But people had danced in Anglo-Saxon England before the French arrived, despite severe moral disapproval from the church and even attempts to ban dancing. For one thing, dancing had been used in pre-Christian fertility rites. What's more, dancing was associated in the Bible with Salome: clearly dancers had a propensity for demanding people's heads on a platter.
Never trust a dancer
Clerics notwithstanding, the Anglo-Saxons carried on dancing, their word for it being tumbian. Like the Latin word for dance, saltare, it also meant "leap". Tumbian later acquired an -le ending (what linguists call a frequentative ending, which indicates frequent repetition or intensity) and became "tumble". Is it not interesting that a word that started out meaning "dance" ended up meaning "fall over"? We saw this with the word "trip" as well (click here). What does this say about the innate English ability to dance? Perhaps my tendency to fall over my feet in my ballet classes can be ascribed, not to any individual failing, but to an unavoidable genetic inheritance!
For the origin of some dance terms:
For "adage", click here.
For "entrechat", click here.
For "ballotté", click here.
For "fouetté", click here.
For "bourrée", click here.
For "pirouette", click here
If you're interested in travelling to see great dancing in beautiful places (no tripping, tumbling, or heads on platters, I promise), please check out my website at toursenlair.blogspot.com