Elizabethan Dance
Elizabethan England, form 1550-1650, was greatly influenced by dance. Who and where people danced, types of dances, and dance masters are just three main ideas of dance from the Elizabethan Era.

Who and Where People Danced
Everyone from peasants to royalty danced in England during the Elizabethan Era. The people would dance on the streets, in fields, and in large castles and at different times throughout the day. Wherever they were they danced. They danced to celebrate life, death, and courting. Courting is like modern dating. When the youth of Elizabethan England went courting they would usually greet in a proper manor and throughout the night (Andrew 85).

Types of Elizabethan Dances
There are countless numbers of dances from Elizabethan England. The Paven was a courting dance and was known by everyone in England. The dance was similar to the mating dance of the peacock because they man would take his cape and ruffle it as would the peacock would with his feathers. The dance started with two single steps by each partner. Next the couple would take two double steps for eight measures. The dance would repeat those steps several times. While dancing the Paven the man would stand on the left and the lady on the right. The Bravle was also a courting dance with several tempos. Bravle came form the French word meaning, "to swing back and forth" and that is exactly how you dance it. The working class usually preformed the Morris, a peasant dance. It could be preformed anywhere from 2-10 men. Dancers wore bells at their elbows and knees and wore bright colored costumes. Sometimes one man was dressed as a dragon or wore a “hobbyhorse” or mock horse. Another dancer would dress as a fool also known as a “Bavian” (160).



Dance Masters

One of the most famous dancers from the Elizabethan Era was Queen Elizabeth herself. In 1593 there was a rumor going around England that Queen Elizabeth danced a complicated French dance with a French Duke. The duke was so impressed that he not only kissed her hands but also her feet! (Stewart 88). There are also several other well-known dance masters of the Elizabethan time. Thoinot Arbeau from France from 1520-1595, Fabritio Caroso from Italy from 1536-1605, and Cesare Negri also from Italy from 1535-1604. All of these dance masters created manuals explaining how to do each step.


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Who and where people danced, types of dances, and dance masters all greatly influenced Elizabethan England. Peasants to royalty danced to celebrate, life, death, and courting. The most well know dance of the time period was the Paven. The Paven was an eight measure-courting dance that involved many repeating steps. Queen Elizabeth was a well-known dancer and was rumored to have danced a complicated French jig. Queen Elizabeth danced the French jig so well that the duke kissed her hands and her feet!