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Maltese Bransle (Branle de Malte)

Source: steps patterned loosely after Arbeau, music from Mainerio.

Setting: A circle of dancers.

Version: 2.0

SCA ``Turkish Bransle''

A: 1- 2  Double left, double right.
   3- 4  Repeat.

B: 5- 6  Raise hands, three singles into center, clap 3 times.
   7- 8  Three singles out to place, clap or kick 3 times.

Arbeau's Dance (notated in beats):

A:   1-4  Double left,
     5-6  single right.
    9-12  Repeat.
B: 13-14  Continue holding hands, 2 steps into the center.
      15  2 double-speed steps into the center
   16-17  step into center with a kick,
   17-18  drop hands and begin turning: step, kick
   19-20  step, 2 kicks,
      21  2 kicks,
      22  feet together.
   23-32  Repeat.


Arbeau says (Evans/Sutton Arbeau translation):

``Some of the Knights of Malta devised a ballet for a Court masquerade in which an equal number of men and damsels, dressed in Turkish costume, dance a round branle, comprising certain gestures and twisting movements of the body, which they called the Maltese branle. It was some forty years ago that this branle was first danced in France. The melody and movements are in slow duple time as you will see by this tabulation. [...]''

``You should note that in each repetition of this branle new facial expressions and gestures are made, such as touching the hands, or, on another occasion, raising them in mock praise with the head thrown back and eyes lifted heavenwards. And so on, in such fashions as the dances please to vary them.''

As danced in the SCA, the dance speeds up as time goes on, and the music is `Schiarazula Marazula,' from Giorgio Mainerio's Il Primo Libro de Balli, 1578. The steps were written by Mistress Ellen the Fair of the Midrealm? John Renborne has an album with a recording of Schiarazula Marazula --- but it's labeled ``Maltese Bransle.'' Do we get to claim credit for his confusion?

Finally, there's a modern french pop artist who uses this tune (Sch. Mar.) for one of his songs, but we only have a copy of a copy of a copy of the tape, so we have no idea where he got it from. The artist is Angelo Brandvardi, the album title is La Demoiselle, and the song title is ``Le Cerisier.''