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               This Baroque dance called the Passepied {päs-peyay] (Fr.; Eng. "Paspy") meaning literally to 'pass the feet' which was a form of the Branle, which came to France from Brittany in the early fifteen hundreds and some believe that it can be traced back to an earlier date. It has been said that it originated by the sailors of the Basse-Bretagne. It was basically a Minuet, only much faster and done with a quick step which was sometimes called the 'Fast Minuet'. It was also known by the name of Rigaudon (same as the Rigadoon). It was also described of as a sort of Bransle.

     This dance was charming. It was divided into eight figures, all of which were very graceful. Madame de Sevigne (1626-1696 mother) and Madame de Grignan (Comtesse - Daughter) was greatly admired in dancing it.

     The historical "Girls of Breton" were very well known for this dance. This beautiful dance was very much in vogue from the 16th. to 18th. Centuries (Paris late 16th) with its introduction at the French courts of Louis XIV (1638-1715) & Louis XV (1710-1774). It had all but disappeared by the end of the 19th century.

     Costume was large red bibbed apron, the other with a green check, showing darker skirts below, trimmed with flowered galon; large white lace-edged caps, and white sleevelets and tuckers.


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Brittany 1500s Sailors Minuet
done in 3/4 & 6/8 Time

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a n/a Deux Passepied (Duval)
            Les Passepiedz de Bretagne (Praetorius)
            Pass et Medio (Susato)
            Passepied, for piano, L. 75/4 [MP3]
            Passepied in E (Delibes)
            Suite in D: Rigadon & Passapied [MP3]

Night Clubs



n/a n/a Brittany

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

n/a n/a n/a



Other Related Dances of the time...

Allemande Courante Gavotte Passacagiia Rigaudon
Bourrée Danse de Canaries Gigues Passamezzo Sarabande
Bransle /Hautes Farandole La Musette Pastoral Siciliana
Chaconne Fast Minuet Marches Pavane Volta
Contredanses Galliard Minuet Polonaise  

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Girls of Breton Marguerite de Valois Most Kings & Queens of the time.
Madame de Sevigne (1626-1696) Mme. de Grignon (Sevigne)  

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
Orchésographie Arbeau, Thoinot 1598 ??
How To Dance, Ancient Dances Revived Holt, Arden 1907 H. Cox
Musicians / Composers


Poets / Writers

Debussy, Claude n/a Feuillet
Duval, Louise (1704-1769)     Rabelais
Praetorius, Michael (1571-1621)        
Susato, Tielman (c.1560)        
Delibes, Léo (1836-1891)        

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

Breton Danse Stately -
Court Dance Renaissance      


Basic Steps (from How to dance by Holt)
1. The dancers join hands and face each other, then set to each other with the pas de basque, bringing first the left shoulder forward and then the right, and with a waltz step they change places.
2. A coupé and a pas Bourrée are given three times, the toe pointing up the stage and then down the stage; the same repeated over again.
3. Is simply a repeat of 2.
4. Is the same step as is danced in the Canaries, namely, a pas jetté, throwing the right foot over the left and the left foot over the right, ending by holding each other's hands.
5. The pas de basque is danced diagonally; four bars forward and four bars back, making sixteen bars altogether.
6. The partners cross hands and back with the pas de basque, and then turn to the left.
7. Cross hands, back with the pas de basque, and then turn to the right.
8. Place the arms round each other's neck, and make the pirouette with eight pony steps, pawing the ground, then turn.
9. Make a tour backwards with the pas de basque and a heel shuffle to the right.
10. Repeat the same to the left, then the lady is brought in front of her partner to the other side.
March 26, 2013