[Fr., swing, shake; can also be spelled bransle]
The term for old French folk dances, frequently accompanied by singing. In modified form they found their way into the entertainments at the court of Louis XIV and hence later became connected with various ballets and pantomimes. In his L'Orchésographie (1588), Thoinot Arbeau described more than two dozen kinds of branles. In the 20th century the branle is featured in Balanchine and Stravinsky's Agon.