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La Nizzarda

Dance Type: 
Number of dancers: 
About this choreography: 
April 2012, based on memories of my 2005 reconstruction; which was itself much influenced by memories of seeing Del's version performed.


A: passeggio

Passo left, passo right, zoppetto onto left raising right in front, cadenza with right behind. Repeat on other side.

B: sottopiede

3 sottopiede to the left, close, jump off both feet. Repeat on other side.

C: riccaciate

Riccaciata left, then right, close, jump off both feet. Repeat on same side.

Pattern (to Broadside Band music)

The couple start side by side, holding ordinary hands. They make an riverenza before the music starts.

A: passeggio

They do the passeggio four times, LRLR, progressing forwards together, holding ordinary hands.

B: sottopiede

Still holding ordinary hands, they do the three sottopiede to the left. They turn to face and take both hands to jump straight up (the salto dritto). Repeat to the right, holding ordinary hands and side by side again for the sottopiede, and facing and holding both hands for the jump.

Repeat the whole section another time, to the left and to the right. End facing.

C: ricacciate

Facing, the man places his hands just above the woman's waist, the woman places hers on his shoulders. Together, they perform the two ricacciate. Then the woman jumps straight up, and the man turns her around to the left (1/4 to 1/2 turn). Repeat, three more times (for a total of four jumps), starting the ricacciate on the left each time, and always turning to the left.

B: sottopiede

Repeat B, this time doing only two sets of sottopiede.

C: ricacciate

Repeat C, doing four turning jumps

B: sottopiede

Repeat B, doing two sets of sottopiede.

Repeat whole dance (ABBCBCB) from the beginning.

[In performance, some of the later sets of sottopiede will be done in other orientations, e.g facing, holding right hands, etc. Details to be added later, or determined for a given performance.]

Pattern for performance on 5th May 2012:

A: passegio forwards

BB: sottopiede side by side, to left and right, facing audience (face partner in jumps)

C: ricacciate, jumps turning clockwise

B: sottopiede to left separating, to right returning to place

C: as above

B: sottopiede turning in place (own circle), jumps facing


A: passeggio forwards

B: sottopiede facing, taking right hands (add left for jump), then left hands (add right for jump), right, left

C: as above

B: sottopiede turning in place

C: as above

B: sottopiede facing audience to left and right (face for jumps)


Negri's decsription is even more vague than it is short, and in places my imperfect knowledge of Italian is causing me to be even more unsure.

It seems clear that there is a walking passage (two steps, zoppetto and cadenza) done side by side, presumably to the first phrase of music; alternating with a livelier passage consisting of sottopiede, ricacciate and jumps, presumably to the other parts of the music.

I do sottopiede and jumps to the second part of the music, and recacciate and assisted-jumps (i.e. man helps the woman jump) to the third part, fitting in the details of steps and timing as seems to fit the music well.

My memory of this dance was that the description of the position for the lift, at least, is quite clear: on re-reading, it's more vague than I thought, and I can think of more interpretations than I'd like.

Nevertheless, I'm happy enough with mine. It looks like a renaissance dance, the lifts match some 16th C imagery, and it feels good to this music. Since Negri himself warns that one can give no certain rule for La Nizzarda, that's good enough for me, for now.


Negri's music is divided into three sections with repeat signs. His instructions are to play AABBC (repeated until the end of the dance).

I use the recording on Il Ballarino by the Broadside Band.

The structure of this recording is:

(AA BB CC)x2

However, Negri's "C" section in fact finishes with a repeat of the end of the "B" strain, so as far as the dancers are concerned, this might be more sensibly represented as:


About this translation: 

Previous translations done in 2003/4. This from 2012.


Dance called La Nizzarda, danced by two, and by many people.

In honour of the Illustrious lady, the Lady Constantia de Medici.

La Nizzarda is a lively dance, for which one can give no firm rule, as for other dances, because each in his own region dances in his own manner. Nevertheless, I'll comment a little on the best way, so that the gentleman and the lady can dance together together with grace. They both pause at the head of the hall, as shown in the figure, do the Riverenza breve together, and the the passeggio going forwards, that is, two Passi with the left foot, and a zoppetto and the cadenza with the right foot, which is a sequence that is done with the one foot and with the other, always lively, with little jumps. Then they the sottopiede to the side, to one side and the other, and then then he turns himself around, taking both the hands of the lady, [s]he will do a straight jump [salto dritto] in time with the music, then he will release her right hand, and return to the passeggio, turning around, going forwards, exchanging now one hand, and now another, doing the ricacciate then taking the lady with his right arm under her left, and his left arm placed over the shoulder, taking under the arm the lady, and they do the saltini turning, and follow this with the passeggio and the saltini, now in one manner, now in another, until the dance is finished, then they do together the Riverenza with grace and decorum.