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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Furlana
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Furlana Dance History Title

            This dance hails from Campieli, Italy but is often credited to be from FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA (Fniorel), N/E Italy and became popular around the mid 1780's but has writings that trace back to 1609. The Furlana was the favorite dance of the Venetian's who may call it the Furlana or Furlane, Forlana, Frullana and Friulana (Friulli) and was very popular in all of Europe during the 17/18th Centuries.

   This courtship dance is performed by two persons (usually Male and Female) dancing around and around with a lot of energy and the greatest rapidity and was more popular than the Gagliarde and Passemezzi dances during its day. Alternated with normal steps of medium length, Done entirely in open position and occasionally making contact by joining hands. the furlana is danced double time to 6/8 time music and requires a large open space. The furlana, like the Tarantella, is executed with lapldity It begins in a long distance way, then hands are joined and the dance becomes fast and furious.

   The Friuli (Friuli Venezia Giulia) has been a Slav minority dance since the Slavic settlement of the Eastern Alps and the furlana (as Friulli) may well have originated as a Slavonic dance. It dates at least to 1583, when a"ballo furlano" called L'arboscello was published in Pierre Phalèse the Younger's Chorearum molliorum collectanea and in Jakob Paix's organ tablature book, though its chief popularity extended from the late 1690s to about 1750.

In Pietro Longhi's (1702-1785) paintings of La Furlana he depicts the dancers doing a Jig using Tambourines but the dance can be accompanied by string instruments: a violin and a cello or viola. In his picture the girl is dancing while the man watches.

   During the dance the couples try to mimic courtship such as flirting, arguing etc. At the end of the dance both dancers drop to a knee with handkerchiefs raised. This dance is practiced in several other parts of Italy. The musical signature is of 6/8 or 6/4 or 3/4.

   The dance faded from popularity around 1790 due to France's earlier entrance into Italy. In 1914, the Pope Pius X advised a return to the Furlana in order to fight the peccaminosa spread of the tango. He said after watching an exhibition of the Tango "It is not at all amusing, my children," he is reported to have said of the tango "Why do you not dance the furlana'.

   So needless to say there was a slight effort by some to revive the Furlana in the mid 1910s thanks to the Pope of the time and it did gain some attention for a brief period. It became known as the "Pope's Dance or the La Popette" and while originally the dance was not done using the embrace of the Tango, it was being sold and danced as such, just not as sensuously and said to be a mixture of the steps of the Polka, Maxixe and Tango with the original Furlana steps thrown in like the Intro of the dance, etc. In 1914 Albertina Rasch did a royal command function of Emperor Francis Joseph at his palace in Vienna doing the Furlana and was reported by Albertina Rasch (1914) that Children still danced the Furlana in the Streets of Venice to a hurdy-gurdy.

Details of the Furlana Dance (c.1914 - Washington Post).
The first position suggests the beginnings of some of the Spanish dances. The partners stand facing each other, three or four feet apart, with the man's right foot and the woman's left foot advanced, and the right arm raised and the left akimbo.
In the second position The dancers approach and join hands, their arms "being crossed in the position often used by men and women skaters.
In the third position the dancers are side by side.
In the fourth position the left arm of the man jests lightly on the waist of the woman. At this stage the dancers are as close together as they ever get in the furlana, their right arms being raised

The Finale is lively enough.
In one of the turns which follows, the right foot of one dancer is close to the calf of the right leg of the other, which is a difficult pose for one wearing the present style of tight skirts. The finale is lively enough, with the raised hands and the quick steps. The dance music is rapid throughout, and even professional dancers find they need a rest when it is over. As the evolutions are rather extended it requires much more room than does the tango, and it would be difficult to adapt it to ballroom use. (end Wash Post)


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Campieli, Italy c.1583 (popular 1780's) n/a Folk / Courtship

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Video Clips (pop-up)

Music Titles

n/a n/a Video Clip not available at this time Au son of violin (1609)
            Video Clip video pop up Furlana - Jean-Marie Leclair
            Video Clip not available at this time Furlana del Signor Campra (1697)
            Video Clip not available at this time Furlana del Signor Lully (1699)
            Video Clip not available at this time Furlana del Signor Marais (1701)
            Video Clip not available at this time Furlana del Signor Mattheson (1720)
            Video Clip not available at this time Furlana del Signor Bach (Köthen 1721)
            Video Clip not available at this time Furlana del Signor Couperin (1722)
            Video Clip not available at this time Furlana d'Arcano (1728)
            Video Clip not available at this time Furlana del Signor Tartini (1734)
            Video Clip not available at this time Furlana del Signor Leclair (1737)
            Video Clip not available at this time Furlana alla todescha (Udine)
            Video Clip not available at this time Furlana all'inglese
Video Clip video pop up
Furlana for orchestra - Mario Pilati (1929)
Video Clip video pop up
La Furlana - Amilcare Ponchiellie (La Gionconda)
            Video Clip not available at this time Le Maschere: Furlana [MP3]
            Video Clip not available at this time Maschera (1914)

Night Clubs



Metropole Hotel (Monte Carlo 1914) The Empress (1915 Hill and Keich) IN. Avian area (Fruili), Carnia Island, Cividale Del Friuli, Europe
    France (Paris), Friuli Venezia Giulia, N/E Italy (MAP), Gorizia
            Istria, Palmanova, Poredenone, Romagna, Scandinavia
            Slovenia, Trieste, Udine, Venice

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

n/a n/a Fétes Venitiennes (1725)
            La Gianconda (1876)
            L'arboscello (1583)


            1/28/1914 - Mountain Democrat (Pope denies endorsement)
            1/30/1914 - Decatur Tribune (Pope calls Tango Dull, do Furlana)
            1/30/1914 - Washington Post (Popes Favorite)
            3/7/1914 - Oakland Tribune (Furlana done as close as Tango)
            3/22/1914 - Washington Post (Furlana all the Rage)
            4/28/1914 - Indianapolis Star (Furlana to replace Tango - Rasch)
            4/21/1973 - Winnipeg Free Press (Furlana Kept Alive)

Other Related and Italian Dances...

Abruzzesi dances Dance of Call Pizzica-Fencing Tarantella Canosina
Aim and Heel Dance of Fate Polka Tarantella Cilentana
Anderina Dance of the Ahimè Polka Fiorata Tarantella Interlaced
Appennino Dauno Dance of the Bear Pugliesi Dances Tarantella of Montemarano
Armonighe e Liron Dance of the Schiaffo Quadrilles Tarantella of the Pollino
Arroxiada Gagliarde Romagna Tarantella Pastorale
Aspromonte Tarantella Galletta Round Dances Tarantella silana
Ballarella Hunchbacks Dance Ruggiero Tres passos
Ballinsei Jig (Giga, Gigue) Saltarello (see Spanish dance) Trescone / Tresconi
Ballintrezzo Jisciana Saltarella of Amatrice Tuscany Dances
Ballu Campidanesu Lavandere Saltarella sorana Ussiano
Ballu Logudoresu Lu Papagne Sardinian Dances Valsovien
Ballu Tundu Manfrina / Manfrine Scagnariello Valzer Fiorato of Gargano
Batticulo Moresca Scotis of the Salento Ven Mingon
Castellana Murgese Sir Roger de Coverly Veneziana
Cesar Pallu Tsoppu Spallata / Spallate Vinca
Cointrotza Paroncina Stajare Vinchia
Contraddanze Passemezzi Dances Tacchiatina Waltz
Cordella pizzica pizzica Tarantella Ziguzaine

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Albertina Rasch (1914) n/a Pope Pio X
Angela Lake (1973 Canada)    
Ethel Moulton and Robert Bell    
Marie Hill and Floyd Keich (1915)    
Mrs. Bertha King (1914)    
Prof. Duque and Gaby (1914 Rome)    
Sig. Pichetti (1914 Rome)    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...



Date Published


Code of the dance Peter Mormino - Piero Of liberto 1955 dominate publisher



Poets / Writers

Angelo Caocialupi (1914) Elio Bartolini [L'infanzia furlana] Paolo Pasolini
Couperin Pietro Longhi (1702-1785) [La Furlana]    
Varije Furlane (c.1697)        
Istrich (c.1753)        
Lully, Jean Baptistse        
Mascagni, Pietro (1914)        

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

Furlana de Reine des Paris Celtic, Roman, Rom  
Karst region treaties of Campo Formio (1797)  
  Venetian Furlana  



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