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Commedia dell Arte - Colombina

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Angelica Lee

on 21 April 2015

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Transcript of Commedia dell Arte - Colombina

Columbina has the similar movement to that of a zaani (fidgeting while another person is speaking, shifting weight and balance from one foot to the other). She is fast in terms of her speed in movement, typically in situations where she tries to escape from unwanted attention. You will often find her with her hands on her hips, or holding her apron. When excited, Columbina is said to have her hands in the air, as if she is playing a tambourine.

Five Poses
Columbina exhibits many poses used in the ballet art form. The five poses she typically uses are:

• A cross between laying down and sitting, usually with one knee up and one leg extended flat.
• Hip cocked outward, bust out, and hands extended behind back.
• Leaning forward, hands together with arms extended.
• Stand upright and "perky" and arms at sides and palms parallel to the ground.
• Profile with weight shifted back on hip with arms folded under her chest. (Shane, n.d.)


Colombina's character plays a very important role in Commedia dell'arte as she is the only lucid, rational person in this form of comedy. She, unlike certain other characters, has enough to eat and drink, decent clothes and no ambition to be rich. She can read and write, sing and dance. Her masculine nature shows in her wittiness, sarcasm and strength, but she is also feminine; a pefect balance of the two.
Interesting Facts

1. Columbina’s favourite animal is said to be the dove.

2. The character of Columbina has different names in other various countries. In France, she is known as Columbine, while in England, she was given the names Franceschina, Smeraldina, Oliva, Nespola, Spinetta, Ricciolina, Corallina, Diamantina, Lisetta and many others.

3. She can make her breasts and other body parts squeak.
Rudlin, J., 1994. Commedia dell Arte- An Actor's Handbook. London: Routledge.
Shane, T., n.d. The Commedia Dell Arte: Character Analysis. [Online] Available at: http://shane-arts.com/Commedia-Columbina.htm [Accessed 17 March 2015].
Pick Sure and Place '09-'010. (2009). Pantalone and Colombina - Commedia dell'Arte Canovaccio . [Online Video]. 11 November. Available from: [Accessed: 17 March 2015].
Manuel Palomino Arjona, (2011), Commedia dell'arte (baile de Colombina) [ONLINE]. Available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/42399206@N03/5472825655/ [Accessed 17 March 15].
Giovanni Domenico Ferretti, (2015), Columbina and Arlecchino [ONLINE]. Available at: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colombina [Accessed 19 March 15].
In Commedia dell Arte, Columbia has many relationships between other servants and some masters. She is in love with Arlecchino, yet in many lazzis, she attempts to change his vivacious, energetic personality through scolding, punishing and abandoning him. Yet, this never works on Arlecchino, so she has to accept him for who he is. Columbina also acts lovingly towards other characters, which is why II Capitano and Pantalone frequently chase after her. One thing that can be said about her is that she is always willing to help other lovers in plight. As Columbina is a servant, she is the maid of one of the Old Men, and later on, Arlecchino’s wife. She is also a close friend to Harlequin, who is said to be in love with Lelio, another servant that is in love with Isabella.
As a character, Columbina connects with the audience, as she is said to believe that “she too can see what fools the rest of them are,” (Shane, n.d.) in terms of the characters and how they are portrayed on stage. She occasionally flirts with the audience.

Commedia dell Arte - Colombina
Youtube Video
(Arjona, 2011)
Thanks for listening :)
Colombina and Arlecchino
(Ferreti, 2015)

what even..
In lazzis Colombina is always either the :

Personal Maid to the prima donna innamorata (stock character Isabella)

The servant, the soubrette.

The maid of one of the Old Men (Pantalone, Il Dottore, etc) or the wife of Arlecchino.

Columbina is a female character in Commedia dell Arte, an Italian form of dramatic comedy back in the 16th century. She is often known as a stock character, meaning that she is stereotyped and easily recognised by the crowd. In Commedia dell Arte, she is known for her intelligence, sex appeal and her flirtatious nature. Columbina is a character that incorporates several movements that must be used by other actors, in order to embody her well.
By Kriti Jain and Angelica Lee
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