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The Sarabande dance history photo
The Sarabande dance history title

            The Sarabanda, made historic by its performance by French "Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642) to please "Queen of France "Anne of Austria" (1601-1666,) in 1635 and mother to Louis XIV. The Sarabande (meaning noise) was of Moorish origin and came from Spain in the 12th. Century, but did not originate in that country (some say Arabia). The Spanish name La Zarabanda sounds much like the Persian "Sar-Band" (headdress wreath), but is not linked to this.

   The Sarabande was named after the native Zarabanda (a beaked flute instrument) of Guatemalan 1583 and was introduced into Portugal in

1586 and finally France in 1750. It was said that it got its start by a beautiful Spanish girl who danced it while singing a tune of a very grave character, and accompanying herself only by the sound herself only by the sound of the castanets. The music has been said to have either delighted or annoyed people which shows with "Philippe II of Spain prohibiting the dance in 1583 due to it's demonic sound. Before 1650 the music was some what faster than the later slower more noble and stately French versions due to Louis XIV weight and size. By 1750 the dance had lost its popularity but resurfaced again around the 20th century.

   The dance was a group dance mainly done by women and was considered wild in manner and a highly sexual pantomime in nature, with undulations of the body, massive hip movements, flirtations, indecent song lyrics and women using castanets. When it was introduced to France, the dance included men who would dance it as well plus they would occasionally use the tambourine, which was considered effeminate in those days. People who even sang it were arrested, lashed, and exiled in its younger days. Originally it was only done by women, later in France it was done as a solo dance by men or women.

   The Chacona, Sarabanda, Jacara, Rastro and the Tarraga are fundamentally all the same as the Sarabande. The Sarabande and the Tordion (tirdion) were danced together as a Spanish Court comedy dance around 1618. It seems that the Sarabande was last danced at Duke of Burgandy's Wedding Ball in 1697 in Versailles as a social or society dance, however it continued on in theater and ballet. The Sarabande gained great favor with Louis XIV.

   The steps have not been documented to well over time and the only ones that are go like this (¾ time):
The chief step consisted of a quick shift from toe-out to toe-in while the rest were slow glides. The Dance starts with a coupe', Chasse's and follows with a pas, tombes, sison and boure. The remaining part of the Sarabande was up to the dancer to interpret as they saw fit (the time signature varied as well.) The dance was considered a highly sensual, wild and exotic dance in its hey-day (but not as much as it's sister dance the Chacona) in nature.

   Among other theatrical dances of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were the Chaconne and the Escarraman; these, together with the Zorongo, are similar to the Zarabanda, which Cervantes' praise spread throughout Europe. The Gallarda, a merry dance with five steps -- hence cinque-pas -- and the Pasacalle, were of the same type. The original dance could not be dropped altogether, it was turned into the Tonadillas, and deprived of the objectionable features which worked more harm.

→ Note: the Saraband, it was said to have received its name at Seville from a fiend in the form of a woman.


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Spain ? 12th Century n/a Spanish
done in 6/8 and ¾ time

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sarabande CD's

Music preview clip

Music Titles

n/a Bach at Bedtime [CD] Video Clip not available at this time Isse (1667)
      Baroque Masterpieces [CD] Video Clip not available at this time La Sarabande (Terpischore, 34) [MP3]
      Handel: Water Music [CD] Video Clip not available at this time Les jets d'eau dansent des sarabandes (Chalupt 1919)
      Lully: L'Orchestre du Roi Soleil [CD]
  Sarabande [CD] (Jon Lord) Video Clip not available at this time Op. 40: Sarabande: Andante [MP3]
  Super Hits of 1720 [CD]
Video Clip not available at this time Partita for lute in C minor [MP3]

Sheet Music Covers

Lully - Ballet Music for the Sun King [CD]
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Pour le piano - 2. Sarabande (Debussy)
      Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker [CD] Video Clip not available at this time Saraband (Croft)
      French Baroque Court & Theatre [CD] Video Clip not available at this time Saraband in A (Croft)
        Video Clip not available at this time Sarabande (Chambonnieres)
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Sarabande (Handel)


Video Clip not available at this time Sarabande (Polak, Fischer)
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Sarabande No. 3 (Erik Satie)
        Video Clip not available at this time Sarabande & Bouree Clar (Handel)
        Video Clip not available at this time Solitaire: Sarabande [MP3]

Night Clubs



n/a n/a 1100's - Spain
            1583 - Guatemala
            1599 - Barcelona, Spain
            1697 - Versailles (ver-sigh)

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

1948 - Sarabande(for dead lovers) n/a 1621 - La Villana de Jetafe
1952 - La Sarabande des pantins       1625 - La Douairiere de Billebahaut
1966 - Zarabanda Bing Bing       1697 - Duke Burgandy's Wedding Ball
1988 - Sarabanda finale       1700s - Sarabande
1992 - Haus im Ginster, Das      



Other Related and Associated Dances of the time...

Allemande Cing-Pas Jacara (xacara) Rastro
Ballet Courante (Corrente) Lundu (pre Samba) Rigaudon
Basses Dances Danse de Canaries Minuet (menuet) Saltarelli
Batuque Escarraman Musette Spanish Dance
Bourrée Gallarda Passamezo Spagnoletta
Brando Galliarde, Galliarda Passepied Tambourin Dance
Branles Gavotte Pavane Tarraga
Cartas Chilenas Gigue Piva Tordion
Chacona (Chaconne) Hornpipe Quadrilles Zarabanda francese
Choral Dance      

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Lully, Jean Baptisite (1632-1687)   Duke of Burgandy - (c.1600)
Martha Graham (c.1934) Anne of Austria - (1601-1666)
Pierre Rameau (1674-1748)   Louis XIV - (1643-1715)
Thoinot Arbeau (1520-1595)   Philippe II (c.1580s)

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
Ad compagnones qui sunt de personna friantes Arena, Antonius de 1536 n/a
Intabulatura del Lauto Rotta, Antonio 1546 n/a
Orchesogrphie Arbeau, Thoinot 1588 n/a
History Of Music n/a n/a n/a
World History Of Dance Sachs, Curt 1937 Norton & Co.
Dance Encyclopedia Chujoy, Anatole 1949 A.S. Barnes



Poets / Writers

Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750) n/a Cervantes (1583)
Chalupt, René (1885-1957)      
Chambonnieres, Jacques Champion (1602-1672)      
Croft, William (1678-1727)      
Händel, Georg Friedrich (1685-1759)
Lully, Jean Baptisite (1632-1687)        
Fischer, Johann Caspar (1665-1746)        
Polak, Jacob (c.1545-1605)        

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

Castanets Sar-Band n/a -
Exotic Dance baroque      
April 8, 2013