Workshops block 1 – Friday
Refreshment bourrée auvergnate by Koen, level 3
The bourrée auvergnate is a wonderful playful dance, but not played by every band. It may have been a while ago you danced this dance. This is a short workshop to refresh your bourrée auvergnate and get you ready for the next ball. We’ll practice the style and movements, the leading and following without touching, and some basic skills and conventions.
Pre-requisites: We expect that you already learned the dance before, even if it was a short workshop, and that you are familiar with the basic steps of the waltz.
Rondeaux by Saskia, level 3
Let’s warm up the weekend with rondeaus! We’ll take this hour and a half to dance a rondeau en couple & two kinds of rondeau en chaine that have different sets of steps and timing so you can match your dance to the music and your mood. As we get to know different rondeau steps, we start getting into the groove, the impuls, of these south-west French dances. Once you’ve activated this in your body, you can take this energy and technique along with you to other workshops and balls this weekend.
Pre-requisites: To go into this workshop you already have some experience dancing rondeau en couple as a minimum, so you know a little what to expect and we can make the most of our time together.
Irregular rhythms all over! By Elena, level 3/4
In this short workshop, we will discover the musicality and possible steps of a few irregular couple dances. And look for the hidden pleasures when you master them. Depending on participants, we will travel from scottish, to mazurka, to waltzes with an unusual number of steps.
The idea is to get to a point where you don't have to count in your head any more, and can just enjoy these dances, and possibly even add some musicality and or variations into your dance!
Pre-requisites:For people who have a very good grasp of the usual (regular) couple dances.
Dance with your senses by Line & Mara, level 3
In our daily live we use our sensory organs to find our way through the world. We want to activate each single one of them to support us for intense, special and careful dances, full of inspiration, limits and boundaries, respect and joy. They help us to find a smooth communication with our dancing partners and give a new value to the dance.
Pre-requisites: You are familiar with the most common Balfolk couple dances and know how to lead and follow.
Branle de Noirmoutier by Lucas Thébaut, level 3/4
Here we’ll get to learn more about le Branle de L’Epine, a village on the island of Noirmoutier. This is a collective dance, with lines facing each other in a physical bravery contest. Whoever stops at first receives a feathery kind of penalty …
Pre-requisites: you don’t need any knowledge about this type of dance. Just fun !!
Workshops block 2 – Saturday morning
Fandango by Koen, level 4
This fun but hard Basque dance (North of Spain) is a great challenge for advanced dancers. You can dance it in pairs or small circles. The challenge is in the agility of the feet and the transitions between the separate parts. The fandango is usually followed by an arin arin. In this workshop we will focus on learning/brushing up the fandango.
Pre-requisites: We don’t expect any knowledge of these dances, but you should have a high general dancing level and need be a quick study. This intensive workshop is not recommended to people who are off form or have problems with their knees or ankles
Verticality by Saskia, level 3/4
There are many ways to spice up or smooth-down your dance. Verticality deals with variations on movements in the vertical plane. This can be used as (rhythmic) variation, styling and communication in both a leader role and follower role, as well as individually (in dances such as rondeau and bourrée). For example, verticality is a great way to initiate and communicate rhythmic variations. You can be assured that you will get to experience a lot of fun rhythmical obscurities! We will practice mostly in scottish and mazurka. You will dance mazurka differently than you ever did before! Personally, when I discovered verticality in dance, it opened up a whole range of movements which fit numerous music styles, especially more ‘traditional’ music such as the Poitou ‘flavour’. Let’s try it together!
Pre-requisites: You are comfortable with couple dances such as scottish, mazurka and polka. You don’t have to think about the steps anymore and you are able to dance with some (or lots) of variations. That’ll allow you, in this workshop, to step outside of what your body knows and find your way back to it with a new perspective.
Interior Dynamics by Elena, level 3/4
In folk – and other forms of social dancing – we usually invest a lot of time into studying particular forms (basic steps, variations, choreographies…), into exploring the couple relationship (leading, following, listening to each other…), and into mastering external elements such as connection with the music, space and other dancers around us, etc.
In this workshop, we will be focusing on the birth of movement inside of ourselves. We will explore what happens around that moment when our body gets into movement – way before we even get in contact with another person to lead or follow them.
As a leader, how can I make the most out of my interior dynamics to enrich my dance, dance more closely to myself and to my own creativity? How can I then share this with my dance partner(s)?
As a follower, or in a chain or circle dance, mixer or choreography (bourrées…), how can I listen to myself and infuse & enrich the dance with a synergy of information coming from outside, as well as my own dynamics and my very own creativity?
Pre-requisites: This is a workshop for everybody, as these are features you can develop during all your dancer’s life!
Liquid Leading – dancing Balfolk by Line & Mara, level 4
Leading and following together, improvising and surprising each other in a couple dance. We’ll explore and create a room to grow into a new potential for your dance. This workshop is fun as we’re playing a lot while learning to switch from lead to follow and vice versa in a wink of an eye.
Pre-requisites: You’re confident leading and following, and you have a few playful
variations up your sleeve.
Congo de Captieux by Joachim, level 3
During this workshop, we will learn Congo de captieux, by first learning or reviewing Rondeau de Captieux step, in particular by working on the suspension of the supporting foot and the changes of directions.
Pre-requisites: To dance the congo well, you must acquire a good understanding of the roundeau step and a good grounding.
Workshops block 3 – Saturday afternoon
Sauts Béarnais by Koen, all levels
We will learn the Béarn-version of the sauts: circle dances with varying difficulty during which everyone dances a certain combination of steps without touching the neighbours. ‘Les 7 sauts’ (The seven jumps) is the best known dance of this vast repertoire. We will cover the basic steps: simple, copar, virar, virar tres, simple tres, marcar, trocar, and dobla and also learn some variations to those steps.
Pre-requisites: There are several layers in this workshop. If you are not familiar with the sauts yet, the goal of this workshop is to teach you the basic steps. Simultaneously Koen will explain several variations with increasing difficulty to those who already know how to dance the basic steps.
Nederlandse dansen by Anita and Marco, level 2b / 3
In balfolk and trad, we mainly dance French dances, or a modern version of them. But what about our own Dutch dances? Next time you go abroad, you will have an answer to this question! Anita and Marco will be bringing a selection from the Dutch repertoire, ranging from truly traditional to more recent choreographies. You may expect a diverse programme with dances that may not be classified as average balfolk dances, though you will definitely recognise some figures..
Pre-requisites: This workshop is suitable for anyone with a basic background in balfolk. The dances will range from very easy (i.e. if you can walk on music you can join) to reasonably complex.
Different types of bourrées by Elena, level 4
“The bourrée” is one of the most playful and diverse dance, and not simple to understand in the beginning. Every region in France has their own variant, with their particular character. Some regions have mostly bourrées in 2 times, others mostly in 3.
They can all be danced in couple, but today we will concentrate on bourrées for 3 or more, from diverse regions (Berry-Bourbonnais, Auvergne). The intention of this workshop is to learn a few really nice collective bourrées at a high speed.
Pre-requisites: For dancers who already have a very good grasp of bourrée-steps in 2 and 3 times, and know the difference between Auvergne and Berry-style … or are happy to tag along even if some notions will have to be studied later on.
Poitou dances; Bal Limousine, Avant-Deux, Marchoises by Lucas Thébaut, level 2b/3
These dances from the center-west of France are perfectly designed for collective and entertaining moments lovers. With a playful, variated and pleasantly dynamic repertoire that does not require any specification.
Bal limousine and marchoises are part of the big Bourrée family, whereas avant-deux is set in the contradance world.
Pre-requisites: Come with a good pair of knees, solid feet and moreover a HUGE dose of good mood.
Branle Béarnais by Joachim, level 3
In this workshop we will learn the Branle en chaine as well as the Branle en couple. We will first work on the basic steps and the doubling of supports in the Branle en chaine, as they were collected from the old folks in Ossau. In a second part, we will apply these principles to the Branle en couple.
Polska by Robin, level 2b-4
Like there is not one single bourree, there are various polskor too. In this workshop, we’ll deal with general techniques of Swedish polska, which are also relevant for the balfolk polska. We look at posture and balance, and from there build to turning. In this way, you can learn to dance polska, without pushing or pulling, and without getting dizzy. At the end of the workshop, you can start turning together and exit the turn comfortably. From there, you can practice perfectionist your technique.
Pre-requisites: The workshop is suitable for level 2b-4. We build the polska from zero.
Workshops block 4 – Saturday evening
Festival skills: optimize the dance space for everybody by Koen, all levels
How to avoid spirals in jigs and cercles? (it’s a real epidemic lately and no, it’s not the fault of the beginners!), How to solve waltz traffic jams near the stage? How to stop my neighbours from bumping into me? …
Better floor management can make the dance experience a lot nicer for everybody. Most dancers have basic skills that give nice results on small or medium dance floors, but lack the advanced skills that are needed on (crowded) festivals. Koen has been reflecting a lot on this subject, and has some new insights to share with all of you.
If you think you have nothing to learn on this topic, well … then you should definitely come to this workshop!
Partner dance – under construction by Rafael & Nele, all levels
Partner dancing in Balfolk has evolved a lot since the good old days. Oldies like us used to just do a basic step over and over, and maybe now and then some variation from a fixed list we’d all learned by heart.
Todays’ dancers must be musical on the dancefloor, and be able to do cool moves, lots of cool moves. And these have to be creative, invented on the spot. They have to know how to dance their partners’ socks off, without kicking too many other dancers off the dancefloor. And all of this while having flawless connection like it’s nobody’s business.
It can be hard and confusing to balance all these different dimensions while simply enjoying the dance. If only there was a secret sauce that helped to blend it all together…
The good news is we’ve got our secret sauce bottled up and ready to bring to the party. The bad news is that, to get some, you’ll have to come and do the crazy workshop with us.
You have been warned.
Pre-requisites: comfortable with partner dances. We don’t recommend this workshop for true beginners (level 1), but it’s suitable and fun for everybody else
Other mixers for Cercle/Chapelloise-music, all levels
“Mixers” are a set of collective dances where you usually change partner every so often, like in the jig and the Circassian circle. We had so much fun in Enschede with mixers in 2017 and 2018 that Elena will come back with some more!
The idea is to go at a relatively high speed, and try to learn at least three new mixers that you can dance to the usual cercle or chapelloise music. In this short time we will not focus on any technical aspects: just learn it and do it, fast! Don’t hesitate to take your camera if you want to film the mixers at the end.
Enschede Special: We will make sure that in the evenings some of these mixers will be announced, so you can practice them during the balls.
Workshops block 5 – Sunday
Turning variations for mazurka by Koen, level 4
We are going to learn how to change the direction of rotation while dancing mazurka. The couples will turn right and left alternately at different moments in the dance. We will learn the so-called ‘salsa’ variations to play with the direction of rotation.
Pre-requisites: This is a workshop for intermediate & advanced dancers, and has a fast learning pace
Relax in Auvergne Bourrées by Saskia, level 4
Auvergne bourrées can have a reputation of being tiring or intense to dance. And yet, this can be danced relaxed, which is also nice for when you get tired quickly or have an injury. Because you do not make physical contact with dance partner, you are in full control of your own movement. We’ll make these bourrées small, nuanced and in flow. Dancing your heart out, in relaxation. We will practice with body awareness, speed versus intensity and weight displacement. Tip from the organisation: “Last summer I had an ankle injury and Auvergne bourrée was the only dance I DID dance (just small)” – Maud.
Pre-requisites: Going into this workshop you are already comfortable with at least the basic steps and structure of Auvergne bourrées. Familiarity with rondeau en chaîne is nice but not necessary as we will cover several types of steps in the workshop. However, being comfortable already, feel welcome and you may absorb some nice rhythmic options.
Breathing circles by Elena, level 3/4
How do these circles work really well? You know them from the balls, but they all seem a bit the same to you? Or you can tell that there appear to be differences, but cannot tell for sure which ones? And how can you dance them correctly and with pleasure next time?
We will have a closer look at Ronde du Quercy, Rond de St Vincent, Rond d’Argenton, and Brande d’Ardente (nowadays often called « Bourrée ronde »), …and maybe more depending on learning speed.
Pre-requisites: you don’t need to have any knowledge on this type of dance in order to enjoy this workshop, but it’s okay if you’ve danced them before.
Just Relax by Line & Mara, level 3
While moving in a couple we often stress ourselves about how to lead or follow “correctly”, how to dance in the rhythm, what we look like and what our dancing partner might think about us. All this tension goes from our brain directly into our body and we get stuck instead of creating a mutual dance movement. The workshop helps to rip the wall of tension in our minds and find a better connection between our bodies, the music and the dance. Let´s discover how easy dancing could be as soon as you start relaxing!
Pre-requisites: You can lead and follow scottish, mazurka and waltz at any time of day or night. You are able to sense if your body is relaxed or tensed.
Find your groove (scottish variations) by Rian & Janniek, level 3
So, are you familiar with the scottish basics, but is it getting a bit boring for you? Or are you looking for new ways to vary in your own dance? Then this is the workshop for you! We will look at playing, variations with the arms, dynamics and musicality. We will find some tools that hopefully encourage you to go on a discovery yourself.
Pre-requisites: this workshop is meant for level 3, some comfort in the base step of the scottish is required.