AD - Re: Please help us decide what to teach at KDMW

Russell Kinder russmax at
Sun Apr 8 23:35:07 PDT 2001

I hear, now and again, rumors of some dance historian who is teaching
Spanish Renaissance dances. I know that Flamenco dance is documented back to
the 17th century, making it contemporary with Playford and ECD. Flamenco
music is documented even further back, well into period.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that the stamping of the Canary is somehow
related to the stamping of Flamenco, or perhaps inspired by it. There are
other dance forms in Spain, Sevillanos & Paso Doble for example, whose
history also extends back for centuries, if not documentably into period.
Traditions in Spain tend to extend back into the Renaissance and Medieval
world, moreso than in France or England, where political upheavals of the
18th and 19th centuries corresponded with marked breaks in social
traditions, including dance.

Sources that I have seen show that urban Spain--Madrid, Seville, Barcelona,
etc. had very active (and intensely rival) dance schools in the Renaissance.
While the dancing of Spain in period isn't documented, the feuding between
dance schools is a matter of legal record. I imagine it to be similar
(although more violent) than the rivalry between Samba schools in Rio de
Janeiro in the present day. It was a more violent age, I guess.

My hope was that Lady Isabeau, in her current sojourn in Spain, would have a
chance to search for documentation of period Spanish dance. I understand
that Spain has a huge quantity of uncatalogued, unexplored historical
documents in its libraries and other collections. If one had lots of time
(and a university to foot the bill), it seems that one would eventually turn
over a period dance source from Spain.

Until the 80's, this really wouldn't have been possible. The previous ruler
of Spain wasn't well-disposed toward historical research. So, while we don't
seem to have any good dance sources from Spain, at present, I hope to see
something come to light in the future.

HL Guillaume

on 4/8/2001 9:54 PM, Alicia Whitecotton at hemophelia at wrote:

> Do you have any suggestions what dances they were doing in Spain in the 16th
> century?
> Helene

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