Double Bransle Suite: Double, Single, Burgundian, Gay

dances

From Thoinot Arbeau’s Orchesographie, 1589

These four simple dances are performed ensuite, meaning together without pausing between changes in dances.They become more physically rigorous as they progress.
Dancers should stand in a line, holding hands. The person on the foremost left of the line is the leader.

Basic Bransle Step Descriptions:
Double(Left): Moving sideways in the line, step onto left foot, place right foot next to or behind the left, step left again, bring right foot next to left (four beats for one double: Step-Step-Step-Pause). One double takes one measure of music.
Single (Left): Step onto left foot, bring right foot next to it. Takes half a measure of music (Step-Pause) Kick: Kick left or right, a smaller motion is preferred, with a straight leg. About a 30 degree angle should be created between your legs. No show-girl (or boy) kicks, please; each takes one beat of music.

Double Bransle:
Double Left, Double Right. Repeat until music changes. The Double Left should be longer than the double right, thus the line travels.

Single Bransle:
Double Left, Single Right. Repeat until music changes.

Gay Bransle: This bransle moves entirely to the left. The music is in 6/8 instead of 4/4, which means that you have six beats of music per measure. Easier to dance that to describe in writing.
Beat One: Jump onto left foot, kicking with the right foot simultaneously,
Beat Two: Kick Left,
Beat Three: Kick Right,
Beat Four: Kick Left,
Five and Six: Pause. Repeat until music changes.

Burgundian Bransle:
Is a double bransle with a kick at the end of each double. Step-Step-Step-Kick, repeat in other direction. Bigger steps to the left than to the right.

Crib note:
Double: Double Left, Right, repeat.
Single: Double Left, Single Right, repeat
Gay: step Left/kick right, Kick L-Kick R-Kick L-Pause-Pause
Burgundian: Double Bransle with kick

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Montard Bransle

also from Arbeau. For a line of dancers; if working with canned music, then a line of four dancers. If working with live, than the musicians have to play the B music as often as there are dancers in a line.

Part A:
8 Doubles, all moving to the left.

Part B:
Each person in succession (i.e. only one person will be moving at any given time during part B) will clap and turn in place over the left shoulder with four kicks, starting with person one and moving down the line.
Beat One: Kick Right, turning sightly to the left;
Beat Two: Kick left, turning further to the left;
Beat Three: Kick Right, turning yet further to the left,
Beat Four: Kick Left, bringing you to face forward as before. Four kicks should only get you 360 degrees, no more, no less. With each kick, you can clap.

Dance repeats from Part A. During the subsequent repetitions, the person who leads the line in the last repetition breaks from the line, and weaves down through the line with his own doubles while the line moves onward with a new leader. Thus as the dance repeats, eventually everyone should have a chance to lead the line.

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Bransle de la Haye

For a circle of couples, holding hands.
This dance is a circle dance that comes from a manual written in 1580 by a French priest whose penname was Thoinot Arbeau.

(Bransle) Single Left= One step sideways to the left, the right foot follows, but does not close. Reverse for Bransle Single Right. Takes half a measure of music, i.e. two beats (Timing= Left, Pause).

(Bransle) Double Left= Three steps sideways, Lefty, Right, then Left, not closing. Reverse for the Bransle Double Right. Takes measure of music, i.e. four beats (Timing= Left, Right, Left, Pause).

Part A:
1- Single Left, Single Right
2- Double to the Left
3- Single Right, Single Left
4- Double to the Right (notice the symmetry)

Part A repeats from the beginning.

Part B: the Hay (music changes)
A Hay is a place/partner changing figure. It is far more complicated to describe in writing than it is to perform. In this dance, the Hay is done in the circle, changing places a total of six times. I.e. if the circle only has six couples, then you should end up back with your partner. In the Bransle de la Haye, the Hay is performed as follows:

Take right hands with your partner (your right hand in her right hand, turning to face each other), and switch places, using one double (use all four beats of music), dropping hands after you have passed each other. You should now be facing a new person. Take left hands with this person and switch places, one full double, using all four beats of music. Continue this until you have taken hands and switched places a *total* of six times (keep a count in your head, if you have to). At the end of the sixth switch, you turn to face back into the center, and take hands around the circle again. Ladies will have to turn extra to end up facing back in the center of the circle.***

The dance begins again immediately, from the top (i.e. Part A)

***Note that in the original, this does not seem to be danced in a circle, but rather a line, which alters the hay a bit. One can try playing with it, if they like.

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Petits Vriens (Little Nothings)

This dance comes from a manual written by Guglielmo Ebreo (William the Jew), an Italian dance master of the mid 15th c..

For sets of three: two of one gender, and one of the other (i.e.two men and a woman, or vice-verse)
Person One is the left most person in the set.

The basic story of this dance is that with a little Triangle of Love going. Person Two (the middle Person in the set) cannot live without Person One, who is playing hard to get. Person Three desperately desires Person Two, who has not time for anyone but Person One. Consider this dance one big chance to ham it up, as the expression goes.

Piva: A double, altered and accelerated by the music that stimulates the dancer to it. A double in this case is three quick steps and a short pause, ends up sort of like a skipping step because the music is syncopated: STEP-step-STEP-pause (SLOW-quick-SLOW-pause, or LONG-short-LONG-pause). The second step in the piva double is shorter than the first and last (again, a step sequence easier to do than to describe). If the first piva is performed starting on the left, then the second piva will begin on the right, alternating like that ad infinitum. In this dance: 2 Pive= 1 even Double

The Dance:

Part I: Gallavanting like drunken peasants
1-16 Perform 16 Pive, the person on the left of the set leading the set as he or she pleases.

Part II: The chase is on
1-4 Person One leaves the set with 4 Pive, going wherever.
5-8 Then Person Two (who cannot live without Person One) catches up with 4 Pive
8-12 Then Person Three (who needs Person Two) catches up with 4 Pive.

Part III: The chase continues, but a bit more slowly
1-2 Person One leaves the set with 1even Double forward (Step-Step-Step-pause, four even beats of the music)
3-4 Person Two catches up with 1 Double.
5-6 Person Three catches up with 1 Double.

Part IV: One happy little threesome
1-2 Person One and Person Two make a two-measure Reverenza to each other (bending at the knees, not at the hips or waist)
3-4 Person Two and Person Three do the same (use all of the music)
5-6 Everyone performs a Reverenza to everyone else, because we all like each other now (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, say no more)

Part V: Doing it together at last
1-4 Not holding hands, Everyone 1 Double Backwards, then 1 Double Forwards.
5-6 Everyone 1 Sideways Step Left and 1 Sideways Step Right
7-8 Everyone Turn Single (Turn in place, using a double), ending facing forward.

Take hands, and repeat the dance as many times as your hearts (or the musicians) can take.

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Ly Bens Dystonis

This dance comes from a manuscript found in a country manor in England. The manuscript, dated ca 1500, had household accounting on one side, and on the other, some country steward had notated some 113 dances, albeit in very cryptic, poorly written early-modern English. So yes, the title is English, though we think it might be bastardized German. This dance is short, sweet and simple, not to mention spritely and lots of fun; it also happens to be another dance that is more difficult to describe than to perform.

For Couples, in a processional line, or individually scattered about the Hall. Women are always right in a couple.
Piva: A double, altered and accelerated by the music that stimulates the dancer to it. A double in this case is three quick steps and a short pause, ends up sort of like a skipping step because the music is syncopated: STEP-step-STEP-pause (SLOW-quick-SLOW-pause, or LONG-short-LONG-pause). The second step in the piva double is shorter than the first and last (again, a step sequence easier to do than to describe). If the first piva is performed starting on the left, then the second piva will begin on the right, alternating like that ad infinitum.
Single: One step and a pause (do not close your singles)
Tret/Retret: Rocking weight onto the front (tret) or back foot (retret), takes one beat of music
Turn Single: Turn in place, 360 degrees, using a double.

Part I: Processing
1-4 4 Piva forward

Part II: Parting is such sweet sorrow
5-8 Two things happen at once here. The Men move backwards with 3 SLOW singles, pausing at the end of those singles, WHILE the Women move forwards with 3 SLOW singles. At the end of the singles, the Women turn to face the men, using the same amount of time in which they performed one single: Single-Single-Single-Turn. (i.e. While the Men are pausing, the Women are turning around to face them)
9-12 Men and Women take 2 Pive towards each other to meet (facing), taking left Hands with one another, and switch places with 2 Pive. The Man turns extra to face forward, improper, next to his partner. Taking hands gets no extra music.
5-12 Repeats, The Women going back, the Men going forward, etc. (i.e. full role-reversal) At the end of this repeat, the couples should be right, tight, and proper again, with the Women once more on the right, at the right, and in the right, as is proper in nature.

Part III:
13-14 Taking inside hands, the Couples Tret, Retret, and Turn Single.

Dance repeats from the top, as many times as the music insists.

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Amoroso

documented in Guglielmo Ebreo’s De Practica seu Arte Tripudii, 1463
Reconstructed by Judith de Northumbria (Rachel Lorenz)

For couples (individually scattered, or as a processional dance; the original does not specify)

Step Unit Descriptions:
Piva: is a double “altered and accelerated by the music that stimulated the dancer to it”. A double is three alternating walking steps and a pause (i.e. Left-right-left-pause, or right-left-right-pause),. The second step is slightly shorter than steps 1 and 3, thus creating a sort of shuffling or hopping (only at faster music!) affect. The slower the music, the longer the steps, the less bounce there is. STEP-step-STEP-pause

Part I
12 Pive (during this opening section, the couple can do whatever they like: process, weave, circle, chase, etc.)

Part II: The Chase is on
Man leaves woman with: 2 Singles, 1 Piva, and 3 Singles
Woman then follows with same.

Part III: The Chase continues…
Man leaves woman with: 3 Pive and 1 Single
Woman then follows with same.

Part IV: Big Solo
Man leaves woman with first chase sequence (2 Singles, 1 Piva, and 3 Singles), then turns to face woman. They both perform a Reverenza (Rev. uses one measure of music, i.e. the same time as one Piva), then the man returns with the second sequence of steps (3 Pive and 1 Single)

Woman does same as the man.
Dance repeats, the woman leading during the even repeats of the dance.

Crib notes:
12 Piva together
Man: 2 Singles, 1 Piva, 3 Singles
Woman: same
Man 3 Pive and 1 Single
Woman: same
Solo Man: 2 Singles, 1 Piva, 3 Singles, Half turn, 3 Pive and 1 Single
Solo Woman: same

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La Chirintana

As reconstructed by Judith de Northumbria, honourable lady of the court.
15th c. Italian dance, found in the Siena manuscript, and mentioned in a number of other contemporary chronicles.

Basic Steps:

Double: Three steps and a pause. The second step is shorter than the first and third. Not closed.
Piva: A double, altered and accelerated by the music that stimulates the dancer to it. A double in this case is three quick steps and a short pause, ends up sort of like a skipping step because the music is syncopated: STEP-step-STEP-pause (SLOW-quick-SLOW-pause, or LONG-short-LONG-pause). The second step in the piva double is shorter than the first and last (again, a step sequence easier to do than to describe). If the first piva is performed starting on the left, then the second piva will begin on the right, alternating like that ad infinitum
Continenza: Sideways Single, performed more as a sway than a full sideways step. Takes the same amount of time as a piva (i.e. Two continenze equal one normal double in duration).

The Basic Structure of the dance:

For a processional column of couples, no less than four, no more than eight.
Note: Lead couple is the true leader of this dance. They determine when each new phase of the dance begins.

Part I: Processing
Part II: The Snake Hay
Part III: The In and Out Hay
Part IV: Circling
Part V: The Brigomania (Piva line dance)

The Details of the Dance

Part I: Process to Impress
The line processes around the room, using a sequence of 2 Continenze and 1 Double, and another continenza, always starting on the left foot. This section continues as long as the musicians play the music for it.

From here on out, one uses Pive.

Part II: Snake Hay
Couple I, the man leading the woman, leads to the left, passing down and between Couples 2 and 3. Once Couple I has completely passed Couple Two, Man Two leads Woman Two to follow Couple I, like a snake. Each couple follows in turn, forming a long snake. Meanwhile, Couple I is continuing down the line in a serpentine pattern. Once Couple I reaches the end of the column of couples, they stop, leaving room for Couple 2 to continue between them and the end couple. Each “lead” couple does this in turn, until the line has reset itself.

Part III: The In and Out Hay (as seen in Grimstock)
Once the Snake hay is near completion, Couple I begins this next hey. Couple one will pivot, as a couple, without dropping hands, to face down the column of couples. They will then go down between Couple 2, as Couple 2 drops hands, breaks and moves forward into Couple I’s spot. Once in Couple I’s spot, Couple 2 will then Pivot to face down the line. Meanwhile, Couple I has split, to allow Couple 3 to move up between them, as they continue moving down the line. This pattern continues until all couples have been set in motion, and have returned to their original positions, facing up the column once more.

Part IV: Circling
Once all the couples have been reset, and are standing still once more, ALL couples take right hands with their partners, and circle using 4 Pive. They switch hands and do 4 Pive in the opposite direction.

Part V: The Piva Line Bransle: The Brigomania
The column of couples forms a long line, Woman I taking Man 2’s hands, Woman 2 Taking man 3’s hand, etc., with Man I leading the line, using Pive. Man 1’s job is to gallivant about the hall, leading the line like a snake, in serpentine movements, but NOT to try and tangle the line until it stops moving. He can make the line form a circle, and dance for a while back and forth in the circle, etc.
Enjoy! Be Creative!

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