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The Tordion Dance

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                The Tordion (aka: Tourdion) is a lively 16th century court dance that was performed by the French and was an after dance to the Basse danse. The Tordion was merely a variation of the Galliard using the same steps and 6/8 rhythm and later it was used in Black-Face Minstrel shows. The foot that raises is done slightly and the dance was glided, with the leap being only moderate. The Tourdion consists of some five steps (cinq pas ), and was danced to a psalm tune at the Court of Charles IX . (1550-1611), it occupied eighty bars of the music and is a danse parterre?

    The Basse dance had a restraining influence on the Tordion and was less cheerful than the Galliard. There was no turning movement in the dance as the name suggests. However, the Tourdion is the same as the Gaillarde, only that the latter is danced with jumping steps, while the Tourdion is glided. These dances have five steps, hence also called cinque-pas . In the Tourdion the lady was always led by the hand, while in the Gaillarde everyone danced alone. Both dances had the curious and complicated old French steps. The Tourdion was occasionally a grotesque dance, in which a man appeared, often in the midst of a banquet, with blackened face, yellow scarf on his head, and bells on his legs, going through clownish antics.

    The Tordion was used for a few measures to start the Volta .In Italy it was very similar to the Saltarelli (Saltarello ) and by the 17th century the Sarabande and the Tordion (tirdion) was danced together as a Spanish Court Comedy dance around 1618. The Portugese called the Tordion the Esturdia . The Tordion usually followed the Branle dance.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

France 1500's ?? Stately Dance




Rome, Italy, Milan, Lambardy Royal Court -Paris n/a

Sheet Music



Plays/ Balletos

n/a n/a n/a 1600s - Tordiglione




n/a  James I & IV (1566-1625) n/a n/a
   Catherine de Medici (1519-1589)    


 Elizabeth (1558-1603)    

Associated Dances

Basses Dances Gagliarde Minuet Romanesque
Brando, Branle Galliard Passa-Mezzo Round Dances
Choral Dance La Francese Pavane Saltarelli
Cing-Pas La Italiana Quadrilles Volta
Courante Mazurka Romaine Waltz

Books / Articles

Title Writer date 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.

Historic Musicians



Various Music Titles

n/a n/a n/a Romanesca (16th century)
n/a n/a n/a n/a

Research words to help your searches!

1622- El Turdion n/a n/a