Susan and Ken Reed’s Life, Universe and Everything

“Leoncello Nuovo,” a Dance Reconstruction

Italian Ballo taken from De Arte Saltandi & Choreas Ducendi, by Domenico da Piancenza, circa 1450, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

Dance in a line (side by side) for two men with one lady between them. Note: this dance requires a long space.


  • Reverance and two Salterello forward
  • The lady only, Double (left) forward.
  • Then the men Double (left) forward.
  • The lady only, Double (right) forward.
  • Then the men Double (right) forward


  • The lady only, does 3 Piva (starting left) and 2 Singles around the man on her left.
  • Then lady does the same around the man on her right.


  • The men only, one Salterelli (left) forward, one Salterelli (right) turning out to face down, then 4 single steps (starting left) turning to face up again.
  • The lady only, two Salterello (starting left) forward and 4 steps turning to face down. Note: The dancers end in a triangular figure.


  • Doubles (starting left) forward, Posada and turn around (quick pivot). Note: The men go up the room curving in towards each other to face. The lady goes straight down the room.
  • 3 Doubles (starting right) back the same way, Posada and turn around.

E in Bassa time (slow)

  • The lady only, Double (left) forward down the room.
  • Then the men only, Double (left) forward up the room.
  • The lady only, Double (right) forward.Then the men only, Double (right) forward.
  • All Riprese (left) and Riprese (right), turning around.Continenza (left and right), and Reverance.
  • The lady only, Double (left) forward up the room.
  • Then the 1st man only, Double (left) forward down the room.
  • The lady only, Double (right) forward.Then the 2nd man only, Double (right) forward, both men turning to face up at the end of the double. Note: All are now in line.
  • All Reverance.
  • Men Movimento (step forward and present inside hand to Lady).
  • Lady Movimento (turn sharply and go down room to 3rd man who is waiting).

Notes on the reconstruction of the dance Leoncello Nuovo:

  • The reverance in part A was not in the original and is optional.
  • In part C the men originally did two saltirelli forward and a volta tonda around in a full circle. This variation keeps the men from traveling too far forward and over-extending the triangle.
  • The original does not specify when the turn in part E occurs. My preference in on the riprese.
  • Originally both men would do both of the doubles at the end of part E.
  • The exact form of the movimento in part E is not specified.
  • A dance with the same name, tune and structure for two dancers is found in the collections of both Ebreo and Cornanzano.
  • This reconstruction is by Ken Reed, 1988, for Nachtanz Historical Dancers. Similar reconstruction found in 15th Century Dances from Burgundy and Italy by M. Inglehearn, Witham, Essex, GB, 1981.