What is Balfolk Toronto?
Balfolk dancing is popular social dancing from Western Europe, a recent revival of traditional, mostly French, folk dances.
Bourrées, jigues, gavotte, mazurkas, waltzes, scottishes: some partner dances, some group dances, some snakey chain dances.
They are all fun and easy to learn, you don’t need any partners or prior experience. We’ll show you how!
We always dance to live music: fiddles, accordions, clarinets and more…
Balfolk is a term used in the last 50 years to describe popular social folk dancing in
Western Europe. It includes old traditional dances from a variety of French and western
European regions, as well as modern tunes influenced by many styles composed for
people to dance to. Balfolk is not definable as ONE style, but rather an umbrella term for many ways of dancing and playing for a huge repertoire of dances.
Balfolk Toronto was started by Tangi Ropars and Emilyn Stam in the spring of 2013,
with our first big bal in March of 2014 and weekly dances on Mondays almost every Monday since 2013. Since then many people have contributed to the development of our community!
1) Weekly Drop in jams/dances on Mondays. These events are pay-what-you-can, have a jam leader host, and are open to all to participate. Usually in a bar or cafe.
2) Larger Bals + One-off Workshops. These are ticketed weekend events with bands, sometimes visiting from out of town, often focussing on a specific regional music and dance.
3) Yearly Big Branch Festival. A 3-day ticketed event which brings in multiple international performers and teachers specializing in regional traditions.
Balfolk Toronto Board Members 2023-2024
Artistic Director: Emilyn Stam
Treasurer: Alan Cerclier
Balfolk Toronto is a not for profit organization which organizes events in Toronto and in Ontario around the social traditional folk dancing and traditional folk music of western Europe, with a focus on France traditions. Under the umbrella of “Balfolk”, this tradition is also a growing and evolving tradition, not a reenactment, and can include modern composed tunes, as well as the ever changing manifestation of social folk dance in a modern world, while still being rooted in tradition.
Balfolk Toronto envisions a community of dancers, singers and musicians, spreading joy, creativity and connection through traditional western European dance and music. We see a community of both professional and amatuer musicians/dancers that is continuously learning about traditional dances and music and developing their own methods of creative expression and community engagement through dancing these dances and playing these tunes in our current environment, community and era.