LES ARCEAUX

on

This dance, like a number of other corporate dances, was, well before the Middle Ages, a ritual dance that gave a magic power to an attribute (here the arch). During antiquity and prehistory, man, not being able to explain the various celestial manifestations like the sun and the moon which follow each other in the sky, but also the meteorological phenomena, imagined that the sky was the seat of a supernatural power . He created the arch in the image he had of the sky and created rituals aimed with this invocation weapon to act on this power to increase fertility and fertility. The power of the arch is reinforced by the shape taken by the rainbows after the fertilizing rains, which represented for these men a direct bridge between heaven and earth that borrowed the cosmic forces to descend on the earth. The men then materialized on the arch the object of their preoccupation: obtaining a good harvest. In Languedoc, wine region par excellence, the arches were thus garnished with vine leaves and bunches of grapes. In this dance, then dedicated to Bacchus the god of wine and drunkenness, all the dancers carry a bow. The dancers move with a graceful movement of the trunk which turns a little on the side of the front foot, which gives a nice movement to the arches. In all regions, the figures are similar: the dancers form on the ground different evolutions imitating the movements of a snake: advancing in parallel lines and then intertwine to form a circle, so as to ward off the bad ones geniuses. The snake was at that time a protective genius of the crops, as well as a lunar symbol, which made it a call to the rain. The dancers take the national footsteps of the Pays d’Oc, which seems to mimic the movements of the old grape-diggers (simple bell). At home, the grapes have been replaced by flowers.