Gavotte is a French dance which developed from the folk form Branle Doublez practised in the Gap province in the French Alps. Danced at the royal balls of Louis XIV, the gavotte retained its folk, renaissance form and was danced in a circle. From as early as the 17th century through the 18th century, the dance constituted a theatrical form of a stage dance intended as a showcase of abilities presented by a pair of dancers. In ballet performances, the gavotte is danced by characters representing the folk and pastoral world, and retains its invariably animated, lively and joyful character.

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The gavotte was frequently featured in the repertoire of late 17th and 18th century ballets. The simple melodies in even metres, to which it is performed, express the joy, lightheartedness and simplicity of life. Above all, they include the contretemps de gavotte built of the demicontretemps, pas marché and assamblé, as well as the demicontretemps paired with the assamblé. The gavotte compositions also include other lively steps such as the jetté, sisonne, cabriole. Additionally, the Contretemps de Gavotte is the fundamental step in the French contredanse. Perhaps the best known gavotte choreography is the Gavotte de Vestris transcribed in two Feuillet notations created at different times and independent of each other. Featuring a pair of dancers who boast virtuoso steps from the repertoire of the Belledanse and the elevated, decorative port des bras, this choreography continued to be featured in the 19th century ballet repertories.



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Conté Pierre, Danses anciennes de cour et de théâtre en France, Paris, 1974.

Drabecka Maria, Tańce historyczne [Historical Dances], vol. IV, Warsaw, 1984.

Larousse-Bordas, Dictionnaire de la danse, Paris, 1999.