Meg Laycock

Norwegian dance is primarily social in nature. Traditionally, these dances were done for fun at ordinary parties and at more formal festive occasions, such as weddings, Christmas gatherings, or Midsummer. The dances include four main categories: regional dances (bygdedansar), figure or set dances (turdansar), old-time social dances (gammeldans), and song dances (songdansar).

Bygdedansar are very old couple dances in 3/4 or 2/4 rhythm, danced in a free style similar to traditional ballroom dancing in this country.

The turdansar are pattern dances, often for a specific number of dancers. Their formation can be longways sets, squares, big circles, or individual couples. These dances have specific figures in a set sequence to specific music. Many of them are similar to equivalent dances in other parts of Europe.

Gammeldans includes various forms of reinlenders (or schottisches), polkas, waltzes, and mazurkas. The primary social dances in Norway during the 1800’s, these are still seen today in some social settings, mixed in with swing and foxtrot.

Song dances include singing games that date back to the 1800’s or before, as well as dances set to traditional songs by Hulda Garborg in the early Twentieth Century.

At the Festival, we will teach primarily gammeldans and turdans, and possibly a song dance or two.