Les Joyeux Mineurs

Society of Dances and Farandoles

Our “elders”, creators of the Society of Dance and Farandoles
The Merry Minors, insisted on the importance and their attachment to “local gold”, coal. The name of our group pays tribute to the profession practiced by many members.

Thanks to the knowledge of the Masters to dance of the Navy,
the group knew how to combine rigor, technique, Provençal traditions
and original creations.

The group

Composed of young dancers and dancers, accompanied by an orchestra of brass and wood, the group interprets a varied register. By its multiple costumes and its musical choices, which make our particularity and our originality, we assure shows mixing dance and music, being able last 2 hours.


We recruit dancers and dancers from the age of 6 years.
As we rehearse, our dancers evolve by learning different classes of steps, classified by difficulty.
The learning of these steps is concretized by an annual examination and the possibility of learning the dances of our repertoire.
These dances are then performed during performances and especially during the annual evening where the graduation ceremony of the class passage takes place.

The musicians

The dancers are accompanied by an orchestra of copper and wood.
For its composition, we welcome any type of musicians, beginners or confirmed. The orchestra currently consists of 7 musicians.

The volunteers

Of course our activated will not be possible without the help of our volunteers.
Dance masters who teach dancers, seamstresses who take care of different costumes.
Not to mention the volunteers who are in charge of the lottery season which allows us to carry out our various projects during the year.


The term farandole covers three realities
– the spontaneous and joyous farandole that ends a ball, a party.
-the political farandole intended to show his opinions
-and that which interests us the scholarly farandole

In the mid-nineteenth century the Félibrige is in full swing to defend the traditional cultures and the defense of the langue d’oc. In this context, a farandole in “folkloric” costumes is presented several times by the Barbentane dancers. in the opera “Roland à Ronceveaux”; the success is immense. In response, Gallas, master of dance, cane, stick and French boxing probably trained in the army created in 1876 in Arles the first choreographed Farandole using no dance of character. The example of his Society, The Children of Arles, is a stain of oil and the end of the century sees the creation of many Farandole societies in towns and villages Gard (Pouzilhac, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, Aramon, Laudun, Bessèges, Bouillarges). At the same time, new Societies were declared to the Prefecture (Nîmes, Sauzet, St Geniès de Malgoirès, Générac, Langlade, Alès La Grand’combe: The Avernir of Trescol 1888

These Societies meet on two occasions:
– The competitions of Farandoles during votive festivals. These competitions are located in the districts of Uzès and Alès, as well as in the northeastern area of ​​the district of Nîmes. Each Society tries to outdo the others in creativity and virtuosity.
– Dance Assaults where the best students pass their dance certificates. : Provost and Master
All these events are accompanied exclusively by the Musiques Municipales, brass orchestras

It was in the Gard that the choreographed forms of the Farandole were first developed, associated with the practice of other types of dances such as the English or the Gavotte. This department has become a reference in which all the Provencal groups have drawn.

The feast of the fiftieth anniversary of Mireille in Arles in 1909 saw the consecration of the learned Farandole as “Provençal”, but it is at the cost of the loss of independence of farandoleurs du Gard who are forced, against their will, the galoubet and the tambourine.

Frederic Mistral and his friends decide that La Farandole choreographed and accompanied by galoubet and tambourine would be the representative dance of Provence, the official costume would be the costume of Arles Since the Farandole Societies will gradually become folk groups. The Merry Minors are among those who have resisted this influence of Provence and continue today to teach the same steps as in the halls of dance masters of the eighteenth centuries and on ships to maintain the shape of sailors.

The musical accompaniment:
The instruments to accompany farandoles and character dances in the region have always been brass, both in Ales, St Ambroix and Martinet. It was often the Mining Harmony of those same cities which was an orchestra. At Grand’Combe we did not break the rule. The Harmonie des Mines also created in 1911, aided by the Compagnie des Mines, accompanied the Merry Minors. Over the years a group of musicians, mostly from L’Harmonie, became more faithful to the band. The orchestra of the Merry Minors was born. Today, we still maintain friendly relations with the music school of Grand’Combien country and its orcher “Variation” (ex Harmonie des Mines, ex Harmonie Municipale). Some of our musicians and dancers belong to both formations.

Les Joyeux Mineurs

It is March 17, 1888 that Mr. ABRIC, then Master of Dance of the army creates the first dance company and farandole “the future of Trescol”.
This company, headed by Mr. Siméon VERT, assisted by Mr. CHAUVET, included 6 members and many musicians.
In 1891, Mr. Simeon VERT, in front of the increasing demand of young people, wishing to initiate himself to the dance, decides to create, another society “Swallow Grand’Combienne”.
The future of Trescol will continue, led by a young boy aged 11 and a half, who will later graduate from Dance. This young boy was called “Louis THOMAS”.
Subsequently, the situation made these two companies join their talents under the banner of “Merry Minors” in January 1911.
In 1911, the company was chaired by Mr. BONNEVAY, director of the Compagnie des Mines with two vice-presidents: Mrs VERT and THOMAS.
The farandoleurs, exclusively men, were led by a farandoleur leader Mr. Félix BRES. When the war breaks out in 1914, the Merry Minors cease their activities. The company started again from the 1920s.
Until the end of the second world war, Félix BRES and Henri DELENNE succeeded each other as farandoleurs leaders. From 1947, Mrs. Larguier Franc and Elie and Mr. Durand Maurice together occupy the position of farandole directors.
From the 50s to the end of the 90s, Mr Franc LARGUIER was director of farandole. Since his death on September 22, 2000, the transmission of his talent and rigor has not stopped.
The name of our group “THE HAPPY MINORS” seems somewhat outdated nowadays, but for us it’s our whole identity. The city of Grand’Combe was born from mining in 1946.
The dance and farandole society consisted exclusively of young miners who danced after their day’s work to forget the harshness of their labor at the bottom of the mine.

The Joyeux Mineurs - Variation's Celtiques


In 2008, for the second edition of Charbon Ardent, for Santa Barbara, a feast of minors, it is asked that the dance associations and the music school of the country big how do a show together. The Merry Minors chose this music composed for the occasion and performed by the band “variation’s” and our musicians

The Joyeux Mineurs - Les Arceaux


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.

Les Joyeux Mineurs - La Siberienne


In 1924, an east wind blew as far as La Grand’Combe. Charming girls under their white toques all have the same desire, to seduce the same boy. This age-old rivalry is a theme for dance.

The Joyeux Mineurs - LES TAMBOURINS


On the famous air of Georges Bizet, the farandole entered the arena in 1955.
What’s more natural in the mining country than to honor the Gard bull traditions? The costumes of the paseo, those of Matador and Picador, are remarkably faithful to the reality of a bullfight in which the last dancer, dressed in black, plays the role of toro.

The Joyeux Mineurs - LA MADELON


The infantrymen of “14” are there, in their faithfully reproduced costumes accompanied by the one who came to bring them a little comfort in this terrible war. It is a creation of 1975, on a very known air, of Vincent Scotto.

The Joyeux Mineurs - L'ANGLAISE


It’s a competition dance. The dancers perform it when they present their certificate as Dance Master. Exam that is worked during 4 study days organized by the Federation of Folklore Groups of Langue d’Oc. In addition to the dance that requires some training candidates present a memoir on the life of the group and their city, and also give a lesson to a beginner to show their ability to transmit their knowledge. You must be 16 years old to present the Master of Dance Certificate.

The Joyeux Mineurs - LA MATELOTE


This choreography implements the professional gestures of sailing time. We danced a lot in the old navy. On board each boat was a Dancing Master who taught the sailors all the classic steps for keeping them in shape.

The Joyeux Mineurs - CARMEN


On the famous air of Georges Bizet, the farandole entered the arena in 1955.
What’s more natural in the mining country than to honor the Gard bull traditions? The costumes of the paseo, those of Matador and Picador, are remarkably faithful to the reality of a bullfight in which the last dancer, dressed in black, plays the role of toro.

The Joyeux Mineurs - LES GUEULES NOIRES


It is the homage of the great grandfathers to those of the mining profession. Underground miners, of course! But also to the girls and women who toiled on the sites of the day when coal was separated from shale. The musical theme also evokes that of “The Great Cumbrian Anthem”. “Les Gueules Noires” is a dance to the glory of our city, La Grand’Combe, born from the mine, where we are proud to have our roots.

The Joyeux Mineurs - CAROLINE


This is the first creation of the Merry Minors in 1911, seduced by this popular tune born of the talent of Vincent Scotto. Already innovative, the Merry Minors drew on the popular musical repertoire.

The Joyeux Mineurs - LA GAVOTTE


It’s a competition dance. The dancers perform it when they present their certificate of Provost of Dance. Exam which is worked during 4 study days organized by the Federation of Folkloric Groups of Langue d’Oc It is necessary to be 14 years old to present this examination.

The Joyeux Mineurs - LA CHINOISE


Here we are somewhere in the heart of China with his spells. This choreography, given in 1984 by the Dance Master Fernand Bousquet is originally created for a solo performance, the Merry Minors have increased the difficulty by interpreting it to several, depending on the availability of dancers. For the centenary, a painting has been added for the youngest of our dancers.

The Joyeux Mineurs - LE RIGAUDON


Rigaudon was in vogue in the deep Provence of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Here it is, in the fashion Cevennes consecutively to the researches carried out in 1984, to reconstitute the costume of our ancestors. It was a success full of charm and originality, as it also has the extremely fast tempo choreography that highlights the talent of performers, musicians and dancers alike.

The Joyeux Mineurs - CHRYSALIDE


It is a creation of the Merry Minors in 2003 on a Balkan air. Music composed and given by the tubist Daniel Malavergne, former musician of the Merry Minors. The costumes are also imagined by the dancers and have been modified this year. It’s a dance that allows young and experienced dancers to evolve together.

The Joyeux Mineurs - LA MASCARADE


In our repertoire, Monsieur Carnaval had to appear. We have a very particular interpretation of this universal tradition. The characters of the Commedia Del Arte train the spectators in a frenzied choreography.

The Joyeux Mineurs - LA NICOISE


It is an adaptation of a dance borrowed from the repertoire of the County of Nice, the costume is simply that of the Nicoise. This dance is performed by young dancers with two or three years of practice.

The Joyeux Mineurs - LES GRELOTS


This dance already existed in Provencal traditions. The youth roamed the streets of the villages with their bell-feet at a brisk pace, uttering strident cries to drive out evil spirits. When they came in 1961, Thérèse Palau and Jacques Douai, from the National Ballet, took an interest in this dance to represent the Midi in their shows. The choreography and costumes have not changed since. During the twenty years of existence of the national ballet “the bells” traveled at the pleasure of the shows to the USA and Canada.

The Joyeux Mineurs - RONDO

RONDO ou LE Ballet des Filles de Marbre :

The music of this dance is by Cesare Pugni written in 1847 for a ballet-pantomime of Arthur-Leon: the ballet of the Marble Girls, this air came back so often that the masters to dance of the army introduced it in their room of dances, and the name of the ballet became the name of the dance “The dancers form an open circle of which they look at the center. Hands on the hips, they move from left to right and everyone advances in turn towards the center, making the sequence of steps that it succeeds the best. Between each solo, all the dancers take the step of the beginning. We use this choreography to introduce the youngest of our dancers, this is the first dance we perform in farandolor costume when we pass the class “E”

The Joyeux Mineurs - LA FARANDOLE


It’s a dance competition with very specific rules on the rhythm and time as on the steps and the outfit. She always dances in costume farandoleur and we kept in the execution of footsteps and music the rigor of the origins of the farandole.

The Joyeux Mineurs - LA FOLICHONE


Evokes the game of gossips or lovers who tease, sulk and reconcile. Ritual dance that originally represented the struggle between summer and winter. It is very popular in Provence and it is a very old dance since Antonius Arena mentions the air in “the low dance” in 1536. One finds Fricassées similar to ours in other regions of France as well as in Catalonia. She is in the repertoire of the Merry Minors since 1919

The Joyeux Mineurs - Kalinka

Kalinka :

From our travels in Poland, Czechoslovakia, the reception of folk groups from Eastern Europe, was born in 1990 on an essential music, this light, lively and colorful choreography, involving dancers, musicians and public in a cheerful dynamic