Branle de la Guerre

(Branle of War)

(16th century)


Introduction

The Branle de la Guerre 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), kicks (spring onto one foot, kicking the other in front), and a capriole (leap into the air and wiggle your feet around).

It has two parts, the first part repeated once, and the second part danced with steps twice as fast as the first:

Part A (repeated)
Double left
Double right
Double left
Double right

Part B (not repeated, danced twice as fast)
Double left
Double right
Single left
Single right
Double left
Single right
Single left
Double right
Single left
Large kick left (by springing onto the right in place)
Large kick right (by springing onto the left in place)
Large kick left (by springing onto the right in place)
Bring feet together, and capriole

So the whole dance written out (with A repeated, AAB) is:

Double left
Double right
Double left
Double right
Double left
Double right
Double left
Double right

Double left
Double right
Single left
Single right
Double left
Single right
Single left
Double right
Single left
Large kick left (by springing onto the right in place)
Large kick right (by springing onto the left in place)
Large kick left (by springing onto the right in place)
Bring feet together, and capriole

The steps in italics are danced double-time.

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 de la Guerre:


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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