What is… la gigue?
La gigue is a traditional dance performed in Québec and in the French Canadian culture. It is a form of percussive dance where one makes sounds with his/her feet on the floor. The mouvements of the feet, ankles and legs are usually quite small and do not have much amplitude.
La gigue came to Canada and was shared with us initially by the Irish and the Scottish. Subsequently, there was an influence from tap dancing from the Americans. Now, la gigue is practiced in Québec and across Canada in the French Canadian culture.
For more information, consult the article Le quiproquo de la gigue au Québec written by Pierre Chartrand.
What is a “bonhomme gigueur”?
Monsieur Bono is a bonhomme gigueur (dancing man) and is a component of French Canadian folklore. This bonhomme gigueur is described as a wooden puppet that dances on the end of a wooden board to the rhythm of the music.
To make the bonhomme gigueur dance, a person sits on one end of the board and, while holding the wooden puppet with one hand, taps on the board with the other hand. The bonhomme gigueur’s feet hit the board and make the sounds “taque-tique-tac”.
Activity #1: Your turn to dance la gigue with Monsieur Bono!
Watch how Monsieur Bono dances la gigue.
What parts of his body does he use to dance la gigue?
His head? Arms? Torso? Legs? Feet?
Replay the video. When Monsieur Bono dances, watch how he dances. When he stops, it will now be your turn to dance la gigue the same way as Monsieur Bono. So, you’ll be dancing at the same time as one of Tradansa’s Dance Specialists. Then, it’s Monsieur Bono’s turn again. Then yours. Continue alternating between you and Monsieur Bono until the end of the music.
After the activity, answer the following questions: (answers at bottom of page)
- How do we call this dance form?
- Where do we dance la gigue?
- Which parts of the foot do we use to dance la gigue?
Activity #2: Make your own “bonhomme gigueur”
Download the page: Bonhomme gigueur
Print this page on a 8.5″ X 11″, preferably a thicker paper. Cut out the different body parts. Make small holes and use a fastener as indicated.
Activité #3: Word Search
Download the page: Mot mystère
Learn the various words in French relating to dance, music and culture.
Activity #4: Make a gigue video
Dance la gigue with Monsieur Bono and make a video of your students/kids dancing.
Share your video on our Facebook page. Use #tradansa
We look forward to seeing you dance! And, have fun!
Looking for the music?
The music used to dance la gigue is Un air trompeur, an original composition by Richard Forest. Available on the album: Danse, mon coeur danse! available for purchase HERE.
- La gigue.
- French Canadian culture.
- The heel, pointe (toes) and ball of the foot.