Review Of "Il Ballarino: 16th Century Step Vocabulary And Dances" By J. Sutton And J. Holub

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This is the first commercially available instructional videotape on Renaissance court dance. Producer and director Julia Sutton is a renowned historical dance scholar whose recent (1986) translation of Fabritio Caroso's Nobilta Di Dame (1600) is the basis for much of the material on this tape. Illustrations of appropriate paintings, drawings, texts, and musical scores of the period accompany Sutton's narration and set the context for understanding these dances as an aspect of courtly conduct. First, a couple in modified rehearsal dress demonstrates typical steps and step patterns described by Cesare Negri and Fabritio Caroso, famous Italian dancing masters of the Renaissance. Step names are written on screen and a voice-over of Sutton's comments concerning technique and stylistic choices accompanies the demonstration. Care is taken to point out details regarding performance practice. Later, three fully costumed reconstructions that Sutton has directed are shown. The presentation is technically simple and appropriate. Single camera recording, which includes both front and back views of the steps, is combined with regular use of close-ups to illustrate salient technical points. The onscreen labeling of steps is useful and, for the most part, does not interfere with the viewer's sense of the dance as a whole. This tape will be particularly helpful to those involved in the study of dance, music, and theater of this period.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

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