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Dancing for beginners - Term 2 of 2021 - class #8

Submitted by Elyna Delynor on July 19, 2021 - 5:15pm

Dancing for beginners - Term 2 of 2021 - class #8

Date: 2nd July 2021

This series of blog posts is to act as a reminder to those who were at the class. Further questions can be directed to Elyna. Instead of referring to genders I will be speaking of Partner-A and Partner-B. If a man and a woman are dancing together, the man will be Partner-A and the woman Partner-B.

As usual, rather than reiterating full details on dances already covered, I will link to the previous class posts where complete information is given:

French bransles:

Scottish Bransle

Pease Bransle

Charlotte Bransle

Italian dances:



English Country Dance:

Jenny Pluck Pears

English Old Measure:

Black Almain

Lastly, we learned another Italian dance (For a refresher on Italian steps see this post).


New Italian steps:


-        Contrapasso (plural: contrapassi): these are very loosely like fast doubles but only ever starting on the left, so the feet move: Left forward, Right forward, Left forward, Right closes behind and change your weight to the right foot so you can start on the left again.

This all takes the same time as a single piva so is quite quick.

In my classes, it is completely acceptable to substitute normal pive for contrapassi in this dance, especially if you are a beginner.


-        Doppio (also. Passo doppio): this is the Italian for a double. It’s worth knowing the correct words.


-        Sempio, plural sempii (also. Passo sempio, or just passo): a single. Unlike previous singles, it doesn’t include closing the other foot.



-        This is a dance for three couples, so you need a partner and then two more couples to form a set.

-        Couples stand in a procession, so all facing the same way, A on the left and B on the right, so imagine thusly facing up the page/screen:

A1        B1

A2       B2

A3       B3

-        First part: Everyone does eight saltarelli forward, holding hands with their partner.

-        Second part:

-        Everyone stays still and only Partner A of the first couple moves (“A1”). They use three contrapassi to circle around the front of their partner and past to stand before Partner B in the second couple (“B2”), ideally a little to the outside of the line of Bs.

-        A1 makes a riverenza to B2. A2 (apparently outraged at this attention to their partner) moves forward with a saltarello to stand beside B1, who was previously left alone. (These two people, A1 and A2, move at the same time.)

-        Next A1 continues with three more contrapassi, moving anticlockwise around B2, and coming to stand in front of B3, again a little to the outside of the line.

-        A1 makes a riverenza to B3, while simultaneously A3 moves forward with a saltarello to stand as B2’s new partner.

-        Finally A1 takes two pive to zip clockwise behind B3, ending up in place as B3’s new partner.

-        New positions are now:

A2       B1

A3       B2

A1        B3

The path A1 travelled was a serpentine shape around each of the three Bs, beginning with around B1 going clockwise, then to the inside around B2 going anticlockwise, and then around the outside/back of B3 going clockwise again.

-        Third part:

-        Everyone does eight pive, holding the hand of their new partner.

-        Everyone stops: Only the first couple turn outwards on the spot and end up facing their partner.

-        Next, only the second couple turn outwards on the spot and end up facing each other.

-        Then only the third couple turn out similarly, ending up with the couples all facing

-        Everyone takes right hands with their partner and using three sempii, switch places with them. This is quite slow and dramatic.

-        Then everyone takes left hands with their partner and changes places back with another three sempii.

-        Finish facing forwards up the line and take hands to begin again.

-        The entire dance should repeat twice more, so that each Partner-A has a chance to flirt their way down the line, and eventually everyone ends up with the partner they began the dance with.

-        Practice music can be found here:
(The dancers in the video don’t do everything exactly the same as we do, but it is worth watching if you want clarity on how the second part looks, which can be confusing at first.)

Any questions let me know.


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