The Volta, or La Volta is a dance which originated in Provence by peasants and was introduced to the French court by the formidable Catherine de Medici around 1581. Believed to be the forerunner of the waltz, the dance was executed in 3/4 time and considered very racy as the partners face each other, rather than standing alongside one another or across from each other in a line of men and women, as in a minuet. The name, which means 'turning' or 'to turn' speaks of the movement where the lead holds the partner closely, turning and helps her take a leap into the air. The sequence was a kick left, step left, then a leap where the woman balancing with her hand on her lead's shoulder jumps and they pivot 270 degrees, ending with the woman sitting the man's thigh. The sequence is generally four steps, then four turns. An excellent example of this dance can be seen in the movie Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett and Joseph Fiennes executing.

Vol"ta (?), n.; pl. Volte (#). [It. volta a turn, turning, a time. See Volt a tread.] Mus.

A turning; a time; -- chiefly used in phrases signifying that the part is to be repeated one, two, or more times; as, una volta, once. Seconda volta, second time, points to certain modifications in the close of a repeated strain.


© Webster 1913.

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