There 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.
The fair dances are traditionally accompanied by violin. They are rhythmic dances. Rali Twm Sion and Gwyl Ifan are two examples of these.
The court dances are usually accompanied by the harp. They are more formal. Llanofer reel, Meillionner and Rhisiat Annwyl are included in this group.
The piano, the flute and the accordion can also accompany the dances.
There 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 Cerdd Dant).
The 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 the dances.
Formerly, weddings were the big opportunity for dancing in the Breton countryside. Each part of Brittany 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 older people.
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 Brittany , where we can find one nearly every night.
The “cercles celtiques” take part in many of the competitions during the festivals (Festival of Cornouaille in Quimper , 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 of Brittany .
The 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 Brittany (gavotte des montagnes, gavotte de l’Aven…)