The Basse Dance Handbook


David Wilson
May 15, 2012

311 pp.

2 illustrations

SKU: 9378-1-20-1-16-1-10-2-16-7 Categories: ,


The development of French Basse Dance can be traced through five main phases from circa 1445 to the end of the sixteenth century. There are indeed gaps in this chronicle, but no major hiatus at the beginning of the sixteenth century to match that seen in the musical evidence. This book brings together relevant documents so as to look at the Basse Dance as a whole. It presents seventeen documents that contain choreographies and sometimes other technical details relevant to the Basse Dance as practiced in France and neighboring countries. Each is transcribed, to reflect as closely as is feasible the layout of the original text. And each is supplied with bibliography, introduction, translation and commentary, plus a statistical summary of the composition of its choreographies. A sample page is reproduced from most to illustrate the general appearance of respective texts. The names of all dances described or mentioned are listed in the Index. The character of the music for the Basse Dance and the way that it changed over time are important topics that are essential to this volume.


David Wilson:


October 30, 1932 – August 6, 2006


David Wilson had three highly distinguished careers, as Roman archaeologist, air-photographer and, finally, as dance historian. In the first, he worked with Professor Sir Ian Richmond preparing a new edition of R. G. CollingwoodпїЅs classic The Archaeology of Roman Britain (1930). In the second, he joined Kenneth St Joseph at the Cambridge University Committee for Aerial Photography where he established the National Association of Aerial Photographic Libraries. Here his prime publication was Air Photo Interpretation for Archaeologists (1982, 2000).


Marriage to Elizabeth Wallwork in 1980 brought him into contact with historical dance and, with typical enthusiasm, he turned his mind to research in this fascinating topic. He was soon an active member of the Early Dance Circle (EDC) and the Dolmetsch Historical Dance Society. David was instrumental in setting up EDCпїЅs National Resource Centre for Historical Dance and catalogued their substantial archive library. As a dance historian, he published extensively, particularly transcriptions and analyses of original 15th-century texts, which, yet again, gained him a world-wide reputation.


In 2006, the EDC awarded him the Peggy Dixon Trophy for outstanding service to historical dance. Sadly, he did not live to see the publication of this his final magnum opus.