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Official Bransle (Toss the Duchess) (Branle de l'Official)

Source: Arbeau.

Setting: A line or circle of couples.

Version: 1.0

A:  1- 8  Double left, double right, repeat.

B:  9-16  Eight singles left.
           During 7th single, the woman steps in front of her partner.
           During 8th single, the woman jumps, and the man moves her
            to the left; everyone gaining a new partner.


Sometimes there are two tosses per repetition; listen to the music.

Often men will be overly-enthusiastic about tossing; the object is not to toss women into the ceiling. This dance is often seen with swiveling hips during the singles to swirl skirts; I've heard it alleged that this is an embellishment from contra dancing and isn't known have exited in Arbeau's day.

Arbeau says that this dance is to be danced with little springs with each step. He says nothing about switching partners.

From: (Dave Montuori)
Subject: Re: dances, period or not.
Message-ID: <>
Date: 9 Dec 94 16:32:54 GMT


The Duchess in question is Ysabeau Cameron, who was the recipient of
a particularly energetic toss in a hall with a too-low ceiling (ouch);
if this account is inaccurate, someone from the household please
correct me. Duchess Ysabeau has acquired a knack for miraculously
disappearing whenever this dance is imminent.

-- Evan da Collaureo, who likes this dance, both in its ``classic'' form and 
with gender reversal (``Toss the Lords,'' etc.).