The Farandole

This was the social dance of the middle ages, and could be danced by an entire community, holding hands in a line. Illustrations suggest it was vigorous and improvised, and could be performed to any music with a regular beat. The tune supplied here, In dulci jubilo, is one of few medieval tunes that has remained popular ever since.

The farandole is a line dance for as many as will; partners are not necessary. The line moves around the dancing area at the whim of the leader, with skipped steps. The leader may initiate variations to the line, such as:Arches
The first two dancers release and form an arch, dancing down the line as it passes underneath, rejoining at the far end. Others may follow, so that a whole series of arches are formed.Thread the needle i
Without releasing hands the first two dancers form an arch and the third is turned through, with all following.Thread the needle ii
The leader goes through an arch formed by the last pair in the line.Snail
Like thread the needle i, but the leader first forms a tight spiral.Hay - not for beginners!
The leader dances between the second and third, and so on zig-zag down the line, the others following. Or the line splits into two and meets head on, interweaving left and right.
A good finish for the farandole is for the leader to form a big circle.

Hermits Brawl


Peas Brawl


Washerwomen's Brawl

The dancers form a circle facing inwards holding hands, each man with his partner to his right.
Washerwomans-1_2.jpgDouble left, double right twice, finishing by releasing hands and facing partner.
Making a left simple, the man scolds partner with three wags of the right index finger while she makes a left simple with hands on hips; they exchange gestures with a simple right, and repeat the whole.
Circle makes a double left clapping hands. This is effective with the left hand held low, palm upwards, and the right hand pushed into it: squashing washing. This is followed by a plain right double. The left double clapping is repeated; each dancer then turns left on the spot with four capers.
This dance could be made processional if at the end of each sequence the men caper in front of their partners to the next position right.