France is one of those countries that stand out in many areas. Its gastronomy is internationally recognized as well as its architectural beauty, the language is important in international affairs, and the country is known for being a territory of fashion, in short. Everything indicates that France is a country rich in culture and art. And of course, as an art, dance cannot be left out.
Indeed, French music knew periods of glory in the past and until the middle of the xxnx century, French composers contributed a lot to the world of art and, and as many of us know, dance is an important element to accompany poetry and songs. So, as song, music and poetry progress, French dance also evolves.
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Several dances known all over the world were born in France thanks to the passion that the Gauls naturally have for music, dance and art in general. A fact that shows the passion and importance of dance for the French is the creation of the Royal Dance Academy, an academy created by the King of France Louis XIV, or the Sun King, known for his eccentricities and his great passion for dance. This academy contributed very significantly to the development of dance style and technique in the late 18th and early 22nd centuries across Europe.
During this period, ballrooms enjoyed increasing popularity in France and throughout Europe.
The basis of most French music is developed on the basis of the dances used for the waltz, polka, mazurka, Marche, Scotland, tukif.com , Rondeau and Bourrée, although Christmas carols and baroque dances also have a lot of influence in the country. But almost all regions of France have their own styles, both in music and in dance.
The cancan and the waltz, two great protagonists of French dance
When we think of the typical dance of France, without a doubt the Cancan comes to mind. Although it is today a dance that all tourists who come to France see that in the great cabaret of the Moulin Rouge, it is a dance which really seduced the masses in 1820-1830. The Cancan requires a lot of energy and physical resistance, because its main characteristics are the high kicks, the Split and several demanding pirouettes.
In its beginnings, the cancan was not a dance very appreciated by the bourgeois class because of the costumes and the choreography, but it is in 1885 that the cancan knew a revolution thanks to the Bal Mabille which opened the first class in Montmartre.
Although the cancan is traditionally associated with the female sex, it is a dance that can be danced by both genres. Few men were cancan stars between the 1840s and 1860s, but female dancers were much more popular. The dance itself is associated with the Galop infernal de l’Orphée aux Enfers by Jacques Offenbach.
As for the French waltz, we can say that it became one of the most popular dance styles in France in 1945, although it was born much earlier in Parisian bars and cafes where popular rhythms like the bourrée began to mix with jazz rhythms, then the Italians and the Germans also brought the accordion.
Thus, a new waltz was born in Paris which differs from the Viennese waltz and which has its own style, which is also danced in a different way (the bodies of the couples are closer, more laps together and less movement on the dance floor), called Valse Française, Pericon or Valse Musette.
This music even became representative of Paris and Edith Piaf was the French singer who contributed the most to its worldwide distribution.
Other regional dances of France
Everyone knows that France is the country of cheeses, and although the capital is one of the most visited places in the world and you can probably consume all French cheeses there, it is clear that production begins in d ‘other cities and departments. The same goes for music and dance, that is to say that although the dances are known nationally and now worldwide, many of them probably come from far from Paris.
For example, the Farandole is a dance considered to be characteristic and representative of Provence. It is one of the oldest dances in France, because there are traces of it from prehistoric times.
La Maraîchine in Poitou is a traditional French dance spread in the Breton-Vendéen marsh and in the Poitevin marsh. It is performed in two parts: first in large circles with polka dots, then the dance continues in pairs.
Java in Paris is a dance invented by the working class in the 1930s. It was a kind of counterpart to the Waltz, which was considered a very sophisticated and exclusive dance of French high society. This is why Java was born as a popular dance that is danced as a couple with the hands of the gentleman on the waist of the lady, who puts her arms around the neck of the man.
La Bourrée auvergnate is a dance that originated in Auvergne, although it is even widespread throughout Europe, and can be danced in groups of 4 people or as a couple. His choreography is quite interesting, since it involves brushing against each other without ever touching each other.
The grasshopper, finally, is a dance of “confrontation” in which men compete with flexibility to achieve the best choreography. This dance is typical of a fairly limited area, between the west of the department of Corrèze, the east of the Dordogne and the south of Haute-Vienne.