Petit Riens, plus some notes
- From Arwen and Guillaume's Dance manual (an unpublished work)
Petit Riens (also Petit Riense or Petit Vriens)
From Domenico, 1450.
Based (I believe) on a reconstruction by Mistress Rosina
For a line of three dancers:
^ M ^ W
W or M or ^ M W M or ^ W M W
A: All three dancers take hands in a line. The person on the left end
of the line is the leader. All do sixteen (16) pivae, starting on the
left foot, in whatever direction the leader chooses to lead them.
B: Drop hands. The leader does four more pivae, starting on the left
foot, in whatever direction he or she chooses. The second person
follows with four pivae, then the third.
C: The first person does a left double in whatever direction he/she
chooses. The second person follows with a double left, then the third.
D: Take hands. The first and second dancers reverance. The second and
third reverance. All reverance.
E: Individually or as a set (it's best to decide this ahead of time),
all double left backward. All double right forward.
F: All ripresa left, ripresa right, and voltatonda.
The dance repeats until the music ends.
Steps for 15th Century Italian Dances:
For all steps in any dance the body is kept erect and hands should be
held comfortably down at your sides except when expressly told otherwise
(when this dance is done quickly, hands tend to get stretched out - this
is bad form, but we're here to have fun, so don't fret over it). Do not
look at your feet - look ahead, look at the spectators, or look at your
partner's face. Smile - you are having fun, aren't you?
Double Left: Step onto the left foot, bending the left knee slightly.
Step onto the ball of the right foot and gently rising onto the toes.
Step flat on the left foot.
Double Right: Same as above, but start with the right foot.
When more than one Double is done, the starting foot will usually be
given; subsequent Doubles will be done with alternating feet. The down
up flat movement should be done gracefully "as the waves in Venice", not
chopping like pistons.
Piva (pl. pivae): [a.k.a. "Off to see the wizard" step]
Left Piva: Step forward onto the ball of the left foot. Bring the
right toe under the left heel. Step forward again onto the ball of the
Right Piva: Same as above, but start with the right foot.
When more than one Piva is done, the starting foot will usually be
given; subsequent Pivae will be done with alternating feet.
Ripresa: (2 beats)
Left: Rise up on both toes. Step to the left on the ball of the left
foot. Bring the right foot to close as you sink back down to your
Right: Same as above, but starting on the right foot.
Voltatonda: Turn completely around in a small circle over the left
shoulder in four steps.
Some people do this dance with dancers following one another, like
a train. Others dance side by side in a line. Either works, but moving
the set is a little different depending on which style you chose.
Apparently, groups tend to use one style or the other. Although we do
not feel this seeming regulation is necessary, we have still found that
Caerthens currently prefer to do this dance in the 'train' style.
More than one set may be formed and dance independently at the same
time. Although it is unlikely this would have been done in period, the
SCA has strong social dancing expectations, and multiple sets is a small
and reasonable concession.
The leader of a set will sometimes take the set in unusual
directions, such as around a pole, behind a table or groups of
bystanders, or through another dance set. Again, while not strictly
period, these are fun ways to interpret the dance. There are two
techniques for moving sets through each other, depending on
circumstance. The easiest, safest, and most elegant, is to drop hands
and pass between each other. The more difficult and usually clumsy way
is to pass one line under the arms of one couple in the other set.
Since both sets are moving, this really only works when one set is
traveling side by side and the other passes through 'train' style.
There are numerous recordings of this dance (we have at least eight),
and they pretty much all seem to be danceable. Our favorites are:
Mesura Et Arte Del Danzare / Accademia Viscontea I Musicanti
(Track 6 - two times through)
Courtly Dances of Western Europe / Jouissance
(Track 2 - four times through)
This CD is the companion to the Complete Anachronist that came out last
year (or so) - these are a great source for a sampling of court dances.