Most Famous Types of French Dance

France has a very huge and varied dance tradition and almost every area of France has its own unique form of music and dances. The French are, by nature, extremely fond of music and dance, and are credited to have invented several world-famous dances. Way back in 1581, France was credited with inventing Ballet. Ballroom and square dances were popular back in this time period. Traditional folk dances and music are well-preserved in several isolated regions in south France. If you have some basic knowledge of French art and music, you’re more than likely familiar with some of the basic dance forms, such as the Waltz, Polka, Marche, Mazurka, Rondeau and the Bourree. If you’re looking to learn French dances, there are so many to choose from. Here are the most famous types of French dance.

Polynesian Dance

French Polynesia is a group of islands in the South pacific including Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea. French is the main language spoken on these islands, but English is widely known. The materials that make the various drums and drum skins may vary between islands and certainly between more distant South Pacific regions. The difference may change the tone of the instrument, so the sound may be unique to a specific region just based on the materials used in building local drums. Polynesian rhythms are made by various hand-held drums and percussion instruments. When played together, the group provides the distinct rhythms for the dancers. One popular dance step is the hivinau where a circle of men and women rotate around the musicians and when two of them meet, they shout “Hiri, ha, ha” and break out into a greeting dance move.

Bourree Dance

The Bourree dance, one of the most popular folks dances in France, comes in several regional varieties. Characteristically, it is done with quick, skipping steps, typically to music played in 2/4 or 6/8 time. Dancers will sometime wear wooden clogs to emphasize the quick movements of their feet through sound. The Bourree is a line dance, with a line of men facing and dancing with a line of women. Some of the greatest composers ever have written stylized Bourrees, including Bach and Handel.

Oriental Dance

Oriental dance, known as the world’s oldest dance, is one of the rare activities that is not supervised by the French State. Oriental dance, which Americans know as belly dance has gone by many names. When the French founded the dance, it was named “dance du ventre.” The dance is traditionally done barefoot and emphasizes complex movements of the torso. Oriental dance is natural to a woman’s bone and muscle structure with movements emanating from the torso rather than in the legs and feet. The dance often focuses upon isolating different parts of the body, moving them independently in sensuous patterns, weaving together the entire feminine form. Since the turn of the century, oriental dancing, known as belly dancing to the United States, has grown enormously in popularity.

Oriental dance is known to Americans as Belly Dance

Mazurka Dance

The Mazurka dance is a seductive dance for couples popular throughout Europe, but the French put their own stamp on it. It is mostly done in 3/3 time to the rhythm of the three-syllable word mazurka,” with an accent on the second beat. A French 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. Lastly, they complete the turn they started on the second step. The Polish composer, Chopin, who settled in France, wrote many Mazurkas for solo piano.

Basse Dance

The French Basse dance comes in two different categories; regular and irregular. The difference in the two 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 move away from this structure. The word ‘basse’ describes the nature of the dance, in which partners move quietly and gracefully in a slow gliding or walking motion without leaving the floor.

Final Thoughts

For many, dance is more than just an art, but more of a passion. I have a passion for upcycling items found on Ebay, collecting coins and playing games at Pokerstarscasino. I would consider both of these things a major part of my lifestyle, and I’d be lost without doing them. The same is true for lovers of dance. No matter what type of dance that you’re passionate about, in order to be really good, you must make it apart of your lifestyle. With all of the different types of dance out there, French dance has to be the most recognized because of its rich dance tradition. Whether you’re picking up dance as a new hobby or wanting to get into dancing full time, you have to take it serious.