Introduction to the Choreographies

Basic interpretations of the fifteenth and sixteenth century dances and the early English country dances are no longer difficult to find. This page is not intended to be just another place where literal text book versions of these dances can be found. Instead what is available here are versions of these historical dances that Renaissance Footnotes has adapted over the years to make them more entertaining for modern audiences. Each choreography includes some notes to allow you to determine which parts are original and what is modern. As you read through the collection you will see that when we do edit a dance then generally we leave the step sequences unchanged but we do alter the directions or the number of dancers. You will also find here our take on dances where the original source is insufficiently precise to allow of only 1 plausible reconstruction. We hope that you will find something here of use.

Copyright information

The following Choreographies have been contributed for publication on this web site. They are copyright of their author and may not be re-published without express permission of the author. Permission is granted for use of the material for educational, research and historical reenactment purposes. For any other intended use, please ask permission.

Material should not be copied from this web site into any other web-site without permission, but links are permitted directly to pages or graphic files within this site.

Dance Choreography Index

The types of dances, and the way the steps were performed, changed radically over the 200 years that our dance group covers. Dance Choreographies are listed in the approximately 50 year period in which they were written or published. A period name is assigned to each period for convenience although for example Queen Elizabeth's reign does not exactly match the 50 years.

Some of the dances were old stylistically when they were published and this is noted where evidence exists that they may be earlier in date. Some dances were being performed well after the period in which they were first seen, and again this is noted where evidence exists. Of particular note are dances from the Caroso and Negri publications which were listed as old, dances from Arbeau which were recollected from the author's youth, and the collection of country dances by John Playford some of which were to tunes published 70 years previously

“Medieval” period up to 1500

“Henrician” period from 1500 to 1550

“Elizabethan” / “Jacobean” period from 1550 to 1625

17th Century (“Stuart”) period from 1625 to 1660

All choreography links open as a PDF file in a new window