~  Katherine's Renaissance Dance Pages  ~


England, around 1500

Dances recorded in the Gresley MS (being personal notes written by one John Banys around 1500); English translations of French manuals will be treated with the French Basse danses. The Gresley MS contains only the most sketchy descriptions, and uses many undefined terms, so reconstructions are very speculative, and often vary widely.

For different interpretations of several of these dances, try this article by Robert Hugget.


        return to index or schedule


Eglamour: for three people in single file

Text from the MS:   Eglamowr de tribus: doble trace. After the end of the trace: the first three forth, the second the same, the 3d the same. Then the first man outward on the left shoulder and goo behend, the 2d the same, the 3d the same. The the first man out, the 2nd out, the 3rd ou

This is the reconstruction Cait Webb gives in the book that accompanies her CD "Eschewynge of Ydelnesse"

6 doubles forwards, all together

one by one:  one double forwards

        two doubles   going to the end of line, turning outwards to the left

        one double turning out

first and last person change places with two doubles (by convention, going anti-clockwise)

middle person  goes to from with one double

-repeat with new leader-

The last two movements are made in imitation of Belfiore, and are not indicated in the English text.


Ly Bens Distonys: for a couple holding customary hands

also spelled 'Lebens disinens' and 'Lubens discuneus'

Text:    Trace. After the end of the trace, the first 3 forth and torne, whill the second retrett 3 bake. Then come togeder and ethir tirne into oders plas. Then the last man 3 forth and torne, whill the first retrett. Then come togeder in such wys as they did afore and ethir end in ther own place. Then trett and retrett and torne.

:"Short Version"

I don't know whose reconstruction this is; I believe it is the one most commonly done in Lochac.

2 doubles forwards, dropping hands at end (or two singles and one double)

3 singles, woman going backwards, man going forwards, and turning to face at end

1 double to meet, but taking an angled path, to end up on the other side of your partner; man turns to face forwards

3 singles, man going backwards, woman going forwards, turnind to face at end

1 double to meet, returning to original place; woman turns to face front; take cutomary hands

2 singles, one forwards and one backwards, and drop hands

1 double, turning in place


"Long Version"

This reconstruction is by Cait Webb (very slightly altered by me):

A:  2 doubles forwards, together, dropping hands at end

B:  3 singles (slower steps), man going backwards, woman going forwards; woman turns to face at end

1 double, returning to partner (same side as you started on)

1 double, turning into partner's place (taking hands if desired)

         repeat B, swapping gender roles, and returning to your own place.

C:  Face up and take customary hands. Single forwards, single backwards, double turning in place.


Prenes in Gre: for a couple holding customary hands

"Alas the herd whill that i coth dans"

Text:   Trace forthright 6 singlis; ather torne other aboute, and forthright 6 singlis agen. After the end of the trace, rak both togeder and torne. Then face to face 6 singlis, ether contrary oder, and 3 retrettes ayen. Then a flowrdelice of both at onys. Then change places and torne face to face. Then a flowrdelice and come togeder.

Reconstruction by Eoin Chil mac Cionoadha, of Trimaris, slightly modified by myself. It works well to the music on Eschewynge of Ydelnesse.

6 steps forwards, turn to face

6 steps circling (take right hands if you wish)

6 steps passing right shoulder, separating, and turning to face

2 slow sideways steps, moving forward a little

turn over left shoulder

6 small steps forwards, coming close to your partner, face to face

3 slow steps backwards

turn over left shoulder, fast reverence; turn over right shoulder, fast reverence

6 steps passing partner and turning to face

turn over left shoulder, slower reverence


Temperans in tribus: for three, side by side

article on Temperans, with fuller discussion of reconstruction choices (pdf)

reconstruction by: Eoin Ghil mac Cionaodha, Ludwig von Regensburg, Katharine von Regensburg, Sionnain O'Malley, Theadora Perplexa, Urraca Yriarte de Gamboa; 2005.

trett and retrett: three slow steps forwards, three slow steps backwards

retrett and trett / trett and retrett: three slow steps backwards, then three forwards, except dancer on right, who goes forwards then backwards, and ends at other end of line.

Two fast doubles forwards, half turn; repeat in other direction

trett and retrett

3 rakkes: three steps flankingly forwards

Flowrdelice: turn in place with two doubles, reverence

"Half hey": three doubles, people on ends swap places

Left person three steps forwards and full turn in place

Middle person three steps forwards and full turn in place

Right person three steps forwards, no turn

Each person jumps, one by one, starting with left-most

All turn in place, using two doubles.


         return to index or schedule