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Rustica Amorosa

Dance Type: 
Number of dancers: 
About this choreography: 
Reconstructed 2006?, updated 2008, 2012, 2013.

This is one of the simplest of Caroso's balletti; the steps are repetitive, yet effective.

To begin, a couple stand facing, without holding hands, close enough to take hands easily.

First verse: honour your partner

1-4    Riverenza L

5-8    2 Continenze LR


1-8    4 Riprese to left,  4 Riprese to right

1-2    2 Trangi LR flankingly backwards

3-4    Seguito ordinario L forwards

5-8    repeat (on other side): 2 Trangi RL and Seguito R


Second verse: man leads

Take ordinary hands

1-8    4 Seguiti ordinarii LRLR; during last seguito man places woman opposite him (i.e. they turn inwards and end facing; man initiates the turn)


hold ordinary hands as far as is comfortable for the riprese, release for the trangi


Third Verse: change places

Take ordinary hands and continue to progress along the room.

1-4    2 Seguiti ordinarii LR forwards, ending with a meza riverenza (bend knees a little)

5-6    Seguito ordinario L changing places (without taking hands, passing right shoulders)

7-8    Seguito ordinario R turning left, end facing


not holding hands


Fourth verse: woman leads

Take "improper hands"; i.e the woman takes the man's left hand in her right.

1-8    4 Seguiti ordinarii LRLR forwards,  during last seguito woman places man opposite her (as in verse two, but with the roles reversed).


keep holding hands as far as is comfortable through the riprese, then release



start facing each other across the room, as you finished the previous section

- music in faster compound duple -

1-4    Riverenza L

5-12    4 Spezzati LRLR turning left, and separating - woman goes toward the place they started the dance, man goes further down the room; end facing each other along the length of the room (though not too far apart)

13-16    2 Spezzati LR flankingly forwards

Chorus: first part - sciolta rhythm, steps a little different

1-6    2 Riprese flankingly forwards and to the left

7-9    3 Trabuchetti LRL flankingly forwards and to the left

10-18    2 Riprese RR and 3 Trabuchetti RLR flankingly forwards and to the right

Chorus: second part - original rhythm and steps

1-4    2 Trangi LR flankingly backwards, Seguito ordinario L forwards

5-8    2 Trangi RL flankingly backwards, Seguito ordinario R forward

Complete the balletto with a graceful riverenza after the music has finished.



Floor pattern:

I used to interpret this passage,

In the second figure, progressing, they will do four Seguiti ordinarii, at the end of which the man will put the lady opposite him without releasing hands

in the second verse, to mean that the man should lead the woman around to face him, while he danced on the spot, so he should end the verse facing in the direction of travel and she facing where the started the dance. I'd then have them "unwind" this (with her dancing on the spot and turning as he moved passed her) at the beginning of the third verse, and similarly in the fourth verse, with roles reversed.

I'm now inclined to be believe that it simply means that the couple should end facing one another across the room, and that the man should initiate the turn. This makes for a much simpler floor-pattern, and a rather more elegant dance. The third verse, in particular, is improved if the couple can actually go somewhere before they change sides and countercurl.

Note: this has an effect on the pattern of the sciolta, as the final position of the dancers at the end of the balleto changes.

Chorus: direction of 4 riprese left, 4 ripresa right

This is sometimes done holding hands, sometimes not.

I used to have the the dancers maintain the same distance from one another by dancing in a wheel - rotating around a point on the floor between them.

I now prefer to have each dancer go directly to his or her own left or right, so that the couple separate a little during the riprese left, and come together again during the riprese right. This works even when holding hands, as riprese are such tiny steps. This is good practice for new dancers: it requires small steps, and uses only a floor pattern that is very easy to explain.

Sciolta: timing of riprese and trabuchetti

The tablature for the music that goes with the passage "2 riprese and 3 trabuchetti" is a little odd - it has nine bars, instead of the eight you'd expect.

The editor's decisions about whether or not to regularise the phrase-length will determine the rhythm for the dancers here - there may be one 'beat' for each of the five movements, or they may be a little syncopated. In practice, I've found that dancers adapt easily to what they're hearing, but it is worth being aware that the timing can change depending on recording.

If the nine beats are preserved, my preferred timing (at the moment) is to take three beats for each ripresa, and one for each trabuchetto.


There is some ambiguity in the timing of the sciolta in Caroso's intabulation. He has nine beats in one phrase where you might expect eight, and some editors regularise this.

About this translation: 

Translated 10/2006.

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


"The Amorous Country Lass"

Balletto by Messer Battistino

In honour of the illustrious lady, Lady Vittoria Rustici della Corvara, Roman Gentlewoman.

The people stand facing, without taking hands, as shown in the picture for Coppia Felice, and do a Riverenza grave, and two Continenze, with eight Riprese, four to the left, and four to the right; then they do two Passi trangati flankingly backwards, as in Barriera, with a Seguito ordinario forwards, beginning with the left. They do the same Passi trangati, and Seguito, another time to the other side, that is, beginning with the right, and at the end of the said Seguito the man will take the usual hand of the lady.

In the second figure, progressing, they will do four Seguiti ordinarii, at the end of which the man will put the lady opposite him without releasing hands, and they will do together eight Riprese, four to the left, and four to the right; then they return to do the same Passi, and Seguiti, with one foot and the other, as they did in the first figure.

In the third figure, they will do four Seguiti ordinarii, two progressing forwards, bending the knees somewhat at the end, in the manner of a meza Riverenza, and another two, exchanging places, and turning to the left. After that they do eight Riprese, four to the left, and four to the right, with the Passi trangati, and Seguito with one foot and the other, as above.

In the last Seguito, the lady takes the left hand of the gentleman with her right, and she leads the dance, and they do together all that which they did in the second figure, and at the end each returns to his own place, and they rest facing without taking hands.

The Sciolta of this Piece.

They do the Riverenza grave, with four Seguiti spezzati turning to the left; then the lady goes to where she began the dance, and the man goes to the other side: where facing they do another two Seguiti spezzati flankingly; turning then the left flank inwards, they do two riprese, and three Trabuchetti, beginning with the left. At the end of this they turn the right flank inwards, and do the same, beginning with the right. Then they return to do the two Passi trangati backwards, and a Seguito forwards with one foot and the other, as above. Finally the man takes the usual hand of the lady, and they end the ballo, doing together the Riverenza.