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Renaissance dance photo - not courante
Court dance history Origin title     The Renaissance was a time of art, music, engineering, trade, and amazing change. The Renaissance changed the face of humanity forever and continues to this day. Court dancers basically referred to the dances of the upper classes such as Kings, Queens, Dukes, Duchesses etc. The court dances or dance's of court were many and varied (see dance list below) and were sometimes called 'Stately Dances or Society Dances'. In the early court dances the Pantomime played a major part of these dances and by 1550, the pantomime was all but forgotten.

     Dancing was a favourite pastime in the Renaissance period. These dances were formal, some were flirty or comical. Dancing in those days were an elegant form of exercise and an expected social skill for society's noble set. The Basse dances or court dances were the start of the "Society Dance's" over time to the present. The basse danse, (or "low dance,") was the most popular court dance in the 15th and early 16th centuries.

    The Pavane - was originally fast but it slowed with time. It was a sedate yet dignified couple dance. The pavane as a musical form survived long after the dance itself was abandoned, and well into the Baroque period when it finally gave way to the Allemande / Courante sequences. The Allemande originated in the 16th century and was favoured by the Germans, then eventually the French grabbed onto it. The Allemande basically was a serious dance which paraded as couple's, back and forth the entire length of the ballroom, walking three steps, possibly a little hop. Some of the Allemande would find its way into the Waltzes and Square Dance. The grave and majestic Courante was a sight to see. Then there were the lively dances such as the Galliard, Coranto, Canario, Saltarello, La Volta and others. Click a link to see more info on each of these dances.

There were basically two types of social dances of Court in the Renaissance period.
     1) Simple dances that were performed by an unlimited number of people. These dances were usually performed in circles or lines.
     2) Complex dances that required a dancing master (dance instructor) and practice.
All these eventually gave way to the American and English Ballroom dances which was the death bow to "Court Dances".

     Often times the dance master was also the local musician for the dances being performed. These dance masters sometimes would travel from town to town, while others stayed in one spot, usually hired by a king, Queen or someone who could afford to maintain a dancing master. Because most of these dances being done were more complicated than the peasant dances, only nobility could afford to learn them, so they became a statement of wealth and power. Fashion in ones clothing (Clothing at this time created an impression of mass and bulk) and sometimes decorative Swords, Rapiers, etc. and Occassionally even Spurs at the time prevented alot of movement of the dancers which is why most of these dances are more solemn in movement. Body Odor was not as bad a problem as with the peasant dances of the time as all could afford Parfume or Cologne as well as lots of Potpourri's provided by the host.

     Many of these dances (with appropriate music and costumes) are still popular today under different guises such as Ren faires, Renaissance Faires, Weddings (The step used in the pavane survives to the modern day in the hesitation step sometimes used in weddings), RenaissanceBalls, Masquerade Balls etcetera. There are other Court type dances done around the world such as India's Court dances like the Kathak and Manipuri dance forms. We have listed a few films near the bottom of this page.


Birth Place

Creation Date

Creator

Dance Type

Italy / France Varies n/a Renaissance / Processional
       
 

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

General Music Titles

n/a 1926 - Lady Pompadour (A Court Dance) A - Z of Opera (CD)
        Classics & Cognac (CD)
            Court and Dance Music from (CD)...
            Court Jesters: Tudor Minstrel Music (CD)
            Es hett ein Bidermann ein Weib (Senfl) (Clip)
            Great Melodies of the Classics (CD)
            In Palm Court Style / Viveza (CD)
            Instrumental Music At Imperial Court (CD)
            Music & Dance from Viennese Court (CD)
            Music of the English Renaissance (20 songs) (Clip)
            Music for Entertaining (CD)
            Spanish Renaissance music - (3 Songs) (Clip)
            Sunday With the Times (CD)
            Weekend Classics - Box Set (CD)
 

Night Clubs etc

Theaters

General Locations

-Versailles n/a France
            Italy
            Spain
                 
 
Video Clips (pop-up)

Related Films

Ballets / Stage

Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1898 - Neapolitan Dance at the Ancient Forum of Pompeii n/a
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1914 - At the Court of Prince Make Believe  
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1935 - Legong: Dance of the Virgins (Bali)  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1937 - Un carnet de bal  
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1941 - Court Dancer: Raj Narkati (India)  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1953 - The Sword and the Rose  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1966 - La Prise De Pouvoir Par Louis XIV [DVD]  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1986 - The Waltz King [DVD]  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1987 - Anne of Avonlea [DVD]  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1987 - Il court... il court le monde ???  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1990 - Il Ballarino : The Art of Renaissance Dance [DVD]  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1991 - Dance Macabre ???  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1992 - Renaissance, Cavalier & English Country Dances [DVD]  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1993 - Dancing: Dance at Court [DVD]

Publications

Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1994 - Khorovod (aka: Round Dance) $ The Bedhaya Court Dances of Java
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1995 - Early Dance Part 2 : The Baroque Era $ Court and Conquest: Ottoman Origins
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1995 - Khmer Court Dance ??? [DVD] $ Dance and Music of Court and Theater:
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1996 - Ciclone, Il (Tuscany) ??? $ Dance of Court and Theater: 1690-1725
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1996 - King Arthur [DVD] $ Louis XIV : Le Mariage de la Grosse Cathos
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1997 - Kings of the Court ??? $ On the Practice or Art of Dancing
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1998 - Shakespeare In Love  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 2000 - How To Dance Through Time Vol. III [DVD] (Renaissance)  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 2000 - How To Dance through Time Vol. IV: [DVD] (Baroque)  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 2002 - The Legend of King Arthur - Camelot [DVD]  
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. Elizabeth: The Golden Age  
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Other Related Dances of the time...

Adagio Courante Hautes Dance Polovstian Dance
Allegro Cracoviene Hoventanz Rigaudon
Allemande Csárdás (Czardas) Lancers Saltarello
Ballet Danse de Bouffons Landler Spanish Dances
Balli / Ballo Danse de Canaries Minuet Sword Dance
Basse Dance Farandole Pantomime Tyrolene
Bouree Galliarde Passepied Tordion
Branle German Gofenanz Pavane Waltz
Choral Dance Gibao Polka  
Cotillion Gymnopaedia Polonaise  
 

Dancers, Choreographers etc.

Political

Lully, Jean-Baptiste De (1632-1687) Domenico da Piacenza King Louis XIV (1638-1715)
Beauchamp, Pierre (1635-1709)   Catherine De Medici (1519-1589)
Thoinot Arbeau   King Henry III (1551-1589)
Cesare Negri   The Dauphin (1403-1461)
Fabritio Caroso   most Dukes and Duchesses
    Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches
 

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
n/a n/a n/a n/a
                       
 

Musicians

Singers

Poets / Writers

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) n/a Christopher Marlowe
Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)     Domenico da Piacenza
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)     William Shakespeare
Henry Purcell (1659-1695)        
Jean-Baptiste de Lully (1632-1687)        
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)    

Artists / Painters

Joseph-Hector Fiocco (1703-1740)     Albrecht Durer (1471-1528)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)     Leonardo da Vinci
Ludwig Senfl (1486-1542)     Michaelangelo  
Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)        
Pierre Attaingnant        
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)        
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)        

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Baroque Dance Gagaku -Edo Period Northern Renaissance sackbutt
Choral Dance Hovetanzel (court dance) Renaissance Dance pipe and the tabor
Cortezia Hovetanzel (court dance) Society Dance Hoop Skirt (farthingale)
Danse Lute / Dulcimer    

Other...