Bruselský rukopis – Brussels ms. 9085

Bruselský rukopis  – Brussels ms. 9085

Basses danses dites de Marguerite d’Autriche Ms. 9085 aus dem Besitz der Bibliothèque royale Albert Ier, Bruxelles How the dances in high society were danced in 15th century Good Middle Ages, ladies and gentlemen I’m sure you’ve already looked over soiled soldiers down in the camp and now we have for you a beautiful, colorful and even moving illusion of the world of people born under lucky star. But for starters, we have a puzzle for you. Have a look at it and give it a thought. Wise one knows already but we have a hint for the others: it’s a delicate part of man’s dress/costume. Well, so what are the fashion trends for spring and summer of 1474? According to our outfits you can surely guess who among us is welthier, that is easy. But lot of hidden symbols in clothing has disappered during the five centuries until now. You are no longer able to read them. There were no factories in the Middle Ages that could produce tons of cheap fabrics, therefore decision about what clothes to buy is for us the same as the decision about the type of a new car or house is for you now. People assemble and improve their outfits in parts and lower classes definitely can’t afford to state that they won’t wear last season’s clothes. But they cannot afford any of those beautiful, radiant and incredibly expensive colors in any case. And what about black colour. If you don’t have a flock of black sheeps, it’s tricky to produce truly black color. One insanely collects for two months oak galls, those parasitic cones on oak leaves, to dye one napkin darkgrey. On the other hand, upper class can afford to buy many things and enjoys it properly. The 15th century is known for a quick changes in fashion trends at the court of Burgundy. If colorful dress was worn last year, be sure that it will be grey with gold lining or black for this season. It’s essential to be up to date. Fitted gowns are in, but because stretch materials are yet-to-be invented, clothing can not necessarily be comfortable. Besides, moralists whinge about how inconvenient the fashion must be. After all, you will suffer for the fashion in the 15th century as well as in the 21st. For sure we will show you how the dances in high society were danced in 15th century. We have several manuscripts and images showing how it looked like. Of course not completely perfect. Our dancers will probably manage to attend a ball in the 15th century, with a little of visual aid from others. Dance is a great opportunity to discreeteely get closer to your beloved lady, without being suspicious or indecend. Situation is similar in any other era, but in the 15th century it’s valid even more. You can admire the thrilling embrace, sparkling with mutual affection and passion, just now. Looking at their clothes, there’s no doubt it will be some serious, dignified and chiefly slow dance, I can’t imagine them dancing rock’n’roll in it. Or…can you? Well, we are dancing basse danse again. It can be translated as „solemn“ or „low dance“ and every solemn dance like this consists of regular parts, step sequences. And we are going to show you some of these sequencies We are showing desmarche, branle, simple, double. Please, desmarche. Branle. Simple. Double. That’s basically all, there will be nothing more in the dance, anyway. Thank you, dancers. It almost looks quite easy, but we still have to connect the dance with music. In the manuscript we are using, dances are put down as abbreviations under notes. Funny moment comes when we try to reconstruct and link steps and notes together. We find out, that we are unable to identify which notes and steps belong together. They are more like memos for someone who already knows what’s going on. Definitely not the textbook for autodidacts. Second complicating aspect is in dance flowing intentionally in between hard counts. Here I walk a tightrope, because dance begins before the first bar. Beats! There are no bars in the manuscript. Better have a look at it yourself. [ La Verdelette ] Probably the oldest basse dances are colected in a manuscript „Les basses danses de Marguerite d’Autriche, also called „Brussels manuscript“. We presume it dates back to cca 1495. It’s exquisite, a little decadent illuminated with gold and silver lettering on black parchment. Together there are 59 dances and all of them look similar to the one you’ve just seen. We guess that you don’t want to see them all, thus we have chosen „Le Danse le Cleves“ for you, unique in direction of the dance leading not strictly forward. If you pay attention, you’ll see sophisticated spatial variations. We have to self-criticly admit that the manuscript is not quite clear in this part, therefore we do what we can. [ Dance de Cléves ] We pulled out one interesting piece from the pile of old dances which originates from Duchy of Brabant, that allegedly makes fun of how Englishmen love eating beef. In Brussels manuscript it’s called „Roti boully ioyeulx en pas de breban“, in italian manuscripts „Rostiboli Gioioso“ and in distant Scotland it’s „Rusty Bully with a bek“. It is simply an europian zinger, being danced across the whole Europe. [ Roti boully ioyeulx en pas de breban ] That was something, right? Dancing tradition at the court of Burgundy in the Middle Ages looked still more or less similar. With small changes in steps and bigger variations in basic sequences. Sometimes something new appeared, but no dancing revolution happened. So, for you to remember how splendidly monotonous it looked like, we’re going to show you the „Spagna“. [ La Spagna ] We would like to show you a bit of foreign inspiration. A dance performed in Italy, but we can imagine it could reach the court of Burgundy as well. People from Italy and Burgundy had a lot in common and it’s not a coincidence that their dances resemble each other. Although in Burgundy are mostly dances for couples, in Italy the number of dances for three, four, five, seven dancers is increasing, probably because it’s more joyful. The quadernalia „Voltati in ca rosina“ was written for three dancers and if you compare it to the most complex burgundian dances they seem like children’s play. While Burgundy is still stuck in the Middle Ages, Italy is, however, in too deep in rennaissance. And the rest of Europe heads towards rennaissance, too. So for you to imagine what’s the direction of dancing history Voltati in ca rosina. [ Voltati in ca rosina ] Well and back to the puzzle from the beginning. Please give me back the twine. I will tell you in return what it was used for. A Very useful thing. Attention… As the medieval trousers were not half self-supporting, our gentlemen are trully glad to have their twines. Try to ask him. Well, what can we do. We are slowly getting to an end and we’ll give you a homework to find someone else and persuade him to show you his twine. Thank you for your attention. Housebroken Consort Rond, an old dance from head to toe.

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