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Courtly Dance of the Renaissance: A New Translation and Edition of the Nobiltà Di Dame (1600) (Dover Books on Music) Paperback – October 20, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Music
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (October 20, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486286193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486286198
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,976,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Julia Sutton is one of the leading Renaissance dance historians, and this work reflects her careful scholarship. However, while "Courtly Dance of the Renaissance" does contain Fabritio Caroso's explanations of steps and choreographies, it is quite difficult to reconstruct dances from these descriptions. There are many ambiguities in the instructions, and since Sutton's goal is to provide an accurate translation rather than an interpretation, she leaves these conundrums intact. Sutton also translates the names of the steps into English, which makes this volume harder to use in conjunction with other Renaissance dance resources, which leave them in Italian. Nevertheless, for those with some grounding in dances of this period, "Courtly Dance of the Renaissance" is a critical source, and the wonderful discussions of etiquette and costume require no prior knowledge to enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a wonderful reference tool for anyone interested in historical dancing! Translated and Edited by none other than Julia Sutton, this book explains many of the social dances and practices of the aristocrats. It includes the dance steps, an explanation of how they occur, music, and labnotation. This book is truly a must have for anyone with a serious desire to understand dance practices of the times!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book because I realized that my understanding of the culture of dancing in the Renaissance was hugely limited. I chose this book over all the others because it is a reproduction and translation of a period work by Fabritio Caroso, a master of dance from the 16th century. It includes not only his instructions for the dances themselves but also an in-depth look at the history of dancing by the translater, Julia Sutton.

Novices to dancing won't find an easy guide here. There are no apologies made for the complexity of the instructions or their general difficulty. It's not a guide in the sense that a modern person might find useful. It's not trying to be a guide like that. Instead, this book is how people in the actual Renaissance viewed dancing and learned how to do it. Experienced dancers will likely be able to suss out how these descriptions translate to actual body movements, but inexperienced ones won't get far and should not expect to be able to do so.

What I really appreciated about this book was its in-depth treatment of the culture of dancing. Names of dances, their "feel," and their terminology are only the beginning of what you can find here. The things I found most useful were the descriptions of the etiquette of a dance: how to accept or decline invitations, what to wear, how to behave while at a dance, how to leave, how to bow and curtsey, and the like. The actual accepted protocols for how to pick partners or eliminate dancers in competitions are also discussed at length.

In short, for someone who wants to know about an important facet of Renaissance society, I can't see how you'd possibly do better than this book.
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Format: Paperback
Nobilta Di Dame is one of the major sources for information on renaissance dance. It contains detailed "rules" for how to do the various 16th century dance steps, as well as choreographies with music. However, this book is a translation, not a reconstruction of these dances. You still have to do the work of figuring out how to dance them yourself. Nevertheless, if you have any interest in 16th century dance, this book is worth buying, even if you don't dance the specific choreographies contained in it. Sutton's overview of the dance types of the period and the chapters discussing the issues involved in translating the text and music would be of use to anyone who is interested in the process of reconstructing dances from primary sources.

Dover Publications has done the historical dance community a great service by making the paperback edition of this work available.
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