Balfolk Oxford

Ceilidh-bal - 31 May, 7.45pm

7.45pm Friday 31 May, St Giles Church Hall, £4 entry
Learn some balfolk basic steps, join in a clandestine mazurka and then finish up with a ceilidh!
This is a joint event with the Oxford University Scottish Highland dance society. Musicians, dancers and anyone curious welcome :) We’ll run a short balfolk workshop at 8pm.
Balfolk is the folk music & dance which comes from continental Europe. There’s a huge variety - lively schottishes and bourrees, and soulful mazurkas that are done in couples. Dances like the anter dro & chappelloise involve the whole room. At a very short workshop starting at 8pm we’ll go through some of the basic steps. Then we’ll move into a ‘clandestine mazurka’ - the musicians will play European folk tunes and we’ll dance what we’ve learnt in the short workshop. It’ll be very informal in style.
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Balfolk Oxford - Mazurka+ Workshop & Session - January 27th 3:00pm

All are welcome to join in for another sunset mazurka by the river at the Isis Farmhouse. There's plenty of space for dancers and musicians so bring your instruments, your dancing feet... 

This time, we'll be running a workshop at the start to cover some of the basic steps for dancers. The session will get going from 3.30pm. 

Here are the details:
Where: Isis Farmhouse
When: Sunday 27 January - the workshop will run from 3-3.30pm just to cover some basic steps for dancers, then session until the eve.

Friends, family, kiddos, grown-ups are all welcome at this event whether you'd like to join in and dance (or not quite yet ;) It'll be wonderful to meet new and old faces, to dance, and play and catch up. Whether or not you've been before, we really hope you can join us.

If you are coming from further afield and might need a place to stay - let us know. We'll likely be able to sort out hosting people!

Here is the FB event to see who is coming :)

This event is organised by a new-ish group in Oxford called 'Balfolk Oxford'. We're trying to get more bals and mazurkas happening so we can and dance and play more of this rich and beautiful music. Here's more information about us on this website:

If you'd like to keep in touch and join in with more balfolk events in and near Oxford, please join our FB group:

Welcome to Balfolk Oxford

Welcome to Balfolk Oxford

Balfolk is all sorts of modern and traditional dances to the magical folk music of continental Europe – it’s big in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal and we’re really excited to have a growing Balfolk scene here in Oxford too.

Coming up on 14 April 2019:

More on Balfolk...

Balfolk is folky and graceful and there’s loads of variety. Super soulful mazurkas are danced in couples and can be lovely and melty and slow; the waltz and schottische might be brighter and more lively; the bourrees are danced opposite your partner; and the chappelloise brings the whole room together. The steps are happily simple meaning there’re lots of chances to riff off the basics and be as expressive as you feel. Often a Balfolk event might begin or end with an anter-dro, where all the dancers link arms and move very softly – it’s meditative and almost trance-like. Like lots of folk traditions, the musicians - accordion, fiddle, clarinet, hurdy-gurdy, anything really - are often right in the mix with the dancers. Here is a taste of some softer Balfolk and something faster.

Old traditions and new styles

You might have heard of French and Breton folk dancing where the traditional dances are danced. Balfolk is based on a lot of these but develops them too - the ‘neo-trad’ style is popular in festivals in Europe. At our workshops in Oxford you’ll get the basics in no time and we’ll introduce some of the new styles too.

Social dancing

So you know your English and Scottish folk dances but not sure how Balfolk relates? Think ceilidh but a lot more soulful and expressive – there’s no caller and a more romantic feel sometimes. If you’re familiar with Argentine Tango, there’s some crossover there too. Balfolk has its own equivalent of the informal milongas that are danced in the streets. ‘Clandestine Mazurkas’ happen when musicians and dancers casually get together to play and dance, often around a bandstand.

We’re a small group of enthusiastic dancers at the moment, and we’d love to meet more! If you’re interested to join us (and learn to dance, or play with us) you can find out about our workshops and other chances to dance and play on our Facebook group, and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the occasional email to find out about more events too.

We look forward to meeting you at a Clandestine Mazurka soon :)

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