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Streetswings Dance History Archives:
old Chacona dancers photo
Chacona Dance History origin Title   The Chacona (a.k.a. Passacaglia, Passacaille), is considered a Spanish Folk dance but originally came from Italy, created by F. Alfonso Ciacone (1540-1599), a blind Italian composer ... popular from about 1560. From there it went on to Guatemala, Mexico via Simon Agudo ? which was then introduced to the public in Tampico, Mexico in 1599 at the wedding for the King of Spain Phillip III (1578-1621). A few years later it became very popular in Barcelona, Spain and by 1618 it arrived by mail from the West Indies to Seville. In the nineteenth century it was still being danced in Corpus Christi and Friela as the "uma dansa mourisca ," which they called the Chacona.

   France improved on it, boasting of an air with variations like the Chacone, and it was often given as the finale to a ball. A courtly dance, in slow triple measure (3/4), the bars continually repeating themselves.

   When society was tired of it it found a place upon the stage, being often introduced in the ballet. The music of the sixteenth century owed much to dancing, and, vice versa, the rhythmic movement of the dance inspired many fine compositions. Cervantes despised it, declaring in "Don Quixote" that it was a mulatto dance for Negroes and Negresses, imported from the time of Philip II, but at the French Court, both in the days of Louis XIII, and XIV, it was a ceremonial dance. Marie de Medicis, in 1600, was responsible for much of its success when she married Henry IV., and the music caused variations in the steps according to its rhythm. The Chacona, Chaconne and Ciacone are basically the same word.

   Originally the Chaconne or Passacaille basic step was composed of only three movements, however there were many more.
1) a Bound on first beat, Clockwise 1/2 turn to right, leg extended,
2) a Hop on second beat, another 1/2 turn,
3) a Bound, or Balone,
these steps were most usually started from third Position. The steps to the Chacona by the 19th. Century introduced a four beat step known as the "pas de Chacone ".

   The dance was considered a highly sensual, wild and exotic dance (even more so than its sister dance the Sarabanda) in nature, with undulations of the body, massive hip movements, flirtations, and at the time "indecent song lyrics" with women using castanets and men using tambourines (sounds gypsy). Costume gowns consisted of white overdresses with revers and gold trimming on neck, sleeves, and puffs, gold girdles about the hips.

   The Chaconne (1600's) if French was said to be invented by Jean Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) and again may have come from Italy or Spain. If from Italy, the Chaconne probably came from the Ciaccono dance. The dance is in slow triple time, 3/4, in which two or three people can participate, of a stately character, light and graceful. The time is strongly marked, and it can be danced to Purcell's music (1658-1695) from the "Fairy Queen.," it has six variations. Bach and Handel and other famous composers have written well-known Chacones. The Danse de Seis (see Morris) in the Seville Cathedral was said to be a form of the Chaconne.

   The Chacona 3/4 (1560), Chaconne, Passacaille, Sarabanda, Jacara, Rastro, and Tarraga dances are reported as fundamentally all the same. A musical form and dance called the Passacaglia is closely related to the Chacona (This music was suppressed by Jewish composers during the period of 1938-1945 in Germany).


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Italy 1560 Ciacone Court

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a Fairy Queen (Purcell) Capricci di Chiaccona
  Chaconne (Holst) 1944 Chacona ytaliana: 'Sencilla pastora' [MP3]
    Chiaccona [MP3]
    Chacone in G Minor [MP3]
    Ciacone (Handel)
    Ciacone (Mendelssohn)
    Fairy Queen [MP3]
    Gran Chacona [MP3]
    Passacaglia [MP3]
    Praeludium in C Major
    Un Sarao de la Chacona [MP3] (Aranes)

Night Clubs



n/a n/a 1560 - Italy
            1583 - Guatemala
            1599 - Barcelona
            1599 - Tampico
            1600 - France
            1618 - Seville
            1697 - Versailles (ver-sigh)



Ballets / Stage

1999 - la Chaconne d'Auschwitz (???) n/a 1621 - La Villana de Jetafe
        1625 - La Douairiere de Billebahaut
            1697 - Duke Burgandy's Wedding Ball
            1700s - Sarabande
            Don Quixote


            $ Sanz: Instrucción de Música

Other Related Dances of the time...

Basses Dances Courante Lundu rastro
Batuque Canaries Dance Minuet Sarabande (a)
Brando Dance de Seis Musette Saltarelli
Branle Esañoleta Pavane Spanish Dance
Cartas Chilenas Espagnoles Passacaglia Tambourin
Chacoon Galliard Passacaille Tarraga
Choral Dance Gigue Passamezzo Tarentella
Ciaccono, the Hornpipe Piva Tordion
Cing-Pas Jacara (xacara) Quadrilles uma dansa mourisca

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Celeste   Catherine de Medici (1519 - 1589)
Marguerite of Navarre (1492 - 1549)   Henry IV (1553 - 1610 ?)
Simon Agudo   Louis III (1668 - 1710 ?)
    Louis XIII
    Louis XIV (1638-1715)
    Lully, Jean-Baptiste (1632 - 1687)
    Marie de Medici (1573 - 1642)
    Phillip II (1556 - 1598)
    Phillip III (1578 - 1621)

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...



Date Published


Instruccion' de Musica Sanz, Gaspar 1674 n/a
Art of Dancing by reading & Figures Tomlinson, Kellon 1724 n/a
History Of Music n/a n/a n/a
World History Of Dance Sachs, Curt 1937 Norton & Co.



Poets / Writers

Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750) Marguerite of Navarre Cervantes (W)
Dupré, Marcel (1886 - 1971)     1618 - Lope de Vega (P)
Handel, George Frideric (1685-1759)        
Holst, Gustav (c.1944)        
Purcell, Henry (1659-1695)        
ARANÉS, Juan (16th century)        
Mendelssohn, Felix (1809-1947)

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

Bouree Fuge Folk Dance Secular
Chaconne de Phaeton of Monsieur Pecours Passacaille de Scilla Spanish
Coupee Passacaille Diana