~  Katherine's Renaissance Dance Pages  ~


Les Bouffons :

A theatrical sword described in Orchesography in 1589. Also called Buffens, or Les Mattachins


        return to the Orchesography notes,   index, or  schedule


Pictures of blows in Orchesography:

feint (feincte),             thrust (estocade)

high (taille haulte),      reverse high (revers hault),


low (taille basse),        reverse low (revers basse)



   Greve L,   pied en l'air R,   pied en l'air L;     repeat starting on right;

    I call this as:    long, short short,    long, short short   etc.

    Steps vary only for the feint,   in which you jump and land on both feet   (taking the time in which you usually do 'long, short short').


Basic arrangement of dancers:   square

        D    C         A engages D,   B engages C. 

        A    B        

A & C are equivalent positions, as are B & D. If, when standing in the square and facing your opponent, your buckler is on the outside of the set, you are A or C;  if your sword is on the outside, you are B or D.


Passages of blows:

Each passage is done four times, so that everyone dances once in each position. You may like to repeat short passages.

 Thrust passage:    speed - slow (a blow on every 'long' kick), arrangement of dancers - square

    high, reverse high, low, thrust;      change places after every second thrust, passing right shoulders (sword side)

Passage of three cuts:    fast (blows come twice as fast as in 'slow passages'), square

    high, reverse low, high, changes places

Hay Passage: slow, circle or line

    Hay, exchanging one blow with each person as you swap places. Works well if you make the first blow high, then pass right shoulders; then reverse high, then pass left shoulders, and so on.

Bastion passage: fast; start in square, then D&B step into centre, and face out while standing back to back - result is a diamond shape.

    Same blows as the passage of three cuts (high, reverse low, high, change places); give high blows to person on your left, low blows to person on your  right. Change places by moving one place anticlockwise.

First Passage: slow, square

    feint, high, reverse high

    turn (A & C make 3/4 turn outwards; B & D make 1/4 turn inwards)

    low, reverse low, high


    reverse low, high, change places with current opponent.

Passage of fifteen cuts: fast, start in square, B & D turn to face outwards (but remaining in position, not standing back-to-back as in the bastion passage). All high blows to the left, all low blows to the right.

    high,   reverse low,   high,   reverse low.    

    Turn: rotate on the spot, so that people facing out turn in, people facing in turn to face out.

    high,   reverse low,   high,   reverse low,   turn

    high,   reverse low,   high,   reverse low,   turn

    high,   reverse low,   high

    change places with the person to whom you have just given the high blow; turning at the same time