westdance: Thoughts on 15c Italian for KWDS?

Cin cinbarnes at gmail.com
Tue May 8 21:00:41 PDT 2007

On 5/8/07, Matthew Larsen <matt1.larsen at gmail.com> wrote:
> > It's the pattern you make on the floor that we don't know, in either
> > case. In the galliard case you can look at choreographed galliards for
> > clues, but those are choreographed ones, of course. There are some
> > similar clues for figures you do in choreographed 15c piva and
> > saltarello sections of balli.
> Interesting...  When I think of improvisation, I generally think of
> stringing step variations together, or replacing steps with more
> complex steps.  That's true whether the dance is a galliard, a
> bransle, a waltz, swing, tango, whatever.

Huh, I hadnt thought of that either.  Guess it's my 19th c-20th c
dance background talkin'.  There are many dances characterized by
their typical pattern on the floor, but only one that I can think of
where the pattern you have traced is even considered interesting much
less important.

The pattern on the floor groups might include "slot dances" like
hustle & west coast swing. It might include circle dances like
Sellengers.  It might include squares like cotillion, quadrille and
sexdrille (no silly, not that; six as in 3 facing 3 !)

You've been waiting for the "only one" where the pattern on the floor
matters, havent you?  It's the 19th c figured grand march with the
line of men (or couples) crossing, merging, joining, interleaving,
passing a symmetrical line of women (or couples).  I do not know when
this style first appeared, but it doesnt seem to be listed in
Terpsichore, the well used English Regency era dance book.

>I can't think off hand of
> any kind of dance where the variation part is just the pattern you're
> making on the floor.  I guess I have to open up that category to
> include that, at least conceptually.

I thought of another. I can think of 1 that is folk dance in nature
rather than classy, e.g. a partner changing  late 18th c (that was the
claim) schottische circle & partner-changing dance from France.  I'm
not enough of a 18th dance historian... etc. But again, its not really
the *floor* that interesting; it's having that improv moment then back
to the circle in time to meet a new partner.
Cynthia Barnes
CinBarnes at gmail.com

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