[SCA-Dance] Fw: Help with some Itailian Dances

C. Timar cctimar at member.ams.org
Sun Apr 5 18:42:35 EDT 2009

> Eadric and I live in Artemisia and were wondering what sorts of steps or moves or music
> or whatever makes a dance distinctly Italian?

Actually, it is the sources.

We have a number of manuscripts from Italy from 1450-1500 describing
one sort of dance, and a few books from around 1590-1610 describing a
different sort of dance.  Both of these styles are called "Italian."
(I don't like calling two different styles "Italian" because I think
it leads to confusion.)

It is true that both styles have a number of distinctive steps, and we
dancers would call the steps early Italian or late Italian, but we
call them that because the dances come from Italian sources.

Similarly, we have two styles of dance that we know about mostly from
English sources, and we call those dances "English."  One of these
styles includes the Pavanes and Almains, which are also described in
French sources, so that style is known to be more widespread than just
England.  (We also use the French descriptions of the steps, with the
English descriptions of the patterns.)

Anyway, the Italian dances from 1450 and the Italian dances from 1600
are very different, though the Italian descriptions use some of the
same terms.  I think it is wiser to try to learn the two styles
separately, so you don't confuse the students with two different kinds
of continenza (for example).

Amoroso, Gelosia, and Petit Rien are from the 15th century sources,
and the Saltarello is in that style, too.

The third set is from the 1590-1610 sources.

My experience has been that Saltarello, Amoroso, and Petit Rien are
easiest to learn, for beginners, but others may have different
opinions on that.

    -- Charles
       cctimar at member.ams.org

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