emigrated to the United States, settling in San Diego to pursue his profession as an ornamental iron worker with an uncle. Elizabeth joined him a year later in 1927 and finished her high schooling at Sweetwater High, followed by attending San Diego State. She augmented her college classes with a correspondence course and obtained her permanent teaching credentials. Elizabeth bore Alfred a son, Walter, who became a chemical engineer in the San Francisco, California, area.

From her physical education teaching (she also gave many exhibitions, including one at Disneyland), Elizabeth naturally graduated to teaching folk dancing in the 1950s and formed the leading the international folk dance group, the Chula Vista Folklaenders, in San Diego which specialized in Swiss and German dances. Elizabeth returned to Germany in 1934, 1958, 1963, and 1970 (the latter lasting ten weeks) visiting with a brother and two sisters-in-law in Dresden, learning more folk material, obtaining costume pieces, and purchasing more German music.

Elizabeth was active in the Folk Dance Federation of California, South, and hosted meetings of the Federation at her Oktoberfests in Chula Vista.

Elizabeth and Alfred celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the German American Society in El Cajon, California, on April 20, 1975 (photo at left). Although Alfred died in 1979, Elizabeth continued right on with her folk dance activities until her death on January 21, 1986 at the age of 87. The dance Lisel's Waltzer was composed and performed in her honor by the Gesundheit performing group, which was founded by several members of that group who started dancing in her classes.

Dances Elizabeth taught include Kuckuck Polka, Giuvens Grischuns, and Marchier Polka.