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Volta Title

               The Volta (Vuel-ta) is known as a "Renaissance dance" (a period in time) which came from Italy (some say Provence, France) as a peasant dance in the early 16th century and later into Switzerland, then to France (Volte ) and ending in Germany. The name Volta means "turning." It is said that the Italian Volta was first introduced by the "Count of Sault " to the Paris court in 1556. Later, around 1581, Catherine De Medici (1518-1589) introduced the Volta to the French court of Versailles. The Volta is said to be the first of the Waltzes or the forerunner of the Waltz when combined with other round dances. The Girls of Provence danced the Volta in the Great feast of Bayonne in 1565.

         The Tordion (Galliarde) was used for a few measures to start the Volta. During the Volta, the man faces his partner instead of standing alongside or opposite each other (which was very scandalous), and held her very close. The leader turns his partner around several times and then helps her take a high Saute Majer (Leap) into the air (with the skirts shamelessly flying high), as well as he, at times leaping with her (or just after her.) The Volta was usually taken with two single steps and a double step with a hop on the 5th. (5 counts) and was done in 3/4 time. The name "Volta" means turning or to turn. With the right foot raised high in the air, the dancers hopped on the left and turned at a ninety degree angle, then took a long stride, and another quarter turn then sprang high in the air again making another quarter turn, each pattern consisted of three quarter turns and a leap.

         This dance was claimed shameful and indecent and the entire dance being filthy. It was reported that "the Volta brought forth many murders and miscarriages" (not true) and "should be heavily looked into by local police." Madame de Valentinois, in the time of Francis the First , was very fond of this dance, and while dancing it sang the psalms translated by Clement Marot .


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Italy 1556 n/a Renaissance dance

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Various Music Titles

Search For Posters!

A Volte Il Cuore (Andrea Bocelli)
La Volta (Byrd)
$ Pace Una Volta
N/A La Volta $ Pieces: Volte (Lute - Wedemeier)
        Polonaise Volte (1615)
        Questa Volta (Yardbirds)
        Te L'Ho Detto Tante Volte
            $ Volte
            $ Volte II
            Volte VI (Polak)

Courts/Clubs etc.



1565 - Great Bayonne Feast n/a French Court
1596 - Montipellier Carnival       Italy
1807 - Zum Sperl       Penshurst Place, Kent
1808 - Apollo       Versailles

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

Streetswings got you hooked up with

Shakespeare (Duke) Terpsichore
Queen Elizabeth      


The Sword and the Rose       N/A

Other Related Dances of the time...

Allemande Canaries Hole in the Wall Pavane Viennese Waltz
Alman Courante Lancers Pavane d'Espagne Volte
Alta Danza Farandole Landler Piva Walzen
Basse Danse Fuhrung La Volta Redowa Waltz
Bouffons Gagliarda Minuet Romanesca Weller
Bouree Galliarde Moriaque Saltarello ...Waltz Timeline
Branle/ Hautes Gavotte Norwegian Waltz Spagnoletta  

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Catherine De Medici (1518-1589) Catherine De Medici (1518-1589)
Desrat, Master Duke of Bourbon (shkspr)
Girls of Provence (1565) Earl of Leicester
Glynis Johns Elizabeth I (1533-1603)
Valentinois, Madame de (1499-1566) (aka: Diane de Poiters) Francis I (1540)
  Henry II (r.1547-1559)
  Henry III (1551-1589)
  James I & IV (1566-1625)
  Louis XIII (1601-1643)
  Mary Stuart (1542-1587)

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Publisher
Dialogues de la danse The Canon of Langres 1588 n/a
Orchesography Arbeau, Thoinot 1588  
World History Of  The Dance Sachs, Curt 1937 Norton & Company
Dance Encyclopedia Chujoy, Anatole 1949 A.S. Barnes
Down Memory Lane Murray, Arthur 1954 Greenberg



Poets / Writers

Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750) De Bry, Theodore Bouchet, Guillaume (1736-1806)
Byrd, William (1543-1623) Florentine Academy Chests Clemont Marot (1496-1544)
Corelli Viscount De L'Isle Pierre de Bourdeille - (Brantôme) (1540-1614)
Handel, George Frideric (1685-1759)   William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Haydn, Johann Michael (1737-1806)    
Clemont Marot (1496-1544)    
Polak, Jacob (c.1545-1605)      

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

Aristocracy French Court Skakac (polish) -
Dancing Masters Medicis Sokti (Lithuanian)    
Girdles & Pantalets Renaissance dance      
October 21, 2012