What is balfolk?

Accordion player
Illustration by Hazel Lamb

“Bal folk” is a term used to describe social folk dancing primarily from France and Belgium. At BalFolk Bristol we also include Scandinavia, Italy, Catalonia and other places too! It takes place at festivals and one-off events all across Europe. Dances include bourrée, mazurka, scottische, chapeloise, an dro, gavotte, polska and many more. The music is often played on accordion, fiddle, bagpipes or hurdy gurdy.

You don’t need to bring a partner along, the vast majority of people will dance with a number of different partners throughout the evening. Flat, smooth-soled shoes are recommended! Some of the dances are a little trickier than others but you’ll be able to pick up most of them as you go.

The video below from one of our recent Bristol events should give you a taster of what all that looks (and sounds) like in practice.


Video by Steve Harris