Bransles are the simplest of the known renaissance dances, and a bransle is usually the first dance that is taught of any of the known medieval or renaissance dances.

Most bransles are circle dances, which are usually danced in a circle of alternating men and ladies (although this does not strictly matter). Some bransles are line dances, while others can be danced as either line or circle dances.



The word “bransle” comes from a French word meaning a side-to-side movement. Most of the steps in a bransle are from side to side.

There is one primary source for all of the bransles described in this book – this is the “Orchesography” of Thoinot Arbeau, published in France in 1589. You can find references to a translation of Orchesography available from Dover (by Mary Stuart Evans) in the bibliography provided with this dance book. Orchesography is the most fundamental primary dance source used for dances in the SCA, and it is a “must have” if you are going to do any period dance research.

There is also a facsimile edition of Orchesography available, although obviously unless you read French the translation will be easier to work from!


Social Setting

It is reasonably obvious from the description of the bransles in Orchesography, and from Arbeau’s status in society, that the bransles were dances done normally by the lower or middle classes in French society at the time (the upper classes were probably dancing pavanes, galliards, and perhaps some dances in the Italian style at the time).



Generally, bransles are done in 4/4 time.



Bransles, PDF format

The Basic Steps


Bransle Steps, PDF format


Doubles left and right

Two Basic Bransles: Bransle Double and Bransle Single


Double Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Double Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by Phaedria
Single Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by Phaedria

Some More Bransle Steps

A Basic Bransle Set: Double/Single/Gai/Burgundian


Bransle Gai (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Bransle Gai (Arbeau), arranged by Phaedria
Burgundian Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Burgundian Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by Phaedria

Mimed Bransles


Mimed Bransles, PDF format


Washerwomans' Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Washerwomans' Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by Kathy Van Stone
Pease Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Pease Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by Robert Smith
Shoes Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Shoes Bransle / Clog Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by Phaedria
Horses Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Horses Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by Monica Cellio

Mixed Bransles


Mixed Bransles, PDF format


Cassandra (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Cassandra (Arbeau), arranged by Robert Smith
Cassandra (Arbeau), arranged by Phaedria
Pinagay (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Pinagay (Arbeau), arranged by Phaedria
Charlotte (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Charlotte (Arbeau), arranger unknown
La Guerre (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
La Guerre (Arbeau), arranged by Phaedria
Aridan (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Aridan (Arbeau), arranged by Robert Smith

The Official Bransle


Official Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by Russell Almond
Official Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley, set so that it sounds like it's in a minor key.
Official Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley

Scottish Bransle


Scottish Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by Arianna of Winthorpe

Bransle of Brittany (Trihory)


Trihory of Brittany (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Trihory of Brittany (Arbeau), arranged by Phaedria

Torch Bransle


Candlestick Bransle / Torch Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by Robert Smith

Hay Bransle


Hay Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by David Yardley
Hay Bransle (Arbeau), arranged by Phaedria