Boombal is the name given to a relatively recent phenomenon of folk
The English word Folk is derived from a Germanic noun, *fulka meaning "people" or "army"...

 dance parties in Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, originating in the frech bal folk. The partygoers indulge in pair, ring, line, and string dances such as the waltz
The waltz is a ballroom and folk dance in time, performed primarily in closed position.- History :There are several references to a sliding or gliding dance,- a waltz, from the 16th century including the representations of the printer H.S. Beheim...

, polka
The polka is a Central European dance and also a genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. It originated in the middle of the 19th century in Bohemia...

, An Dro
An Dro
An dro or en dro is a Breton folk dance in 4/4.-Technique:The dancers link little fingers in a long line, swinging their arms, and moving to their left by taking longer steps in that direction than when stepping right...

, etc. adapted from the French bal folk scene. The events are seen as a more social and enjoyable alternative to the individualistic dancing that is often seen in modern clubs. There is a very low barrier of entrance due to the emphasis on having fun rather than meticulously performed and complicated dances.


Boombal originated in Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

, Belgium when accordion instructor Wim Claeys wanted his students to play to a real dance audience. The first Boombal was organised in September 2000 in an old furniture shop, with about 5 couples participating. This shop was located in the Boomstraat (lit. tree-street), which is how the event got its name. A year later, the Boombal concept had grown immensely and with over 100 participants the event was relocated to the Volkshuis van de Dampoort in Ghent. Soon, another move was necessary to the even bigger intercultural centre 'De Centrale'.

In 2006, Boombal is an established and popular concept in Belgium, organised mostly in and around various student cities. In the Netherlands, similar events are popping up, under the name Folkbal. The idea is slowly gaining popularity in other neighbouring countries as well.


A Boombal typically consists of two parts:

1. Initiation

In about an hour, an instructor will demonstrate and teach various dances. Popular ones include Schottische
The schottische is a partnered country dance, that apparently originated in Bohemia. It was popular in Victorian era ballrooms as a part of the Bohemian folk-dance craze and left its traces in folk music of countries such as Argentina , Finland , France, Italy, Norway , Portugal and Brazil , Spain ...

, Gigue
The gigue or giga is a lively baroque dance originating from the British jig. It was imported into France in the mid-17th century and usually appears at the end of a suite...

s and Bourrée
The bourrée is a dance of French origin common in Auvergne and Biscay in Spain in the 17th century. It is danced in quick double time, somewhat resembling the gavotte. The main difference between the two is the anacrusis, or upbeat; a bourrée starts on the last beat of a bar, creating a...

s. The emphasis is on dances that can be performed with two or more people at the time.

2. Party

Professional folk musicians play live music to which the various learned dances are performed en masse. There is a lot of interplay between the audience and the musicians. A typical session lasts about two hours.
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