# Steps of The basse dance

This is meant as a brief summary of the steps of the basse dance. (I'm hoping that Malice will put up a more complete description later). The Institute of Historical Dance page contains a complete transcription of the instructions given in the Brussels MS.

Note that each of the five types of steps take exactly one breve of the tenor (singles always come in pairs). Thus one of these symbols corresponds to a breve of music. The basse dance is divided into measures begining with a pair of singles (except for the first measure which begins with a révérence and a bransle before the two singles) and end with a bransle. These measures of the dance should not be confused with measures of the music (which in modern notation correspond to breves in the tenor).

• d the Pas Double or double step. In this step the dancer takes three steps forward (left, right, left or right, left, right) in the space of each breve. As the breves of the basse dance are in perfect tempus, the dancers step once upon each semibreve.
• ss the Pas Simple or single step. Although this is actually two steps, in basse dances single steps always come in pairs and thus a pair of Passes Simples are counted as one step. In this step, the dancers step first with the left foot and then with the right in the space of one breve, or else first with the right foot and then with the left according to the pattern of the dance. As the dancers must step twice within a single perfect breve, they must make a hemiola with the music of the dance.
• b the Bransle. In this step, the dancers step sideways with their left foot, shift their weight to the left and then close again. As the dancers must step twice within a single perfect breve, they must make a hemiola with the music of the dance.
• r the Démarche (or reprise). In this step, the dancers take a step to the rear, followed by a shifting of weight forwards and back. There are three movements to this step and one falls on each semibreve of the perfect breve of the tenor.
• R, c Révérence ( Congé). The révérence is a bow executed to the dance executed in the time of one breve of the tenor; for the most part, these come at the beginning of the dance. The congé is a final bow executed at the end of the dance; it takes one breve of space in the final longa of the dance.

These pages designed and maintained by Russell Almond almond@acm.org