Workshops folk and traditional dance with Elena

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References from the past

It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I give weekly folk dancing classes, and dance workshops in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland … since 2012. These dance courses can take the format of a few hours, a day, a weekend, or a week, depending on the needs of the organiser and the topic chosen.

I work with recorded music, or with live musicians, with or without a dance partner depending on the situation.

Here is a very complete description that you can read or fly over. Do not hesitate to contact me to discuss your needs and choices.


Whatever the subject, I will combine learning or going deeper in a repertoire, dancing technique, the relationship between music and dance, and pleasure. If the number of participants allows it, dancers will receive individual feedback and corrections.


For whom ?

Level of difficulty

My workshops are aimed at dancers of different levels:

(*) = Absolute Beginners (**) = Medium level dancers wishing to expand their repertoire or go deeper in a (type of) dance (***) = Advanced dancers looking for specific tools, or wanting to (re)discover / explore a specific dance repertoires

(The use of several stars – for example * / ** – means this workshop can be opened to several types of public at the same time without causing progression problems to some, or frustration or others)


Topics (and level)


« General » Folk

  • Introduction do dances of the folk ball (*)
  • Musicality: various subjects for dancers of various levels. Quite flexible depending on the length of the workshop.
  • Mixers: a selection of easy, intermediate and difficult mixers from different origins

Couple dances

  • Scottish: basics (*), figures (**), rhythmic variations (**/***)
  • Latin variations for the scottish (**/***) (= techniques and figures borrowed from Latin American dances)
  • Mazurka: basics (*), figures (**), rhythmic variations (**/***), irregular mazurkas (**/***)
  • Waltz: basics (*/**), figures (**/***), rhythmic variations (**/***)
  • Irregular waltzes (**/***)  (understanding the music, basic steps, variations)
  • Irregular rhythms all over! (**/***) (Irregular mazurka, scottish impaire, irregular waltzes, mazurka-waltz … & variations)
  • « Frame Games » for Scottish & Mazurka (***)
  • A mix or selection between some of these themes, according to the needs of participants / organizer

The Waltz (3 t)

  • Workshop « The waltz of yesterday and today » – a journey through the waltz from Vienna to today. (** / ***)
    This workshop is suitable for a weekend or a longer period of time. In a long format, I can include irregular waltzes. It can also be taught in one day, the content will then be chosen with & adapted to the public.


As often as possible, I go to France, to train with masters such as Hughes Rivière and Bernard Coclet (Berry-Bourbonnais), in Les Brayauds training centre (Auvergne), with Gilles Lauprêtre (Berry & Limousin)… Bourrées are one of my favourite subjects.

  • Introduction: the different types of bourrée (2t and 3t Berry-Bourbonnais, Auvergne, Poitou, Limousin …) (** / ***)
    (This can be seen as preamble to a specific workshop, or as a workshop in itself)
  • Bourrées droites :
    • Discovery (*/**)
    • Going further, specific techniques, working on style (**/***)
    • Choreographies for bourrées droites (2 or 3 t) – medium difficulty (**) or higher difficulty (***)
  • Bourrée auvergnate:
    • Discovery (*/**)
    • Going further, specific techniques, working on style (**/***)
    • Going even further, various forms of the dance, frappés … (***)
    • Collective bourrées auvergnates (**/***)  (This will usually be included in the preceding themes)

Sud-Ouest (dances from the South-West of France)

This is another repertoire I love very much, and I don’t miss a chance to meet and learn from various teachers in France and elsewhere.

  • Sud-Ouest: Basic steps and physicality & Rondeau en couple (*/**)
  • Sud-Ouest: Rondeau en couple & variations ; Ronde du Quercy ; Rondeau en chaîne & variations (**/***)
  • Sud-Ouest: Rondeau en chaîne & games & variations (**/***)
  • Sud-Ouest: Easy congos for 2 or 4 dancers (*/**)
  • Sud-Ouest: Congo de Sos, Congo de Captieux, and other congos (**/***)
  • Sud-Ouest: Branle d’Ossau en chaîne (***) & rhythmic variations (***)
  • or a different combination of basic steps, attitude & dances, depending on length of workshop

Sauts basco-béarnais

These sauts (« jumps ») are danced individually on a big circle with a lot of collective energy. Some relatively simple, but soon you will need to remember « commands » given in a foreign language (Elena will use the béarnaise terminology rather than the basque) to execute diverse steps.

  • Simple sauts (*/**)
  • More complicated sauts (**/***)
  • All of this with or without singing the corresponding songs (with « commands »)


Fandango + Arin Arin / Carnaval de Lantz

These are very energetic dances from the Basque region, some considered rather difficult. Elena will bring them to you

  • Arin Arin (**)
  • Fandango (**/***)
  • Fandango + Arin Arin will usually be taught together, as they will always be danced together. Consider that this will take quite some time.
  • Carnaval de Lantz without waltz part (*/**) or with the waltz part (**/***)
  • A mix of these dances, more or less in detail depending on the time at our disposal


Dances from the Poitou-Vendée region

A collection of rather energetic dances, usually collective, and often with singing.

  • Avant-deux (many different; with or without variations and different steps) (*/**/***)
  • Cercles et chants à danser (Circle dances, some with singing) (*/**/***)
  • Maraîchine (simple form, or with variations) (*/**/***)
  • Marchoises (**/***)
  • Bal Limousine, Mardi gras (*/**/***)
  • A mix of several of these dances (*/**/***)



A mixer is a collective dance in which dancers continually change partners, allowing everyone to meet everyone. The best known in the folk ball are the Circassian circle and the jig, but there are so many others! Often treated « sloppily » in the ball, working on one’s technique can considerably improve the comfort and therefore the pleasure in these dances.

  • Easy mixers & technique (*/**)
  • Going further in your mixers & more figures and technique (**/***)

Dances of the « bal musette » (Bals in Paris from the 1880s)

  • Short workshop (min 2h) which will only cover the waltz musette, the java, plus 1 – 2 other dances (* / ** / ***)
  • Longer workshop with more dances, techniques, and variations (* / ** / ***)

I sometimes work with a musette orchestra, and we offer different formulas based on the following:

  • Workshop dances of the Bal musette (with or without live music)
  • Concert of “chansons réalistes”
  • A bal musette (with or without dance animation, with or without live music)

Enhancing general dancing skills – sensory and physical development

  • Interior dynamics (*/**/***)
  • Couple dynamics (*/**/***)
  • Dynamics of the group and the dance floor (*/**/***)

These three workshops are intended for dancers of all levels – beginners to advanced. Indeed, these are topics & exercises a dancer can approach, and repeat at any time in their development. The first part (internal dynamics) has lots of exercises on the floor. They can be seen independently or as three parts of the same workshop (minimum 2 days).

Length of workshops & formats

Generally, I suggest a minimum of 4 hours a day, and the ideal time is about 5 – 6 hours with a good break.

It is possible to offer very specific workshops of +/- 2 hours (also for the format “workshop in several parts” mentioned below).

Two workshops in the same week(end) allows work on more difficult themes, and/or going much deeper in a subject, if the majority of participants follow the two parts.

Some of these workshops may be viewed as series, where one can discover at regular intervals (several days in a festival, monthly, yearly …) new or more and more complicated things (bourrées  & choreographies, Sud-Ouest, rhythmic variations for scottish or mazurka, variations and diverse forms of the waltz …). This pre-requires a regular group of dancers.

Most subjects also work well as workshop in several parts (distributed over a weekend, for example). Participants have the time to assimilate (and possibly practice during ball night) a first layer, before continuing on the following day. This format also allows me to offer a level (* / **) workshop followed by a level (** / ***) and participants can choose to follow one or both parts, according to their level.

Elena Leibbrand: quick presentation and assets

  • Over 20 years of regular dance practice: Viennese waltz, salsa, tango argentino, folk & trad’ and contemporary
  • Folk dancing teacher since 2012, dance workshops in Belgium, France, Germany & Poland since 2012
  • 3 years of body oriented psychotherapy training (massage, Energy work)
  • Speaks 4 languages fluently (En, Fr, De Nl) and has good notions of Spanish
  • Elena can teach alone or with an experienced dance partner

Administrative information & organisation

Detailed description of the content and level of each workshop can be provided (some may need to be translated into English by a native speaker).

You can download photos and videos from this website.


Transport: I do not have a car, but live in Brussels, which is well connected via rail and air.

Accommodation: I appreciate it if you can provide for a real bed, so as to offer me the sleep necessary for a good working day.

Dietary requirements: If possible, I avoid gluten, dairy products and meat. But I can adapt.