Friday, 14 November 2014

Popular Styles o French Dance

French Dance traditional dancing encompases a huge range of geographically and culturally separate groups. At first glance there is little common ground between the hypnotic circle dances of Brittany, the graceful couple dances of central France and the wild Fandangos of the Basque Country. However, they all form part of the larger group of European dances, all of which have developed from simple circle dances with frequent contacts between the different regions. For a review of the recent history of French Dance traditional music and dance.

France has been the cultural centre of Europe since Medieval times. Under the reign of Louis XIV, ballet flourished, and the "French" style of ballet was born. Dancing was a popular pastime for the court, therefore ballroom and square dances also became popular dance during this period. As time went on, dance moved out of the court and into music halls and venues where the audience would often participate.  
Mazurka Dance

The mazurka is a seductive dance for couples popular throughout Europe, but the French Dance have put their own stamp on it. It is typically done in 3/3 time to the rhythm of the three-syllable word "mazurka," with an accent on the second beat. A French Dance mazurka starts with the man taking three steps, starting with his left foot, and the woman mirroring him with her right. They then make a quarter turn to the leader's left and take three steps on their opposite feet from the first time.

Ballet Dance

Despite its long association with French culture, ballet actually originated in 15th century Italy. Ballet greatly developed in France during the time of Louis XIV and beyond, as it was a favourite pastime of the King. Ballet and elements of comedy would combine to form dramatic ballets for entertainment at weddings or other celebrations. Dancers tended to be courtiers, until Louis XIV opened the first ever ballet school in 1661, and it became possible to train professionally. The French Dance style of ballet today is synonymous with elegance and precise movements.

Basse Dance

The Dance French basse danse comes in two catagories: regular and irregular. The difference is that a regular basse dance contains 80 bars in its main part. In every four bars, or one quaternion, dancers perform either a double step, two single steps, a step called a reprise, or a branle, a kind of chain dance in which dancers join together and move side to side, either in a circle on in a serpentine pattern. Irregular basse dances deviate from this structure.

Zouk Dance

Zouk is a fun, modern dance suitable for all ages. For many in the younger dance crowd, Zouk has rekindled an interest in partner dancing. For those who have experience dancing other traditional Latin dances (and even West Coast Swing), many of the moves, techniques or concepts from those dances can be imported to Zouk, making it relatively easy to adapt to this dance. In addition, Zouk can be danced to a variety of music and a variety of moods, making it a versatile dance to know.

Baroque Period Dance

The gavotte was a popular dance in the Baroque era, so named as it originated in the Pays de Gap region amongst the Gavot people. It consisted of a step pattern where feet were crossed twice after each step, and then a hop would follow. It was of moderate tempo, and there would often be someone leading the dance. 

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