Branle de Bourgoigne

(Burgundian Branle)

(16th century)


Introduction

The Branle de Bourgoigne is an easy 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

A double to the left followed by a double to the right, with kicks at the end of both, as follows: step side left (1), close right toward left with weight (2), step side left (3), kick right foot forward (4). Then repeat opposite, traveling to the right with a step, close, step, kick, with right, left, right, left (5, 6, 7, 8). (Note that counts two and six are closes "toward" the leading foot rather than "to" it. While the difference isn't large enough to matter to most recreational dancers, Arbeau does define these two steps differently.)

The steps of the first half (the double to the left) are slightly larger than the steps of the second half (the double to the right), to make the dance slightly progressive, either in a clockwise circle, or following the lead of the leading dancer (at the left-most end of the chain).

As you might notice, it's essentially an ornamented Double Branle, but it's also described as being more lively.


The Music

Here is a nice tune for dancing the Branle de Bourgoigne:


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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