European traditional & social dancing
in Reading, Berkshire UK
What is Balfolk?
Balfolk is based on traditional European dances, largely French; it's not about perfectionism or historical accuracy, but having fun with great social dances that can be quickly learned. These include couple dances like the waltz, schottische, mazurka and polka; line and circle dances like the Breton An Dro and Hanter Dro; dances facing a partner, like the bourrée; and 'mixer' dances like the Chapelloise.
The dances are essentially simple, and accessible to complete beginners - but there's plenty of room for improvisation for more advanced dancers, especially in the mazurka and schottische.
We can't really describe it any better than here, in the description by Oxford Balfolk. If you've done any kind of folk, country or ceilidh dancing before, then much of it will be familiar. If you've done no dancing at all, don't worry, you'll soon pick up some basics. No need to come with a partner, just come along and learn! We start every bal with a one hour workshop.
... and the music?
Balfolk is danced to live music! Like the dances, the music is largely French or French-influenced - instruments include the accordion (keys or buttons) and fiddle, and more exotically, the hurdy-gurdy, nyckelharpa, various pipes and bombardes, and more. If you are interested in learning to play Balfolk repertoire, on any instrument, come along to our European tunes session at the Butler on the first Thursday of each month (excepting July & August).
Here is a link to a Youtube playlist of tunes played for Reading Balfolk - note that there is also a link to a Googledoc list, providing notation and keys for some of the tunes.
*The Butler, 85-91 Chatham St, RG1 7DS Reading, Berkshire
8-30 - 11pm. First Thursday of every month