Caroso and Negri


The two main dance writers of the time were Fabrito Caroso, and Cesare Negri. They described dances that were similar in style, but had their differences between the two authors.



Caroso published Il Ballarino in 1581, and Nobilta di Dame in 1600. Nobilta contains many of the same dances as Il Ballarino, however many of them have changed or updated choreographies. There are a lot of new dances in Nobilta.



Cesare Negri published Le Gratie d’Amore in 1602. This contains dances which are in general more complex than those in either of Caroso's works. It is a very large volume, containing a section on dance etiquette, a large section on galliard variations (including a “kick the tassel” galliard which was used as a contest dance) and a section containing dances in a similar style to Caroso’s.



Because Caroso and Negri wrote about dances of the same or similar styles, they used similar steps in all of their dances. Unfortunately, Negri's description of some steps is different to Caroso's descriptions in a few places, and so creating a “step dictionary” of the two authors will lead to some problems. The consensus amongst most dance researchers is to use Negri's step descriptions when dancing Negri's dances, and to use Caroso's step descriptions when dancing Caroso's dances. It is therefore important to know which of the two dance masters' balli one is dancing.



Of these three books, only Nobilta di Dame and Le Gratie d’Amore are available in translation. Check the bibliograpy for more details on how to get copies of these books. There is a current internet project being done to translate Il Ballarino, but it is not yet complete.


Other writers

There were other writers of the period – Livio Lupi da Carravagio who published a fairly large book in 1600 (reprinted in 1607) dealing with galliard, tourdion, and canary variations. Propero Luti de Sulmona published a book in 1589 containing galliard variations only.