Stepping out à la française

French Folk Dancing in the BRLSI courtyard
Tuesday June 29th: The BRLSI’s French Civilisation Group took advantage of a beautiful midsummer’s evening to decamp to the Institution’s courtyard garden for its Summer Soiree, complete with a (highly participatory) display of French Folk Dancing. An excellent turnout and expert tuition from Steve Day and Nicki Cawthorne made the dancing a big success (the French wine may have helped a bit too), and the experience was greatly enhanced by French folk music from Daniel Wolverson on the fiddle and a wonderfully atmospheric hurdy-gurdy (in his day job Dr Wolverson is a senior lecturer in the Semiconductor Photonics and Plasmodics Group at Bath University, which shows how versatile people can be).

The dance/musical troupe were billed as La Compagnie du Chêne Royal, which turned out to be a reference to the Royal Oak pub on the Lower Bristol Road in Bath where they meet for French traditional music and dance on the first Sunday evening of each month. They’re also involved in a prominent French dance festival held in Bath each October (see www.myspace.com/hotspringsdance).
The troupe’s efforts were certainly much appreciated by the attendees at the Soiree, which proved a fine way to round off the French Civilisation Group’s summer season, its first since the Group’s revival by convenor Lindsay Keniston (now joined by co-convenor Dr Steve Wharton). The Group returns on Tuesday September 28th with a talk on Samuel Becket in France by Prof Mary Bryden of Reading University – everyone welcome, and lectures are conducted in English so don’t worry if your French is rusty!
See the dancers in action in this video clip:

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