The inter-relationships between dance and comedy have long been recognized within studies of early dance. Lambranzi’s ‘New and curious theatrical Dance School’ is, of course, the primary text addressing this question . Unfortunately there are few other explicit sources: a few pictures, some descriptions and anecdotes, but that is about all. Unlike social dance or ‘belle danse’, where the detailed codification makes analysis and reconstruction relatively easy, in the case of comic dance we have very little to go on – and Lambranzi is, as we all know, open to a wide range of interpretation.
My paper will address this problem of trying to codify ‘comic dance’ from 15th to 19th century in an attempt to bring our understanding of this side of early dance into some form of coherent discipline.