Caveat About Reconstructions


Firstly, and most importantly, I have my own ideas about how renaissance dance should be done. In particular, my step descriptions as contained in the various sections from here on are probably different to what you may have seen elsewhere.


French and Burgundian Dance

I think my French and Burgundian steps are pretty standard. You may not have seen the way I do the riprese from Arbeau’s basse danse before, but this is my fairly literal interpretation based on Arbeau’s text.


16th century Italian

My 16th Century Italian steps are fairly standard, too. I tend to follow along behind what several other people do, in particular Adina Hamilton has been a significant influence. You may find a difference between the way I teach some steps, in particular the riverenza and the spezzati compared to what some people teach, but these are mostly different interpretations of the same text. There are fairly extensive and detailed descriptions of the 16th Century dance steps in the original sources and so I have never encountered as much variance in this area as there is in, say, 15th Century dance.


Other contributions

Many of the 16th Century Italian dances in this book are contributed by other people. These reconstructions will work perfectly well with the steps as described in this book, but the person who reconstructed the dance may also reconstruct the steps and body movements slightly differently, which may give a somewhat different overall effect to what you would get if you took these dances directly from this book.

Also, it's probable that not all the reconstructors collected here would agree with every single thing I say in terms of steps, or interpreting their dances.



Allemande steps are pretty much universal, although there are some doubts as to whether all allemande doubles contain hops or whether only some of them do, and I’m not prepared to enter into long discussions about it, again mostly because I’m not a great expert on the area.


15th century Italian

Some of the 15th century Italian steps I do you may not have seen elsewhere, or may have seen somewhat differently elsewhere. My interpretations are fairly radical in a lot of cases, and were considered even more radical when I started doing them (they are less radical these days because a number of people, inside and outside of the SCA, have adopted some of the things I’ve been saying about these steps over the last few years).

There are a few “schools of thought” as far as 15th century Italian steps are concerned … some of these you may have encountered such as “Brainard Style” or “Sparti Style” or perhaps even “Inglehearn Style”. Ingrid Brainard, Barbara Sparti and Madeleine Inglehearn are great pioneers in the area of 15th century Italian dance reconstruction and their styles propagated far and wide amongst researchers and dance students. Recently, Vivian Stephens has propagated her own versions of these steps (and perhaps one or two that were adopted from me) in her book Joy and Jealousy. If you asked me what style I follow, I’d have to say “Del Style”.

Although I have a great deal of respect for all of these researchers and follow closely much of their work (probably more closely to Stephens and Sparti, and less to Brainard or Inglehearn), my step descriptions are my own, based on my own reading of the text, and may be different to what you have encoutered elsewhere, what you have learned, or perhaps what you are teaching now.

If that makes you feel uncomfortable, then by all means continue teaching your own idea of what these steps are or should be.

Perhaps that might mean you have to change the order in which you teach things, or perhaps it might mean you have to pay more or less attention to details that I cover here, but the overall concept of 15th century dance should remain more or less the same.