A Dance Through Time

Deborah Bull dances her way through four centuries, from the Renaissance to Romanticism.

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Episodes

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0101Love's Proper Exercise2004020920020711

The century that gave us Leonardo da Vinci and Christopher Columbus also produced the lesser known figures of Domenico, Cornazano and Ebreo - three great dancing masters who published manuals on the art of dancing.

As Deborah learns some fifteenth century dances, she discovers that class had a huge influence on the steps you took.

While the poor could literally enjoy a 'knees up', the wealthy danced more stately steps with their feet rarely leaving the floor.

Despite this restriction, the Bassa Danza and Balli concealed great potential for passionate expression in their understated moves, and the dances were still one of the best ways to check out a marriage partner.

0102Leaps And Bounds2004021620020718

Fashion conscious Europe in the 16th century rejects the floor-bound steps of the previous era in favour of more earthy, lively dances.

There's the branle - a kind of line-dancing, the five-step Galliard and a shocking dance called La Volta.

It's all too much for one critic, who admonishes the dancers for 'kissing, smooching, slabbering and filthie groping.'.

0103Let Your Hat Be Easy2004022320020725

The 17th century brought one of the most celebrated dances in our history - the Minuet.

It first appeared at the court of Louis IV and was described as one of the most graceful and technically difficult of dances.

Then, as if the tricky footwork wasn't enough to contend with, very strict rules were devised on the management of headgear.

0104 LASTThe Forbidden Dance2004030120020801

When Lord Byron first witnessed a waltz in 1821 he was horrified: "Imagine my surprise to see poor dear Mrs Hornem with her arms half round the loins of a huge Hussar-looking gentleman, and his arms rather more than half round her waist, turning round and round to a damned see-saw up and down sort of tune.".