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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Le Carillon de Dunkerque
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Le Carillon de Dunkerque dance history origin page title   Le Carillon de Dunkerque (The Chimes of Dunkirk), like the Boulangere, is a French dance of the olden times, it was the merriest and noisiest of all the country dances. (The first chime was built in Dunkirk, in 1437.) The gentlemen selected their partners, and placed themselves as to do a Quadrille. It is of no consequence if the number of couples is not equal, the more that danced the merrier it was.

   The music plays the first eight bars, after which each gentleman takes the place of the gentleman to his right, the ladies meanwhile retaining their places forming a Grand Round. Upon a signal, all balance and turn their new partners

leaving the ladies inside, the gentlemen finishing with their faces towards the ladies, and their backs to the center of the Quadrille. Then all the ladies and gentleman clap their hands three times, and then stamp on the floor three times, and finish by turning round in the same direction with their new partners. This figure is again begun and is repeated, until each gentleman meets his partner again, after which the ladies perform the figure in the same manner with the gentlemen. They would generally finish with a waltz. It was best suited to Polka type music.


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

France 1440's France Contradanse

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

1903 - The Chimes of Dunkerque (Carter) Carillon dun Kerque, Le (1768)
  dédié à la ville de Dunkerque (1853)
      Dunkerque à Bergues (1860)
      Le Carillon de Dunkerque (1768)
      Le carillon d'Ekelsbeke
      Livre de Contredances avec Les figures (1768)

Night Clubs



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related Films


Ballets / Stage

1958 - Dunkirk n/a n/a
1989 - Dunkirk: The Battle for France        
1964 - Week-end à Zuydcoote        



Other Related Dances of the time...

Arkansas Traveler Contredanse Polka Round Dance Square Dance
Boulangere Country dance Quadrille Sir Roger de Coverly Virginia Essence

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Henry Denis (c.1755) n/a n/a

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...





Popular Songs of the Flemings of France Edmond de Coussemacker 1856 n/a

Musicians, Composers, Singers

Poets / Writers

Manotte, Louis Domenica Marie Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Evangeline)
Perot, M.  
Carter, T (c.1903)    

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

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Basic Steps ...

  • Music is for 8 bars (honors);
  • gentlemen then take the place of the gentleman on his right.
  • All balance twice and turn with a new partner, finishing with the men in the middle.
  • All dancers clap hands 3 times, then stamp 3 times, and turn this new partner (8) once and a half to progress to next new partner.
  • Ladies Repeat.