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The Pavane Dance at Henry III Photo, circa 1900
The Pavane...

            The Pavane (Pavane / Pavanne - French) or Pavin was a dance of Court (a renaissance dance) and was called the "le grand bal" because it was used on state occasions. In the sixteenth century it was originally believed to be an animal dance from Padua, Spain and was known as the Padovana or the "Peacock dance" (Pavo) in Italy. It has also been said that Ferdinand Cortez, a Spaniard invented the dance.

    However it was actually a solemn ceremonial dance from Italy around 1508 (Pavana / Padovana-Italian). The Pavane along with the Basse dance (is said to be from the Basse) and Round dances were of the first "social dances" in Europe. The Passamezzo (passo e mezzo) was a lighter and more lively pavane around 1546. The Pavane was renamed as the 'Passamesa' in all written works and by 1636 was no longer danced. The Pavane became very common in England around THE 1540's.

    The Pavane was a very solemn couples gliding dance done with long gliding (walking) steps in procession with many curtsies, retreats and advances. The lady rests her hand on the back of the man's, with ceremonial dignity. Spain's new fashions in dress led the way for the Pavane, and consisted of gentlemen dressed with caps and swords, Princes in their mantles, and ladies in gowns and long trains dancing with a kind of strut-like motion, resembling that of a peacock and the ladies sweeping their trains of their dresses in this dance.

The dance was very simple, the dancers only had one group of steps: two single steps and one double step, moving forward or backwards done to 4/4 time. Towards the end of the sixteenth century "skips" (fleurets,) were added as well as the dance being performed by a single couple (Pavana Matthei).

     The upper-class and nobility favored these dances at the time and was most popular in Italy, Spain and France. It has been said the Minuet comes from the Pavane (but the Courante is more correct). The Minuet or Galliard followed the Pavane (after-dance). The Pavane was also replaced by the Courante in popularity (Louis XIV put the Pavane aside for the Courante).

     The Pavane was also known as the Pavin, Pauanes (French), or Panicin and Pavin (English). It is done to a 2/4 time signature. The Pavane is a non-Pantomimic dance. The 16th. Century had what was called the Moor's Pavane. The Pavane d' Espagne, is said to have been invented by Ferdinand Cortez (born in Estremadura, Spain, in 1485-1547) upon his return from Mexico (1528) it was danced by knights in their coat of mail, and by women draped in their manta. As it was a very solemn dance, it was diversified by many gestures, and thus lost its physiognomy (features) for a time. Later, however, it regained its original character, then again it became full of affectations. It was much danced during the reign of Louis XIV (1638-1715,) and afterwards seems to have disappeared.

     was of silks, satins, and rich brocade, made up after the style of the Medici days. The men in feathered hats of the Tudor shapes, close habits, puffed breeches, and shoulder capes, with swords at their sides, as the courtiers of Queen Elizabeth's (1553-1603) Courts. The women would wear velvet or satin trains from the shoulders attached beneath ruffs, over brocaded or satin gowns with the distinct front breadth of lace or jeweled embroidery, hoops, long pointed bodices with jeweled stomachers, and sleeves puffed from shoulder to wrist.


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Italy 1508 n/a Stately Dance

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a n/a Dr Case's Pavan (Dowland)
            Padouana für 4 Krummhörner (Schein)
            Pass'e mezzo antico (Mainerio, Neusiedler, Paix)
            Pavan (Bulman)
            Pavane - Funerals (Holborne)
            Pavane 3, 4, 13 (Attaignant)
            Pavane de Alexandre, for vihuela (Mudarra)
            Pavane et gaillarde Ferrareze (Gervaise)
            Pavane La Cornetta (1530)
            Pavan Lachrymae (Eyck)
            Moor's Pavane (Purcell)
            Si je m'en vais - Pavane (Adrian)
            Spero Pavane (Holborne)
            The Earl of Salisbury-Pavane (Byrd)

Night Clubs



n/a n/a Italy
            Padua, Spain
Video Clips (pop-up)

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

Video Clip not available at this time 1935 - The Moor's Pavane n/a The Alchemist
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1950 - The Moor's Pavane [DVD]       1930 - Passionate Pavane
Video Clip not available at this time         1933 - Pavane Pour une Infante Defunte
Video Clip not available at this time         1940's - Capriol Suite
Video Clip not available at this time        



Other Related Dances of the time...

Basses Dances Galliard Passamezzo Round Dances
Belle qui tiens ma vie Minuet Paviniglia Saltarello
Courant Padovana - 1546 (Italy) Pavanilla Italiana - 1608 (Spain) Spagnoletta (¾)
espanoleta Passamesa Quadrilles Tordion

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Francis I. Florio (1500s) Salva & Juan Timoneda (1540s) 1551-1589 - Henry III
Frederick Ashton (1930) Sir Christopher Hatton (1598) 1553-1603 - Queen Elizabeth
Joyce Greme Walter Gore (1933) 1553-1615 - Marguerite de Valois (Navarre Qn.)
Jose Limon Co. (Moors) 1638-1715 - Louis XIV

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
Intabolatura de Lauto Petrucci 1508 (Venice)
II Ballarino Caroso, Fabritio 1581 n/a
History Of Music n/a n/a n/a
A History Of Dance Johnston, Reginald S. 1905 Simpkins-Kent & Co.
World History Of Dance Sachs, Curt 1937 Norton & Co.
Dance Encyclopedia Chujoy, Anatole 1949 A.S. Barnes

Composers / Musicians


Poets / Writers

Attaignant, Pierre (c.1494-1552) n/a Ronsard
Bulman, Baruch (c.1600)     Sir John Suckling
Byrd, William (1543-1623)     William Shakespeare
Dowland, John (c.1563-1626)      
Eyck, Jacob (c.1590-1657)      
Gervaise, Claude (c.1525-1583)      
Holborne, Anthony (15??-1602)      
Leroy, Adrian (c.1520-1598)      
Mainero, Georgio (c.1535-1582)      
Mudarra, Alonso (1541-1580)      
Neusiedler, Hans (1509-1593)      
Paix, Jacob (16th Century)      
Purcell, Henry (1659-1695)      
Ravel, Maurice (1875-1937)      
Schein, Johann Hermann (1586-1630)      

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

Gowns, Long Trains Pavanes Divesre Pavo (Latin) Renaissance Period
Passy-measure Pavin Peacock    
"Ain Spanyelischer hoff Dantz"
March 26, 2013