[SCA-Dance] marque pied, marque talon

C. Timar cctimar at member.ams.org
Thu Jun 3 10:18:59 EDT 2010

On 3 June 2010 01:25, Tiffany Brown <teffania at gmail.com> wrote:
> I find myself confused by Arbeau's marque pied and marque talon.  I'm
> working from Mary Stewart Evan's translation as my french is
> non-existant.

Here are the original (from Library of Congress scan) and my translation.

p. 44 recto:


Aulcunesfois l'vn des pieds eſtant getté & poſé pour ſouſtenir le
corps, on marche du bout de l'arteil de laultre pied, contre celuy qui
eſt a terre: Et ce mouuement s'appelle marque pied, ſçauoir marque
pied droict quand l'arteil du droict faict ladicte marche: Et marque
pied gaulche, quand l'arteil du pied gaulche faict ladicte marche.

Sometimes, one foot being cast and positioned to support the body, one
steps on the tip of the toe of the other foot, against the one that is
on the ground. This movement is called "marque pied" ["foot mark"].
Know it as "right marque pied" when the toe of the right foot does the
step, and "left marque pied" when the toe of the left foot does the
Quand au contraire on marche du tallon de l'vn des pieds, l'aultre
pied eſtant getté, pour demeurant ferme, ſouſtenir le corps de celuy
qui dance, ceſte ſorte de mouuement ſe nomme:

When, on the contrary, one steps on the heel of one foot, the other
foot being cast to remain firm, to support the body of the one who
dances, this sort of motion is named,

p. 44 verso:

Sçauoir marque-tallon droict, quand le talon du pied droict opere, &
marque-talon gaulche, quand le talon du pied gaulche y eſt employé

It is known as "right marque-talon"  ["right heel mark"] when the heel
of the right foot does it, and "left marque-talon"  ["left heel mark"]
when the heel of the left foot is used.

> [Evans'] translation is:
> "Sometimes, when one foot has taken the body's weight and is placed in
> position to support it, the toe of the other foot is brought close up
> against the foot on the ground. This movement is called margue pied, to
> wit , marque pied droit when the right toe performs the movement and
> marque pied gauche when the left does."
> (With translator's notes that the French implies you hop or jump onto
> the supporting foot, rather than step.)

The French is "getté" which I am translating as "cast."  The modern
ballet step is described by the Brittanica as: "(French jeté:
“thrown”), ballet leap in which the weight of the dancer is
transferred from one foot to the other. The dancer “throws” one leg to
the front, side, or back and holds the other leg in any desired
position upon landing." (Brittanica online).

While Evans occasionally introduces questionable assumptions into her
translation, "casting" or "throwing" your foot suggests some movement
more than just a step.

That's as much as I can really say about the postures in question.  I
generally assume that the text is by Arbeau himself, with a  few
errors by him and more by the typesetters, while the illustrations are
by some artist, rendered by a woodcut engraver.  The artist may know
as much about dance as Arbeau does, but may not, and both the artist
and engraver may be introducing errors.  How reliable you consider
each is a question of your judgment.

    -- Charles the clerk, Ealdormere
       cctimar at member.ams.org

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