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Making up cascarde

Submitted by Katherina Weyssin on September 15, 2011 - 7:38pm
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Katherina, William and Caterine had a full, strenuous but fairly casual evening.

After warming up (Spero, some others I now forget) we spent the first half of the practice revising the first half of Spagnoletta Nuova in modo di Madriglia.

The rest of the evening was improvisatory:

I put on a playlist with dances in several genres on "random", and we danced to whatever came up. Tonight, this ended up being made-up-as-we-went Spagnolette, and about 15 minutes of Canary practice. (I have a new ritirata that I think is rather stylish: finto left, 2  trabuchetti right and left; repeat as desired, alternating sides or interspersing with other passages).

That done, we tried casdcarde to some English Country Dancing music. (We don't do any Playford at these practices, but it's rather popular in many places we visit. Sometimes it's fun to try to learn a dance quickly enough to join in; sometimes it's a good chance for a water break; sometimes it's nice to have something else to dance to the same music, hence this last exercise).

We used the music for Black Nag, as it's popular, and for three couples, so we thought it might work well for the three of us. For the first run through the music, we started in a triangle, but each improvised cascarda-like sequences. By about half way through the dance a consensus had appeared about a regular chorus, and the verses were appearing in a somewhat-predictable pattern. Next, we listened again to the music, classified the sections in terms of the number of spezzati they'd take, and chatted briefly about a possible choreography. We tried out a few options, before settling (in so far as something danced off the cuff like this is settled) on something like this:

"Cascarda" for three, to the tune of Black Nag

-- NOTE: NOT AN ACTUAL RENAISSANCE DANCE! --

First Verse

Riverenza, 4 spezzati in a wheel, 2 spezzati turning left

First Chorus - Joust

Spezzato forwards, spezzato backwards, 2 spezzati "jousting". Repeat from other side.

(This is the same pattern as the "joust" in Bella Gioioso - look it up in the real cascarda if it's not familiar). Since we had two women and one man, we always had the man go through the middle.

[Hmm, can't remember any more - did we preface the joust with 2 spezzati, or with 2 fioretti a pie pari and 2 passi backwards?]

(Alternate first Chorus - we liked it, but it didn't fit the music so pleasantly)

Puntata forwards, puntata backwards; spezzato left, meza riverenza right. Repeat to right.

Second Chorus

2 riprese left, 2 trabuchetti left and right, spezzato turning left, cadenza. Repeat on right. It's a made-up cascarda, we had to get this in!

Second verse

6 spezzati in a wheel, 2 turning out. Both choruses.

Third, fourth and fifth verses

Hey with 6 spezzati, 2 passi, cadenza; choruses. Man leads the first; his "partner" the second; the other woman  the third.

Sixth verse

Pause for air: Black Nag has a lot of verses.

In a wheel, 2 spezzati, seguito semidoppio; repeat to right. Choruses.

Seventh, eighth and ninth verses

Solo's, in same order as heys, then all do the choruses. Each solo will take the time of 4 spezzati, and be repeated on the other side. Something like "2 spezzati and 2 passi turning left, cadenza; repeat on right"; or "4 trabuchetti, spezzato turning, cadenza".

As I wrote above, this may never be danced again, nor may it ever have been danced exactly as written, but it's a reasonable representation of what we were playing around with. Please don't take it away and learn or teach it as an authentic renaissance choreography: it's not. 

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