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Contrapasso Nuovo (Nobilta)

Also known as: 

Contrapasso Nuovo da farsi in sesto (done by six)

Dance Type: 
Number of dancers: 
About this choreography: 
Reconstruction by Katherine Davies, 2015.

Three couples, standing in a circle, looking in.
Alternate men and women; stand close enough together that you could easily take hands with
the person on either side of you (don't take hands yet).


1-2    Riverenza lunga L, to all the other dancers. Don't hold hands.
3-4    2 continenze breve, LR

First "Passeggio":

1   2 Passi semibrevi LR to left, in a wheel - along the 'rim' of the large circle
2   Seguito breve L, to left along wheel

3-4  repeat passi and seguiti moving to the right, starting with the right foot.

5-8  Repeat the passeggio (on the same side - go to left again).

During the three 'mutanze' (variations) below you work your way slowly around the circle, men going clockwise, women anticlockwise. At the end of the third mutanza you will be back with your original partner (though you might not be exactly where you started on the circle).

Mutanze: hands, then arms and both hands?

1-2   Take right hands with your own partner.
Change places with 2 Passi semibrevi LR, and a Seguito breve L

3-4   Take left hands with next person.
Change places with 2 Passi and a Seguito, as above, but starting on the right foot

It's unclear what should happen at this point. The text of this dance is sparse, so I'm speculating that it follows the same basic pattern as other dances called Contrapasso. Interpolated sections are in italics.

1-2    2 passi turning left, seguito forwards, ending with a knee-bend like a meza Riverenza

3-4    repeat passi and seguito on the other side 

(Note: this seems to take the place of the "flanking passage" or "turn in the contrapasso" in other versions. I'll label it so here).

1-4   change places with the next two people, taking first right arms, then left, using the steps above

5-8   turning passage, as above

1-4   change places with the next two people, taking both hands each time, passing first right shoulders then left, using the steps above

5-7  turning passage, as above

The Slow Chain:

[From here on I've not worked through the dance with music, so haven't defined timing]

A hey, or chain, using six seguiti brevi to get all the way round the circle.

  • Take right hands with partner. Change places with one seguito breve L.
  • Take left hands with next person. Change places with one slow seguito breve R
  • Take hands and change places another four times, with four more seguiti. You will end next to your partner, in your own place, facing into the circle.

In the earlier dance this chain is done at half speed. In this one, it seems to be at the same pace - all seguiti are defined as "brevi".


  • 2 Continenze LR facing into the circle, Riverenza lunga
  • 2 Seguiti doppii alla Francese, one to the left side, one to the right side
  • 2 Seguiti brevi LR forwards, and take hands
  • 2 continenze, release hands
  • 2 seguiti doppii alla Francese, to the left and right, as above
  • 2 Continenze brevi
  • 2 seguiti breve, flankingly, ending like a meza riverenza; end taking ordinary hands with partner ("with the usual chivalrous ceremonies")
  • 2 passi puntati brevi, one forwards, one backwards
  • Riverenza lunga (after the music)?




"Spondeo" and "Dattile" included amongst the steps: the don't occur in the text, but crop up in the diagram.

About this translation: 

From the facsimile at

Katherine Davies, 2015.







To do this Contrapasso you intermingle three gentlemen and three ladies, who will stand in a circle in this manner, that is, one gentleman and one lady, and all without taking hands they will do the Riverenza lunga (long, or a musical "long" note) in time to the music, and two continenze brevi; and progressing in a wheel to the left side, they will do two passi semibrevi (semibreve steps), and one seguito breve, beginning with the left foot; they will do the same on the other side, progressing to the right side; noting that the said passage they will do another time, as to the left side, so to the right side. Then, to the variation of the tune, each gentleman will take the right hand of the lady who stands to his right side, and he will do two Passi and one Seguito, as above, beginning with the left foot; then each on will release her, and with his left hand take the left hand of the other lady that he will have found himself come to face, doing the same two Passi and one Seguito, beginning with the right foot, exchanging places always: nor will he grieve that after the second time he will find himself wihtout his own lady, because at the end of the third Mutanza, doing always these previously-described things in a wheel, each one will find himself again with his own lady. After this is done, they will release [hands], to do two Passi turning around to the left side, and one Seguito forwards, bending the knees a little in the manner of a meza Riverenza, beginning each thing wiht the left foot; they will do the same on the other side. 


Each gentleman will take the right hand of his own lady, and they will do a Seguito breve (seguito in the time of the musical note "breve") with the left foot; then taking the left hand of the other lady they will do another Seguito with the right foot, and they will follow on, hand in hand, always doing the chain (hey) in a wheel until they have done six Seguiti, at the end of which each one will find himself again in his own place with his own lady: and this chain will be done in three times through the aforementioned music.

After that they will do together two Continenze brevi and the Riverenza lunga, with two Seguiti doppi alla Francese, one to the left side, and the other to the right.

All together they will do two Seguiti brevi forwards, beginning with the left foot, and they will take hands in the wheel (in a circle); then they will do two Continenze, and releasing hands, they will do the same two Seguiti doppii, as above.

Finally they will do two Continenze brevi and two Seguiti brevi flankingly, at the end of which they will move in the manner of a mezza Riverenza, each one taking his own lady by the ordinary hand, performing the customary chivalrous ceremonies. Finally they will do two Passi puntati brevi, one forwards, and the other backwards; and by doing the Riverenza lunga they will finish this dance, done by correct rule, perfect theory, and mathematics.