I’m back with my Alphabet Post this week. I hope you forgive me last week, but it was Release Day and I was a tad distracted. LOL
When I was researching and writing Betrothal, I ended up doing a good amount of research on dances of the Middle Ages. There is a banquet and dance after the tournament and of course I had to know what the dances would have looked like. The estampie is actually both a musical form as well as a dance.
Although there are no extant dance manuals to document the movements of the estampie, illuminations and paintings of the period depicting the dance include some very vigorous stamping of the feet. The name, estampie from the French estamper, means “to stamp the feet.”
The estampie is mentioned in troubadour poetry of the 12th thru 14th century. From the descriptions, it was a dance for couples using a sliding motion of the feet to the accompaniment of the medieval viol. It is believed to be a slow, stamping, round dance from Provencal, popular in Europe until 1500. Some scholars argue as to whether or not the estampie was a dance form or merely a stylization. Most, however, agree that it was complex although it relied on repetition, as did all dances of the time.
Here is a modern interpretation of the estampie.
The estampie was the first line dance, superseding circles such as the carole, the branle, and Sellinger’s Round. It introduced a dance in which couples stood opposite one another, rather than in a circle.
Dances can be an important part of romance novels. They add colorful details to ballroom scenes, provide the perfect way for a hero and heroine to be thrown together in relative privacy for speaking, and a social event that can provide conflict for your book.
Do you enjoy dance or ballroom sequences in romance novels? How detailed should descriptions of dances get?