What is Balfolk?
Coined in the 1970s, the term “balfolk” refers to an event where both musicians and dancers practice music and dances inspired by or taken directly from the traditional folklore. The main difference with folkloric events, though, is that balfolk exists solely for the joy of dancing and socialising (people don’t dress in traditional costumes or perform dances on stage for an audience), and its inclusive nature has made it very appealing to all types of people and cultures.
Though mainly rooted in the french traditional culture, these events sport all sorts of dances (group, couple and solo) from all parts of Europe, and it is quite common to find very different groups proposing very different repertoires during a bal: from the traditional instruments and styles (such as the violin, bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy and the accordion in popular music) to more recent ones (including electric instruments and jazz). What’s the common trait? The dances.
Here’s a list of the workshops proposed so far in festivals in Europe. This list is to be taken as an example only, as I constantly try to improve and learn new ways of having fun with what I know.
If you’d like to discuss something specific, feel free to contact me.
- The master of steps – a fast jump into the core dances of balfolk today
- Frame it! – develop your posture in couple dances to become a top leader and follower
- The Groove – a musician’s tools for improvisation in couple dances
- Over Heels and Ears – music training for non-musical dancers
- Put your hands up – a dive in the portuguese repertoire of traditional dances
- Breton Dances for the Bold and Brazen – fast gavottes and furious ridées? Yes, please!