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Galliard

The galliard was a form of Renaissance Dance and music popular all over Europe in the 16th century. It is mentioned in dance manuals from England, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy, among others. Musical compositions in the galliard form appear to have been written and performed long after the dance fell out of popular use. In musical compositions, the galliard often filled the role of an after dance written in 6, which followed and mimicked another piece (sometimes a pavane) written in 4.

As a dance, the galliard is improvised, with dancers combining together patterns of steps which occupy one or more measures of music. In one measure, a galliard has 5 steps, and in French such as basic step is called the cinque pas. This is sometimes written in English sources as the sinkapace. The main element which makes a group of 5 steps a galliard step is the rhythm with which they are done: Four evenly spaced steps, followed by a short pause and then a leap and landing with the feet together. This final landing is called the posture or cadence. The sources generally describe doing any pattern first starting on the left foot, and then repeating it starting on the right foot.

A galliard pattern may also last twice as long, or more, which would involve 11 steps, or 17 steps, and so forth.

In addition to being an entire dance, galliard steps are used within many other forms of dance. For example, 16th century Italian dances in Fabritio Caroso's and Negri's dance manuals often have a galliard section.

One special step used during a galliard is lavolta, a step which involves an intimate, close hold between a couple, with the woman being lefted into the air and turned as much as 270 degrees, within a single 5 step pattern. La Volta was a dance favored by England's Queen Elizabeth I, who was also said to dance the galliard every morning for exercise.

Another special step used during a galliard is the tassle kick (Salti del Fiocco). These steps are found in Cesare Negri[?]'s manual, and involve a galliard step ending with a 180 degree or 360 degree spin, during which the dancer kicks out to kick a tassle suspended between knee and waist height.



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