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Caper The Cape, But Sing Me A Song

A couple of days ago, I had a sudden and desperate need to find choreographic instructions for the pavane (a slow, stately Renaissance dance that is intended to move the dancers from Point A to Point B while displaying the ladies' gowns). I came upon a fantastic Web site that some of you might find entertaining/useful as well:


It has about 75 short video clips of ballroom dances from the Renaissance through the 20th century, with close-up step demonstrations as well.

I also came upon a new book at the library, The Dances of Shakespeare by Jim Hoskins. This is an illustrated guide to all the dances mentioned in Shakespeare's plays, as well as brief descriptions of later ballroom dances for those stage directors who want to set Shakespeare in a different time period. Among other things, I learned from this book that "God Save The Queen/My Country 'Tis Of Thee" is a dance melody. You can waltz to it, as you can do with the vast majority of triple-time tunes, but it is properly a tune for a galliard.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 21st, 2006 02:32 pm (UTC)
Those are soooo cool! Thanks FP. I love those old dances.
Jan. 21st, 2006 02:56 pm (UTC)
And ballroom dancing is such a great setting for really intense character interaction, too, since it's just crawling with sexual tension and/or comedy. I feel that two quotes are now appropriate here. The first one is from The Dances of Shakespeare. It's from the beginning of one of the chapters and it shows just why this book is so cool:

"The orchestra strikes up the music in a 3/4 cadence. The dancers hop, turn, step; then the man lifts his lady high in the air, boosting her with his thigh while holding onto her waist and corset. He turns her in the air. The lady squeals and tries desperately to hold her gown down so that the court does not get a glimpse of her undergarments or a flash of her bare leg.

"That is La Volta -- a sixteenth-century dance probably born in northern Italy. . . " (Hoskins 2005: 58)

The other is some comments made by two dance teachers during a lesson I had in Renaissance dance (where I did actually learn a variation of the pavane):

Mary: Ladies and gentlemen hold hands in this dance, but only by the fingertips. You never touched palms. That was too intimate.

Stacy: Yeah, you remember a little play called Romeo and Juliet? Remember the line "palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss?" If you touch palms with someone, that's Elizabethan for "do me, baby, right now."

The whole rest of the lesson was like this, which is why I remember dancing the pavane so fondly.
Jan. 21st, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
Heh. I recall something of that being said in one of my classes.

Wow, you supply the most interesting links. I so have to get a system that can deal with video. lol.

I always love the dance scenes in the movies about other time periods. Sooo gotta find a way to watch those. :D.


Jan. 21st, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
The dance scenes in Elizabethan-themed movies are the best. Shakespeare In Love, Elizabeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Six Wives of Henry VIII. . . good stuff.
Jan. 21st, 2006 04:06 pm (UTC)
I just watched the Grand March. Hehe - now I know where our marching band intructor in high school got some of his moves from!
Jan. 21st, 2006 04:25 pm (UTC)
I've done Grand Marches at Scottish balls before. I think part of their appeal is that they are so doofy. On the other hand, it's a nice chance to warm up for the dance while listening to bagpipe music.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


by Illsaysheis

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