Branle Charlotte

(Charlotte, Charlotte Branle)

(16th century)


Introduction

The Branle Charlotte 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), weighted singles (side, close with weight, instead of the usual 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)
Double right

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

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

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

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 Charlotte:


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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