On Bouge is London’s long-running club for Balfolk, Bal Trad, Bal Occitan and Fest Noz

We always have Live Music. The On Bouge Band features a driving mix of hurdy gurdies, fiddles and accordeons, though we also know how to slow it down for more intimate couple dances. Duo Mistral (Chris & Caroline Shaw) are usually on hand to share their years of experience of dancing in various French regions. Many of the dances we do are danced all over Europe. Fest Noz, Balfolk, Bal Trad, Bal Occitan are titles used to describe what we do. The accent is on dancing with fun, but we usually try and tell you about the context of the dances, fitting them into the cultural traditions of the various regions.

Beginners and visitors are always very welcome. We are dead chuffed to have such an eclectic mix of nationalities dancing at On Bouge: English, French, Portugese, Italian, Belgian, Polish, Turkish … sadly not necessarily all on the same night, but it’s always fun to see you all 🙂 We’ll show you the easy steps so you can join in right away. No partner necessary, but better to bring them than leave them at home 🙂 You can also come just to listen to the great live music.


We meet monthly usually on the 2nd Friday of each month (not July or August), but sometimes it is the 3rd Friday (often to snap up guest musicians who are in town or close by). So please join the email list so we can keep you up to date (send Chris an email at chris@gigcb.com).

Doors open 7.15pm, dancing starts at 7:30pm. There is no bar so please BYO booze.


  • Friday 13th April: Our good friend Bernard Loffet died on Maundy Thursday/Good Friday, suddenly and unexpectedly. Bernard was well known for his unique style of playing accordion for Breton dance: in pieds nus (bare feet) dancing and singing as he played, often leading the dance. We will be remembering him on Friday, with Duo Mistral copying his pieds nus style as they play, as requested by his daughters and his partner, Cathy, and attempting to dance in the steps of the inimitable master. The On Bouge Band and friends will also be playing.
  • Friday 11th May: Watch This Space (No! It’s not a new group 🙂 ).
  • Friday 8th June: Anna Pack and Ravi Sawney. Anna is a wonderful diatonic accrion player and well-known for playing in a duo with Dave Shepherd. Here she is playing with our old friend Ravi, one of the early On Bouge members and always ready to play fiddle and nickelharpe. This is the last meeting before the summer hols: Pimms No 1 will be served; you can always bring strawberries to go with it 🙂
  •  Friday 14th September: WE’RE BACK from our summer dancing in various French festivals. Hope you will all have a good time 🙂



We dance several types of dances from different regions of France:

  • BourrĂ©es come from central France and are danced in a variety of ways. Most people are familiar with the bourrĂ©e droite, where you in two lines facing your partner and the music is two-time (4/4) or three-time (3/8). Other bourrĂ©es are dance in couples or in groups of four or six people. Montagnards are Auvergnat bourrĂ©es danced in cortege while you slowly makie your way to the top and then, helter skelter-like, you bourrĂ©e through the cortege and join it again at the bottom. There are specific styles of bourrĂ©e from Berry, Bourbonnais, Nivernais, Morvan, Auvergne, Correze and Gascony, with one or two local styles of bourrĂ©e elsewhere.
  • Schottische, Mazurka, Polka and Valse are popular couple dances danced all over France.
  • Breton dances such as Gavotte des Montagnes, An Dro, Hanter Dro, Dans Plinn and  Suite de LoudĂ©ac are danced in long snaking lines which intermingle and diverge. And we have been working on dances from LĂ©on (north-west Brittany) recently.
  • Gascon dances such as rondeaux and congos. And the Ronde de Quercy from just to the north of Gascony.
  • Dances from BĂ©arn and Pays Basque (in the PyrenĂ©es Atlantique) such as the sauts, e.g. Sept sauts, La Craba, Dus, Marianne. Danced singly in a circle,with springy steps, but still very much a communal dance.

Musicians – develop your repertoire and technique for dance-related music in an informal setting: contact chris@gigcb.com for more info. Many of us meet at The George Inn, Southwark, for a boeuf (= French for music session) on the first Monday each month (the second Monday if the first one is a public holiday).


Primrose Hill Community Centre
29 Hopkinson’s Place (off Fitzroy Rd)
London NW1 8TN

Nearest tube Chalk Farm or Camden Town
Map: http://g.co/maps/ta6nf

Entry: ÂŁ9 (ÂŁ7 concs)

Please BYO booze

For more information, and to join the email list, please email us on chris@gigcb.com and like us (or whatever the current term is!) at www.facebook.com/onbougelondon

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