Ballo Abruzzese

This suite of dances from the Abruzzi is a medley of three dances performed in a circle. Dancers and musicians don’t break between dances, and the increasing liveliness of the dances seems truly made for the pleasure of the dancer and of those who watch them. The influence of fashionable parlor dances of the past century is clearly evident. Nonetheless, it is the peasants who dance this.Beginning Formation: Circle of couples, partners side-by-side, facing CCW. They hold right hands in front of bodies. The left hand of the woman is placed on the right shoulder of her partner. The man puts his left hand on his hip.

LU PASSETTE (schottische rhythm)

Measure 1 1 sliding polka step, beginning with the right foot, the first beat well marked, practically stamped.
Measure 2 1 sliding polka step, as above, but beginning with the left foot
Measure 3-4 4 step-hops (beginning with right foot) turning once CW as a couple

Repeat these four measures throughout the entire melody (a total of ten times). They can all be done in one direction (by making a full turn each measure 3&4) or couples can make a half turn every two sets so that the circle switches direction. Either way, be sure that couples are facing the line of direction (CCW) to begin the Mazurca Figurata at the end of the 10th repeat. A slowing of the music during the final measures indicates the switch to the next part of the dance.

MAZURCA FIGURATA (mazurca rhythm)
The beginning position is the same as that at the beginning of the preceding dance.

Measure 1 1 waltz step forward, beginning with the outside foot of the couple, first beat stamped (accented)
Measure 2 1 waltz step slightly backward (practically in place) without stamping
Measure 3-4 The man advances with 2 waltz steps (first beat accented) while turning the woman CW (2 waltz steps without accent) under their raised right hands, ending in social dance position without having dropped right hands
Measure5-8 Couples waltz (4 waltz steps) in the circle, moving slightly forward in the line of direction (CCW). under their raised right hands, ending in position for La Cotta.

These 8 measures are repeated 8 times. On the last 2 measures of the final waltz, man turns woman CW (2 waltz steps)

LA COTTA (waltz rhythm)

The woman stands in front of her partner in the circle, both facing line of direction (CCW). For the man hands on hips; woman, hands on skirts. Attitude is very flirtatious.

Part A. 16 measures.

The circle turns CCW with 16 waltz steps, beginning with the right foot.

The step is rather emphasized, almost a pursuit. The woman can, when she wants, make a complete turn while continuing to progress along the circle. She turns to face her partner on the 15th and 16th step.

Part B. 16 measures.

The step takes two measures. What follows is the description for the man. The woman faces her partner and dances the reverse, in a mirror image of her partner. The sideways movement of this step is toward the exterior of the circle on the odd-numbered steps, toward the interior on the evens.

Measure 1:

  • One step with the right foot to the right. (Woman begins on the left foot to the left.)
  • One step on the left foot crossing behind the right foot
  • One step with the right foot to the right.
  • One step with the left foot to the left.
  • One step with the right foot to the left, bringing feet together. Pause, feet together, in place.

Measure 2:
Repeat all steps in the opposite direction with the opposite feet. (Woman uses the final measure to take six small steps, turning CW to return to her position facing line of direction in front of her partner.)

La Cotta repeats three times. The last time, the woman remains facing her partner.

Taught by Jackie Capurro and Il Quartiere Italiano. 2008 IFAFA Conference in Sacramento, CA


This dance and its music were taken from Danses du sud d’Italie (Dances of Southern Italy), a 45 rpm record purchased by Paul Torna in 2003. The accompanying instruction booklet was in French, translated by Jackie Capurro. Lou and Claude Flagel researched the dances and wrote the original French instructions. Music for the dance is performed by Mario Andreani and his Campagnola orchestra

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.