What is European folk dance?

A fun, easy form of dance popular across europe, something like a European ceilidh.

Thousands of people of all ages attend festivals such as Boombal, Rencontre des Luthiers et Maitres Sonneurs, Damada and the Grand bal de l'Europe. There are vibrant folk dance scenes in towns and cities across Northern Europe, France and Italy, and a growing dance scene in London.

Some of the dances are traditional, others are more modern. There are circle dances (Chapeloise, Cercle Circassien), couple dances (Schottish, Mazurka, Waltz, Polka), dances done in long, snaking lines (generally dances from Brittany).

Is there a caller?

There’s not normally a caller as you would find in an English or Scottish ceilidh. Generally the dances are simple enough that you can learn them in a few minutes. There will be plenty of experienced dancers who will show you the steps.

But I’ve never done it before, won’t I embarrass myself?

There’s no right or wrong, it’s all about having fun, and sharing the joy of music and dance with your friends and people from the local community. Come and give it a try!

What should I wear?

Our dances are not formal balls, but feel free to dress up!

On a practical point, please avoid wearing stiletto heels, they’re not really suitable for this type of dance. A small heel is ok. The best shoes (for both men and women) have a slippery sole so you can spin easily, but wear whatever you feel comfortable in.