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July 04, 2006 | 07:21 PM

La Volta!

Tuesday 4th July. 9.40 PM – A Stage, Shepperton Studios. A return to the atrium of Elizabeth’s private chambers where Bess Throckmorton and Raleigh dance the volta under Elizabeth’s watchful eye.

We couldn't make another movie about Elizabeth without a dance sequence and this is also a chance to reference the ‘volta’ scenes from ‘Elizabeth’. The volta was a popular and somewhat ‘sensual’ dance at the Elizabethan court which we know Elizabeth enjoyed herself. Indeed there is a painting of her dancing the volta hanging in the Solar of Penshurst Place in Kent. In fact this painting, titled “Queen Elizabeth I doing a leaping turn of the 'Volta', assisted by Earl of Leicester”, is not a compliment to Elizabeth’s dancing but seems to be a French satire.

The volta has sometimes been claimed as the ancestor of the waltz and is first recorded as a peasant dance to 3/4 rhythm in the Provence area of France in 1559 although it may have earlier Italian origins - the name ‘volta’ is Italian for ‘the turn’. But whatever it’s origins Elizabeth expected her courtiers to be able to dance it well (all courtiers should, after all, be able to dance) and today Bess is taking a lesson from the royal dance master, at least until Raleigh appears on the scene and the Queen suggests he demonstrate his adeptness at the dance.


5 Comments Posted. Post your comment


I have never ever read anything about Raleigh dancing, I read though that he was the only favourite of hers that preffered not to dance, but that was suggested because there are no historic accounts of Raleigh dancing, I feel he must have atleast tried dancing? What do you think?


I have really enjoyed the Golden Age Diary passages.
The historical comments have been educational.
I feel personally connected to the film by reading the daily progress of the scenes. I look forward with great anticipation to the release of the movie.

Linda Bauer

ahhh WR, ... It is almost imposible for Raleigh to say no to the Queen when she suggested him to demonstrate his moves even if this part was not written in history books.

WR - I'm not aware that Raleigh was great dancer but as you say, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

I thought they prefered not to dance in public scrutiny; so as not to give away, their secret companionship?

Elizabeth, and anyone near her, lived under a magnifying glass of scrutiny... one glance, one touch... could have given away their secrets...


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