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, and supported by Karen Prager. The course will be taught to exemplary live music from Richard Heacock (violin) and Paul Hutchinson (accordion), and David Faulkner (pipes). Yannick Minvielle-Debat will join the team for part of the week to introduce traditional singing-for-dancing.
“A fantastic week. Incredible teachers, we were really lucky. I cannot wait for next year.” 2018 Participant
Dancers will be introduced to French couple dances: Schottishe, 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. The focus will be on dance variation and developing communication and dynamics through both couple and circle dances.
Yannick will add some easy-to-learn French songs to the mix, which can be applied to well-known dances, and practised within the week at workshops and evening bals.
Dancers who also play are encouraged bring to bring instruments if they wish; there will be opportunities to play for some of the dances in the bal each evening. The week will end with a public Bal on Thursday night, when we’ll be joined by guest musician Dave Faulkner (Eel Grinders) and guitarist Chris Green.
“I feel a bit more French!” 2018 Participant
You can see the Welcome Information for our 2019 event here.
And you can see the Outline Plan for the week here.
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.
“Most enjoyable – I was made to feel very welcome, and my dancing has improved!” 2018 Participant
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.
Yannick Minvielle-Debat ’s involvement in traditional French and Breton music ranges from singing for dancing in a band, The Wizards of Noz and in a duo with an accordionist, Steve Turner, organising an annual French music festival in Todmorden, teaching Breton call and response songs to running dance workshops for all abilities and ages. She also plays the hurdy-gurdy to the great despair of her husband! Born in France, Yannick now lives in Keighley, Yorkshire within earshot of the heritage railway line featured in the Railway Children. www.frenchdanceschools.org.uk
Richard Heacock (violin) began playing for folk dance with The Vale Islanders Playford group and Icknield Way Morris. He later joined English traditional group Boldwood, and produced their first CD “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now.” He discovered French and Breton dance music in 2004 and played in a duo with accordionist Becky Price at Kinnersley, Horsley and Ide. He currently plays in Breton trio The Andro Sisters, and with Paul Hutchinson. Richard is a frequent visitor to Halsway, and has taught and played on the Playing Playford, French Dance and Poldark Dance courses.
Paul Hutchinson (accordion) is a member of the much-loved duo Belshazzar’s Feast (nominated for Best Duo at the BBC Folk Awards in 2010) and fusion duo Pagoda Project. Regarded as one of the top accordionists in the UK, Paul is the resident accordion tutor at Cecil Sharp House, and a regular tutor and musician at Halsway Manor. Paul is much in demand as a player for dancing which has resulted in appearances at festivals in the UK, Europe and the USA.
David Faulkner has been playing pipes for over 25 years with groups such as the Eel Grinders and Jon Swayne’s Zephyrus, and performs regularly as a duet with accordionist Steve Turner. He is highly experienced in playing for both English and French dance traditions, and also calls for and leads workshops in traditional French dance. He has toured in Europe, Canada and America. He works extensively as a music educator, and has led many pipe courses in the UK (including Halsway) and abroad as well as working as a community musician for nearly 20 years.
Chris Green (Guitar) is one half of Green-Matthews. Chris began playing guitar at the age of eight and plays most things with fretted strings or keys. Largely self-taught, he’s worked in a variety of musical genres including folk, theatre and early music. He’s a regular musician at Shakespeare’s Globe and one of the musicians on BBC’s Poldark series. He is a writer and composer having adapted The Wind in the Willows (2017) for GreenMatthews as well as A Christmas Carol: In Concert (2018). He has also recently released his first solo album Switched-On Playford, which fuses 17th-century dance music with electronica, using a blend of early instruments, synths and loops. He’s also working on a new live score for the 1922 silent film Nosferatu. www.chrisgreenmusic.co.uk