Bella Gioiosa

Or: what to do when the reconstruction process goes all wrong.



Bella Gioiosa is a three-person cascarda in Caroso's Il Ballarino that does not appear to conform to the rules of the other dances of this form. Furthermore, there are several contradictory or unclear statements in Caroso's description of this dance that present a few challenges for anyone trying to reconstruct it.



A cascarda is a short, triple time dance, usually for 2 people.

The 2 person cascarde from Il Ballarino are covered in depth in Sion Andreas o Wynedd's pamphlet Dell'Arte Cascardare published in 1996. They all conform to the same rules: They have a simple intrada/mostra/ritornello sequence, they are all danced to triple time music where a single verse/chorus structure (eg: ABC or ABBCC or similar) is repeated somewhere between 3 and 7 times, and they all follow a similar construction technique. The seguito spezzato is the main travelling step, and the verses often contain trabuchetti, reprise (often in 2s or 3s), and occasional steps borrowed from the galliard. The seguito spezzato in volta with a cadenza is another common sequence seen in a number of cascarde. Cascarde also contain common movements including circling, advancing/retreating, etc.


3 Person Cascarde

Sion states:

While there are some three-person cascarde, they do not conform so stringently to the standard choreographic formula...

Bella Gioiosa is one such 3 person cascarda. The question is: Does it not conform to the choreographic formula because Caroso intended it not to, or does it appear not to conform because of transcription errors, typographical errors, or other misprints?


Transcription and Translation

I have included a transcription of the dance from Il Ballarino, taken from Greg Lindahl's Caroso project. I have also included a translation of the transcription, provided to me by a lady in Canberra.



I have included discussion taken from three mailing lists about this dance. The discussion started on the rendance mailing list after I looked at both Etienne de Clermont's reconstruction, and one by Adina Hamilton.

Here is the important bits of the conversation -- I have reformatted most of the messages, and omitted some that said things like “me too” or “I have never looked at this dance...”.

Additional discussion taken from the sca-dance and Lochac dance mailing lists has been heavily trimmed to reduce the amount of repeated argument, and to restrict the commentary to the salient points. The full discussion should be available in the list archives for those two mailing lists.




Discussion on Rendance

Discussion on SCA-dance

Postings on the Lochac Dance mailing list


Reconstruction by Etienne de Clermont

Reconstruction by Adina Hamilton