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Special Dance Workshops for 2022

Québecois dance workshops

Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy is delighted to welcome dance  performers from Québec, Martine Billette and Kate Bevan-Baker who will present a series of  special dance workshops during the week. The workshops will run on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 5th, 6th, and 7th July, at the Mill Marquee, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. These workshops are unique to this year's Summer School and they are free to registered students and €10 per day to non-registered participants. They will offer a sample of traditional solo and group (social) dances that are popular in Québec. The first two workshops will focus on solo dances—the reel and the waltz clog, while the third will focus on the set carré, (square set), the most popular form of social dancing in the province. 


Workshop I - La Gigue Québécoise - Tuesday, July 5th 

Solo step dancing is known as la gigue in Québec and a dancer is referred to as a gigueur (male), or a gigueuse (female). Various immigrant traditions have influenced the development of la gigue— notably, the Irish and the Scots—and there are multiple variations throughout the province, from 2/4 and 3/2 time in some areas to 2/4 and 6/8 in others. Martine and Kate will focus on a reel step that was passed down by dance master, Gilles Roy.  


Workshop II - The Waltz Clog - Wednesday, July 6th

The waltz clog is a dance in 3/4 time and is thought to have been brought to North America by German and British immigrants in the latter part of the nineteenth century. In Québec, the dance owes much of its popularity to the French-Canadian fiddler, Jean Carignan. Kate and Martine will teach the basic steps and choreography of the waltz clog as it has survived in Montréal and in Lanaudière. 



Workshop III - Le Set Carré - Thursday, July 7th

The set carré (square set), or set câllé (called set) was introduced to Québec by emigrants returning home from the milling towns of New England in the decades before World War I. Following in the wake of the contredanse, minuet, cotillon and quadrille, the set carré is now the most popular form of traditional social dancing in both rural and urban Québec. Danced by four couples and consisting of several figures, the set carré will appeal especially to Irish set dancers. 

Martine Billette

Born into a family of fiddlers from Ste-Barbe, Québec, Martine Billette began dancing at the age of four. Trained by renowned dance masters Serge Mathon, Martin Duheme and Gilles Roy, she is regarded as one of Canada’s finest traditional dancers. A virtuoso of La Gigue Québécoise, she danced with Pierre Chartrand and Marie-Soleil Pilette in the Montreal based trio, Rapetipetam, and with Gilles Roy and the Stepping Ambassadors.


She also trained as a classical pianist at Vincent d’Indy College and earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Montréal. She also completed a Bachelor’s in Music Therapy at the University of Québec in Montreal and a Master’s in Music Teaching before starting her professional career as a Music Therapist.


Martine is highly sought after as a traditional piano accompanist by Québécois, Irish and Scottish musicians all over Canada. She has been a featured accompanist at the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship and she has toured the USA, Japan and France with Ménage à Trois, Manigance, and the Pierre Schryer Band. She has taught step dance and piano accompaniment at summer schools throughout North America—among them, Goderich Celtic College, Camp Violon Trad Québec, and the Ashokan Music and Dance Camp. Her first solo album Valsons features seventeen of her own original waltz compositions.

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Kate Bevan-Baker

Newfoundland-born Kate Bevan-Baker is a recognized fiddler, classical violinist and singer. She holds violin performance degrees from Memorial and McGill Universities, and a PhD specializing in Irish Music on PEI from Concordia University where she was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Scholar. She was the winner of Concordia University's Doctoral Thesis Defense Award in 2018, and the recipient of the inaugural Rhona Richman Kenneally Award for the top PhD paper at the Canadian Association for Irish Studies conference in 2018. Kate’s music performance career has taken her to Russia, across Canada twice with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, to China for the 2010 World Expo representing Canada, the 2010 JUNO Awards performing with Michael Bublé, as well as playing with symphony orchestras and chamber groups across Canada. Kate is a founding member of the Newfoundland-based ECMA-nominated traditional band, The Dardanelles, and currently plays fiddle and sings with the Montreal-based Celtic trio, Solstice. She has been featured on many nation-wide radio and television broadcasts, and can be heard on over thirty CDs, videogame and movie soundtracks. Kate currently lives in Montreal where she teaches at Concordia University and balances and active performance and teaching schedule.

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