are three groups of traditional dances: the clog dance, the fair dances
and the court dances.
The clog dance is usually danced with clogs and a broomstick. The men may
compete with each other, showing off their dance skills and with
impressive jumps and acrobatics.
fair dances are traditionally accompanied by violin. They are rhythmic
dances. Rali Twm Sion and Gwyl Ifan are two examples of these.
court dances are usually accompanied by the harp. They are more formal.
Llanofer reel, Meillionner and Rhisiat Annwyl are included in this group.
piano, the flute and the accordion can also accompany the dances.
are not many places to learn these dances. For the last thirty years, they
are becoming popular again especially with the young people. Societies
sometimes organize Twmpathau (dance evenings) where the participants can
learn to dance. The dance groups also make demonstration and take part in
Eisteddfodau. There are different kinds of Eisteddfodau, the local and the
national. The Urdd organizes one for young people. The national Eisteddfod
is for everybody. There are also festivals for singing and dance (Gwyl
materials for the clothes are made in the mills of the area. They are
still more or less identical to those used in past centuries and vary with
weddings were the big opportunity for dancing in the Breton countryside.
Each part of
had its own dances and people met to dances for hours. During the
forties, after the war, some “cercles celtiques” (group of dancers)
and bagadoù (group of traditional music) were created. Today, more and
more people are attracted by the fest-noz (evening of Breton dances) and
the fest-deiz (if it happens during the day), beginners or not, young or
The fest-noz and fest-deiz give people the chance to dance and to share
their passion and interest for Breton dance. It is always impressive to
see the people rush to the dance floor (sometimes a simple farmyard) at
the first note of music. There are plenty of fest-noz in the summer,
especially in west of
where we can find one nearly every night.
“cercles celtiques” take part in many of the competitions during the
festivals (Festival of Cornouaille in
, Festival de la Saint-Loup for example) and demonstrate Breton dances.
They wear the same kind of clothes as in the old days and some of the
girls embroider their own. The clothes are different in the different part
gavotte, the An dro, the Laridé, the Plinn, the rond de Saint-Vincent,
are some well known examples of dances. Some dances have variants coming
from different parts of
(gavotte des montagnes, gavotte de l’Aven…)
and songs :
is an important part of the
Welsh culture. Early in primary school, children learn to sing and choirs
are numerous. They compete against each other during Eisteddfodau and sing
together in the chapels.
the musical field, the Celtic harp is coming back into fashion. Sometimes
it is played during poetry recitations. We can find traditional music
groups, but also group of rock or techno using the Welsh language.
annual Gwyl Cerdd Dant is a festival of the voice singing, recitation and
also dancing. As with the Eisteddfodau, it moves to a different site every
well as dance, the Breton music is experiencing a revival and many of the
bagadoù compete as well as playing during festivals and in fest-noz.
bagadoù comprise bombardes, binious (bagpipe) and percussions but also
sometimes violin, harps, guitars… The Penn Soner is the main sonneur and
directs the other sonneurs (a sonneur is someone playing bombarde or
fest-noz and fest-deiz are livened up by some other musicians who take
turn through the night: the sonneurs, the singers of
and traditional groups. The sonneurs play wind instruments, often bombarde
and biniou. The
ha diskan is a way of singing. The kaner starts the sentence alone. The
diskaner ends it with the kaner before repeating it alone. The kaner then
ends the sentence with the diskanner before starting the next sentence.
traditional groups became increasingly popular in the seventies. They used
traditional instruments. Today, many of them add guitars and
synthesizers… Some groups still play traditional music, some other play
more “Breton rock” or a mix of music of the world.
started in about the 6th century. It is a very important part
of the Welsh culture and thus of the Eisteddfod. During the national
Eisteddfod, there are two trophies to win in poetry: the chair and the
crown. They are two different competitions.
compete for the chair, you need to follow very strict rules. These rules
can be learnt in evening lessons in
for example. Only about ten people compete for the trophy. For the
crown, about forty people take part in the competition. The rules are less
strict and the poetry is more open. Every year, a theme is proposed. The
one who wants to compete has to follow this theme.
“Stomps” are organized during the evenings. Each poet has a few
minutes to read his poem in front of the audience, who are the judges.
They decide who will be in the following round.
the 19th century, the poetry in
belonged to the ordinary people, the leaders of
started giving up the language in the 10th century. The poetry
was transmitted orally. The popular songs collected at the end of the 19th
century by de La Villemarqué in the “Barzaz Breiz” are examples of
the Breton poetry, the rhymes are not only at the end of the verse, but
also inside the lines, as in Welsh poetry.
poetical expression is still present in
Unfortunately it is not well known by the people because it is not heard
on radio or television, or seen in newspaper. Poetry is written in both
Breton and French languages.