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Step Glossary


Please be aware that there are many ways for Arbeau's written instructions to be interpreted.  Although this glossary deals with only one, or two, of those interpretations, any others are welcome at the ball. 

If you are concerned that your variations are likely to cause difficulties, please feel free to utilise all the available space and start a second line or circle for the dance.

I would remind dancers that should you be unfamiliar with any of these variations, or any others you may see at the ball, please view them as nothing more than a foreign abberation, for everyone knows that foreigners have many strange customs.

This glossary, like the dance sheets, is not designed as a how to manual, but rather as a memory aid.

 


Branle

One of the defining characteristics of the branle/bransle/brawle is the sideways motion of the steps.
Singles, doubles and their variations are usually performed sideways in a branle.  With that in mind,
all steps should be assumed to be sideways unless otherwise stated.

Single

Step out, and together. 
May be performed stepping out sideways with either the right of left foot.
e.g. Single Left: step sideways with left foot, bring right foot in to left foot.

Double

Step out, and together, step out again and together.
May be performed stepping out sideways with either the right of left foot.
e.g. Double Left:step sideways with left foot, bring right foot in to left foot, step out again with left foot and bring right foot in to close.

Kick
(pied en l'air)

A straight legged kick infront of the body.  Often performed with a slight jump, especially when changing between kicks on alternating feet.
Seen in the Gay Branle.
Also performed while turning in Maltese and Washerwoman's Branles

Shove
(pied en l'air)

Another interpretation of the pied en l'air.  More of a lifting of the foot, with a slight shove as if to push the hem of your gown out of the way.
Suited to the Burgundian Branle.

Taps
(Tappement)

Tapping of the foot, not necessarily a stomp.
Seen in the Clog Branle.

Pas de Cheval
(Tappement)

A pawing of the ground as if by a horse or bull, but with more delicacy and skill.
Seen in the Horses Branle.

Jump
(Saut)

A jump.  May be two footed (not unlike a saute in ballet) or lauching off one foot..
May be 'large' or 'small'.
Seen in the Peas Branle, and some interpretations of the Official Branle.

Pavan & Galliard

Pavans use many of the same basic steps as Branles.  The difference is that they are done with
forward and back motion rather than side to side.

Single

Step out, and together. 
May be performed stepping out forwards or backwards with either the right of left foot.
e.g. Single Left, forwards: step forwards with left foot, bring right foot in to left foot.

Double

Step out, and together, step out again and together.
May be performed stepping out forwards or backwards with either the right of left foot.
e.g. Double Left, forwards:step forwards with left foot, bring right foot in to left foot, step out again with left foot and bring right foot in to close.

Pavan Set

On alternating feet: single, single, double.
May be performed forwards or backwards

Galliard or
Cinq Pas
(five step)

Five steps performed energetically in time to "God Save Our Gracious Queen".
Weight transfers from foot to foot on four small jumps and then a larger jump.
This may involve kicks, foward and back or sideways rocking motions or any number of variation.
An excellent opportunity for athletic Gentlemen to show off their prowess in this area. 

If you require a more comprehensive set of descriptions, please try Del's Dance Book, here.

 

 

The interpretations described above have been cobbled together from experience, work by Jennifer Shenan and descriptions in Julia Suttons translation of Orchesography, the online transcription of Arbeau's manual, Del's Dance Book and the Rose and Nefr Dance Manual..

Helois de Mont St. Michel
for the Merchants' Ball
Barony Southron Gaard