Sunday, 29 January 2012

Let's Dance, Morvandiaux style

photographed at Chateau Chinon Fete 15 August

After a couple of weeks of fog, and a couple of snow showers I am pining for some sunshine and summer days.   That’s why I was so happy when I found a clip of a traditional Morvandelle dance on YouTube.  It reminds me of the fetes, parties and dances that take place in villages all over Le Morvan during the summer.
The dancing couple above are wearing traditional Morvandiaux costume.  The man is wearing clothes worn by a Galvacher, an ancient carter.  Les Galvachers left their villages in May of every year for at least six months to find work.  They “hired” their carts pulled by Charollais cattle for heavy duty haulage work.  Charollais cattle, the local beef cattle, are capable of pulling several tons of timber.

There is Les Galvachers museum at Anost, a pretty town surrounded by steep forest-covered hills.  Anost also hosts the Festival de la Vielle (Hurdy Gurdy Festival) every August.  Well worth a visit to listen and dance to the traditional foot tapping music mixed with musical influences from around the world.

The YouTube clip shows  accordions, hurdy gurdies, vielles and French bagpipes, cornemuses, accompanying La Sauteriotte, a folk dancing group at the Fete de la Myrtille in Glux en Glenne.  A popular dance called the Bourre´e includes quick, skipping steps and some versions even include a run.  The dancers wear wooden clogs, or sabots which emphasise the sounds, a  bit like the idea of tap dancing. 
Traditional hand made clogs can be seen being made at Goloux shop and clog making museum and a shop in the shadows of Saint-Pere, Vezelay.  

As the sky outside darkens heralding more snow….it is good to think back to those summer days full of music, brightly coloured skirts whirling and dancing.

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