Dolce Amoroso Fiamma (Sweet Amorous Flame)

[ This article appeared in volume 3 of the Letter of Dance. ]

by Mistress Urraca Yriarte de Gamboa

Many Italian dances resemble English country dances, except for the step vocabulary. A slight simplification of the steps renders them accessible to anyone. This is a dance based on Dolce Amoroso Fuoco (Sweet Amorous Fire) from Il Ballarino by Fabritio Caroso (1581). I have taught it before under that name, but I think now that this version should have a different title, because it is not an exact reconstruction.

Like the dance on which it is based, this is a longways set dance for three couples. The main difference is in the solos. Instead of a fancy men's solo, both sexes do the women's solo, with the addition of two continenze and a riverenza to enhance the symmetry with the other verses.

To avoid repeating definitions of steps, I refer the reader to the step definitions in "Leggiadria d'Amore: A Balletto for Three" in Issue 11 of The Letter of Dance.

The progressive circular hey in the last verse is confusing to some people. The first couple starts it by taking right hands and trading places. They will then give left hands to the next person of the opposite sex and so continue down the opposite side of the set, spreading the hey as they go. When they get to the bottom of the set, they cross again and work their way back up their own sides of the set until they come back to place. They then have to wait for the rest of the dancers to get back to place. Essentially, the longways set is transformed into a circle for the duration of the hey.

The music is "Passo e Mezzo", which is widely available. I use the Dolce Amoroso Fuoco on the dance tape Homage to Amor: Sixteenth-Century Dances of Love produced by Angene Feves. It is also available on the Broadside Band CD Il Ballarino referred to in "Ballo del Fiore in due" in Issue 6 of The Letter of Dance. An arrangement of the music can be found under "Passo e Mezzo" in Julia Sutton's translation of Fabritio Caroso's Nobilta di Dame (Oxford University Press, 1986); the melody from this arrangement follows.

The Dance

Bar Steps Figure
1-4 Riverenza facing forward, holding ordinary hands
5-8 Continenza L, R (same)
9-12 Seguito Ordinario L, R progressing; end facing partner
13-14 Seguito Scorso trade places, passing right shoulders
15-16 Seguito Scorso turn over left shoulder; end facing front
17-20 Seguito Ordinario L, R progressing; end facing partner
21-22 Seguito Scorso trade places, passing left shoulders
23-24 Seguito Scorso turn over right shoulder; end facing partner
25-28 Continenza L, R facing partner (not holding hands)
29-32 Riverenza (same)
1-2 Seguito Spezzato L, R Men, flankingly forward, to partner
3-4 Trabuchetto L, R, L Men, in place
5-6 Seguito Spezzato R, L Men, flankingly backward, facing partner
7-8 Trabuchetto, R, L, R Men, in place
9-12 Continenza L, R Men, facing (not holding hands)
13-16 Riverenza Men
17-18 Seguito Spezzato R, L Women, flankingly forward, to partner
19-20 Trabuchetto, L, R, L Women, in place
21-22 Seguito Spezzato R, L Women, flankingly backward, facing partner
23-24 Trabuchetto, R, L, R Women, in place
25-28 Continenza L, R Women, facing (not holding hands)
29-32 Riverenza Women
1-16 8 Seguiti Ordinarii circular hey, starts with top couple taking right hands
17-20 Riverenza Men only
21-24 Riverenza Women only
25-28 Seguito Ordinario L, R everyone, turning over left shoulder
29-32 Riverenza everyone, taking ordinary hands

Webbed by Gregory Blount of Isenfir (Greg Lindahl) (