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Q: Information on the dances, dance steps performed by nobility of Medieval France ( No Answer,   2 Comments )
Subject: Information on the dances, dance steps performed by nobility of Medieval France
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Performing Arts
Asked by: sexylexy-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 18 Aug 2002 05:27 PDT
Expires: 17 Sep 2002 05:27 PDT
Question ID: 55840
I need information on dances of 1465 in Medieval Burgundy France. How
they were performed exactly by the nobility, i.e steps, movements,
names of dances performed in that time frame. Fast, lively and the
stately dances. Male only dances, female only dances and mixed

Request for Question Clarification by leli-ga on 26 Aug 2002 03:27 PDT
Now you have got some of the info you asked for, not sure what would
constitute a useful answer for you.
Do the sites have to be in English or would French be OK?
Do you want to say which site you've already found so we don't waste
your time by offering that to you?
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Information on the dances, dance steps performed by nobility of Medieval France
From: bobbie7-ga on 18 Aug 2002 14:38 PDT

I am leaving this information as a comment, because I could not come
up with all the information you requested.

In an article Basse Dance By Joan Curry, she explains:

“Basse danse was a principal dance form during the late Middle Ages
and Renaissance periods, reaching the height of its cultivation during
the 15th century and disappearing after the middle of the 16th
century. It is a court dance which was enjoyed at Burgundian courts.
The dance was performed with light, gliding steps of dignified motion,
and it was danced by couples”
University Of Toronto Website

I located the following on Bergundian Dance in Googles cached pages:

Burgundian Dance in the Late Middle Ages

“Our primary knowledge of Burgundian dance in the late Middle Ages is
based on a manuscript housed in the Brussels Bibliothèque Royale, Les
Basses danses de Marguerite d'Autriche, published c.1490. The
manuscript, printed on black paper and with gold and silver
calligraphy, contains music and a shorthand form of tablature for the
description of more than fifty bassesdanses.

The steps are explained as follows:

“Popular from the fourteenth century to the second half of the
sixteenth, the bassedanse (It., bassadanza) was a regal processional
dance consisting of only five steps. The simplest components were
single steps and double steps (notated ss and d)--these were walking
steps that progressed forward or backward. The single step consisted
of a step and weight change; the double was composed of three steps.
Each step was punctuated by a slight rising and lowering of the body.
The branle (notated b) was a sideways step performed with a slight
swaying motion. The reprise or démarche (notated z, or s in other
sources), was a backward step; and révérence (notated R) was the
formal bow or curtsy. No floor patterns were provided in this
manuscript, but the bassedanse was usually danced with one couple
standing behind another, partners holding inside hands. Delicate and
tranquil in style, the bassedanse was intended to be danced by an
unlimited number of noble performers, and its small steps perfectly
accommodated the lady's long train and the exaggerated, pointed toes
of the gentleman's shoes, known as poulaines.”

Moderne's Basse Dance Measures and Brussels Manuscript Basse Dance
Measures are located here:
University of Waterloo Website

In the Table of Contents of Dances of France and Burgundy –you will
find links to descriptions timings, steps and other French dances.
University of Waterloo Website

“It is reasonably obvious from the description of the bransles in
Orchesography, and from Arbeau's status in society, that the bransles
were dances done normally by the lower or middle classes in French
society at the time (the upper classes were probably dancing pavanes,
galliards, and perhaps some dances in the Italian style at the time).”

Images from Arbeau

Dances of France and Burgundy music files are available for download

The Society for Creative Anachronism Website

Basse Dance: Music file
University Of Toronto Website

The Capriol Dancers, a performing group, established in 1981, give
public presentations of historical dancing in appropriate period dress
Here is a picture of them in 15th Century Burgundy attire for the
Burgundian Basse Danse

A 120 page publication to read online that may interest you.

You may also purchase the following publication:
15th Century Dances from Burgundy and Italy   A booklet giving
instructions for dancing a number of late mediaeval and early
renaissance dances, with accompanying CD.

Search Criteria:




Subject: Re: Information on the dances, dance steps performed by nobility of Medieval France
From: sexylexy-ga on 22 Aug 2002 11:17 PDT
Thank you for the titbit of information of dances of the time period
requested.   I appreciate your efforts, but I managed in the end to
find complete details on four dances and sketches on footwork. They
are very detailed and I was very pleased to come across the site.
However, if you can unearth any more information this will be very

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