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Dancing through the Ages 1400-1550

Dancing through the Ages is an 10,800 page work offering background on, reconstruction of, and chorded music for nearly 1,000 dances from between from 1400 to 1900, as well as extensive notes analysing links between these dances, the evolution of dance forms, movement ideas and notation systems through this 500 period, and the changing nature of ball culture and dance sources in countries across the old and new word.  The whole is supported by thousands of quotations, diagrams and illustrations from original sources.

The work is broken into 31 books, each of between 300 and 460 (average 350) double-sided A4 pages. After the 'Orientation and Overview' book 1, the work is organised into ten 'Volumes', each of 3 books.  

Each 3-book Volume is devoted to a particular period and consists of 1,000 plus pages of research, discussion, analysis, illustrations, musical scores, dance reconstructions, source extracts, transcriptions and translations. The first book (Part 1a-d) looks at dancing in general (the social, political and geographic contexts in which dance and the institution of the ball was evolving; the nature and evolution of the period’s main forms of dance; dance elements such as style, etiquette, honours, holds, formations, figures and steps; developments in dance teaching, notation and publication, and period-relevant primary sources (including little known ones). The second and third books (Part 2a and Part 2b respectively) offer sources and music for, and reconstructions and analysis of dozens of dances from the relevant period, presented in alphabetic order.

To order any or all of the books in this 31-book series go to (PUBLISHER's WEBSITE ORDER PAGE LINK TO APPEAR HERE END SEPTEMBER 2020 when grand work is finally available!). The books are AUS$35 each (approximately US$25), plus postage which will diminish with the more books in your order. As your books will be sent from the nearest Lulu printer on your continent, you will not be paying for overseas shipping and will not be waiting long for the books to arrive. Orders are normally filled at local postage rates within a week.  

N.B. I recommend that in addition to ordering the books pertaining to the period you first think of, you also order books from the adjacent period collections plus the invaluable Book 1: 'Orientation and Overview'.  Indeed, because of the interconnectivity of dance over the 500 years covered by this series (and the cross-referencing between books in the series), I highly recommend the full set!

If you are able to collect from our home in Canberra Australia, I may be able to offer you a special no-postage price on a full-set. Phone 62811098 or email us

Below are the front covers and contents of the three books that constitute Volume I in the series

Part 1: Dance in general   (Book 2)

PART 1a: DANCE CONTEXT 8

Setting the scene ~ 9

Dance and diplomacy ~ 10

Depictions of dance ~ 11

France ~ 18

The earliest recorded dancing ~ 18

Bassedanse parties and Arena’s rules ~ 21

Courtly entertainments ~ 27

Lack of Italian influence ~ 28

The 1548 Lyon pageant ~ 28

Italy ~ 30

Dancing outdoors ~ 30

Dancing in villas and private chambers ~ 31

Dancing in sacred plays ~ 32

Visual topoi: the dancing of Salome and the maenads 34

Visual topoi: the three graces, the nine muses ~ 36

Dancing at grand occasions in the mid-15th century ~ 42

Dancing at grand occasions in the late-15th early 16th century ~ 47

Social dance as depicted in art ~ 49

The dances ~ 52

Domenico’s defence of dance ~ 54

Guglielmo’s defence of dance ~ 55

Ficino and dance’s relation with celestial movement ~ 58

The early 16th century, the ‘Il Papa manuscript’ and a new dance language ~ 59

Castiglione and the courtier ~ 60

French Influence ~ 61

Germany and its neighbours ~ 63

The folk tradition and the peasant kermis ~ 63

The Italian and French influence ~ 66

Genteel processions ~ 68

Processional dance in Aldegrever’ engravings ~ 73

Hapsburg Lowlands ~ 79

Dance in Maximilian I's Freydal manuscript ~ 80

Dance entertainments in Binche, Belgium, in 1549 ~ 90

Dance entertainments in Brussels in 1550 ~ 92

England ~ 95

The Lincoln’s Inn Moot Book ~ 95

The Gresley manuscript ~ 95

Robert Coplande and the French Influence ~ 99

The Salisbury ~ 101

Elyot’s defence of dance ~ 101

Tudor entertainments ~ 110

Scotland~ 114

PART 1b:  DANCE FORMS 118

The enigmatic Carol ~ 120

Its name ~ 120

Its origin ~ 120

Its participants ~ 121

Its formation ~ 123

Its choreography ~ 124

Its music and accompaniment ~ 125

Its demise and heirs ~ 125

The Enigmatic German dance ~ 129

An early figured Almain ~ 129

Early Almain sequences—the left to right feast to dance storyline ~ 135

Early Almain sequences—storylines in other formats ~ 140

Other enigmatic dance forms ~ 149

The Bal ~ 149

The Moresca ~ 149

The follow-the-leader dance ~ 150

Other dances ~ 153

The French basse dance ~ 156

Origin ~ 156

The Nancy manuscript of 1445—the earliest extant dance instructions ~ 157

Late 15th century basse dance sources ~ 159

Early 16th century basse dance sources ~ 160

Basse dances with- and without a lively fore-dance ~ 160

Basse dances with a lively ‘alta’ and/or ‘gioiosa’ after dance ~ 161

The early categorisation of regular basse dances ~ 162

The early basse dance—how did it fit the music? ~ 165

The early Basse dance—who led the matching of dance and tune? ~ 167

Were the early French basse dances as figured as the Italian ones? ~ 170

The ‘late basse dance’ of the early 16th century ~ 172

Late basse dance main sequence preferences ~ 173

The rise of the basse dance commune ~ 175

Late basse dance tune composition ~ 176

Late Basse dance return or moitié preferences ~ 177

Late Basse dance participation and route ~ 178

Late basse dance foot preferences ~ 180

The late basse dance’s changing character ~ 180

The basse dance’s passing ~ 181

The basse dance in illustrations ~ 182

Other French dances ~ 188

The Tordion ~ 188

The Pavan and Galliard ~ 189

The Branle ~ 194

Italian dance forms ~ 196

Dance taxonomy ~ 196

Bassadanza ~ 200

Quadernaria ~ 205

Saltarello ~ 207

Piva ~ 210

The ballo of pre-1500 texts ~ 212

Music for early Italian dances ~ 215

Concordance of early Italian dances ~ 218

Post-1500 balletti and the Il Papa ms dances ~ 224

The Spanish baja, alta & ioyos ~ 230

PART 1c: DANCE ELEMENTS 231

Style ~ 232

Class difference ~ 232

Gender differences ~ 232

Domenico’s theory and the six elements of good style ~ 235

Memory/memoria ~ 238

Measure/misura ~ 239

Maniera / manner ~ 240

Aere / Air ~ 243

Diversità di cose / Variety ~ 244

Partire di terreno / Partitioning the Ground ~ 244

Movimento corporeo / Body Movement ~ 245

The inter-relations between elements ~ 246

Fantasmata / ombre phantasamtica ~ 248

Other skills to do with spacing ~ 250

Etiquette ~ 251

According to the Italian masters ~ 251

According to Arena ~ 251

Honours ~ 256

Riverenza / Reverence ~ 256

Brief Riverenza ~ 257

Riverenza in terra ~ 257

Riverenzetta / reverenzetta~ 258

Hat ~ 258

Kissing ~ 258

Holds, formations and orientations ~ 260

Imperatives influencing dynamics ~ 260

‘Over-the-top’ hand holds ~ 262

Cross hand and arm holds ~ 265

a la fila ~ 268

in triangolo ~ 270

Longways sets for many couples ~ 270

Use of the arms ~ 270

Figures ~ 272

A lively opening promenade~ 272

Promenade, gypsy, single hand, two hand ~ 274

Side-by-side to man above woman below ~ 274

Inverting and reverting a triangle ~ 274

Following the feigning with the full ~ 275

Snaking and weaving (‘heys’) ~ 275

Men/women teasing, leaving, chasing ~ 276

1st then 2nd then 3rd do figures ~ 276

Taking turn leading the dance ~ 277

Jousting-like passing through ~ 277

Competing men ending in exchanged places with woman in between ~ 278

Steps ~ 279

Domenico’s theory ~ 279

Adding to the theory ~ 280

Departing from the theory ~ 282

Angelosa, Angles or Portugese step ~ 282

Branle / Brawle / Congé ~ 283

Braban(t) (pas de) / Brabante (passo)~ 285

Cambia ~ 286

Congé ~ 286

Continenza ~ 286

Contrapasso ~ 287

Desmarche / Riprese ~ 288

Doppio / Double / Doblis~ 290

Escambiamento / Cambiamento / Scambio ~ 292

Flowrdelice ~ 292

Frappamento / Botte ~ 293

Galoppo ~ 294

Meve ~ 294

Meza Ripresa ~ 294

Mezavolta ~ 295

Movimento / Scosso / Squassetto / Meve ~ 296

Passetti ~ 299

Passo ~ 299

Passo falso ~ 300

Passo in traverso ~ 301

Piva ~ 302

Posa / Posada ~ 302

Rak(e) ~ 302

Reprise ~ 303

Retrett ~ 303

Ripresa ~ 303

Riverenza/Reverenza/Reverence and Riverezzetti/Reverenzetti~ 305

Saltarello ~ 305

Salto / Saut / Saltetto~ 306

Scosso~ 307

Sempio / Siempo / Sciempo~ 307

Simple ~ 307

Single ~ 308

Squassetto~ 308

Stop(e) ~ 308

Trace ~ 308

Trapassino ~ 309

Trett ~ 309

Volta ~ 310

Volta del Gioioso ~ 310

Volta di Lasso ~ 311

Volta di Tromboni ~ 313

PART 1d: DANCE TEACHING 315

The Vocation ~ 316

The different sorts of dancing masters ~ 316

The practical importance of the teacher ~ 319

Dance contracts and payments ~ 321

Teaching ~ 323

Dance standards and teacher-student relationships ~ 323

Teaching exercises ~ 326

Matching movement to music ~ 328

Basse dance notation ~ 331

In the Nancy manuscript ~ 331

In late 15th and early 16th century bassedanse manuals ~ 331

In the Cervera manuscript ~ 333

Other notations ~ 334

Beyond notations ~ 334

Anonymous Works ~ 335

The Brussels manuscript ~ 335

The Cervera manuscript ~ 336

The Gresley manuscript ~ 337

The Montefiascone manuscript ~ 337

The Nancy manuscript ~ 338

The Salisbury manuscript ~ 338

The Stribaldi / Torino manuscript ~ 339

Various other manuscripts ~ 339

Authors and their Works ~ 340

Altieri ~ 340

Arena ~ 340

Castiglione ~ 341

Cochläus ~ 341

Coplande ~ 341

Cornazano ~ 342

Domenico ~ 343

Francesco Fineschi ~ 345

Guglielmo ~ 345

‘Il Papa’ ~ 349

Moderne ~ 350

Pedro de Gracia Dei ~ 351

Toulouze ~ 351


Part 2a: Dances in detail A-K   (Book 3)

Alenchon (1) & (2) ~ 6

Alesandresca ~ 9

Amoroso (for 2) ~ 21

Amoroso (for 3) ~ 27

Amours ~ 30

Anello ~ 33

Angelosa ~ 43

Baramattio ~ 52

Barcelone ~ 57

Bassa Franzesse ~ 59

La Basse de Castille/Spayñ / Bassa et Alta ~ 62

Basse danse communes / Jouissance / Jouyssance vous donneray ~ 85

Beauté de Castille / Bialte di Castiglia ~ 94

Belfiore ~ 104

Belriguardo (for two) ~ 115

Belriguardo Nuovo (for three) ~ 124

Borges ~ 134

Chastelana ~ 137

Che Faralla ~ 143

Chirintana ~ 150

Colonnese ~ 158

Corona ~ 170

La Danse de Cleves ~ 176

Eglamowr ~ 180

Esperans ~ 183

L’Esperance de Bourbon ~ 186

Fiammetta ~ 189

La Figlia Guglielmino (1) ~ 196

La Figlia Guglielmino (2) ~ 204

Filles a marier ~ 215

Fodra ~ 221

Francho cuore gentile ~ 225

La Franchoise nouvelle ~ 228

La Franciosetta ~ 230

Gelosia ~ 237

Gioioso fiorito / Rostiboli Gioioso (2) ~ 250

Gioioso for three / Rostiboli Gioioso (3) ~ 255

Gioliva ~ 263

La Gorrière ~ 273

La Graziosa ~ 276

Grazioso ~ 281

Ingrata ~ 295

Jupiter (1) / Giove ~ 311

Jupiter (2) ~ 331




Lasso ~ 6

Lauro ~ 11

Legiadra ~ 15

Libeaus Desconus ~ 29

Lioncello Nuovo (for three) ~ 32

Lioncello vechio (for two) ~ 45

Malgratiosa ~ 57

Marchesana ~ 60

Mastri di Tromboni ~ 74

Mercantia ~ 82

Mignotta for 2 (Vechia / Nova) or 3 ~ 97

The Nancy ms bassedances ~ 110

Nobile ~ 117

Northumberland ~ 119

La Partita Crudele ~ 123

Pellegrina ~ 134

Petit Rinense ~ 143

Petite Rose ~ 146

Le Petit Rouen (1), (2) & (3) ~ 153

Pizochara ~ 157

Prenes a gard ~ 163

Prenes on gre ~ 167

Prigionera ~ 171

Reale (1) ~ 184

La Reale (2) ~ 191

Rostiboli Gioioso ~ 196

Sobria ~ 216

Spero ~ 227

Talbott ~ 239

La Tantaine ~ 242

Temperans ~ 244

Tesara ~ 248

La Traditora ~ 259

Venus ~ 265

Verçepe ~ 274

Villanella (1) ~ 283

La Vita di Cholino (for 2) ~ 290

La Vita di Cholino (for 3) ~ 294

Voltati in ça Rosina / Rossina ~ 303

Whatsoever ye wyll ~ 308


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