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Ballo del Fiori

Source: Caroso's Il Ballarino (1580), LoD v1

Setting: dancers in a room

Version: 1.0

This is a sketchier-than usual description of the dance. This dance is discussed in Ingrid Brainard's book, and there is a reconstruction in the Letter of Dance volume 1 (written by Mark Waks), which is based on Ingrid Brainard's book.

This dance is clearly related to the Candlestick Bransle of Arbeau; the music is similar, and the dance follows a similar structure: boy meets girl, boy dances with girl, girl leaves to meet another boy, and so on.

The dance begins with one man holding a flower dancing, and a woman elsewhere in the room. There is an introduction of a long reverenza and 2 doubles turning in place.

The remainder of the dance consists of phrases containing 4 doubles, continenze right and left, and a long reverenza.

The man takes 1 phrase to approach a woman, and they join hands and do the continenze and reverenza together.

The couple dances together for one phrase, substituting 2 fast steps for the 3rd and 4th double.

The couple temporarily parts company in the next phrase, using two doubles to turn over their own left shoulders, and move away from each other for two doubles. They then face each other for the continenze and reverenza.

In the next phrase, the couple is reunited, using 4 doubles to zig-zag towards each other, joining hands for the continenze and reverenza. During this reverenza, the man passes the flower to the woman.

In the next phrase, the woman dances off alone to find a new partner. The dance repeats, except that the introduction is not repeated.

Since this is the only 16th century Italian dance in this collection, I will give a short summary of the steps here. As mentioned earlier, the reconstruction in the Letter of Dance (written by Mark Waks) is based on the work of Ingrid Brainard, and this cheat-sheet is based on that article. Misinterpretations are all mine.

The most important thing to remember for proper 16th Century style is to think big and move small.


These reverenze take 8 beats each -- twice as long as a double, and twice as long as the typical dancer thinks they should take. In the first two beats, you draw yourself up and move your right foot forward slightly. In the second two beats you move your right foot back so that your toe is level with you left heel. In the next two beats you bend both your knees, and in the last 2 beats, you straighten your legs. The chant is: forward, pause, back, pause, down, pause, up, up.

Double (seguito ordinario):

These doubles are ``open'' steps, i.e. you do not end with your feet together. Take 3 steps, rising on your toes as you take them, and on the fourth beat, stop your forward motion and sink back to the floor. The chant is: up, two, three, downhold.


This step is a 4-beat step to the side, and they come in pairs in this dance. Take a small step right on beat 1. Bring your feet together on beat 2, bending your knees. Straighten up on beats 3 and 4. The chant is: right, down, up, up.

Fast step (seguito scorso):

This step is very similar to the double, except you step twice as fast and there is no pause at the end. Thus, there are 8 steps, and you will begin the next step on the same foot.