under construction, sorry. I've been really busy!
Dancing was a passtime enjoyed
by women of all walks of life, from the humble farm girl who just
swayed, skipped and performed simple, popular dances, to the formal
dances of the Ladies of the court. It was recognised that dancing
was not only an activity which was appropriate, but also had health-giving
Health handbooks like the Tacuinum sanitatus of Liege commended
playing music and dancing on folio 64v saying:
Nature: To move the
feet and the body in rythm with the music.
Optimum: When there is a strict correlation between the music
and the movements of the body.
Usefulness: By participating, looking-on, or listening with
joy and accord.
Dangers: When the accord among the musical notes is lost.
Neutralisation of the Dangers: When the accord among the musical
notes is restored.
Dancing was acceptible for
women from every walk of life. Peasant women danced, townswomen
danced and it was also expected that noble women would dance.
Dancing was a normal part of feast days and festivities, although
the church often frowned on dancing as undignified and taking
away the solemnity of Christian observations.
The Goodman of Paris, a nobleman, speaks to his young wife about
her girlish passtimes which he feels are entirely suitable for
her position in society. He says:
Know that I take delight
rather than displeasure in your cultivating rose bushes, caring
for violets and making chaplets, and also in your dancing and
singing; I wish you to continue to do so among our friends and
peers, for it is only right and just that you should thus pass
the days of your maidenly youth. Nevertheless, I do not want
you to attempt to attend banquets or dances of very great lords,
for that is not at all proper or becoming for your social status
© Rosalie Gilbert
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