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.