Domenico Da Piacenza
(b Piacenza, c.1400; d Ferrara, c.1476)
Italian dancer and teacher. Little is known about his life except that he was probably teaching in Piacenza from around the 1440s and arranged and performed dances for court festivities and weddings. He worked at the court in Ferrara where he assembled his theories about the art of dance in his treatise De arte saltandi et choreas ducendi in a period some time between 1450 and 1460. This is now in the Paris National Library. Written in the third person, it analyses the qualities necessary for a good dancer and its illustrative comments frequently illuminate the spirit of the era's dance. He gives instructions for eighteen balli (usually in mixed rhythm) and four bassedanze (in 6/8 time). Descriptions of his dances suggest he was drawn to dramatic mime and to small numbers of dancers whom he deployed in elaborate floor patterns.