Branle Aridan

(Aridan, Aridan Branle)

(16th century)


Introduction

The Branle Aridan is a complex circle dance described in Arbeau's Orchésographie (1589).


The Formation

An open or closed circle of dancers (Arbeau mentions both) with hands joined.

Everyone dances the same steps together.


The Dance

This dance is a combination of doubles (side, close trailing foot toward leading foot with weight, side, close trailing foot to leading foot without weight), singles (side, close without weight), and kicks (spring onto one foot, kicking the other in front).

It has two parts, each repeated once:

Part A
Double left
Kick left (by springing onto the right in place)
Kick right (by springing onto the left in place)
Kick left (by springing onto the right in place)

Part B
Double left
Single right
Single left
Single right
Double left
Kick left (by springing onto the right in place)
Kick right (by springing onto the left in place)
Double right
Side left, close right, side left, kick right / side right, close left, kick left

There are a variety of different interpretations of that last line, but here's my best guess based on the tablature and the sound of the music: the first half is a double-time Burgundian branle step, i.e., a left-footed double with a right rooted-kick instead of a close (1-and-2-and), and the second half is side right (3), close left toward right with weight (and), and spring onto right foot to kick left (4).

In any case, the whole dance written out (with A and B each repeated, AABB) is:

Double left
Kick left (by springing onto the right in place)
Kick right (by springing onto the left in place)
Kick left (by springing onto the right in place)
Double left
Kick left (by springing onto the right in place)
Kick right (by springing onto the left in place)
Kick left (by springing onto the right in place)

Double left
Single right
Single left
Single right
Double left
Kick left (by springing onto the right in place)
Kick right (by springing onto the left in place)
Double right
Side left, close right, side left, kick right / side right, close left, kick left

Double left
Single right
Single left
Single right
Double left
Kick left (by springing onto the right in place)
Kick right (by springing onto the left in place)
Double right
Side left, close right, side left, kick right / side right, close left, kick left

The timing will become clear when you dance it with the music, which is composed to perfectly match the steps.


The Music

Here is a nice tune for dancing the Branle Aridan, but be warned that it accelerates as it progresses:



In addition, beware that there is another recording of this tune on Spotify that repeats the last line of the dance before continuing on to the repeat. In order to dance to this tune, you'd have to modify the dance.


Sources


© 2020 Nick Enge


For more, see our two books on dancing:
Waltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living (2013) by Richard Powers and Nick Enge,
and Cross-Step Waltz: A Dancer's Guide (2019) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge.


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