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Sainato, Ilaria. "Siena LV 29 and an Unknown Dancing Master."

Sainato, Ilaria. "Siena LV 29 and an Unknown Dancing Master." In Tanz in Italien, italienischer Tanz in Europa 1400-1900. Für Barbara Sparti (1932-2013). 4. Symposion für Historischen Tanz Burg Rothenfels am Main, 25.-29. Mai 2016. Tagungsband, edited by Uwe Schlottermüller, Howard Weiner and Maria Richter, 161-166. Freiburg: "fa-gisis" Musik- und Tanzedition, 2016.

This paper is a study on the ms. LV 29 preserved in Siena at the Biblioteca Comunale degli Intronati (henceforth S). As I was preparing a critical edition of this manuscript, I examined its composition and history and discovered surprising details leading to my hypothesis that there is a master behind the choreography. S is a 15th century parchment codex preserving a choreographic treatise, which is divided in sections about dance theory followed by a choreographic anthology. The theoretical section originates from the work of Guglielmo Ebreo da Pesaro, with insertions reworkings and summarized material form Domenico da Piacenza's treatise. The practical section collects sixty-six choreographies, which are circa 70% of the preserved 15th century Italian dance repertoire. 32 bassedanze and 34 balli are included. Among them are a significant number of unica: 12 bassedanze and 10 balli.
The manuscript lacks any musical notation. The choreographies are different in style, popularity, mixing famous dances and choreography with few concordances. They also contain stylistic peculiarities such as connections with French repertory. The aim of the compiler seems to be to assemble a complete collection as possible. An interesting detail is that the manuscript reveals a characteristic taste in the variation of the steps and their patterns, even maintaining the structural elements of the choreographies. This feature is connected to "mettere proporzione" the steps, as replacing three contrapassi in place of two doppi, creating a sort of sesquialtera. While the theoretical section of S seems to make a compendium of Guglielmo's and Domenico's works, in the practical section we can perceive the presence of a personal style, either of a particular dance school of a Master who possibly commissioned the manuscript. I identified him through the coat of arms illuminated in the manuscript and research in the Tuscan archives.

Year of publication: 2016

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