Washington Revels Blog

Washington Revels stages celebrations filled with traditional music, dance, stories and drama from around the world, revolving around the cycle of the seasons and the joys of community connections. Revels is for anyone who wants to share common ground through old and new traditions—connecting people across time and cultures. Revels is not something that you just watch—it is an experience.

Latest Posts

  • Cautionary Tales From Canada
    Cautionary Tales From Canada
    December 8, 2017 by
    A guest post by Patrick Swanson (Artistic Director, Revels, Inc.) and Stephen D. Winick, Ph.D.
    Folktales have a predictable, familiar structure: beginnings and endings are ritualized in order to give a clear signal that we are entering and leaving another world, while middles often contain important lessons that are part of a perceived “common sense.” The lessons in French-Canadian culture come from a fascinating mixture of English, Scottish, Irish, and French tradition shaped by the dominant religion, Catholicism. Many folktales feature the village priest and his enemy, the Devil. A favorite cautionary tale about the Loup-Garou, or Werewolf, includes important information about the reason for the beast’s condition: neglecting to go to confession for seven years....
    Read more
  • Song and Music in Québec: A Brief Introduction
    Song and Music in Québec: A Brief Introduction
    December 7, 2017 by
    A guest post by Stephen Winick, Ph.D.
    This French-Canadian Revels includes a selection of ancienne musique and nouvelle musique Québécoise, blending old French tradition and New World ingenuity with a modern flair. On his first trip to the New World, in 1534, explorer Jacques Cartier found a rich land inhabited by Huron and Iroquois Indians. He promptly claimed it for France. After permanent settlement began in 1608, immigrants to Québec came from all over France, but especially from several provinces in the north and west: Normandy, Picardy, Anjou, Poitou, and Brittany. Not surprisingly, many of the traditional French songs we now find in Québec are common in those provinces as well. “Dans les prisons de Nantes,” for example, is set in Nantes, an important city that was historically the capital of Brittany. Located at the confluence of the Loire, the Sevre, and the Erdre, Nantes may be remembered fondly by many of our villagers as a model for their own Trois-Rivières....
    Read more
  • Vive “le Swing” and Traditional Social Dancing
    Vive “le Swing” and Traditional Social Dancing
    December 6, 2017 by
    A guest post by Pierre Chartrand
    Swinging (as in “swing your partner round and round”) is the essence of Québécois country dancing. In fact, it can almost be considered the inspiration for all our figure dances. Our quadrilles, cotillions, and “sets” (the distinctively Québécois form of square dancing) represent the artistic epitome of how people can meet each other. This is particularly true of the quadrille, the first dance done in this show, which has a gradually increasing number of exchanges, first between partners, and then with all the other couples....
    Read more
  • The Origin of the Gigue (Québécois Step Dancing)
    The Origin of the Gigue (Québécois Step Dancing)
    December 5, 2017 by
    A guest post by Pierre Chartrand
    In Québec, step dancing is known as the gigue. The step dancing in this show is a style from the eastern part of Canada. It is one of a number of varieties of step dancing found throughout Canada. Step dancing originated in the British Isles. Its path to Canada began with the large Irish immigration between 1832 and 1847. As a port of entry, Québec City was first to feel the Irish influence. As French-speaking Canadians adopted the dance, colonists moving northward carried the gigue with them....
    Read more
  • Marking the Shortest Day of the Year
    Marking the Shortest Day of the Year
    December 4, 2017 by
    A reprint of “The Shortest Day” by Patrick Swanson (Artistic Director, Revels, Inc.)
    In our own time the Winter Solstice is indissolubly linked with the festival of Christmas, though it was not always so. The myths of the festival are so deeply embedded within us that we no longer ask why we bring an evergreen into the house or decorate with candles or hang mistletoe. We take these things for granted as we plunge into the hectic preparations for Christmas and the New Year. Overall there is a heightened sense of something significant happening at a fixed point on the calendar. For some it is Christmas night, for others it is watching the ball drop in Times Square. The commercial frenzy of gift buying is fueled by references to holly and stars and carols and the streets are illuminated by strings of twinkling lights. Sometimes the blurring of images can distort the meaning of the event that is being celebrated....
    Read more
  • Meet The Christmas Revels Chorus (Part 3)
    Meet The Christmas Revels Chorus (Part 3)
    December 4, 2017 by
    Posted by Washington Revels
    Get to know the people and personalities that will bring our French-Canadian winter celebration to life this December!...
    Read more
  • All are Welcome in Our Revels Community
    All are Welcome in Our Revels Community
    December 1, 2017 by
    A guest post by Katrina Van Duyn
    Although I usually join in Revels’ Christmas productions as a specialty performer, in Québécois I am happy to play a more hybrid role, not exactly a chorus member (I was not hired for my soprano chops), but definitely a member of the village community onstage. So I have come to the chorus rehearsals as much as possible, and have enjoyed and learned so much from them....
    Read more
  • Meet The Christmas Revels Chorus (Part 2)
    Meet The Christmas Revels Chorus (Part 2)
    November 28, 2017 by
    Posted by Washington Revels
    Get to know the people and personalities that will bring our French-Canadian winter celebration to life this December!...
    Read more
  • Meet The Christmas Revels Chorus (Part 1)
    Meet The Christmas Revels Chorus (Part 1)
    November 20, 2017 by
    Posted by Washington Revels
    Get to know the people and personalities that will bring our French-Canadian winter celebration to life this December!...
    Read more
  • Shaping Revels Kids
    Shaping Revels Kids
    November 19, 2017 by
    A guest post by Kat Toton
    The first Revels I ever saw was the 2004 production of The King and the Fool. I saw the following year's Northlands show and somehow (although I don't remember doing it) signed up for the mailing list. When the audition notice came out in 2006, I decided to try it and I've been with Revels ever since! You could say that I fell in love. I've been an adult Chorus member in 5 shows, did makeup for the 2008 Québécois show, and have been the kids' Music Director since 2010....
    Read more
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Address

Washington Revels, Inc.
531 Dale Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Map, Directions and Parking
301-587-3835 (voice)
888-587-9050 (fax)

Stay in Touch

Sign Up
for our monthly Enewsletter.


Revels® and Christmas Revels® are federally registered service marks of Revels Inc., Watertown, Mass.
VERIFIED Seal