Jump to content


La Volta


  • Please log in to reply
37 replies to this topic

#1 glebb

glebb

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 807 posts

Posted 30 May 2003 - 09:50 PM

Not sure if I spelled it correctly. Does anyone know about this dance?

La Vaulta is reportedly a favorite of Elizabeth I of England. It is well done by Glenda Jackson in episode three of "ElizabethR".

#2 Leigh Witchel

Leigh Witchel

    Editorial Advisor

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,466 posts

Posted 30 May 2003 - 10:16 PM

Glebb, I think it's called La Volta.

Here's Michael Praetorius' version from 1610

An overview of the dance.

In more detail.

#3 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 31 May 2003 - 02:36 AM

The dance can also be danced by a group of dancers in a circle, as in a cotillion. A sample figure would run:

1 Set (balancÚ) toward your partner's right hip.

2 AssemblÚ

3 Big soubresaut

4 Pause

1 Set back to place

2 AssemblÚ, as before

3 Soubresaut as before

4 Pause

1-2 Pass right hands round

& Set to your partner as before, and petit assemblÚ

3-4 Leap and turn to the right, he lifting her by the waist, she supporting herself by two hands on his shoulders, and setting down by bringing up the right knee, breaking her fall, and when she lands, set away from your partner (&).

1-2 Honors to your partner (bow and courtesy)

3-4 Pass right shoulders with the next partner, turn to face her, and she to him and simple honors. (head bow and demi-courtesy)

In the pauses above, simple honors may be done.

It's really not all that hard to show, but kind of tough to describe in words. It's called La Volta, or the Lavolta. They were still dancing it in America by the time of the Jamestown colony (1607).

#4 glebb

glebb

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 807 posts

Posted 31 May 2003 - 05:36 AM

Thanks to you Leigh and Mel. In the episode of "ElizabethR", La Volta looks to be a new, racy and almost reckless dance! Very exciting and daring. :)

#5 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,246 posts

Posted 31 May 2003 - 10:01 AM

There's also a Volta in Shakespeare in Love, glebb, that makes it look like something young people did for fun.

#6 glebb

glebb

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 807 posts

Posted 31 May 2003 - 10:03 AM

Getting that DVD out. Thanks!

#7 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,215 posts

Posted 31 May 2003 - 01:46 PM

Elizabeth's fondness for the dance is also highlighted in the recent "Elizabeth" starring Cate Blanchett, in which Elizabeth calls out for "La Volta!" whenever she's feeling especially chipper.

#8 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 31 May 2003 - 01:53 PM

Now we've just got to get her dancing "ye Saracen Brawll (Bransle) & ye Spannish Pannick!";)

#9 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,215 posts

Posted 02 June 2003 - 09:43 AM

Elizabeth did do the Spanish panic, apparently. In old age she stopped dancing in public, but there is a report of her doing the dance in private, accompanied by tabor and pipe.

Apparently she was a great dance enthusiast and was forever trying out new versions of court dances. I also recall reading a complaint by one of her courtiers that she was making them too hard and only experts could do them.

#10 psavola

psavola

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 21 posts

Posted 02 June 2003 - 12:17 PM

Major Johnson,

Is it possible to know from what source you have learned this version of La Volta?

I'm an amateur renaissance dance student, and your description resembles only remotely anything I have been able to find in the renaissance choreographic sources that I know of. (Arbeau's Orcherosgraphie has very detailed instructions) This one feels to me as a later descendant based on the balletic steps and partner changes - is it still danced in galliard rhytm? (resembles the modern 6/4 with a peculiar beat - God Save the Queen is a galliard)

#11 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 02 June 2003 - 02:28 PM

It was doped out from a Virginia manuscript dated circa 1619 by a former dancing master at Colonial Williamsburg and me. Doubtless it had become mixed with some French aspects, and was less as Elizabeth danced it, but I added it only as an illustration of how it could be danced in cotillion form. And yes, it's in triple meter.

PS. 1619 was, in Virginia, among other things, the year of the mail-order brides. The colony had initially been set up as a glassworks, and far more men than women had gone there to work the manufactures. About twelve years into the mission, they went half-crazy without much feminine companionship, and sent to England for women to come over and make the colony permanent and self-sustaining. There were some things written down and passed around advising the men on "things the girls will like". One can only imagine the dancing lessons!:rolleyes:

#12 Tancos

Tancos

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 82 posts

Posted 02 June 2003 - 05:08 PM

Here's another tune for "La Volta". Thomas Morley (1557-1603) wrote this one. I've never done the dance, so I don't know what the proper tempo should be; this may be on the slow side.

#13 glebb

glebb

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 807 posts

Posted 02 June 2003 - 05:12 PM

How exciting Tancos!

That is the tune used in episode 3 of "ElizabethR" and I think the tempo is perfect!


For anyone interested in La Volta and Elizabeth I, rent or buy the DVD box set. There is a special feature which enables one to watch the episodes all the while hearing commentary by Alison Weir.

#14 glebb

glebb

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 807 posts

Posted 06 June 2003 - 06:08 PM

La Volta must have been a respectable dance, as it was danced at court. Does anyone think it was pushing the envelope? The man placed his hands on the womans waist and lifted her. It looks as if the couples were making more body contact than the other court dances I've seen.

Psavola, if you have anything you can share, I'm sure it would be appreciated. :)

#15 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,246 posts

Posted 06 June 2003 - 06:40 PM

Glebb, there's some info about the Volta in Lincoln Kirstein's history. It was quite respectable -- the Queen really did do it. (I think I remember that doing a certain number of voltas in the morning was her daily exercise.)

I think they had more bodily contact in those days than perhaps we realize. I have read that that little handle on the woman's dress -- in the v of the bodice, below the waist -- was specifically there for men to grasp whlie they lifted her during the volta. But isn't there material in Orchesographie, for example, that indicates dancing was for sniffing and feeling -- is she lame? is she pockmarked? does he have foul breath -- and other courtship necessities.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):