[SCA-Dance] Branle de l'Official

spanogle at excite.com spanogle at excite.com
Mon Jan 22 14:28:07 EST 2007

 The solution of having the man face to the right, and the lady face forward while being lifted and kicking seems to work out really well for the footwork.  However, I'm not as sure about how the man holding and lifting the lady would work.  In proper 16th century costume, the man could use the lady's busk to help lift her.  It is a bit odd that Arbeau would discuss this for la Volta, but not here.  It would make the dance very uncomfortable for any lady in garb not including a corset, since she would be lifted by a hand in her stomach. Arbeau says the man takes the woman by "le faulx du corps", which is translated in the standard edition as "hips".  I didn't find "le faulx" translated as a body part in the French dictionary mentioned a few posts ago.  I wondered briefly if perhaps both persons turned to the right, so the man is behind the lady as she kicks, lifting her by her hips.  I don't think the description quite supports it though. I'm thinking I may have to compromis!
for a general SCA audience and do the facing lift by the hips, without the kicks.  I was hoping to be more rigorous about it, but that may be the best I can do. Teleri --- On Fri 01/19, Alex Clark < alexbclark at pennswoods.net > wrote:From: Alex Clark [mailto: alexbclark at pennswoods.net]To: sca-dance at andrew.cmu.eduDate: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 23:49:02 -0500Subject: Re: [SCA-Dance] Branle de l'OfficialAt 06:53 PM 1/19/2007 -0500, spanogle at excite.com wrote:> I've been asked to teach Branle de l'Official at an event. I normally > don't teach this, because the SCA version has deviated too far from the > original. I went back to the sources, and found an issue that I'd love > some help on. The last four steps of the tabulation are: pied en l'air > left, pied en l'air right, pieds joincts, pause. This happens during the > leap by the ladies. The notes in the English translation have a brief > discussion that this contradicts a previous statement by Arbeau that th!
> men stand firmly while helping the ladies jump.The exact phrase was "seem to contradict", which dances along the edge of the truth without quite crossing the line. These two points cannot actually contradict each other unless one makes an unnecessary assumption, such as that the pieds en l'air must be for both the woman and the man. The assumption that all steps are for both would be acceptable as a *default* assumption, but in this case it must be overridden by Arbeau's statement that the men keep their feet on the ground. So Sutton's concern about this seeming contradiction is much ado about nothing.OTOH, I think that her comment at the end of that note that "The exact timing of the lift is not given" is really mistaken, unless one requires a very strict sort of exactness in timing. The note saying that the men grasp and lift their partners is clearly lined up beside "pieds joincts, pied en l'air gaulche, pied en l'air droit, pieds joincts", and it says that it should 
be done during these four steps here ("ces quatre pas icy"). There is no indication that the grasping and the lifting begin and end at different times, except that in practical terms it is necessary to grasp at least a little fraction of a second before lifting. From this I feel that I should conclude that the lift begins at the first "pieds joincts" (or as soon after as it may) and ends at the second one.>I think it>would be possible but risky (and very tiring) for the men to do the kicks >while helping the ladies jump. A possible solution is that the ladies >actually jump once for each kick by the men. A solution that fits better >with the instruction that the man stands firmly is that they jump only on >the pause, but the tabulation says the lady jumps during the last four steps.But it is unnecessary for the men to jump at all after the singles, because the only steps where there was a question of whether they are done by the woman only, or by both, are 
the pieds en l'air. It seems clear that the jumping after the last single is done by the woman only, while the man participates in jumping only by assisting the woman (and by keeping his own feet on the ground).By analogy with my own sad experiences, I suspect that the above version with a man's jump at the end results from something like specification creep due to brainstorming.>It is possible that this footwork is for the lady>while she is in the air. Trying to envision this using the typical hold >with the lord and lady facing, I think that the lady would only choose to >dance this with someone she REALLY doesn't like.Tee-hee. Or should I say, "Eek!" Fortunately for the men, Arbeau only tells them to face to the right (towards their partners) and does not tell the women to face to their partners. I suppose that it's easier to lift what you're facing towards, and easier for forward kicks to miss what you aren't facing towards. (Though there can also be a pied e!
l'air where the foot doesn't move forward at all.)So, to bring together my conclusions into a unified whole, I figure that:The men should turn right towards their partners as they close the last of the six singles.The jump (by women facing in) and lift (by men facing their partners and standing pieds joincts) begin just after the closing of that last single, and continue until the next "pieds joincts". (For the men, the second "pieds joincts" is just a continuation of the first.)The two pieds en l'air are done by the woman only, and are done as small kicks of the feet which the woman already has up in the air throughout these "pieds en l'air", because the lift begins before and ends after the pieds en l'air. The pieds en l'air are done forward in a direction that is approximately perpendicular to the man.This is the only version that I know of for which I do not believe that any necessary supporting assumptions can be decisively knocked down (except perhaps for minor points 
without which the remainder of this version would still stand).>If anyone has thoughts on this I would greatly appreciate the help. TeleriAlways happy to inflict my opinions about this dance on hapless victims. :-) Or even not-so-hapless, as the case may be.BTW, as I explained in the recent discussion of the branle du Haut Barrois, I believe that when a branle is done with petits sauts only the pieds joincts (in the plural) at the end of a double or single should be done on both feet, while a pied largi or pied approche (in the singular) should be done onto one foot only, so that the only part of the petit saut that is always done with both feet ("des deux pieds") is the elevation -- the same part of the saut that Arbeau emphasized in his definition of "saut".-- Henry of Maldon/Alex Clark 

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