The evening before the Celtic Festival and Highland Games begin, we will be hosting our first Fest Noz event. Fest Noz is a Breton word which means "night festival" and is a traditional dancing festival in Brittany, the Celtic region of France.
Most villages have at least one Fest-Noz each year as a way to express their culture and identity. Many Festoù-noz are also held outside Brittany, celebrating Breton culture around the world.
In the past, the dances were used to trample the ground to make a firm earth floor in a house, or a solid surface for farm work. People from the neighborhood were invited to help, which explains the presence of stamping movements in some of the dances.
During the Fest-Noz, most dances are practiced in a chain or in a circle (everyone holds hands), but there are also dances in pairs and "choreographed" dances, meaning dances enriched with precise artistic elements (sequences, figures, etc.). The major study on Breton dancing is "La tradition populaire de danse en Basse-Bretagne", a book written by Jean-Michel Guilcher.
Both of our Breton-style musical groups, Mistral and Sonerion will provide live music at this year's first Fest-Noz dance.
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