Balfolk - also called 'French' or 'Breton' dancing - is becoming increasingly popular on the British folk scene. It provides a heart warming way to spend time with your friends engaging in an activity which inspires so much.
Balfolk is an umbrella term for social dancing in Europe inspired by traditional couple and line dances from central France, from Brittany, and other European traditions. Read more about Balfolk in Joanne Hughes' Starters Guide to Balfolk Part 1 (and yes there is a part two on that site too!).
What's different about Balfolk? There is no actual calling - the dancers are expected to know enough about each dance to just get on with it! This is not difficult - there are only about a dozen or so common dances!
Hire a hall - and invite your audience.
We turn up and do an hour's teaching to cover a few of the Balfolk dances we do, and follow that with a Bal (French for 'ball').
On a typical one hour class we might cover Bourrées, Waltzes and Scottish amoung the couple dances.
We would go over some of the more common Breton dances - Andro, Hanterdro and Tricot.
There is no avoiding the 'mixers' - the Chapelloise and the Circassian Circle - which are getting popular on the ceilidh circuit.
We would introduce the Mazurka - a very popular dance - but one it takes a little longer to get to grips with.
This will give up to eighty people a quick introduction to Balfolk - and enough experience to enjoy the evening. Maybe some of them will get bitten by the bug and become 'Balfolkies' - an affectionate term for people who enjoy this kind of dancing.
Our Bal gives you two or three hours of dancing.
We will play the dances - taking time out to informally explain the steps if necessary.