The Society of Folk Dance Historians
family of dances
Regions: Renaissance Europe
Other names: Bergamask, Bergomask, Bergamasco, Bergamasque
Old peasant dance in fast duple (2/4) time, from the district around Bergamo, Lombardy. Said to reflect the character of Bergamo residents, egotistical, cunning, and "possessing in a high degree the faults and virtues of the typical rustic. From these characteristics developed the Harlequin of commedia dell'arte."-[The Dance Encyclopedia] Harlequin is then described as mocking and grotesque.
Couples in a circle. Men move forward and women move in opposite direction in two circles. The music changes and couples embrace, perform a few couple turning steps, and begin again. Mentioned in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. Usually staged to Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream incidental music. [The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Ballet]