On Bouge, est. 1990, is London’s long-running club for French Balfolk  and Fest Noz. After the long Plague Year we RESTARTED dancing LIVE in September 2021.

Covid-19: See GOV.UK guidance below. Covid-19 is still a problem, but we have to learn to live with it: we have to live! We have to dance! We have to play music! Please feel free to come if you have had the three necessary vaccinations. If you are not vaxed please contact me. My priorities are to keep people safe, but I will be happy to do the research to see what we can do.

Nearest tube: Hampstead
For other possibilities, please consult https://www.heathstreet.org/contact/

Please email chris@gigcb.com to join our email list.

We always have Live MusicDuo Mistral (Chris & Caroline Shaw) are happy to share their years of experience of playing and dancing in various French regions, and the On Bouge Band (incorporating the Behind the Shed Buskers) are always there to play. We are negotiating to have specific guests in the coming months 

Please contact Chris if you would like to play. We want to keep up our eclectic mix 🙂 

Please bring drinks and nibbles to share. We will provide French festival freshly washed-up reusable plastic cups and sticky labels to put your name on – please remove the labels at the end of the evening. We will take them home and wash them up again.

Many of the dances we do are danced all over Europe, but we do like to shine a spotlight on dances from specific areas. 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.

One of the crucial things is simple: if you have ANY Covid-19 symptoms please stay at home and look after yourself: see instructions from GOV.UK below.

All dates are 2nd Fridays, except those marked *


  • 14 January Valentine’s Day at On Bouge, with Duo Mistral (diato, fiddles, boha) teaching Bourrée Planière, Rond de Quercy and Kost ar c’hoad, as well as dances from Central France and Sauts from Béarn. Also featuring the On Bouge band and David Lowe.
  • 11 February NEW Trio Sawney White Bird, featuring our always dynamic friend and musician Ravi Sawney, Heather White and Jane Bird on sax, diato, mouthorgan, concertina and cornemuse.
  • *SATURDAY 12 March
    • 3pm to 6pm: Afternoon Workshop with Trio ZinZon: 3-time bourrées from Auvergne, Morvan, Limousin and Haut Agenais (Bourrée Planière).
    • 6pm to 7.30pm BYO supper.
    • 7.30pm to 11pm On Bouge Bal with Trio ZinZon, the  On Bouge Band and Friends
  • 8 April Duo Mistral are taking the lead again, supported by the On Bouge Band and friends. We’ll be redoing the dances we worked on last month PLUS Breton dances such as Suite de Loudéac, Dans Keff and so on. 
  • 13 May The Famous Five Fiddlers (to be confirmed)
  • 10 June 
  • 8 July 


Before attending any sporting activities, all participants, officials, volunteers and spectators should self-assess for symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

If you have one or more of these symptoms you should not attend any sporting activity, even if your symptoms are mild. You should follow NHS guidance on testing and self-isolation.

On Bouge EXTRA ZoomBal

The ZoomBals have now been discontinued. Thank you so much for everyone who participated by linking up their lving rooms and kitchens to form a global dance and music group 🙂 

On Bouge Tea Dances

These have also been discontinued in the cold and wet winter months. Watch this space to see if and when they start up again.

Nothing to do with Tea! But it’s at sort of tea time! And it’s next to the smashing Highbury Barn, 26 Highbury Park, London N5 2AB, a short walk through Highbury Fields from Highbury & Islington Station. 


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

  • Bourrées come mostly from central France and are danced in a variety of ways. Most people are familiar with the bourrée droite, where you are in two lines facing your partner and the music is two-time (4/4) or three-time (3/8). Other bourrées are danced in couples or in groups of four or six people. Montagnardes are Auvergne bourrées danced in cortège while you slowly make your way to the top, towards the musicians, and then, like on a helter-skelter, you bourrée through the cortège and join it again at the bottom. There are specific styles of bourrée from Berry, Bourbonnais, Nivernais, Morvan, Auvergne, Limousin and Haut Agenais, with one or two local styles of bourrée 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 Loudéac are danced in long snaking lines which intermingle and diverge. And we have been working on dances from Léon (north-west Brittany) recently.
  • Gascon dances such as rondeaux and congos. And the Rond de Quercy,  from just to the north of Gascony.
  • Dances from Béarn and Pays Basque (in the Pyrenées 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.
  • We have now addedBranles from the Vallée d’Ossau, Béarn.

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