Proceedings of the Known World Dance Symposium 2007

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Mixed Bransles of Champagne Suite

(Arbeau 1589)

David Learmonth
(Darius the Dancer)


Usually twice through each section  (example:  A, A, B, B)

{A}         Double L; Double R

{B}         Double L; Double R;     Single L;     Double R


Usually once through each section  (example:  A, B)

{A}         Double L; Kick L;     Double L; Kick LRL

{B}         Double L; Double R


Usually twice through A and once through B section  (example:  A, A, B)

{A}         Double L; Kick LR; Double R

{B}         Double L; Kick LR;      Single R; Kick LRL;      Single L; Kick RLR;     Double R


Usually four times through A and once through B section  (ex: A,A,A,A, B)

{A}         Double L; Double R

{B}         (fast) Double L; Double R;     Single L; Single R;     Double L;

Single R; Single L;     Double R;     Single L;     Kick LRL;    Capriole

(2, 2,   1, 2,   1, 1,   Kick 3, Jump)


Usually twice through each section  (example:  A, A, B, B)

{A}         Double L; Kick LRL

{B}         Double L; Singles R, L, R;       Double L; Kick LR;         Double R;

 (DOUBLETIME) Double L, Kick across with R,            Single R, kick, pause

Bransle Tips

1)  When moving through steps, stay mostly on the Balls of your Feet.  This should keep movements easier and a bit bouncier on the kicks.

2)  Sing/Think the Steps along with the Bransle music.

3) When to Switch Weight between Feet for this set of bransles (on the closing step of either a double or single):

4)  Each bransle begins with a Double Left, so be ready to do this step after finishing each B section


(assuming a starting position of standing in a circle with your feet comfortably spaced together)

Double L: Double to your own Left in 4 Beats:  Move your Left foot a step directly sideways to the left, then bring your Right foot to meet it (and transfer weight onto your right foot), then similarly move your Left foot again to the left, followed by bringing your Right foot to meet it to Close the step.

Double R: Double to your own Right in 4 Beats:  Follow a similar procedure as mentioned above, starting with moving your Right foot sideways to your right, moving Left foot to follow, then moving Right again, and closing by bringing them together

Single L and Single R: Single Left and Single Right – A Single takes Half as long as a double (2 beats), and as such it is exactly Half of the step.  For Single Left you move your Left foot sideways to the left, and then bring the Right foot over towards it to close the step, and that is it.

Kick L and Kick R: Kick with Left foot and Kick with Right foot – Kicks take 1 beat each.  The type of kick depends on the dance.  Overall they are not aggressive or high kicks (please don’t kick other dancers), but most of them are a small raise of the foot as it is moved a bit forward in front of you, just a little kick to show off your dance skill.  This is the type of Kick done in Cassandra, Pinagay, and Charlotte, and for most of Aridan.  However the Kicks at the end of War Bransle are stated differently in Arbeau, and are to be much more Vigorous, thus Higher off the ground and further out in front.  Similarly, the Kicks at the end of Aridan are also of this second type (but only the end ones in the “DoubleTime” section).

Capriole: A larger Leap off the ground with (if possible) a fluttering of the feet, like small kicks, as quickly as possible, as long as you still land gracefully.  War Bransle ends with this step.

Bransle Suite Format

A bransle suite is a game for the dancers and musicians.  The musicians will play a selection of bransles in an order of their choosing, while the dancers attempt to continue the dancing without interruption, using the first few beats of the dance to identify which one they are now dancing.  This is not impossible, as each bransle begins with a Double to the Left, thus giving you 4 beats initially to get your bearings.  Even so, the best of us will mis-step at various points, so you just do your best to get back in step with what the music is telling you to do (this takes practice to learn the dances and music well enough, but it is a lot of fun once you start to get it).

The typical bransle suite begins by running through each bransle of the suite 1 or 2 times, in the typical order, so that the dancers can get practice and warm up on each bransle.

After this point, the musicians will begin changing the order of the bransles.

Generally after dancing a few more of the bransles in a different order, then the musicians will play a few more tricks, the main ones are listed below:

·         Mixing up A and B sections between two bransles, thus jumping into the middle of a dance

·         Changing the speed of sections of the dance, from very slow to very fast and vice-versa

·         And one final Favourite is Continuous Kicking.  In this case they will play a small set of notes over and over to keep you in a short loop in the dance (example: drawing out the 3 kicks in Pinagay)

Happy Dancing Everyone!



Orchesography. Edited by Julia Sutton. Translated by Mary Stewart Evans. Longres: Jehan des Preyz, 1589; reprint, New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 1967. ISBN: 0-486-21745-0


SCAdian CD:  (very nicely done)

Album III - Incantare

Professional CD:

Orchesographie. New York Renaissance Band.

Arabesque Recordings, CD: Z6514 1984, 89. Cassette: ABQC7514. From PRMS