~  Katherine's Renaissance Dance Pages  ~

 

Regional Branles:

Branle de Poictou, Branles d'Escosses, Trihory

 

        return to 16thC France page, for other dances from Orchesography

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Step abbreviations

Dl     double sideways to the left;     similarly Dr

Sl     simple, or single sideway to the left;     similarly Sr

kl     small kick with your left foot (pied en l'air);    

J      large jump, straight up, landing on both feet (saut majeur);     Jc   a large jump with a capriole

-       pause

 

These branles begin with couples in a line or circle, holding hands; the leader is on the left.

 The branle of Poictou   kr - kl - kr - kl - kr kl kr kl -  (4 slow, 4 fast)

 varied with:

 kr - kl - kr - kl kr kl kr kl kr kl - (3 slow, 7 fast) 

 

A lot like the gai branle. Both were very popular in the 16th C, judging by the amount of surviving music. This is a very lively dance - not for the faint-hearted.
 The Scottish branles first:       Dl Dr   Sl Sr   

second: Dl Sr Sl Dr   Dl Sr kr kl kr Jc

All the singles and doubles in the Scottish branes finish with a  pied croise: instead of closing your trailing foot, kick across in front of the shin of your leading foot. These are just the first two of a longer suite that Arbeau says was popular in the 1560s.
 Trihory, or the Branle of Brittany  Dl ending kl,

 jump to the left landing on both feet,   kl kr kl

Every second time, or only the last time, the three kicks can be replaced by swishing your heels to the right, the left, and the right again while making a kl (all done on tiptoe).

Perhaps the silliest branle of all, and thus my favourite.

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