Breton Dance

Musicians' Diary

Staying Within The Circle…

Brittany is well know among folk lovers to have a great variety of traditional dances. And indeed, they are quite a variety of those dances. Although most of them have specific names nowadays, some decades ago they would mostly be referred to as “circle dance”. Mostly “Dañs Tro” (for all the variations on the gavotte) and “An-Dro” (in the Vannes area). Because of Breton grammar, Tro and Dro are indeed the same word, first letter change is a typical marker of Celtic languages. But they mean “circle”. And every area would mostly only dance one kind of dance. Their dance. The one from their community, or we could even say, the one that would make them belong to their community.

Round Breton Dance – Image source:

In our area, we mostly dance gavotte. In remote villages, there is no problem playing 2 complete sets of gavotte in a row (a complete set is about 15, 20 min). We almost consider that other dances, from other parts of the province are more like… fun! We like them, we like to dance them, we enjoy them. We even try to play them. But gavotte is ours. It is part of who we are. 

I always had the feeling that dancing was and still is for some people more than a show, or something to be good at. It is just something to get together. To feel you are united. To feel you are part of “that” circle. This is what Within the Circle is about.


Within the Circle, you don’t look outside, you’re not there to show off. You can just be yourself.

§ Simone