Discover French dance, or develop your dance horizons; both experienced and novice French dancers are invited to a week of expert tuition led by Peter Clifton, with musicians Paul Hutchinson (Belshazzar’s Feast) and Richard Heacock (Boldwood).
Dancers will be introduced to French couple dances: Scottische, Bourrée, Waltz and Mazurka, and to Breton circle and chain dances. (You don’t need to bring a partner for the couple dances). Lesser-known dances will also be taught, including some from the Vendée and Poitou regions.
Dancers who also play are encouraged to bring instruments if they wish; there will be opportunities to play for some of the dances each evening.
“Wonderful experience, can’t rate it highly enough.” French & Breton Dance Week
Who’s it For?
You’ll have some experience in traditional dance – Playford, English Country Dance, Contra, Scottish etc – but you can be completely new to French dance. For those with experience of French dance the course offers the opportunity to learn more and to discover lesser known dances too.
Peter Clifton is an expert tutor of French and Breton Dance, and teaches regularly at the French Dance Stroud monthly events. He has also run workshops at Pentreffest, European music and dance festival (Kinnersley), Shrewsbury folk festival and the Festival des Panards.
Richard Heacock is a composer and violinist. As a composer, he wrote the music for Tony Robinson’s “The Worst Jobs in History” (Channel 4) and Tall Stories Theatre Company’s “The Snail and the Whale” (touring the UK in 2015). As a violinist, he played in Boldwood for 4 years and produced their first CD “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now”. He currently plays in Breton trio The Andro Sisters and appeared as an 18th century musician (complete with wig and tights) in BBC TV’s “Poldark.”
Paul Hutchinson grew up in Bournemouth and studied piano and church organ. At the age of 17 his father persuaded him to take up the accordion and form a ceilidh band. The Old Pull & Push rapidly became established, performing all over the UK, and appearing at many folk festivals. In 1995, Belshazzar’s Feast were born after meeting in a field for a rehearsal with the now defunct Life of Reilly. BF are still on the loose with a busy performing schedule and twice yearly tours. Among their many highlights was a nomination for Best Duo at the BBC Folk Awards in 2010. After moving to Wales in 1997, Paul met composer John Hymas and together with Tony Harris formed the trio Hoover the Dog. Their music was difficult to categorise but attained a cult following amongst musicians and aficionados of good music both in the UK and Europe. Collaborations followed with Fluxus (Belgium) to form Okavango, Diversions (The Dance Company of Wales) and the internationally renowned violinist Jan Hruby (Czech Republic). One of Paul’s core beliefs is that music shouldn’t be pigeon-holed and has an open mind to quality music regardless of the source. His ‘Desert Island Discs’ would have to include music from: Prokofiev, Bach, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Robert Plant, James Taylor, West Gallery, Tin Hat Trio, Nick Pynn, Arvo Part and Dino Saluzzi.