Due to cancellations we have of single and a double room available!
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. Yannick Minvielle-Debat joins the teaching team to introduce traditional singing-for-dancing. The course will be taught to exemplary live music from Richard Heacock (violin) and Paul Hutchinson (accordion), with guest musician Anne Marie Summers (bagpipes) joining us for the Thursday night finale Bal.
“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: Scottish, 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.
“I feel a bit more French!” 2018 Participant
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.
Anne Marie Summers is a player of the English bagpipes, multi instrumentalist and singer, best known for her work with hurdy-gurdy player Steve Tyler with whom she formed the early music ensemble Misericordia and the French/Bretton inspired group The Wendigo (with Julian Sutton). Anne Marie has played in many other early music and folk ensembles over the years most notably Jon Swayne’s English bagpipe ensemble Zephyrus which raised the bar for English piping with their performances and recordings of Jon’s masterful compositions The Half Hannikin Variations and English Folksong Suite.