Mutanze: A Series of Articles on Galliard Variations

[ This article appeared in volume 2 of the Letter of Dance. ]

by Geoffrey Mathias

Article 1

Greve Gauche
Greve Gauche

This is the first in a series of articles which will take a look at galliard variations. I've noticed that even in places where galliards are done frequently and people actively study variations, most of the variations that are done are based on Arbeau. This is understandable, but a huge number of variations exist in other sources. Many of these are pleasant, and not much more difficult than those which Arbeau has to offer (although we will look at some complicated variations from time to time). Also, I hope to define some standard terms so that people can converse about galliards even if they learned to dance in different parts of the Known World. In general, these terms will be drawn from Arbeau, and will be defined in the same way as Arbeau defines them, so when I say "Greve Gauche" I mean "weight on the right foot, left foot in the air in front of you" just like Arbeau does.

Greve Droit
Greve Droit

Before we go any further I will describe the basic terms which I will use which are not found in Orchesography. The first terms we will need are leap and hop. When I use the word leap, I mean a motion in which weight changes from one foot to the other, and there is a moment when neither foot is on the ground. So when you are doing a basic cinque pas galliard step and you change from a Greve Gauche to a Greve Droit, you have done a leap. A hop is a similar movement where both feet are in the air for a moment, but it is different from a leap in that it does not change weight from one foot to the other. If you stand in Greve Gauche, jump into the air and land again in Greve Gauche, you have done a hop. Mostly, hops do not cover ground (i.e. the foot comes down where it started), but occasionally they do, and I will tell you if I think it is appropriate to travel on a hop in a particular variation. Note that a hop may also be from both feet to one foot, or from both feet to both feet.

Another mechanism we will need to describe some of these variations is a way to indicate rhythm, that is, where in a measure of galliard music each step should be done. This will be done with a musical notation, where each note tells how long one should remain in a position before changing to the next (of course, one never stops to wait for the next beat to come around, but you get the idea). To illustrate both the rhythmic and the descriptive notation, let's take a look at how a basic cinque pas galliard step is done. The rhythm is as follows:

half half half whole half

Note that this is not exactly the way a measure of galliard music looks, which is more like:

half half half dottedhalf quarter half

The reason for this is that no step is done in a normal cinque pas on the quarter note in the measure. Now let's look at how this relates to the descriptive notation. Beginning from Posture Droit, one does a hop to Greve Gauche on the first note, and a leap from Greve Gauche to Greve Droit (with the left foot landing next to where the right was) on the second note. Next another leap is done ending in Greve Gauche on the third note, and then one more leap to Greve Droit on the fourth note. This position is held a little longer than the others (notice that the note in the music is longer) while one prepares for a large leap into Posture Gauche on the fifth and last note. For the benefit of those who prefer a count (and also for the sake of clarity and redundancy), I will also include a count for each step. A count for a regular galliard step would be "one two three four five-six", where some movement is done on each count (and the five-six is treated as a single count).

Posture Droit Posture Gauche Pied Joins
Posture Droit
Poster Gauche
Pied Joins

Now that we have notation issues out of the way, we can take a look at a variation. In this article, I would like to look at a step called a "fioretto" which can be used in many different variations. It is described by both Negri and Caroso, although the descriptions are slightly different. I will work through a simple variation of two fioretti and a cadence, which will use a normal galliard rhythm, as shown above. Negri tells us to begin in Greve Gauche and leap to Pieds Joins (shown above), and then to hop raising the right foot to Greve Droit. Since we will begin from Posture Gauche, we must do this variation by first raising the right foot and leaping to Pied Joins, so that we land on the first note of the measure. On the second note we do a hop and raise the right foot. The right foot is now raised, and we can start another fioretto by leaping to Pied Joins on the third note of the measure and raising the left foot on the fourth. A cadence can then be done on the fifth and last note to finish the measure and the whole variation can be done starting from Posture Droit, raising the right foot.

Caroso's fioretto(2) is basically the same motion, but is slightly different in details. He tells us to begin by raising the left foot and doing a cadence so that the left foot is beside the right (like Negri), but also a little behind it. He also tells us to do this on our toes, which Negri does not specify (but does not rule out, either). We are then told to thrust the left foot under the right while lifting the right to Greve Droit. Again, this is very similar to Negri's description, except that we are told specifically where the left foot is to go. It is worth noting that Negri also describes the fioretto when he is discussing steps used in dances other than galliards.(3) Here we are given a description very similar to Caroso's, so I believe this is pretty close to the correct version. Since neither Caroso nor Negri gives hard information on how to fit this to the beats of a measure of galliard music, I would tend to time this the same as Negri's version. That is, jump landing in cadence on the first beat, and cut under with the left to land in Greve Droit on the second beat. Since we are using the same timings for both versions, the same variation of two fioretti and a cadence can be done using Caroso's fioretto. Both Caroso and Negri tell us that a fioretto can travel, so these do not need to be done in place. Negri(1) tells us that they can travel in any direction, while Caroso tells us only that they can travel to the sides. Neither tells us where in the step to move, but I would tend to travel only on the initial leap to Pied Joins (or cadence).

One piece of timing information that Negri gives us is to tell us that a fioretto can be done "contratempo" or syncopated. He never really explains what he means by contratempo, but I believe that in this case he means for us to do the same moves in less time. The following variation is based on a variation given by Negri, but I have replaced the steps which follow the fioretto contratempo with the steps of an ordinary cinque pas, in order to give readers an exercise which will give them practice with the fioretto contratempo, but not be too demanding with the remaining steps. Basically, the variation is a fioretto followed by three Greves, left, right, and left again, and finishing with a cadence. If we do a regular fioretto we need one beat more music than is available. So we need to compress the fioretto into a fioretto contratempo. This can be done by using the following rhythm:

quarter quarter half half whole half

and to the count "one and two three four five-six". The way we fit the fioretto in is to do the leap to Pied Joins on the first note, but the hop to Greve Droit is done more quickly than before, landing on the second note (that is, the first quarter note in the example). We continue to move a little quickly and do a leap to Greve Gauche on the third note (the second quarter note). We do a Greve Droit on the fourth note, a Greve Gauche on the fifth, and end with a cadence to Posture Droit on the sixth, and the variation can be repeated on the other side. Some people may find this an easier introduction to fioretti than the previous variation, since it is mostly a simple cinque pas. Try both, and see what works best for you!

In closing, I would like to encourage people to practice their galliards. When you see people doing fancy galliards, remember that they once had problems with even a simple cinque pas, and that the only thing that separates them from you is the time that they have spent practicing. Don't be discouraged when a variation gives you trouble. Everyone has that kind of problem. Try the variation with slower music, or do the variation once, then wait out a measure of music while getting yourself together, then try again. The main thing is to not give up. If you put on galliard music and practice for just ten minutes at every dance practice, you too will soon be doing the most complicated galliard variations!

Article 2

In this issue I will discuss the campanella step, and some variations based on it. The basic campanella (or "little bell" in translation) is possibly the easiest galliard step I have ever seen. It is done to the basic galliard rhythm:

half half half whole half

Ruade Gauche
Ruade Gauche

and is most clearly described by Caroso.(4) Beginning from Posture Gauche, one does a hop and pulls the left leg back to Ruade Gauche on the first note of the measure, and then does a second hop moving the leg forward to Greve Gauche on the second note. A third hop (still landing on the right foot) is done pulling the left leg back to Ruade Gauche on the third note and on the fourth note one again moves the left foot forward to Greve Gauche. The variation completes with a cadence on the final note of the measure. So this variation is just a series of hops on the right foot while swinging the left leg backward and forward, ending with a cadence. It is then repeated on the other side, with the left foot bearing the weight and the right leg beating back and forth. When you first try this step the last beat may feel a little awkward, when you swing the foot forward before the cadence. If this is true for you, try slowing that beat down just a hair, and sink a little more on the weight-bearing foot that you have been. This will help the timing of the step and also prepare you to do a more impressive cadence.

Caroso tells us this about the origin of the name campanella: "Thrust your foot backward and forward in a straight line this way, like the clapper which rings a bell ... Thus this term, `little bell', was derived...(5) ".

Some readers are probably wondering what is going on right now, because they know a different step called the campanella. That step is basically a Ruade Droit, Greve Gauche, Ruade Droit, Greve Gauche, cadence, which is similar to what I described in the previous paragraph, but not the same. Are there two different steps in different sources both called the campanella? Well, sort of. This other step is described in Arbeau,(6) but is never given a name (it is the first of two variations which Arbeau gives to the tune of "Love Let Us Kiss"). Negri(7) describes the campanella step, but gives a basic description which is vague enough to interpret as either step, because he is not very specific about which foot gets weight at what point. However, some of his variations only make sense if one is doing my version of the campanella. Caroso, on the other hand, unambiguously gives the first version above. So I suspect that some reconstructor who was familiar with the step from Arbeau came across Negri's description and thought it was the same as the variation in Arbeau, and began calling it a campanella.

But none of this really matters when you're doing a galliard, so let's change the subject and look at another variation from Negri.(8) This variation will also use the normal galliard rhythm. Beginning from Posture Gauche, do a hop and swing the right foot forward to Greve Droit on the first note of the measure. On the second note, hop again on the left foot and pull the right leg back to Ruade Droit. A third hop and swing are done on the third note, ending in Greve Droit again. So far this is very similar to the basic campanella step, except the foot was swung forward first. Now, however, one does a leap into Greve Gauche (this is just like a normal galliard step from a cinque pas) on the fourth note. With the left foot forward we are ready to leap to a cadence on the last note, ending in Posture Droit, ready to begin the variation on the other side.

Greve Gauche
Greve Gauche

To round out this article, I would like to direct your attention to the illustration of Negri's version of a Greve Gauche,[to the right] [Kendall p. 105]. It is basically the same posture as Arbeau's, but there are some important differences that I think are worth noticing. First of all, Negri's figure has a straighter leg and a very upright, almost stiff look to it, whereas Arbeau's is more relaxed-looking. Arbeau's figure has the foot relaxed, in contrast to a fairly flexed foot on the Negri illustration. Neither is really better than the other, but it shows that you can galliard in two ways: either a very soft, relaxed style, or a more precise and rigid style, with almost staccato movements. Try a basic cinque pas both ways, and see how it feels and how it looks. You may find that some steps feel better to you when done with one styling or the other. The important thing is to be aware that there can be more to a variation than just the foot motions. Try to do different things with your galliard; it will make it more vibrant and interesting to watch.

One last point about these illustrations is that Arbeau's figure has the foot raised much higher than Negri's figure. This is partly because Negri is promoting a more precise style, but also because many of Negri's variations call for a great many foot movements in a short time, and it is easier to do that if you make your motions smaller. Try to work toward this, and it will make it easier for you to learn the variations that will be given in the rest of this series of articles.

To close, I would like to again encourage people to practice their galliards. They may not come as easily as some other dances, but it's not as hard as you think. Don't give up just because a step doesn't come easily. I'm sure it didn't come easily for dancers in period, either, but they learned to do it and so can you.

Article 3

Now that we have added a few new steps to our galliard repertoire, it's time to learn some variations that use them. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the material in the previous articles, don't worry; just take your time and work on polishing what you are doing now. You will have plenty of time in the future to learn new variations. One secret to doing a good galliard is to work on each variation long enough to be really comfortable with it. Remember that a few variations done very well are much more impressive than a whole string of variations where the dancer is struggling to keep up with the beat and forgetting the sequence occasionally. So practice each variation until it's smooth and clean and you can do it without thinking about it too much.

The first variation we will look at is a very simple variation which Negri gives.(9) I will call it a "hopped fioretto" although Negri doesn't give it a name. The basic variation is done to a normal galliard rhythm:

half half half whole half

Beginning from Posture Gauche, one does a hop on the right foot, lifting the left to Greve Gauche. This is done with the weight landing on the right foot on the first note of the measure. On the second note one does a leap forward to land on the left foot ending more or less in Ruade Droit. (Negri doesn't really specify what happens to the right foot during the leap, so you could really do anything you want and still have a valid interpretation of this step, but I choose to suggest a Ruade Droit position because we know it was used in galliards and it leads well into the next motion.) We have now done one hopped fioretto. Continuing to fill out the measure, one does a hop on the left foot while swinging the right foot forward to Greve Droit. This is done on the third note of the measure. On the fourth note one does a leap forward, landing on the right foot, more or less in Ruade Gauche. On the final note, one swings the left foot through to the front, leaps in the air and does a cadence, ending in Posture Droit, ready to do the variation again on the other side.

Negri gives the hopped fioretto when he first introduces the basic fioretto. Because of this I believe that the hopped fioretto can be done in any variation which calls for a regular fioretto, although Negri never states this. It should fit musically since it is the same number of beats as the regular fioretto. It is not completely clear to me how to syncopate a hopped fioretto, but this might also be possible.

A slightly more difficult variation (and therefore more interesting, of course!), uses moves from the campanella as well as a bow. Negri, when he gives this variation,(10) calls it "five steps throwing the leg behind and ahead of the left". Since this is just a little clumsy, I will abbreviate this and call it a "gettando la gamba". When Negri describes this step he goes on to describe another four variations which are similar to the gettando la gamba, but more complicated. For now, we will only look at the basic step. This variation uses the same rhythm that a fioretto contratempo uses, that is:

quarter quarter half half whole half

and a count of "one and two three four five-six". The variation begins from Posture Gauche, and starts with two beats of the leg like those which are done in the campanella step. The only difference is that they are done more quickly. To describe it more precisely, one does a hop landing with weight on the right foot while swinging the left foot back to Ruade Gauche. All this is done on the first note of the measure. On the second note one hops on the right foot again, swinging the leg forward to Greve Gauche. But note that the second note in the rhythmic measure is a quarter note so the movements have to be done quickly enough to allow one to do the next motion by the second beat of the musical measure. This means that the foot that is moving backward and forward can't travel as far as it could in the basic campanella step.

The variation continues by placing the foot on the floor in Posture Gauche while turning to the left (that is, so your right side now faces the direction your front was facing) and doing a quick, small bow (just bend your knees a little). This turn is done most easily if you turn as you swing your left foot forward on the previous beat, using the momentum from the swing of the foot to turn. All this is done on the third note of the measure. On the fourth note one does a hop landing on the left foot, lifting the right to Greve Droit, and on the fifth note one leaps to the right foot, lifting the left to Greve Gauche. On the final note, one leaps to Posture Droit.

This is the most difficult variation I've covered yet, so don't get discouraged if it doesn't come right away. It is a little easier if it is done without the turn just before the quick reverance, so if that is giving you problems, leave it out for a while. Also, if you are having problems fitting the movements into the amount of music you have, there are two things you can do. The first is to practice with slower music. In some ways, slower music makes things harder, but it can help you get the pattern under control. The second thing you can do is to make smaller movements. The farther you move your feet, the more time it takes to do a movement. So think small, and only move your feet a short distance. Negri and Caroso both talk about distances in terms of the number of fingers apart the feet should be, so you shouldn't feel a need to move too much. Also, the smaller your motions are, the less energy you are expending, which means that you can galliard for even longer!

Article 4

In this article I would like to take a look at an issue that puzzled me for a long time when I first noticed it. That is, which foot should start forward? To put it a little more precisely, should we begin in Posture Gauche, or Posture Droit? When I first really learned to galliard, I was taught to always begin in Posture Gauche. Some years later I encountered some people whose opinions I otherwise trusted who taught galliards beginning from Posture Droit. Whom should I believe? Well, the obvious answer was to see what the original sources say. Simple enough, and Arbeau tells us to start from Posture Droit. But wait a minute, Negri begins almost all of his variations with Posture Gauche, although some of his variations begin with the weight going onto the right foot first and others start with the weight going onto the left. Caroso isn't very specific. He doesn't tell us which posture to begin in, although his description of his basic galliard step begins with weight going onto the right foot. He does tell us that every variation should be done on the left foot first and then on the right, but that needn't imply starting from Posture Gauche first. In light of all this ambiguity, I have concluded that there may not have been any standard in period, and that everyone might have begun with whichever posture seemed best to them. And so until I see further evidence about this, I suggest that dancers in these current middle ages do likewise and begin whichever way feels best.

The next issue I would like to address is that of how to choose variations on the dance floor. There you are, the band has announced a galliard, you have found a partner and are beginning to dance. You have a variation you've been practicing for a month or so, and you really think you've got it down, so you want to try it. But for some reason, you just can't seem to get into it. Or maybe you get it started, but while you're thinking about the next variation to do, your feet forget what they're doing now. You start to wonder if you will ever know this variation well enough to really do it. How do you cure this problem?

Well, to start with, rest assured that you are not the only one with the problem. Even after years of galliarding I still have troubles like this occasionally. And the problem is not that you don't know the variation well enough (assuming you actually have been working on it for a while). The problem is just that there are too many things you need to do at once. In order to go from one variation to another, you need to think ahead and chose a new variation, remember how it goes and pay enough attention to the music to be ready to change when the time comes. All this without forgetting where you are in the variation you're doing right now. In order to do this in the middle of the dance you need to know the variations so well that they are almost automatic. One easy thing to do is to do four measures of cinque pas between each variation. You can probably do a cinque pas without thinking about it too much, which gives you time to think about what to do next. But even this doesn't get you doing that many variations, and you still need to remember a lot of things at once.

But don't give up hope yet! What is really necessary is just a little advance planing (and not just the 10 seconds before the music starts!). The thing to do is to sit down and create a sequence of your favorite galliard variations and to work on that a little in practice. For instance, you might start with four basic cinque pas, two on each foot. Then do four of the fioretto variation described in the first of these columns, again two on each foot, followed by four fioretti contrapasso. After these, perhaps four campanellas could be done. That is about the length of a good sequence; not too long, but enough variations to be interesting. You can then go back and start over with the cinque pas and do the whole sequence through again. If you spend five minutes a week practicing a sequence, after a month you should be able to fly through the sequence with no problems at an event. And after you have one sequence down you can think up another one, and pretty soon no one will ever notice that you're repeating variations.

Article 5

In this article I would like to introduce another new step, this one called the sottopiede, or `foot under'. Both Caroso and Negri give descriptions of this step, and they are almost identical. It should be noted that Negri calls his step a "Riprese in Sottopiede",(11) but both authors give almost the same description, and in their choreographies both seem to use each term interchangeably.

Caroso and Negri each offer a variety of ripreses, but when they give choreographies they seldom specify, leaving the dancer free to choose his or her favorite riprese. It seems that this sottopiede is one possible choice, but there are other places (usually in galliard phrases) where the sottopiede is specifically called for, and in those places I restrict myself to this step.

Caroso(12) tells us to begin with a step or small leap to the side onto the left foot, landing on the toe with the right foot behind in more or less a Ruade Droit position. Then do another leap, putting the toe of the right foot under the heel of the left and raising the left foot to Greve Gauche. One may continue doing as many sottopiede as desired by leaping onto the left foot and starting over.

Neither Caroso nor Negri give any indication on how quickly this step is to be done, and some choreographies suggest it would have been done quickly and others more slowly. I am going to suggest two rhythms, one fast and one slow. In the first, we will do two sottopiede and a cadence and in the second we will do four sottopiede and a cadence. The first is done to the usual galliard rhythm:

half half half whole half

On the first note we do the first leap, landing on the left toe with the right foot in Ruade Droit. On the second note, we cut under the left foot, landing in Greve Gauche. The third note is the same as the first and the fourth is the same as the second. On the final note we cadence, and of course do the same variation leaping to the right on the first note of the next measure. The other variation is basically done twice as fast (if you can do this to a fast galliard, you have really arrived) and is done to this rhythm:

7 quarters dotted-half half

or the rather improbable count of "one and two and three and four and five-six". The steps fit the notes in the obvious manner: on the first, third, fifth and seventh notes, we leap to the left, and on the second, fourth, sixth and eight notes we cut under to end in Greve Gauche. On the final note we cadence. If this last variation seems impossibly fast, don't worry. These are only variations I made up to give you a lot of practice with sottopiede, and you will never have to do this many in a row in a real variation. They will, however, sometimes be as fast as the steps in this quick variation. The secret (as with all fast galliard steps) is to move your feet only as much as you need to in order to get the step done.

For a more interesting variation we turn to Negri,(13) where he describes a campanella variation with a sottopiede. This is done to the following rhythm:

quarter quarter half quarter quarter whole half

and with a count of "one and two three and four five-six". We start with three quick campanella beats with the right foot, back, forward and back. To be a little more precise, beginning from Posture Gauche, we do a leap to Ruade Droit on the first note. On the second note, we hop and swing the right leg past the left to Greve Droit. We hop and swing the right leg back to Ruade Droit on the third note. Now we do a sottopiede with the right foot. That is, on the fourth note we swing the right leg through and leap sideways onto it in the first part of a sottopiede. On the fifth note we do a leap as the left foot cuts under the right, ending in Greve Droit. Now we do one regular galliard step, that is, a leap switching the left leg forward to Greve Gauche, and we end with the usual cadence, ready to do this variation on the other side.

Don't feel bad if it takes a lot of practice to get anywhere near up to speed with this campanella with sottopiede, since it has a great many quick motions sandwiched into a single galliard measure. But give it some time and it will come. As with all galliard variations, the only secret is to spend time practicing. In the next article, I will be giving a variation which uses the sottopiede, so do work on it. That variation will be longer, but it won't be as fast as some that we've looked at already.

Article 6

This month I would like to take a look at a variation which Caroso gives as part of a dance. The dance is Altezza d'Amore,(14) or The Grandeur of Love, a balletto for two dancers. It begins with several sections in 4/4 time, then changes tempo to a galliard, changes again to a saltarello and finishes with a canario section. In his instructions for the galliard section, Caroso gives a number of variations each of which last for four measures (although for one section the gentleman is directed to do "whatever suits him best"). One of the variations which he gives is quite pleasant, so I would like to go through it in this article.

To begin with we will need to discuss another step. This is the Groppo, or Knot step.(15) Justin has already described this step in his earlier galliard articles, but I will go over it quickly for those who don't have their back issues handy. We will use a regular galliard count for this step:

half half half whole half

The step begins from Posture Gauche with a leap onto the left foot on the first note, landing more or less in place. The right foot should be tucked behind the left ankle, toe pointing down and roughly perpendicular to the ground. Caroso describes it this way:

As soon as you land cross (or, to say it better, knot) your right foot behind it.(16)

On the second note in the measure, we leap onto the right foot, knotting the left foot behind the right ankle. With the third note we leap onto the left again, tucking the right behind. On the fourth note we do another leap, again landing more or less in place on the right foot, but instead of tucking the left foot behind, we lift it to Greve Gauche by cutting under it with the right foot. From here we do a cadence on the fifth and final note and are ready to do the variation again on the other side. The Groppo proper is really this variation without the cadence, and when we use it in the next variation we will do it as just the first four movements, ending in Greve Gauche.

The full variation is four measures long, but as it happens, this variation breaks very nicely into two parts, and the final two measures can be done as an eleven step galliard variation, so let us begin from there and work slowly up to the full twenty-three step variation. These two measures have the simplest possible rhythm:

half half half half half half

for the first measure and:

half half half whole half

for the second. We begin by doing a Groppo, which ends in Greve Gauche on the fourth note of the first measure. We are then told to do two fioretti., so we do the first fioretto on the last two notes of the first measure and the second on the first two notes of the second measure. If we do this, we end the first fioretto (and the first measure) in Greve Droit, and the second fioretto in Greve Gauche, on the second note of the second measure. Caroso then instructs us to do a Meza Riverenze, or Half Reverence. This consists of pulling the left foot (which was raised in front) slightly behind the right and bending both knees very slightly. In practice, since this must be done in a single note, it is easiest to think of this as a cadence, except that there is almost no leap; the right foot never really leaves the ground. On the next note we are told to do a sotopiede, cutting the left foot under the right and lifting the right to Greve Droit, and on the final note we do a cadence and complete the variation.

But wait a minute, I hear some alert readers cry. If we do a cadence from Greve Droit, we end in Posture Gauche, which is where we started! What went wrong? Well, I'm afraid this is just one of Caroso's foibles which we have to deal with. He tells us earlier in his manual that all good galliard variations begin and end on the same foot. This works well for the dances he gives us, in which the gentleman galliards for four measures, then pauses for four while the lady shows off, then repeats his variation on the other foot while the lady rests, and then it is the lady's turn to repeat her variation on the other foot while the gentleman recovers. These pauses offer ample time for changing the forward foot, and so it is not a problem for Caroso to begin and end a variation on the same foot. Since we want to go straight into the repeat of the variation, however, it is a difficulty. To clear this up, I suggest a small modification to the pattern. If we replace the sotopiede with a simple galliard kick, i.e. leaping from the Posture Droit the Meza Riverenze leaves us in to a Greve Gauche, then the cadence takes place on the other side, we finish in Posture Droit, and all is well in the world.

This eleven step gives us the second half of the twenty-three step variation that Caroso describes, so let's take a look at the first half. It consists of two identical measures, the only difference being that one starts with the left foot and the other with the right. The rhythm is again quite easy:

half half half half half half

We are told to do two ripreses in sotopiede to start. Since we have an ample number of notes, we will do the slow sotopiede, leaping from Posture Gauche onto the left foot into Ruade Droit on the first note and cutting the right foot under the left on the second to finish in Greve Gauche, and then repeating these motions on notes three and four for the second sotopiede. We are told to finish the measure with a fioretto, so on note five we leap to Pied Joins, and on note six we raise the right foot to Greve Droit. This leaves us in good position to repeat the measure on the other foot. From there we carry on and do the eleven step covered above, and the variation is finished.

Although this variation covers more music than anything that we've discussed before, it is mostly difficult only because of the length. That is, the moves that are used are relatively simple, and are not done as fast as they are in some other variations that we've discussed in previous articles. Only the Groppo step is new and with a little practice you should be able to do that. Obviously the way to learn this step is to first learn the Groppo, then incorporate that into the eleven step, and from there it is an easy step to doing the entire variation.


Thoinot Arbeau. Orchesography (Lengres: 1589; 2nd ed. 1596). (All page references in this series will be to the Dover edition of the Mary Evans translation.)

Marco Fabrito Caroso. Nobilta di Dame (Venice: 1600).

Gustavia Yvonne Kendall. "Le Gratie D'Amore" 1602 by Cesare Negri: Translation and Commentary. PhD Dissertation (Stanford University: 1985).

Cesare Negri. Le Gratie D'Amore (Milan: 1602).

Julia Sutton. Nobilta di Dame (1600). (Oxford: Oxford University Press: 1986) [translation of Negri].


1 Negri p. 51, Kendall p. 106 [See bibliography for full references - Ed]

2 Caroso p. 37, Sutton p. 114

3 Negri p. 113, Kendall p. 206

4 Caroso p. 54, Sutton p. 126

5 Sutton p. 126

6 Arbeau pp. 102-103

7 Negri p. 49, Kendall p. 104

8 Negri p. 49, Kendall p. 104

9 Negri p. 51, Kendall p. 106

10 Negri p. 57, Kendall p. 112

11 Negri p. 111, Kendall p. 202

12 Caroso p. 50, Sutton p. 123

13 Negri p. 49, Kendall p. 104

14 Caroso pp. 172-176, Sutton pp. 206-207

15 Caroso pp. 52-53, Sutton pp. 124-125

16 Sutton p. 125

Webbed by Gregory Blount of Isenfir (Greg Lindahl) (