La Volta dance how to with Renaissance Princess Pocahontas

La Volta dance how to with Renaissance Princess Pocahontas

volta ready to dance (2)

A historically accurate princess dance

Don’t you love Pocahontas? She danced with all the colors of the wind.  She was a strong figure in history as well as a strong Disney princess. Pocahontas was certainly invited to dance in the court of King James I when she visited England. In the movie Pocahontas II they show a Viennese waltz, but La Volta was more historically accurate for her time.

La Volta Origins

The Volta originated in province France and was popular between 1550-1650. Catherine De Medici is responsible for introducing the Volta to the Versailles court in France in 1581, and is danced to ¾ time music.

La Volta Meaning

The word Volta means “to turn” in French. La Volta is a couple’s dance form of the galliard as described by Renaissance dance author Thoinot Arbeau. In Arbeau’s book Orchésographie, he describes La Volta as a Galliard with a step called the Saute Majer (lift) and is also referred to as caper.

La Volta banned

La Volta had a few indecent moves. It incorporated a scandalous and intimate hold with the man embracing he lady in his arms to lift and turn her. Skirts could lift to the lady’s bare knees bringing her modesty into question if she did not hold them in place.

La Volta Loved by Elizabeth

This Volta was denounced as shameful and indecent and was later reported to have caused murders and miscarriages. La Volta was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth and King James in England. With Queen Elizabeth’s blessing, La Volta became respectable and un-dignified court dance. This un-dignified dance is the predecessor of the Waltz.

La Volta in Films

Many modern films feature La Volta. All of them demonstrate the lifting action in La Volta. Movies demonstrating La Volta include “Elizabeth” (with Kate Blanchett), “Shakespeare in Love,” and “The Sword and the Rose.”

La Volta how to:

Music used:
Clean music Castles and kings… recommended song, “La Volta” Paul O’Dette, robin hood-Elizabethan ballad settings

A cantor rhythm is used throughout. It is step on 1, hold 2, step on 3. It can be counted 1-3.

How to dance the La Volta:

Basic Step:
Brush right foot forward hopping, set right foot down in front & kick Left foot forward then close and lift both heals.

The basic step can be danced side by side for a whole phrase of music. It would be the same four sets of 8, or four sets of basic steps. You can also substitute a Galliard basic.

Lift (Caper):

The caper is the basic step danced facing each other with a lift on the second cantor step. Partners face each other, the gentleman places his arms around the lady’s waist, the lady’s arms over the gentleman’s shoulder.  Partners 1 Kick 2 hop, 3 step, 4 Kick lifting lady in the air man’s left knee behind ladies bum. and setting down 5-6. This is also done for a full phrase of music (8 bars).

Basics and Capers are alternated in 8 bar phrases

Our Location:

We were privileged to film in the King James Hall in Glen Eyrie castle. This Tudor style castle was built by the founder of Colorado Springs, General Palmer, in 1871. After his wife died General Palmer remodeled his house to look like her favorite English style castle. This lovely castle is available by reservation for tea’s and tours.





Holly Collins
WEDDING DANCE instruction
author of
Holly’s hot wedding tips, 
Historically Accurate Princess Dances,
Winner of:
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Champion Ballroom Dancer & Coach

owner of
Adventures in Dance
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Pocahontas glen eyrie