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Dance List for the Bloth

Submitted by Katherina Weyssin on June 9, 2013 - 9:36am

On Saturday afternoon at the Bloth, there will be a Ball in honour of their excellencies of Ildhafn. The dances will be chosen by request, with each dancer in turn (I hope) having the chance to choose their favourite from the list below.

Easier Dances

You can probably pick these up as we go. If you've done some renaissance dance before, you're likely to have encountered many of them, even if you don't remember the names.


  • Easy Branles – double, simple, gai, burgundian – very simple!
  • Scots Branles
  • Trihory
  • Mixed Branles – Cassandra, Pinagay, Charlotte, La Guerre, Aridan
  • Mimed Branles – Washerwomen, Pease, Shoes, Horses

Dances for Groups

  • Anello – four people in a square
  • Gelosia – six people, the men change partners
  • Montarde Branle – weave down a line
  • Belfiore – follow-the-leader, for three
  • Petit Riense – follow-the-leader, for three

Dances for Couples

  • Old Measures - Earl of Essex Measure, Queen's Almain, Lorrayne Almain, Black Almain, Madam Cecilia's Pavin
  • Ly Bens Distonys
  • Amoroso
  • Rostiboli Gioioso
  • Prenes on Gre

Dance Games and Mixers

  • La Caccia – the Chase game
  • La Caccia – the Wheel game, or “Musical Partners”
  • Ballo del Fiore – the Flower dance

Harder Dances

These dances are best learned in advance.

Harder 15th century Dances

  • Alenchon
  • Danse de Cleves
  • Lioncello Vecchio
  • Ginevra
  • La Figlia di Guglielmino
  • Lauro
  • Presonera
  • Reale
  • Spero
  • Verceppe

Harder 16thC Dances

  • Bassa Colonna
  • Bella Gioiosa
  • La Castellana
  • Cesarina
  • Chiara Stella
  • Contentezza d'Amore
  • Il Conto del Orco
  • Contrapasso Nuovo
  • Fulgente Stella
  • Galliard
  • Gracca Amorosa
  • Pungente Dardo
  • Rustica Amorosa
  • Spagnoletta, for two or three

How the Ball will run

We've taken elements of ettiquette from here and there across renaissance Italy and Germany, to give a special flavour to the afternoon, or so we hope.

Choosing a dance

Everyone will get the chance to choose a favourite dance (unless time forbids, and we must feast instead).

When it's your turn, the Herald, Ludwig, will approach you. He's an accomplished dancer himself, so he'll be able to help make a suitable choice if you'd like advice.

If you'd prefer not to choose a dance, ask the herald to move to the next, or to ask someone else to choose on your behalf. You can ask for a dance you'd like to see performed instead of one you'd like to join yourself.

When it's your turn to choose a dance, you will also be the first to pick a partner, and you will have the option of taking the floor alone with your partner or group, or of inviting the whole company to join you - please let Ludwig know what you'd like.

Joining other dances

The Herald will announce whether a dance is for all to join, or is a small performance. It's polite to wait until the person who requested the dance has found a partner before you look for one yourself.

In the renaissance, women would ask men to dance just as men would ask women - don't be shy! It's also perfectly appropriate for women to dance with other women, and men to dance with other men. It'll probably be easier for us all to find eager partners if those who wish to dance a certain dance stand, while those who would prefer to watch sit.

Many of the dances on the reverse are easy to pick up with only a little prompting, even if you've never done them before. In most cases, I'll be happy to do a little teaching or calling, so that everyone can join in.

I am happy to repeat dances through the ball.  Watching is a great way to learn a dance (or remember a dance you learned long ago) so we often do the same dance twice so you can watch once, and dance the second time. If you'd like a repeat of any dance, whoever first requested it, please ask!