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The New Zealand Curriculum.

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Example 6: A folk dance - La farondole

This example is an easy version of the farandole. It will provide opportunities for using varied formulaic expressions and for interacting, and it will bring an important cultural aspect to the French lesson.

Typically, a farandole is a line of people holding each other’s hands. One person is the leader, and one person is the tail. When going in a spiral formation, the farandole must go clockwise (in the Middle Ages they believed this discouraged “evil behaviour”), and everyone must face the centre. The farandole must not break.

Start by making a circle. Explain to the students that they have to hold hands in a special way: left hand under and right hand over in “ je prends à gauche, je donne à droite”.

Les zigzags

The leader (the teacher at the head of the line) leads the farandole, making zigzags in the line. The leader must walk all the time, so that the tail is also walking (and not “flying”). When the students get used to following sideways to the left, the teacher can skip gently while leading. It is easier, at the beginning, to place cones to identify a path, and the leader can then gently zigzag in between the cones.


Image of L'aiguille folkdancing movements.

In an open farandole, the leader passes underneath the connection between the tail and the second person before the tail, leading the whole line under this human “bridge”. The tail must remain on the spot. When the line has passed through, the second person before the tail will make the tail turn in on itself as the line goes under the tail’s arm.


Image of L'escargot folkdancing movements.

The leader will form a wide inward spiral. Once the leader is at the very centre of the spiral, the line simply changes direction to the left to unfold the spiral. At the exit of the spiral, the leader must go back in a clockwise direction.

L’aiguillée de l’escargot

Image of L'aiguille de l'escargot folkdancing movements.

This is the same spiral as in l’escargot – when ready to undo the spiral, the leader walks on the spot and the second person passes under the leader’s arm while turning in on themselves, dragging the whole line underneath this “bridge”. The leader guides the second person slowly anti-clockwise to undo the spiral.

The bridges

Image of The bridges folkdancing movements.

While the line is still doing zigzags, the leader and the second person stop and form a bridge with both arms. The farandole, led by the third person, passes underneath this first bridge; then the third and fourth person make up a bridge beside the leader. Everyone must go under the bridges and form their own bridge in due time. When the farandole is all through, the leader passes underneath all the bridges, and in time all the bridges get undone to reform a farandole.

Communication, Language Knowledge, and Cultural Knowledge, levels 1 and 2

At these levels, students can understand and use familiar expressions and everyday vocabulary. They can interact in a simple way in supported situations.

In selected linguistic and sociocultural contexts, students will: For example, students might:
  • receive and produce information;
  • use French words to produce a formation;
  • produce and respond to questions and requests;
  • produce and respond to simple instructions: on se donne la main, en cercle, une farandole, l’escargot 1, l’escargot 2, un train, un pont, on marche
  • show social awareness when interacting with others;
  • use expressions appropriately, e.g., en couple, en kolo, ways of holding someone’s hand – je prends, je donne;
  • recognise that French is organised in particular ways;
  • recognise that the words describe the formation to make;
  • make connections with their own language(s);
  • recognise that French culture is organised in particular ways;
  • see the difference in dances;
  • make connections with known culture(s).
  • compare the farandole with the folk dances they may be familiar with in New Zealand.

Context: Students perform la farandole as an activity during PE and dance lessons.

Variations: The students could be in charge of the formations they call and make; the leaders can change; they can make two farandoles.

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