BMDL, October 15th AS XXXVII (2002)

Gracca Amorosa (Caroso 1581, Il Ballarino)

Some 16th century Italian steps

The "singles": (these usually take half the time of a double)

Seguito Spezzato (SAY-goo-ee-toe spets-ZAH-toe)
Step forward on your left, place your right foot behind your left heel, and lift-and-drop your left foot. This step sequence gives the appearance of an "interrupted" or "broken" walking motion. I don't think the second foot actually cuts under, and the lead foot doesn't travel forward on the lift-drop
Passo (PASS-so)
One step done naturally like part of a walking motion. Step-pause
Passo Presti (– PRESS-tee)
Twice as fast as a normal passo
Passo Puntato (– Pun-TAH-toe)
A step with a close. It's a distinctly stopped step, like the pavane single.

The "doubles": ("Seguito" means "sequence")

Seguito Ordinario (SAY-goo-ee-toe or-din-ARE-ee-oh)
Three steps with no close at the end. The tempo in duple time is quick-quick-slow. In triple time it would be step-and-step-step-and-and. The sequence starts on the toes and ends flat.
Seguito Semidoppio Ornato (– say-me-DOH-pee-oh or-NA-toe)
Like the Ordinario above – two steps in the quick-quick beats, and a seguito spezzato on the slow beat.
Seguito Scorso (– SCORE-so)
Eight or ten little "scurrying" steps


Riverenza (re-ver-EN-zah).
In four counts, point your foot slightly forward (it should be a little forward in your normal stance anyway), bring it straight back slightly behind your other foot, bend your back knee while keeping your body straight, finally rise up and bring your feet together. Usually takes two doubles worth of music, in Gracca it takes only one (riverenza breve). The "meza riverenze" is just that, a half-way honors in half the time of a single.

"Sideways singles"

Trabuchetto (tra-boo-KET-toe)
In the time of half a single, rock your body up and down and end up on one foot. Imagine that you're miming a trebuchet shot going up-across-and down. This is a falling jump to the side. Often abbreviated by SCAdians as "trab".
Sottopiede or Ripresa (SOT-toe-pee-yea-dee, RE-pray-sah)
A "foot-under" — step sideways diagonally forward with your left foot, then replace it by putting your right underneath it from behind. Two are in thespace of a single (like a trab).

"Sideways double"

Scambiatto (scam-be-AT-toe)
Like a sottopiede followed by a trab, all to the same side. This takes a full double, which would make it twice as slow as the riprese/trabs above.

In general, the steps were kept very small and described as traveling so many "finger-widths" in a given direction. The big galumphs done in 20th century contra dances would get you a stern look from your dance master, if he were present.

A quick and dirty reconstruction of Gracca Amorosa

The music is in the pattern AABCC. The B part sounds quite a bit like the A parts. Each part is two doubles long (four measures). Thus the "A" music is repeated for a total of 8 measures. The steps for the C part are identical throughout the dance, and everyone always does it. The B parts are very similar except for the second verse, and for the two solo verses only the soloist does the B part. There are a total of five repeats (verses) of the music. The dance starts with the dancers facing each other not holding hands.

Verse 1: Honors
Verse 2: As a couple
Verse 3: Men's solo
Verse 4: Lady's solo
Verse 5: Show off for each other

Measures (I'm assuming 2 measures to a double — you could count the beats which would give 4 beats to a double)

Verse 1A
1-2:Rev breve left
3-4:Spez L, R circling half way clockwise
A part music repeats:
1-2:Spez L, R counter-circle over left shoulder to face
3-4:Trab LRLR

Verse 1B
1:Spez L sideways to L
2:Meza-Rev R
3:Spez R sideways home
4:Meza-Rev L

Verse 1C (this verse is done the same way all 5 times)
1:Turning left shoulder behind you, Spez L backwards flankingly
2:Turning other shoulder, Spez R back flanking. Your left shoulder should face partner
3-4:Keeping left shoulder point at partner, sideways home 3 × Rip L then Trab L
C part music repeats:
1-4:Repeat this but now the right shoulder is pointing behind you. Do not add an additional shoulder turn, but start with Spez R, followed by a shoulder turn and a Spez L, then the 3 × Rip R and Trab R

Verse 2A
1-4:4 × Spez L clockwise circling partner 360°
A part music repeats:
1-2:Trab LRLR
3-4:2 × Spez counter circling away from partner over left shoulder, end facing

Verse 2B
1-4:Scamb L sideways to left, then Scamb R sideways to right

Verse 2CC: as verse 1CC is done, this figure is repeated in all the CC verses

Verse 3A (lord's solo)
1-2:Spez LR flankingly forwards
3-4:Trab LRLR
A part music repeats:
1-2:Spez LR turning over left shoulder
3-4:Trab LRLR
Verse 3B (still lord only)
1:Passo L sideways to left
2:Meza-Rev R
3:Paso R sideways to right
4:Meza-Rev L

Verse 3CC (everybody does this part) as before

Verse 4: lady's turn to do solo part — see above

Verse 5A (back to everybody doing this)
1-2:Ordinario sideways to the left
3:Ripresa R × 2
4:Trab RL
A part music repeats:
1-2:Ordinario sideways to the left
3:Ripresa L × 2
4:Trab LR

Verse 5B
1:Passo L forwards flanking
2:Meza Rev R touching right hands
3:Passo R forwards flanking
4:Meza Rev L touching left hands

Verse 5CC: as before

Verse 1AA: (Left figure) only the Man's part is shown, but both do the figures.

  1. Revirenza breve
  2. 2 × Spezzato halfway around
  3. counter-circle over left shoulder in 2 × Spezzato to face
  4. 4 × Trab(4)

For verse 1B (center figure) all do

  1. 1 × Spez to the left
  2. and a meza reverenza, 1 × Spez home

and a meza reverenza. For verse 1CC (right figure) only the man's part is shown, but both dancers do the figure. This figure is the same for the CC parts in all five verses.

  1. 1 × Spez backwards flankingly
  2. 1 × Spez back turning other flank
  3. 3 × Riprese and 1 × Trab home
  4. And again with the other shoulder in at the start 2 × Spez
  5. and 3 × Riprese and 1 × Trab home

Figure for solo patterns for verses 3 and 4 (the lord's solo for verse 3 is shown)

(left figure): In the first "A" part, 2 × Spez flanking(1,2), 4 × Trab(3,4). (center figure): The lord is closer to the woman and does 2 × Spez circling over left shoulder to face(5.6) 4 × Trab(7,8). (right figure): Passo to left and a meza riverenza(1,2), that again home (3,4)

Trascription straight from the online copy of Il Ballarino on Greg's page


All'incontro l Huomo, & la Dama, dopo fatta insieme la Riuerenza minima, faranno quattro Seguiti spezzati, due in ruota, & due in volta alla sinistra, con quattro Trabuchetti incontro, principiando ogni cosa prima col sinistro, poi con il destro: dopo seguiranno con un Seguito spezzato col sinistro, & meza Riuerenza col destro al fianco sinistro; similmente per contrario faranno al fianco destro un'altro Seguito spezzato col destro, & meza Riuerenza col sinistro: poi indietro faranno due Seguiti spezzati fiancheggiati, & tre Riprese, con un Trabuchetto col sinistro, voltando il fianco sinistro per dentro; torneranno poi fare due altri Seguiti spezzati fiancheggiati indietro, con tre altre Riprese, & un Trabuchetto, come di sopra, voltando il fianco destro, & principiando col destro.

Nel secondo tempo, in ruota faranno quattro Seguiti spezzati, quattro Trabuchetti, & due Seguiti spezzati volti alla sinistra, con due Scambiate, una alla sinistra, l'altra alla destra. Tornaranno poi fare li due Seguiti spezzati fiancheggiati indietro, con le tre Riprese, & il Trabuchetto, voltando il fianco sinistro: il medesimo faranno un'altra volta per contrario, come s' detto nel primo tempo.

Nel terzo tempo, l'Huomo solo far due Seguiti spezzati fiancheggiati innanzi, quattro Trabuchetti, due altri Seguiti spezzati volti alla sinistra, & quattro altri Trabuchetti incontro, un Passo col sinistro, & meza Riuerenza col destro, voltando un poco la persona al fianco sinistro: un'altro Passo far poi col destro, & meza Riuerenza col sinistro, voltando la persona al fianco destro. Dopo ci tornaranno fare due Seguiti spezzati fiancheggiati indietro insieme, con tre Riprese, & un Trabuchetto, voltando il fianco sinistro per dentro; le medesime cose faranno un'altra volta per contrario.

Nel quartro tempo, la Dama sola far la medesima mutanza che har fatta l'Huomo: poi insieme faranno le predette spezzate, come di sopra.

Nel quinto tempo, insieme faranno un Seguito ordinario al fianco sinistro, due Riprese, due Trabuchetti, uno col destro, & l'altro col sinistro: il medesimo faranno al fianco destro per contrario: poi faranno un Passo col pi sinistro, & meza Riuerenza col destro, toccandosi la F destra insieme: il medesimo faranno un'altra volta per contrario: Tornaranno anco fare li due Seguiti spezzati fiancheggiati indietro due volte, con le Riprese, & il Trabuchetto, come haueranno fatto tutte l'altre parti: finiranno finalmente il Ballo con la Riuerenza grave all'incontro.

Maintained by Jeff Hoskinson. Last updated Monday, 26 November 2007.