Branle Gay

(Gay Branle, Joyful Branle)

(16th century)


The Branle Gay 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

Four kicks and a pause, as follows: kick right foot forward (1), kick left foot forward (2), kick right foot forward (3), kick left foot forward (4), and pause two counts (5, 6).

Note that to kick the right foot forward, you need to have weight on the left foot, so the weight changes are actually small leaps onto left, right, left, right, allowing you to kick right, left, right, left.

The whole step progresses slightly to the left, either in a clockwise circle, or following the lead of the leading dancer (at the left-most end of the chain).

The Music

Here is a nice tune for dancing the Branle Gay:


© 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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