Wednesday, April 6, 2016



     You don't have to be so literal about it!  Maybe there was no electric slide, per se, in the 16th century, but those guys killed it when it came to line dances!
     The peasants had line dances

as well as Morris dances, which sometimes involved costumes and mumming (play-acting).

And the merchant classes had some simple circle dances,

but of course, at royal courts, everything got much more elaborate.

And the royals had line dances too.  The Pavane, for example, was a slow, stately, processional dance for couple, like so:

     and like so.

Yep, here too, with a smaller crowd.

     But listen: you can't just Pavane, Pavane, Pavane all the time, am I right?  Bor-ing.  Sometimes you have to kick up your heels!  And that's just what these 16th-century folks are doing, in a lively dance called la Volta:

     Some people claim that's Queen Elizabeth I herself in the upper right, cutting a rug with her "favorite," Robert Dudley, and showing an indecent expanse of leg.  And OMG, where is her partner's hand???  But I don't buy that, and neither do a lot of people more knowledgeable than me.  Sure, Elizabeth had her wild side (and I bet there were plenty of coughing fits among the courtiers any time someone called her "The Virgin Queen,") but she was careful about her image, and she didn't go around making a spectacle of herself just for fun.  This is just a gathering of some other partying aristocrats, whoever they may be.
     So there were some pretty sprightly dances, considering how many pounds of clothing all the dancers were wearing.  La Branle was a 16th-century French style of chain dance which traditionally kicked off the dancing portion of banquets. The coupled-off dancers moved mainly from side to side either in a circle or a line.  It might not sound that thrilling, but there must be reasons why the name of that dance gave rise to the English word brawl
     Take that, Electric Slide!!


  1. I bet they knew how to make their dances a little more entertaining too :)
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

  2. You know me. I'm never literal if I can help it. :) A fitting rejoinder to Electric Slide. Was it getting too big for its dancing shoes? :)


  3. Great post. Hope you're enjoying the A to Z challenge!
    Amanda (stopping by from

  4. Thanks for reminding me that the dreaded Morris Dancing season is fast approaching. Click clack ding-a-ling click clack! Seriously though, a brilliant and very informative post.Now, where's my squeeze box?

    Keith's Ramblings : My short story has 3 obscure E words

  5. But how do we know how these dances from century ego were done? Are there written manuals?
    Another great post. I love all the pictures :-)

    The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz

    1. Well, Sarah, it's funny you should ask. It just so happens that the 16th century is when European dancing masters fist began publishing how-to manuals! I'd suggest googling "history of Renaissance dance" to learn more!

  6. TrueAsTheAfterlife: when they had to go to the bathroom in the 18th century (Versailles, France), rather than taking A-L-L their clothes OFF and puttn them A-L-L on again, they just squirted copious amounts of cologne on and actually sh!t their pants - how totally repulsive. I kid thee not, my just and worthy liege. Nevertheless...

    "This lifelong demise is only a test, son," God Almighty sed to me in my coma. "Beyond thy earthly tempest is where you'll find corpulent eloquence" (paraphrased). Lemme tella youse without d'New Joisey accent...

    I actually saw Seventh-Heaven when we died: you couldn't GET any moe curly, extravagantly-surplus-lush Upstairs when my beautifull, brilliant, bombastic girl passed-away at 17.

    "Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the Heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightousness as bright as stars for all eternity" -Daniel 12:3

    Here's what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: 'the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you' -the Infant Jesus of Prague.

    Go git'm, girl. You're incredible.
    See you Upstairs...
    I won't be joining'm in da nasty Abyss where Isis prowls

    PS While nobody's as brilliant as Dean Koontz, dear, nobody's as savvy as U.S. Need some new fangled thots, ideers, names? "Step right up, me lad," cried the carnival barker: if I'm the sower, we plant the Seed; if I'm the artist, we write the Word. Lemme gonna gitcha started:

    Oak Woods, Athena Noble, Autumn Rose, Faith Bishop, Dolly Martin, Willow Rhodes, Cocoa Major, China Stone, Bullwark Burnhart, Magnus Wilde, Kardiak Arrest, Will Wright, Goldy Silvers, Sophie Sharp, Gloria Hood, Violet Snow, Lizzy Roach, BoxxaRoxx, Aunty Dotey, Romero Stark, Zachariah Neptoon, Turkey Sherwood ...

    God blessa youse
    -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL

  7. So cool, line dancing isn't a new thing!

  8. Haha! Where IS her partner's hand? Another interesting and funny post. Thanks!

  9. Actually, La Volta involved the man lifting the woman over his head. Watch here: I assume that each couple made its own choices about where he would get a grip while lifting!

  10. Looks like they knew how to have some fun.

    Weekends In Maine

  11. I don;t know why I like these old pictures so much. It's fun to see life from a time gone by. It's the only way to communicate visually what was happening before photography.

    I’m exploring different types of dreams and their meanings.
    E is for Epic Dreams
    Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs

    1. I don't see how anyone could not like these paintings! Yes, they were the Instagram of the day (and - here's a very broad hint - you might want to check out my "I" post next Monday!)

  12. This post is filling me with delight. What a great collection of dancy pictures!

    Thank you for your visit to my blog, have a great a to z!
    Sylvia van Bruggen

  13. What lovely pictures. The last dance I went to was a Scottish ball over here in Germany. It was a fantastic evening and I learned lots of dances. Luckily my partner knew what he was doing and dragged my laughing head along the floor, quickly followed by my feet of course :)

  14. Don't know why, but your comment just filled my head with an image of John Travolta dancing La Volta... He did great, by the way.

  15. Nice interpretation there! I like it. I wish those group dancing things were more common now. I learned square dancing as a kid and that was a ton of fun, but these high society things were so elegant.

  16. I do a lot of Renaissance dancing, and I am probably the only person in the world who loves Pavane XD And Galliarde. Mostly the both of them together. :D Most people enjoy the branle-s though :)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary

  17. the paintings are a delight, thanks for sharing

  18. Impressed by the amount of background research and great presentation :)

    @mysilverstreaks from