Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Kissing Dance

When I first starting playing the Gavotte, I thought it must be some kind of bowing dance. I could see so clearly a formal dance with partners coming together and then moving apart to another partner and staring the pattern again. It sounded pompous and somewhat military to me. Image my surprise when I found out that the Gavotte is a peasant dance. I do so love the upbeats in the work. I’m paying special attention to beat one to highlight the off beats. It is also a hopping type dance. I keep wanting to play two note slurs where there are harmonic sixths ---- does that suggest hopping? (I found out while studying the Gavotte in New York, that even though there are no slurs in the urtext score, it is customary to play the 6ths as two note slurs.) And then I found out that the Gavotte is a kissing dance…I guess the Saraband isn’t the only sexy dance from the Baroque!

From…the Gavotte is: a lively peasants' kissing dance that became fashionable at the 17th- and 18th-century courts of France and England. Supposedly originated by the natives of Gap (Gavots) in the southeastern French province of Dauphiné, the gavotte was danced in royal ballrooms as a round with skipping steps adapted from the branle. Couples concluded improvised duet performances by kissing their partners. Later the dance developed more formal figures, and flowers were exchanged instead of kisses. At the French court in the 18th century, the gavotte was at first stately and later more ornate; its slow walking steps were in 4/4 time, with upbeats on beats 3 and 4.

1 comment:

Lynnea said...

Interesting to know.