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Mon Nov 1 19:48:58 PST 2004

"The Sarabanda, made historic by its performance by French Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642) to please Queen of France "Anne of Austria" (1601-1666,) and mother to Louis XIV. The Sarabande (meaning noise) was of Moorish origin and came from Spain in the 12th. Century, but did not originate in that country. The Spanish name La Zarabanda sounds much like the Persian "Sar-Band" (headdress wreath), but is not linked to this. The Sarabande was named after the native Zarabanda (a beaked flute instrument) of Guatemala in 1583 and was introduced into Portugal in 1586. It was said that it got its start by a beautiful Spanish girl who danced it while singing a tune of a very grave character, and accompanying herself only by the sound of the castanets. The music has been said to have either delighted or annoyed people.

----The dance was a group dance mainly done by women and was considered wild in manner and a highly sexual pantomime in nature, with undulations of the body, massive hip movements, flirtations, indecent song lyrics and women using castanets. When it was introduced to France, the dance included men who would dance it as well plus they would occasionally use the tambourine, which was considered effeminate in those days. People who even sang it were arrested, lashed, and exiled in its younger days. Originally it was only done by women, later in France it was done as a solo dance by men or women.

----The Chacona, Sarabanda, Jacara, Rastro and the Tarraga are fundamentally all the same as the Sarabande. The Sarabande and the Tordion (tirdion) were danced together as a Spanish Court comedy dance around 1618. It seems that the Sarabande was last danced at Duke of Burgandy's Wedding Ball in 1697 in Versailles as a social or society dance, however it continued on in theater and ballet. The Sarabande gained great favor with Louis XIV.

----The steps have not been documented to well over time and the only ones that are go like this (¾ time):
The chief step consisted of a quick shift from toe-out to toe-in while the rest were slow glides. The Dance starts with a coupe', Chasse's and follows with a pas, tombes, sison and boure. The remaining part of the sarabande was up to the dancer to interpret as they saw fit (the time signature varied as well.) The dance was considered a highly sensual, wild and exotic dance (but not as much as it's sister dance the Chacona) in nature."
Also look into the Moors Pavanne and Pavanne d'Espagna I believe they are different names for the same dance but don't quote me on that)

I echo Alyson's wishes for good luck, and volunteer my assistance should you need it.

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