You are here

Bella Gioiosa (Ballarino)

Dance Type: 
Number of dancers: 
About this choreography: 
Reconstruction done as a group project, in class, in 2010[?]. Updated, and these notes written, 2/2012.

For three people: either two men and one woman (in which case the woman is the leader), or two women and one man (in which case the man is the leader). If all your dancers are of the same gender (not a situation mentioned by Caroso) simply choose one to be the leader.

Opening: begin in a triangle, holding hands.

  Riverenza in balzetto (see below)
  4 Trabuchetti LRLR

- release hands -

  2 spezzati turning left (each over his own left shoulder)
  2 passi presti forwards, returning to place, cadenza

  4 spezzati in a wheel, LRLR
  2 scambiate, LR (I usually ask dancers not to turn to face in yet)

Turn one by one:

  spezzato L turning left, cadenza right - leader alone, then the one standing to his right, then the one standing to his left (each ends this passage facing in once more)

Solos: done first by the leader, then the one standing to his right, then the one standing to his left.

  2 passi presti LR, cadenza L, advancing toward the other two dancers

  5 seguiti battuti al canarii LRLRL OR 4 trabuchetti LRLR

  2 riprese LL, 2 trabuchetti LR

  spezzato L, turning left, cadenza left, ending back in place, as at the start

[If I do the seguiti battuti, I put the first of the five in the second of the beats alloted to the cadenza: i.e. I begin them a little earlier than expected, and earlier than I begin the four trabuchetti. Sometimes I replace the final seguito battuti with a single stamp, as this is a little easier to fit in cleanly.]


  everyone turns their left shoulders forwards [a diagram would help here]

  4 spezzati: forwards, backwards, two forwards, with the leader passing between his companions, everyone turning at the end

  4 spezzati: repeat the passage above, with the leader passing through the middle again so that everyone returns to their own place. Start on the left foot on both passes.

Walking passage:

  2 seguiti semidoppii LR in a wheel going to the left
  2 riprese LL, 2 trabuchetti LR (still facing around the wheel, not into it)
  spezzato L turning left, cadenza right (end in place, facing into the wheel)

  2 seguiti semidoppii RL in a wheel going to the right
  2 riprese RR, 2 trabuchetti RL (still facing around the wheel, not into it)
  spezzato R turning right, cadenza L (end in place, facing into the wheel)

Second joust:

  2 fioretti a piedi pari, LR
  2 passi presti LR backwards
  2 spezzati LR, passing through, as above in the first joust

repeat, passing back into place, starting with the left foot on both occasions

Catena, or hey:

  Hey with six spezzati, ending with 2 passi presti forwards, and the cadenza.

The leader starts the hey, passing between the other two, and turning left. As he passes through the one to his left starts dancing (usually on the second spezzato). She passes between the other two and turns to the right. As she passes through the third dancer starts (usually on the third spezzato). The third dancer passes between the other two and turns left. Finally, the leader passes through a second time, and turns to the right this time. Everyone should now be able to return to place with two passi presti forwards and a cadenza.

In practice, the leader makes a sort of figure-8 shape, while each of the companions simply makes one large loop. If the figure is new, walk through it a number of times so the shape is solid before you try adding the steps.


  4 trabuchetti, LRLR, facing into the circle
  4 seguiti battuti, LRLR
  2 ripresa LL, 2 trabuchetti LR
  spezzato L turning L, cadenza R




Riverenza in balzetto:

This is an unusual term, not used elsewhere in Caroso's work (in spite of the implication at the beginning of the description of this dance that it is common in cascarde). Caroso has a rule to explain what he means, but he says there that is used to be done in cascarda, but that he prefers the riverenza minima.

As it's specified, I will probably do the riverenza in balzetto, rather than the usual riverenza minima, in this dance.

Structure of the dance:

This is the dance as-written. Irregular as it is on paper, I find it a pleasingly balanced dance in practice. There is a good argument to be made for regularising the structure (which is how I first learned the dance).

Here's a discussion between several reconstructors about the merits of each approach.


Different reconstructions will require different musical structures. The recording by Musica Subterranea is good for the regularised version, as reconstructed by Etienne de Clermont. I dance the irregular version to an altered copy of the Musica Subterranea track.

About this translation: 

Translated 2012.

Translated from a facsimile of Caroso's Il Ballarino, with assistance from John Florio's 1611 Italian-English dictionary.


Bella Gioiosa


in honour of the Most Illustrious Lady Giulia Savella Orsina.

This dance is done by three, that is, two men and one woman, or two women and one man. And they take hands in a wheel, and do the Riverenza in balzetto, as is customary in cascarde, with four Trabuchetti to the left, and releasing all hands, they turn to the left, and do two Seguiti spezzati, with two Passi gravi forwards, and the Cadenza, beginning each this with the left. They all do four Seguiti spezzati in a wheel together, with two Scambiate, one to the left and the other to the right. Then he who leads the dance does one Seguito spezzato turning to the left, and the Cadenza with the right (that is, if there is one man and two women, the man leads; but if there should be one woman and two men, she leads the dance). At the end of the Cadenza that is done by the leader, the dancer who stands to the right hand responds by doing andother Seguito spezzato turning to the left, with the left foot, and the Cadenza, as above. The third does the same as the others have done. Then the leader of the dance does two Passi presti forwards, and the Cadenza, beginning with the left foot, with five Seguiti batutti del Canario, still beginning with the left foot (or if they don't know know how to do these, do four Trabuchetti in their place). Then the leader follows with two Riprese, two Trabuchetti to the left, and one Seguito spezzato turning to the left, and the Cadenza with the right. Then the one who stands at the right hand of the leader does this same mutanza; and the third companion the does the same. That done, they joust together in this manner: each turns his left flank inwards, doing four Seguiti spezzato, one forwards, one backwards, and two passing forwards, beginning with the left, and the leader passes always in the middle, exchanging places. They return to the same another time, each returning to his own place.

Then all together in a wheel they do two Seguiti semidoppii to the left, two Ripresa, two Trabuchetti, one Seguiti spezzato turning to the left, and the Cadenza with the right foot, facing. They do the same to the right on the other side. Then together, facing, they do two Fioretti a pie pari, one to the left flank and one to the right, with two Passi presti backwards, passing with two Seguiti spezzati, and exchanging places, beginning with the left foot. They return to do the same another time, returning each to his own place.

After that they do the chain [Catena] or braid, with six Seguiti spezzati, and he who leads the dance passes between his companions, turning to the left, then he returns to pass another time, passing to the right. And the other companions do the same Seguiti and turns. At the end of this Catena each will find himself back in his own place, and do two Passi presti forwards, with the Cadenza, beginning each thing wiht the left foot.

Then they do four Trabuchetti, and four Seguiti battuti di Canario, two Riprese, two Trabuchetti to the left, one Seguito spezzato turning to the left, and  the Cadenza with the right, finding themselves in a triangle at the end of this: and this is the end of the Cascarda.