Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Warm-Up Act

Sunday morning was overcast and fog lingered in the valley below Conques. By the time I finished breakfast at my hotel, however, the skies had cleared and promised a sunny blessing for Sainte Foy's feast day Mass. As I walked my bag  to the upper parking lot, I was amazed by the steady stream of people flowing into the village. So glad I decided to come on Saturday and stay the night. It looked like there would be quite a crowd! Things were scheduled to begin at 10h30, but I could see that people were already beginning to cluster outside the cloister and around the church by the Fountain of Plo. I found a place along the cloister arcade and people-watched. Priests and other dignitaries began to appear as did these Occitan dancers from the near-by village of Senergues. Soon the ancient sounds of bagpipes and accordion filled the air, and we were treated to a dance performance....a warm-up act for the procession to come. Enjoy the costumes and a bit of the toe-tapping music!
A lot of the men and a few of the women danced in these traditional wooden sabots. After Mass the group danced again in the parvis in front of the church. I held my breath that no one would slip! You can see how rough the cobblestone surface is...and the entire area slants downhill toward the church! I have a hard time just standing on the surface. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to dance on. You'll be happy to know that the performance was perfect...and accident-free!

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