Age of the Galliard
Curt Sachs first coined the term "Age of the Galliard" to describe the style of dance performed in Italy from the early sixteenth through the mid-seventeenth centuries. Herein, I present my work - translations, notations, and teaching resources - of this era of dance.
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Lupi's Dances
In the second publication of his book on various types of improvised dances, Libro di Gagliarda, Tordiglione Passo e Mezzo Canari e Passeggi, Livio Lupi da Caravaggio included twenty new step explanations and two new dances. These dances are completely unrelated to the sequences of steps he describes later in his book, and instead present two discrete and unique choreographies to add to our knowledge of Italian dances in the Age of the Galliard.

In the front pages and these two choreographies, Lupi displays his ties with Italy and Spain. On the title page, Lupi labels himself as from Caravaggio, a small town in Lombardy, in northern Italy, an area under Spanish control in the late sixteenth and early seventeen centuries. Further demonstrating his connections to Spain, he dedicates the entire book to Don Geronimo del Carretto, and both choreographed dances to Donna Maria del Carretto, probably Geronimo’s wife or daughter. The del Carretto family was a prominent Spanish family who immigrated to Sicily in the early 16th century, specifically to Palmero and Agrigento. Through their connections with the local nobility and the Spanish kings, they garnered great wealth and titles. At the time of publishing this book, Lupi likely lived in Palmero near the del Carretto family, as he notes that Geronimo was his patron, and his book was published in the same city. Much like Negri spent time in both Milan and at the French court, Lupi traveled significantly - the distance between the town of his youth, Caravaggio, and the town where he made his profession at the time of publication, Palmero, only confirms the maneuverability of Italian dance masters of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

While the dances show definitive signs of the Italian style, they also present conundrums within such a context. Both dances use terminology only also found in Caroso’s works – the first dance includes a Sciolta while the second is labeled a Cascarda. The Sciolta maintains the same properties as Caroso’s, but the Cascarda does not, containing a full ten verses that do not maintain the spatial shapes of Caroso’s Cascarde, as well as being performed to music in duple time rather than triple time. Furthermore, Lupi utilizes step sequences that require more complex and flourished step executions, and spatially mirrors sequences less frequently, while he uses few of the “common” step sequences found in many of his contemporaries’ works.

Lupi’s book sheds interesting light on the influence of Spanish rule in Italy, while presenting even more mysteries to our understanding of dance of sixteenth and seventeenth century Italy. Did Lupi come up out of Caroso’s school, providing us with a new key to understand the terminology? Or does he instead demonstrate a shift in the terminology of the age? Do his steps, in conjunction with the numerous steps explained by Santucci, demonstrate a shift into more complex and showy dancing, wherein strength, speed and agility are more prized over the softer, more fluid steps and more sociable dances that preceded his? And why does he abandon the spatial mirroring and repetition of step sequences utilized by his contemporaries? As we build upon our understanding of Italian Age of the Galliard dances, Lupi’s two choreographies can only provide tantalizing clues to the dissemination of dance knowledge in his time.

DanceSheet Musicmp3
Alta Carretta (pdf)Sheet Music (pdf)original (mp3)
Leggiadra Pargoletta (pdf)Sheet Music (pdf)original (mp3)
modified to better match dance (mp3)


Copyright © 2009-2012, Margaret Roe