Begin with the _grand rond_ or great round; that is, the whole
quadrille; first and second couples and sides join hands all round,
advance four steps, and retreat ditto. _L'Ete_ is now sometimes
introduced, the _grand rond_ being repeated between each division of
the figure. But it gives a greater variety and _brio_ to the quadrille
if, after the first _grand rond_, the following figure be performed,
the _galop_ step being used throughout. Each gentleman (at top and
bottom couples) takes his lady round the waist, as for the _galop_;
advance four steps, retreat ditto, advance again, cross to opposite
places; advance, retreat, re-cross to own places. Ladies chain; half
promenade across; half right and left to places; _grand rond_. Side
couples repeat figure. _Grand rond_ between each division and at the
conclusion. Bow to your partners, and conduct your lady to seat. Page Last Updated February 11, 2008 Copyright
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I.--HOW TO ORGANIZE A BALL.
As the number of guests at a dinner-party is regulated by the size of the table, so should the number of invitations to a ball be limited by the proportions of the ball-room. A prudent hostess will always invite a few more guests than she really desires to entertain, in the certainty that there will be some deserters when the appointed evening comes round; but she will at the same time remember that to overcrowd her room is to spoil the pleasure of those who love dancing, and that a party of this kind when, too numerously attended is as great a failure as one at which too few are present.
A room which is nearly square, yet a little longer than it is broad, will be found the most favorable for a ball. It admits of two quadrille parties, or two round dances, at the same time. In a perfectly square room this arrangement is not so practicable or pleasant. A very long and narrow room is obviously of the worst shape for the purpose of dancing, and is fit only for quadrilles and country dances.
The top of the ball-room is the part nearest the orchestra. In a private room, the top is where it would be if the room were a dining-room. It is generally at the farthest point from the door. Dancers should be careful to ascertain the top of the room before taking their places, as the top couples always lead the dances.
A good floor is of the last importance in a ball-room. In a private house, nothing can be better than a smooth, well-stretched holland, with the carpet beneath.
Abundance of light and free ventilation are indispensable to the spirits and comfort of the dancers.
Good music is as necessary to the prosperity of a ball as good wine to the excellence of a dinner. No hostess should tax her friends for this part of the entertainment. It is the most injudicious economy imaginable. Ladies who would prefer to dance are tied to the pianoforte; and as few amateurs have been trained in the art of playing dance music with that strict attention to time and accent which is absolutely necessary to the comfort of the dancers, a total and general discontent is sure to be the result. To play dance music thoroughly well is a branch of the art which requires considerable practice. It is as different from every other kind of playing as whale fishing is from fly fishing. Those who give private balls will do well ever to bear this in mind, and to provide skilled musicians for the evening. For a small party, a piano and cornopean make a very pleasant combination. Unless where several instruments are engaged we do not recommend the introduction of the violin: although in some respects the finest of all solo instruments, it is apt to sound thin and shrill when employed on mere inexpressive dance tunes, and played by a mere dance player.
Invitations to a ball should be issued in the name of the lady of the house, and written on small note paper of the best quality. Elegant printed forms, some of them printed in gold or silver, are to be had at every stationer's by those who prefer them. The paper may be gilt-edged, but not colored. The sealing-wax used should be of some delicate hue.
An invitation to a ball should be sent out at least ten days before the evening appointed. A fortnight, three weeks, and even a month may be allowed in the way of notice.
Not more than two or three days should be permitted to elapse before you reply to an invitation of this kind. The reply should always be addressed to the lady of the house, and should be couched in the same person as the invitation. The following are the forms generally in use:--
Mrs. Molyneux requests the honor of Captain Hamilton's company at an evening party, on Monday, March the 11th instant.
_Dancing will begin at Nine o'clock_.
Thursday, March 1st.
Captain Hamilton has much pleasure in accepting Mrs. Molyneux's polite invitation for Monday evening, March the 11th instant.
Friday, March 2nd.
The old form of "presenting compliments" is now out of fashion.
If Mrs. Molyneux writes to Captain Hamilton in the first person, as "My dear Sir," he is bound in etiquette to reply "My dear Madam."
The lady who gives a ball[A] should endeavor to secure an equal number of dancers of both sexes. Many private parties are spoiled by the preponderance of young ladies, some of whom never get partners at all, unless they dance with each other.
A room should in all cases be provided for the accommodation of the ladies. In this room there ought to be several looking-glasses; attendants to assist the fair visitors in the arrangement of their hair and dress; and some place in which the cloaks and shawls can be laid in order, and found at a moment's notice. It is well to affix tickets to the cloaks, giving a duplicate at the same time to each lady, as at the public theatres and concert-rooms. Needles and thread should also be at hand, to repair any little accident incurred in dancing.
Another room should be devoted to refreshments, and kept amply supplied with coffee, lemonade, ices, wine and biscuits during the evening. Where this cannot be arranged, the refreshments should be handed round between the dances.
The question of supper is one which so entirely depends on the means of those who give a ball or evening party, that very little can be said upon it in a treatise of this description. Where money is no object, it is of course always preferable to have the whole supper, "with all appliances and means to boot," sent in from some first-rate house. It spares all trouble whether to the entertainers or their servants, and relieves the hostess of every anxiety. Where circumstances render such a course imprudent, we would only observe that a home-provided supper, however simple, should be good of its kind, and abundant in quantity. Dancers are generally hungry people, and feel themselves much aggrieved if the supply of sandwiches proves unequal to the demand. Great inconvenience is often experienced by the difficulty of procuring cabs at the close of an evening party. Gentlemen who have been dancing, and are unprepared for walking, object to go home on foot, or seek vehicles for their wives and daughters. Female servants who have been in attendance upon the visitors during a whole evening ought not to be sent out. If even men-servants are kept, they may find it difficult to procure as many cabs as are necessary. The best thing that the giver of a private ball can do under these circumstances, is to engage a policeman with a lantern to attend on the pavement during the evening, and to give notice during the morning at a neighboring cab-stand, so as to ensure a sufficient number of vehicles at the time when they are likely to be required.
[Footnote A: It will be understood that we use the word "ball" to signify a private party, where there is dancing, as well as a public ball.]
The style of a lady's dress is a matter so entirely dependent on age, means and fashion, that we can offer but little advice upon it. Fashion is so variable, that statements which are true of it to-day may be false a month hence. Respecting no institution of modern society is it so difficult to pronounce half a dozen permanent rules.
We may perhaps be permitted to suggest the following leading principles; but we do so with diffidence. Rich colors harmonize with rich brunette complexions and dark hair. Delicate colors are the most suitable for delicate and fragile styles of beauty. Very young ladies are never so suitably attired as in white. Ladies who dance should wear dresses of light and diaphanous materials, such as _tulle_, gauze, crape, net, &c., over colored silk slips. Silk dresses are not suitable for dancing. A married lady who dances only a few quadrilles may wear _a d?ollet? silk dress with propriety.
Very stout persons should never wear white. It has the effect of adding to the bulk of the figure.
Black and scarlet, or black and violet, are worn in mourning.
A lady in deep mourning should not dance at all.
However fashionable it may be to wear very long dresses, those ladies who go to a ball with the intention of dancing and enjoying the dance, should cause their dresses to be made short enough to clear the ground. We would ask them whether it is not better to accept this slight deviation from an absurd fashion, than to appear for three parts of the evening in a torn and pinned-up skirt?
Well-made shoes, whatever their color or material, and faultless gloves, are indispensable to the effect of a ball-room toilette.
Much jewelry is out of place in a ball-room. Beautiful flowers, whether natural or artificial, are the loveliest ornaments that a lady
can wear on these occasions.
A black suit, thin enameled boots, a white neckcloth, and white or delicate grey gloves, are the chief points of a gentleman's ball-room toilette. He may wear an embroidered shirt; and his waistcoat may be of silk. White waistcoats are no longer fashionable. Much display of jewelry is no proof of good taste. A handsome watch-chain, with, perhaps, the addition of a few costly trifles suspended to it, and a set of shirt-studs, are the only adornments of this kind that a gentleman should wear. The studs should be small, but good.[A]
A gentleman's dress is necessarily so simple that it admits of no compromise in point of quality and style. The material should be the best that money can procure, and the fashion unexceptionable. So much of the outward man depends on his tailor, that we would urge no gentleman to economize in this matter.
[Footnote A: See "Etiquette for Gentlemen," Sec. VII.]
III.--ETIQUETTE OF THE BALL-ROOM.[A]
On entering the ball-room, the visitor should at once seek the lady of the house, and pay his respects to her. Having done this, he may exchange salutations with such friends and acquaintances as may be in
If the ball be a public one, and a gentleman desires to dance with any lady to whom he is a stranger, he must apply to the master of the ceremonies for an introduction.
Even in private balls, no gentleman can invite a lady to dance without a previous introduction. This introduction should be effected through the lady of the house, or a member of her family.
No lady should accept an invitation to dance from a gentleman to whom she has not been introduced. In case any gentleman should commit the error of so inviting her, she should not excuse herself on the plea of a previous engagement, or of fatigue, as to do so would imply that she did not herself attach due importance to the necessary ceremony of introduction. Her best reply would be to the effect that she would have much pleasure in accepting his invitation, if he would procure an introduction to her. This observation may be taken as applying only to public balls. At a private party the host and hostess are sufficient guarantees for the respectability of their guests; and, although a gentleman would show a singular want of knowledge of the laws of society in acting as we have supposed, the lady who should reply to him as if he were merely an impertinent stranger in a public assembly-room, would be implying an affront to her entertainers. The mere fact of being assembled together under the roof of a mutual friend, is in itself a kind of general introduction of the guests to each other.
An introduction given for the mere purpose of enabling a lady and gentleman to go through a dance together, does not constitute an acquaintanceship. The lady is at liberty to pass the gentleman in the park the next day without recognition.
No gentleman should venture to bow to a lady upon the strength of a ball-room introduction, unless she does him the honor to recognize him first. If he commits this solecism he must not be surprised to find that she does not return his salutation.
No gentleman should accept an invitation to a ball if he does not dance. When ladies are present who would be pleased to receive an invitation, those gentleman who hold themselves aloof are guilty, not only of a negative, but a positive act of neglect.
To attempt to dance without a knowledge of dancing is not only to make one's self ridiculous, but one's partner also. No lady or gentleman has the right to place a partner in this absurd position.
Never forget a ball-room engagement. To do so is to commit an
unpardonable offence against good breeding.
It is not necessary that a lady or gentleman should be acquainted with the _steps_, in order to walk gracefully and easily through a quadrille. An easy carriage and a knowledge of the figure is all that is requisite. A round dance, however, should on no account be attempted without a thorough knowledge of the steps, and some previous practice.
No person who has not a good ear for time and tune need hope to dance well.
At the conclusion of a dance, the gentleman bows to his partner, and either promenades with her round the room, or takes her to a seat. Where a room is set apart for refreshments, he offers to conduct her thither. At a public hall no gentleman would, of course, permit a lady to pay for refreshments.
No lady should accept refreshments from a stranger at a public ball; for she would thereby lay herself under a pecuniary obligation. For these she must rely on her father, brothers, or old friends.
Good taste forbids that a lady and gentleman should dance too frequently together at either a public or private ball. Engaged persons should be careful not to commit this conspicuous solecism.
Engagements for one dance should not be made while the present dance is yet in progress.
If a lady happens to forget a previous engagement, and stand up with another partner, the gentleman whom she has thus slighted is bound to believe that she has acted from mere inadvertence, and should by no means suffer his pride to master his good temper. To cause a disagreeable scene in a private ball-room is to affront your host and hostess, and to make yourself absurd. In a public room it is no less reprehensible. Always remember that good breeding and good temper (or the appearance of good temper) are inseparably connected.
Young gentlemen are earnestly advised not to limit their conversation to remarks on the weather and the heat of the room. It is, to a certain extent, incumbent on them to do something more than dance when they invite a lady to join a quadrille. If it be only upon the news of the day, a gentleman should be able to offer at least three or four observations to his partner in the course of a long half-hour.
Gentlemen who dance cannot be too careful not to injure the dresses of the ladies who do them the honor to stand up with them. The young men of the present day are singularly careless in this respect; and when they have torn a lady's delicate skirt, appear to think the mischief they have done scarcely worth the trouble of an apology.
A gentleman conducts his last partner to the supper-room, and, having waited upon her while there, re-conducts her to the ball-room. Never attempt to take a place in a dance which has been previously engaged.
Withdraw from a private ball-room as quietly as possible, so that your departure may not be observed by others, and cause the party to break up. If you meet the lady of the house on her way out, take your leave of her in such a manner that her other guests may not suppose you are doing so; but do not seek her out for that purpose.
Never be seen without gloves in a ball-room, though it were only for a few moments. Those who dance much and are particularly _soigne_ in matters relating to the toilette, take a second pair of gloves to replace the first when soiled.
A thoughtful hostess will never introduce a bad dancer to a good one, because she has no right to punish one friend in order to oblige another.
It is not customary for married persons to dance together in society.
[Footnote A: See "Etiquette for Ladies," and "Etiquette for
Gentlemen," Sec. IX.]
The Quadrille is the most universal, as it is certainly the most sociable, of all fashionable dances. It admits of pleasant conversation, frequent interchange of partners, and is adapted to every age. The young or old, the ponderous _paterfamilias_ or his sylph-like daughter, may with equal propriety take part in its easy and elegant figures. Even an occasional blunder is of less consequence in this dance than in many others; for each personage is in some degree free as to his own movements, not being compelled by the continual embrace of his partner to dance either better or worse than he may find convenient.
People now generally walk through a quadrille. Nothing more than a perfect knowledge of the figure, a graceful demeanor, and a correct ear for the time of the music are requisite to enable any one to take a creditable part in this dance. Steps are quite gone out of fashion: even the _chasse_ has been given up for some time past.
A quadrille must always consist of five parts. If a variation be made in the fourth figure, by the substitution of _Pastorale_ for _Trenise_, the latter must then be omitted; or _vice-versa_. As soon as a gentleman has engaged his partner for the quadrille, he should endeavor to secure as his _vis-?is_ some friend or acquaintance; and should then lead his partner to the top of the quadrille, provided that post of honor be still vacant. He will place the lady always at his right hand.
Quadrille music is divided into eight bars for each part of the figure; two steps should be taken in every bar; every movement thus invariably consists of eight or of four steps.
It is well not to learn too many new figures; the memory is liable to become confused amongst them; besides which, it is doubtful whether your partner, or your _vis-?is_, is as learned in the matter as yourself. Masters are extremely fond of inventing and teaching new figures; but you will do well to confine your attention to a few simple and universally received sets, which you will find quite sufficient for your purpose. We begin with the oldest and most common, the
FIRST SET OF QUADRILLES.
First Figure.--Le Pantalon.
The couples at the top and bottom of the quadrille cross to each other's places in eight steps, occupying four bars of the time; then re-cross immediately to their own places, which completes the movement of eight bars. This is called the _Chaine Anglaise_. The gentleman always keeps to the right of _vis-?is_ lady in crossing, thus placing her _inside_.
Set to partners, or _balances_; turn your partners. (This occupies the second eight bars.) Ladies, chain, or _chaine des dames_. (Eight bars more.) Each couple crosses to opposite couple's place, gentleman giving his hand to his partner: this is called half-promenade. Couples recross right and left to their places, without giving hands, which completes another eight bars, and ends the figure.
The side couples repeat what the top and bottom couples have done.
The ladies in all the top couples, and their _vis-?is_ gentlemen, advance four steps, and retire the same, repeating this movement once again, which makes the first eight bars.
Top ladies and _vis-?is_ gentlemen cross to each other's places; advance four steps; retreat ditto; cross back towards partners, who set to them as they advance; turn partners; which ends first half of figure.
Second ladies and top _vis-?is_ gentlemen execute the same movements. Then side couples begin, the privilege of commencement being conferred on those ladies who stand at the _right_ of the top couples.
This figure is sometimes performed in a different manner, known as double _L'Ete_. Instead of the top lady and _vis-?is_ gentleman advancing alone, they advance with partners joining hands; cross and return, as in the single figure. This variation is, however, somewhat out of vogue, except (as will presently be seen) in the last figure of the quadrille, where it is still frequently introduced.
Third Figure--La Poule.
Top lady and _vis-?is_ gentleman cross to each other's places, giving right hand in passing; cross back again with left hand. (Eight bars.) The two couples form in a line, and join hands, the left hand of one holding the right hand of his or her neighbor, so that each faces different ways; in this position all four _balancez_, then half promenade with partner to opposite place; top lady and _vis-?is_ gentleman advance four steps and retire ditto. (2nd eight bars.) Both top and bottom couples advance together, and retire the same; then re-cross right and left to places. (3rd eight bars.) Second lady and first opposite gentleman repeat figure. Side couples repeat, observing same rule for commencement as in _L'Ete_.
Fourth Figure.--La Trenise.
Top couples join hands, advance four steps and retreat ditto: advance again, gentleman leaving lady at left hand of _vis-?is_ gentleman, and retiring alone, (1st eight bars.) Two ladies advance, crossing to opposite side; gentleman advances to meet his partner, _vis-?is_ lady returns to hers. (2nd eight bars.) _Balancez_; turn partners to places. (3rd eight bars.) Second couple performs same figure; side couples repeat as before.
If _La Pastorale_ be preferred, it will be performed thus:--Top couple advance and retreat; advance, gentleman leading lady to left hand of _vis-?is_ gentleman; he advances with both ladies four steps, retreating ditto; again advancing, he leaves both ladies with first gentleman, retreating alone; top gentleman and both ladies advance and retreat; again advance, joining hands in circle, go half round, half promenade to opposite places, then return right and left to their own. Second couples and side couples repeat as before.
Fifth Figure.--La Finale.
This quadrille has, within the last few years become more fashionable than formerly. But it is not so frequently danced as the Lancers, still less as the First Set of Quadrilles. Each set can consist only of eight couples, differing in this respect from the simple quadrille, which admits of an indefinite number of couples.
_1st Figure_.--Top and opposite couples hands across; then back again; _balancez_ and turn partners; _chaine des dames_; half promenade across; half right and left to places.
_2nd Figure_.--Top gentleman advances and retreats twice. _Balancez_ to corners and turn, each lady passing to her next neighbor's place. Having changed your partner, all promenade quite round. Second, third, and fourth gentleman repeat same figure; thus all have regained their places.
_3rd Figure_.--Top lady and _vis-?is_ gentleman advance and retreat twice.
Top couple join hands and cross over; opposite couple cross likewise, separately, allowing top couple to pass between them; then top couple re-cross to places separately, leaving the second couple (who re-cross with joined hands) inside.
_Balancez_ to corners and turn your neighbor's partner; back to places. All four couples, joining hands in circle, advance and retreat twice. Same figure repeated by second and side couples.
_4th Figure_.--Top lady and _vis-?is_ gentleman advance four steps; second lady and her _vis-?is_ then do the same; each couple turns partner back to places. Ladies in all four couples move four steps to the right, each taking her neighbor's place; gentlemen then move four steps to the left, each into next neighbor's place. Ladies again to the right; gentlemen again to the left. Promenade round, turn partners to places. Second and side couples repeat in succession.
_5th Figure_.--First couple promenade round inside the quadrille. Four ladies advance, courtesy to each other, and retire; four gentlemen advance, bow, and retire. _Balancez_ and turn partners. Grand chain half way round. All promenade to places, and turn partners. All _chassez croisez_, ladies right, gentlemen left (behind their partners), and back again to places. Second and side couples repeat as before. Promenade all round for _finale_.
The Lancers Quadrille is perhaps the most graceful and animated of any. Within the last few years it has become a great favorite in fashionable circles, probably owing to its revival at the state balls of Her Majesty. It admits of much skill and elegance in executing its quick and varied figures, a correct acquaintance with which is absolutely requisite to all who take part in it. Unlike the common quadrille, the Lancers must be danced by four couples only in each set; though of course there can be many sets dancing at the same time. The number being so limited, one awkward or ignorant person confuses the whole set; therefore, it is indispensable that every one who dances in this quadrille should have a thorough mastery of its graceful intricacies. We have observed that of late it has become the fashion to substitute new tunes for the old well-known music of the Lancers Quadrille. We cannot consider this an improvement. The old simple melodies are peculiarly fitted to the sprightly, joyous character of the dance; which is more than can be said for any of the modern substitutes. When these are used, the Lancers, in our opinion, loses its individuality and spirit, becoming almost like a common quadrille. We should be heartily glad to see the old tunes restored once for all to their rightful supremacy.
The sets of four couples, top, opposite and sides, having been arranged, the dance begins as follows:--_1st Figure_.--First lady and opposite gentleman advance and retreat; advance again, joining their hands; pass round each other and back to places. (1st eight bars.) Top couple join hands, and cross, opposite couple crossing at the same time, separately, outside them; the same reversed, back to places. (2nd eight bars.) All the couples _balancez_ to corners; each gentleman turns his neighbor's partner back to places. (3rd eight bars.) Second couple repeat figure from beginning; after them side couples, those who stand to the right of top couple having always the priority, as in the common quadrille.
_2nd Figure_.--First couple advance and retreat, gentleman holding lady's left hand; advance again; gentleman leaves his partner in the center of the quadrille, and retires to place. (1st eight bars.) _Balancez_ to each other and turn to places. (2nd eight bars.) Side couples join first and second couples, forming a line of four on either side. Each line advances four steps, retreats ditto; then advances again, each gentleman reclaiming his partner, and all turn to places. Second and side couples repeat figure in succession.
_3rd Figure_.--First lady advances four steps alone, and stops; _vis-?is_ gentleman does the same; first lady retires, facing gentleman, to whom she makes a slow profound courtesy. (The courtesy must occupy a bar or two of the music; and as, if made with grace and dignity, it is most effective, we would recommend ladies to practice it carefully beforehand.) The gentleman at the same time bows and retires. (1st eight bars.) All four ladies advance to center, give right hands across to each other (which is called the _double chain_), and left hand to _vis-?is_ gentleman; then back again, left hands across in the middle, and right hands to partners, back to places. (2nd eight bars.) Second and side couples repeat figure from commencement.
A more recent fashion for dancing this figure is as follows:--Instead of one lady advancing at first, all four advance, and courtesy to each other; then turn and courtesy to their partners. Ladies do the _moulinet_ in the center; that is, give right hands across to each other, and half round; left hands back again, and return to places. Gentlemen meantime all move round outside the ladies, till each has regained his place. Figure, as usual, repeated four times; but the second and fourth time the gentlemen advance instead of the ladies, and bow, first to each other, then to their partners; continuing as before through the rest of the figure.
_4th Figure_.--Top gentleman, taking partner's left hand, leads her to the couple on their right, to whom they bow and courtesy (which civility must be met with the like acknowledgment), then cross quickly to fourth couple, and do the same, (1st eight bars.) All four couples _chassez croisez_ right and left (gentleman invariably passing behind his partner) then turn hands (_tour des mains_) back to places. (2nd eight bars.) First and opposite couples right and left across and back again to places. (3rd eight bars.) Second and sides repeat as usual.
_5th Figure_.--This figure commences with the music. Each couple should stand ready, the gentleman facing his partner, his right hand holding hers. If every one does not start directly the music begins, and does not observe strict time throughout, this somewhat intricate figure becomes hopelessly embarrassed; but, when well danced, it is the prettiest of the set. It commences with the _grande chaine_ all round; each gentleman giving his right hand to his partner at starting, his left to the next lady, then his right again, and so all round, till all have returned to their places. (This occupies sixteen bars of the music.) First couple promenade inside figure, returning to places with their backs turned to opposite couple. The side couple on their right falls in immediately behind them; the fourth couple follows, the second couple remaining in their places. A double line is thus formed--ladies on one side and gentlemen on the other. (3rd eight bars.) All _chassez croisez_, ladies left, gentlemen right, behind partners. First lady leads off, turning sharply round to the right; first gentleman does the same to the left, meeting at the bottom of the quadrille, and promenade back to places. All the ladies follow first lady; all the gentlemen follow first gentleman; and as each meets his partner at the bottom of the figure, they touch hands, then fall back in two lines--ladies on one side, gentlemen on the other--facing each other. (4th eight bars.) Four ladies join hands, advance and retreat; four gentlemen ditto at the same time; then each turns his partner to places. (5th eight bars.) _Grande chaine_ again. Second and side couples repeat the whole figure in succession, each couple taking its turn to lead off, as the first had done. _Grande chaine_ between each figure and in conclusion.
VII.--THE LANCERS FOR SIXTEEN, OR DOUBLE LANCERS.
_1st figure_.--Two first ladies and _vis-?is_ gentlemen begin at the same moment, and go through the figure as in Single Lancers. All _balancez_ to corners; in other words, each lady sets to gentleman at her right, who turns her to her place. Second couples and sides repeat as usual.
_2nd Figure_.--First couples advance, retreat, advance again, leaving ladies in center; set to partners and turn to places. Two side couples nearest first couples join them; two side couples nearest second couples do the same, thus forming eight in each line. They all advance and retreat, holding hands, then turn partners to places. Repeated by second and side couples as usual.
_3rd Figure_.--First ladies advance and stop; _vis-?is_ gentlemen ditto; courtesy profoundly, bow, and back to places. Ladies do the _moulinet_, gentlemen go round outside, and back to places. Or, ladies advance and courtesy to each other and then to partners; gentlemen, doing the same when the second and fourth couples begin the figure, as in Single Lancers.
_4th Figure_.--First couples advance to couples on their right; bow and courtesy; cross to opposite side, bow and courtesy, _chassez croisez_, and return to places. Right and left to opposite places, and back again. Second couples and sides repeat figure.
_5th Figure_.--_Grande chaine_ all round, pausing at the end of every eight bars to bow and courtesy; continue _chaine_ back to places, which will occupy altogether thirty-two bars of the music. Figure almost the same as in Single Lancers. Both first couples lead round, side couples falling in behind, thus forming four sets of lines. Figure repeated by second and side couples; _grande chaine_ between each figure and at the conclusion.
VIII.--COULON'S DOUBLE QUADRILLE.
This quadrille contains the same figures as the common quadrille, but so arranged that they are danced by four instead of two couples. All quadrille music suits it; and it occupies just half the time of the old quadrille. It makes an agreeable variety in the movements of the dance, and is easily learnt. It requires four couples.
First and second couples right and left, whilst side couples dance the _chaine Anglaise_ outside them. All four couples set to partners and turn them. Four ladies form ladies' chain, or hands across in the middle of the figure, giving first right hands, and then left, back to places. Half promenade, first and second couples do _chaine Anglaise_, while side couples do _grand chaine_ round them. This leaves all in their right places, and ends figure.
First lady, and lady on her right hand, perform the figure with their _vis-?is_ gentlemen, as in common _L'Ete_; taking care, when they cross, to make a semicircle to the left. Second couple and second side couple repeat figure, as in common. _L'Ete_.
Third Figure.--La Poule.
Top lady and _vis-?is_ gentleman, lady at her right, and her opposite gentleman, perform figure at the same time, setting to each other in two cross lines. Other couples follow as usual.
Fourth Figure.--La Pastorale.
The first and opposite couples dance the figure, not with each other, but with the couples to their right. The latter do the same with first and second couples.
Galopade all round. Top and opposite couples galopade forwards, and retreat. As they retreat side couples advance; and, as they retreat in their turn, first and second couples galopade to each others place. Side couples the same. First and second couples advance again; side couples the same as the others retreat; first and second back to places as side couples retreat. Side couples back to places. Double _chaine des dames_, and galopade all round. Then side couples repeat figure as usual, and _galop_ all round in conclusion.
It is requisite to keep correct time and step in this quadrille, which would otherwise become much confused.
The origin of this once celebrated dance is difficult to ascertain. It is believed by some to be of great antiquity, and to have been brought into Germany from the East. Others affirm that its origin is of more recent date, and its birthplace considerably nearer home. An authority on these matters remarks; "In spite of what those professors say who proclaim themselves to have learnt the Polka in Germany, or as being indebted for it to a Hungarian nobleman, we are far from placing confidence in their assertions. In our opinion Paris is its birthplace, and its true author, undoubtedly, the now far-famed Monsieur Cellarius, for whom this offspring of his genius has gained a European celebrity."
Whatever we may be inclined to believe with regard to this disputed question, there can be no doubt of the wide-spread popularity which for many years was enjoyed by the Polka. When first introduced, in 1843, it was received with enthusiasm by every capital in Europe; and it effected a complete revolution in the style of dancing which had prevailed up to that period. A brisk, lively character was imparted even to the steady-going quadrille; the old _Valse a Trois Temps_ was pronounced insufferably "slow;" and its brilliant rival, the _Valse a Deux Temps_, which had been recently introduced, at once established the supremacy which it has ever since maintained. The _galop_, which had been until this period only an occasional dance, now assumed a prominent post in every ball-room, dividing the honors with the _valse_.
But all these dances, though modified in character by the introduction of the Polka, were for a time thrown into the shade by this new claimant upon public favor. Its popularity was unrivalled in the annals of dancing. Rich and poor, young and old, grave and gay, all were alike smitten by the universal Polka mania. All flocked to take lessons in this new and fascinating dance; and the professors of its mysteries fairly divided public attention with the members of the Anti-Corn-Law League, then holding their meetings at Drury Lane Theatre. We will even go so far as to say that Messrs. Bright and Cobden were scarcely more anxious to destroy the vexatious Corn Laws than were these worthy Polka-maniacs to create _corn_ laws of their own, which, if more innocent, were equally undesirable.
For many years the Polka maintained its position as the universal favorite; but, during the last five or six seasons, its popularity has slowly but surely declined. It is never danced now in the ball-rooms of the aristocracy, but the middle classes have not yet quite discarded their old friend, though even amongst their programmes its name rarely occurs.
Perhaps no dance affords greater facilities for the display of ignorance or skill, elegance or vulgarity, than the Polka. The step is simple and easily acquired, but the method of dancing it varies _ad infinitum_. Some persons race and romp through the dance in a manner fatiguing to themselves and dangerous to their fellow-dancers. Others (though this is more rare) drag their partner listlessly along, with a sovereign contempt alike for the requirements of the time and the spirit of the music. Some gentlemen hold their partner so tight that she is half suffocated; others hold her so loosely that she continually slips away from them. All these extremes are equally objectionable, and defeat the graceful intention of the dance. It should be performed quietly, but with spirit, and _always in strict time_. The head and shoulders should be kept still, not jerked and turned at every step, as is the manner of some. The feet should glide swiftly along the floor--not hopping or jumping as if the boards were red-hot.
You should clasp your partner lightly but firmly round the waist with your right arm.
Your left hand takes her right hand; but beware of elevating your arm and hers in the air, or holding them out straight, which suggests the idea of windmills.
Above all, never place your left hand on your hip or behind you. In the first place, you thus drag your partner too much forward, which makes her look ungraceful; in the next, this attitude is _never used_ except in casinos, and it is almost an insult to introduce it in a respectable ball-room.
Let the hand which clasps your partner's fall easily by your side in a natural position, and keep it there. Your partner's left hand rests on your right shoulder; her right arm is thrown a little forward towards your left.
The Polka is danced in 2/4 time. There are three steps in each bar; the fourth beat is always a rest. The rhythm of the dance may be thus indicated:--
the three steps being performed on the three first beats of every bar. It is next to impossible to describe in words the step of the Polka, or of any circular dance: nothing but example can correctly teach it; and, although we shall do our best to be as clear as possible, we would earnestly recommend those of our readers who desire to excel, whether in this or the following dances, to take a few lessons from some competent instructor.
The gentleman starts with his left foot, the lady with her right. We shall describe the step as danced by the gentleman: the same directions, reversing the order of the feet, will apply to the lady.
_1st beat_.--Spring slightly on right foot, at the same time slide left foot forward.
_2nd beat_.--Bring right foot forward by _glissade_, at the same time rising left foot.
_3rd beat_.--Bring left foot slightly forward and _fall_ upon it, leaving right foot raised, and the knee slightly bent, ready to begin the step at the first beat of the next bar.
_4th beat_.--Remain on left foot. Begin next bar with the right foot, and repeat the step to end of third beat. Begin the following bar with left foot; and so on; commencing each bar with right or left foot alternately.
The Polka is danced with a circular movement, like the Valse; in each bar you half turn, so that, by the end of the second bar, you have brought your partner completely round.
It was at first customary to promenade your partner round the room, doing a kind of _balancez_ to each other in the Polka step before commencing the valse figure. But this fashion soon became antiquated, and has fallen into complete disuse.
The circular movement of the Polka admits of two directions--from right or left or from left to right. The ordinary direction is from right to left. The opposite one is known as the _reverse_ step. It is more difficult to execute, but is a pleasant change for skilled dancers, if they have become giddy from turning too long in one direction.
In dancing the Polka, or any circular dance where a large number of couples are performing at the same time, the gentleman must be careful to steer his fair burden safely through the mazes of the crowded ball-room. A little watchfulness can almost always avoid collisions, and a good dancer would consider himself disgraced if any mishap occurred to a lady under his care. Keep a sharp look out, and avoid crowded corners. Should so many couples be dancing as to render such caution impossible, stop at once, and do not go on until the room has become somewhat cleared. In a few minutes others will have paused to rest, and you can then continue. Your partner will be grateful that your consideration has preserved her from the dismal plight in which we have seen some ladies emerge from this dance--their _coiffeurs_ disordered, their dresses torn, and their cheeks crimson with fatigue and mortification, while their indignant glances plainly showed the anger they did not care to express in words, and which their reckless partner had fully deserved. A torn dress is sometimes not the heaviest penalty incurred: we have known more than one instance where ladies have been lamed for weeks through the culpable carelessness of their partners, their tender feet having been half crushed beneath some heavy boot in one of these awkward collisions. This is a severe price to pay for an evening's amusement, and gentlemen are bound to be cautious how they inflict it, or anything approaching to it, upon their fair companions. Ladies, on the other hand, will do well to remember that by leaning heavily upon their partner's shoulder, dragging back from his encircling arm or otherwise impeding the freedom of his movements, they materially add to his labor and take from his pleasure in the dance. They should endeavor to lean as lightly, and give as little trouble, as possible; for, however flattering to the vanity of the nobler sex may be the idea of feminine dependence, we question whether the reality, in the shape of a dead weight upon their aching arms throughout a Polka or Valse of twenty minutes' duration, would be acceptable to even the most chivalrous amongst them.
We have been thus minute in our instructions, because they not only apply to the Polka, but equally to all circular dances where a great number stand up to dance at the same time.
We now pass on to the
Sometimes called the Mazourka, though generally best known by the name of its inventor, M. Cellarius, of Paris. It was imported to England in 1845, two years after the introduction of the Polka; and, although it never attained so great a popularity as its predecessor, it was favorably received, and much danced in the best circles. Still it failed to achieve the decided success which might have been reasonably expected from its elegance and beauty. Perhaps one reason of this disappointing result was that many inefficient performers attempted to dance it before they had mastered its somewhat difficult step, and brought it into disrepute by their ungraceful exhibitions. But the grand secret of its partial failure lay in the mania for rapid whirling dances, introduced by the Polka. While the rage for "fast dancing" continued, the measured grace of the Cellarius stood no chance. Now that it has at last happily abated, people are better prepared to appreciate the refined and quiet charm of this really beautiful valse. To dance it well requires some practice; and particular attention must be paid to the carriage and position of the figure, since no dance is more thoroughly spoiled by an awkward, stiff, or stooping attitude.
We proceed to describe the step, so far as it may be possible to do so in words; but we have an uneasy consciousness that all such descriptions bear a close resemblance to those contained in certain little volumes designed to instruct our fair readers in the mysteries of knitting, netting, and crochet. "Slip two, miss one, bring one forward," &c., may convey to the mind of the initiated a distinct idea of the pattern of a collar; but are hardly satisfactory guides to the step of a valse. We must, however, do our best; though again we would impress upon the reader the necessity of seeking further instruction from a professor or experienced friend.
The time of the Cellarius Valse is 3/4, like the common valse; but it should be played much more slowly; if danced quickly, it becomes an unmeaning succession of hops, and its graceful character is destroyed.
We describe the step as danced by the lady; for the gentleman it will be the same, with the feet reversed; that is, for right foot read left, and so on.
_1st and 2nd beat_.--Spring on left foot, sliding forward right foot at the same time, and immediately let your weight rest on the forward foot. This occupies two beats.
_3rd beat_.--Spring on right foot; this ends the bar.
_2nd bar, 1st and 2nd beat_.--Spring again on right foot, and slide forward left at same time. Rest on it a moment as before during second beat; at third beat spring on it; which ends second bar. Continue same step throughout. You will perceive that, at the first and third beat of the time, you hop slightly, resting, during the second beat, on the foremost foot.
_1st beat_.--Spring on left foot, slightly striking both heels together.
_2nd beat_.--Slide right foot to the right, bending the knee.
_3rd beat_.--Bring left foot up to right foot with a slight spring,
raising right foot; which ends the first bar.
_2nd bar, 1st beat_.--Spring again on left foot, striking it with heel of right.
_2nd beat_.--Slide right foot to the right.
_3rd beat_.--Fall on right foot, raising left foot behind it, which ends the second bar. Reverse the step by springing first on the right foot, and sliding the left, &c. The music generally indicates that this step should be repeated three times to the right, which occupies three bars; then _rest_, during the fourth bar, and return with reverse step to the left during the three bars which follow, resting
again at the eighth bar.
_1st beat_.--Spring on left foot, and slide right foot to the right.
_2nd beat_.--Rest on right foot.
_3rd beat_.--Spring on right foot, bringing left up behind it.
_2nd bar, 1st beat_.--Spring on right foot, sliding left foot to the
_2nd beat_.--Rest on left foot.
_3rd beat_.--Hop on left foot, bringing right behind it as before. Continue at pleasure.
The first of these three steps is most commonly used in the valse; but the second is an agreeable change for those who may have grown giddy or weary in doing the _figure en tournant_ (circular movement).
Be careful not to exaggerate the slight hop at the first and third beats of each bar; and to _slide_ the foot gracefully forward, not merely to make a step, as some bad dancers do.
XI.--THE MAZOURKA QUADRILLE.
Those who have mastered the steps of the Cellarius will find little trouble in dancing this elegant quadrille. It has five figures, and can be performed by any even number of couples.
The music, like the step, is that of the Mazourka. The couples are arranged as in the ordinary quadrille.
Join hands all round; _grand rond_ to the left (four bars), then back again to the right (four bars), employing the _second_ step of the Cellarius. Each couple does the _petit tour_ forwards, and backwards, still using the second step, and repeating it three times to the right--then resting a bar; three times to the left--then resting another bar; which occupies eight bars of the music. These figures may be considered as preliminary. We find the quadrille itself so well described in the work of a contemporary, that we cannot do better than extract the account in full, for the benefit of our readers.
_1st Figure_.--Top and bottom couples right and left (eight bars), with Redowa steps;[A] then they advance, the ladies cross over, the gentleman meanwhile pass quickly round each other, and return to own places (four bars); _petit tour_ forward with opposite ladies (four bars); right and left (eight bars); advance again; the ladies return to own places, and the gentlemen pass again round each other to their own ladies (four bars); _petit tour_ backward (four bars). Side couples do likewise.
_2nd Figure_.--(Eight bars rest.) Top and bottom couples advance and retire, hands joined (four bars). All cross over into opposite places, each going to each other's left (four bars); _petit tour_ forward (four bars); advance and retire (four bars), and return to places (four bars); _petit tour_ (four bars). Side couples do likewise.
_3rd Figure_.--(Eight bars rest.) Top and bottom ladies cross over into opposite places (four bars); return, presenting left hands to each other, and right hands to partners, as in _La Poule_ (four bars); pass round with partners into opposite places (four bars); _petit tour_ backward (four bars); _vis-?is_ couples hands across, round (six bars); retire (two bars); top and bottom ladies cross over (four bars); ladies cross again, giving each other left hands, and right to partners (four bars). All pass round to own places (four bars); _petit tour_ backward (four bars).
_4th Figure_.--(Eight bars rest.) Top couple lead round inside the figure (eight bars); _petit tour_ forward and backward (eight bars); advance to opposite couple; the gentleman turns half round without quitting his partner, and gives his left hand to opposite lady; the two ladies join hands behind gentleman (four bars); in this position the three advance and retire (eight bars). The gentleman passes under the ladies' arms; all three pass round to the left, with second step of Cellarius, the opposite lady finishing in her own place (four bars). The top couple return to places (four bars); _petit tour_ forward (four bars). Opposite couple and side couples do likewise.
_5th Figure_.--(Eight bars rest.) Top and bottom couples half right and left (four bars); _petit tour_ backward (four bars); half right and left to places (four bars); _petit tour_ backward (four bars); _vis-?is_ couples hands round to opposite places (four bars); _petit tour_ forward (four bars); hands round to own places (four bars); _petit tour_ (four bars); right and left (eight bars).
Side couples do likewise.
_Finale_. Grand round all to the left, and then to the right (sixteen bars); grand chain, as in the Lancers, with first step of Cellarius (sixteen bars). But if there are more than eight in the quadrille, the music must be continued until all have regained their places.
N.B.--Music continues during rest.
[Footnote A: This step will be found farther on in the book, under the head of the Redowa Valse.]
XII.--THE POLKA MAZOURKA.
The step of this dance is, as its implies, a mixture of the steps of the Polka and the Mazourka. It is a favorite dance with the Parisians, but has never been very popular in England, probably from the same reasons which prevented the success of the Cellarius. Yet it is a pretty dance, and the step is easily acquired. We recommend it to the attention of our readers. The time is 3/8, and quicker than that of the Cellarius.
Gentleman takes his partner as in the valse. _Figure en tournant_. We describe the steps for the gentleman; the lady simply reverses the order of the feet, using left foot for right throughout.
_1st beat_.--Rest on right foot, with left foot a little raised behind, and slide left foot to the left.
_2nd beat_.--Spring on the right foot, bringing it up to where the left foot is, and raising the latter in front.
_3rd beat_.--Spring once more on right foot, passing left foot behind without touching the ground with it; this ends first bar.
_2nd bar, 1st beat_.--Slide left foot to the left, as before.
_2nd beat_.--Spring on right foot, as before, and bring it up to the place of left foot, raising latter at same moment.
_3rd beat_.--Fall on the left foot, and raise the right foot behind; end of second bar.
Begin third bar with right foot, and continue as before. You turn half round in the first three beats, and complete the circle in the second three.
XIII.--THE REDOWA, OR REDOVA.
The step of this valse somewhat resembles that of the Cellarius, and is used, as we have seen, in dancing the Mazourka Quadrille. It is an elegant valse, not so lively as the Polka Mazourka, but, if danced in correct time, not too slowly, is very graceful and pleasing. The step is not so difficult as that of the Cellarius; it is almost a _Pas de Basque_, with the addition of the hop. In all these dances, which partake of the nature of the Mazourka, it is requisite to mark distinctly the first and third beats of every bar, otherwise the peculiar character of the movement is completely lost. We describe the step for the lady as it is employed in the forward movement.
_1st beat_.--Stand with right foot slightly forward; spring upon it, bringing it behind left foot, which is raised at same moment.
_2nd beat_.--Slide your left foot forward, bending the knee.
_3rd beat_.--Bring your right foot, with a slight hop, up behind your left foot, raising the latter and keeping it in front. (One bar.)
_1st beat_.--Spring Upon your left foot, passing it behind your right, and raising latter.
_2nd beat_.--Slide right foot forward, bending the knee.
_3rd beat_.--Bring left foot up to right, with slight hop, and raise right foot at same moment, keeping it in front as before.
When the _figure en tournant_ (circular movement) is employed, the lady begins by sliding the left foot forward, and the right foot backward. Gentleman always does the same, with order of feet reversed.
This dance has been very popular in Paris; in England it is now seldom
The Schottische was introduced amongst us about the same time as the Polka Mazourka, but it received a much more cordial welcome, and has always been popular in England. Its origin is as uncertain as that of the Polka, and it is believed to be a very ancient national dance. It is a great favorite with the German peasantry; and although its name, _Schottische_, would seem to imply that it came from Scotland, there is no doubt that it is essentially German alike in character and in music.
The step, although easy to learn, requires great precision. We would recommend our readers to adhere throughout to the circular movement. Some dancers begin by four steps to the right, then back again, not turning until they commence the second half of the figure. But when many couples are dancing this practice involves a risk of collisions, and it is safer to begin at once with the _figure en tournant_. The second part of the step consists of a series of slight hops, which must be made exactly at the same moment by both parties, otherwise a break-down is inevitable. They should be executed as quickly as possible, so as to avoid the _jigging_ effect which bad dancers impart to the Schottische. When well performed it is a very animated and elegant dance, forming an agreeable variety to the Polka and Valse.
The time is 2/4; it should be played a good deal slower than the Polka; when hurried it becomes ungraceful and vulgar. The first and third beat in each bar should be slightly marked.
We proceed to describe the step as danced by the gentleman.
Slide the left foot forward; bring right foot close up behind left foot. Slide left foot forward a second time. Spring upon left foot. Then do the same with right foot.
Having completed four steps, first with the left foot, and then with the right, you come to the second part, which consists of a series of double hops, two on each foot alternately. Hop twice on the left foot (one hop for each beat of the time), and half turn round; then twice on the right, completing the circular movement. Repeat the same through another four beats; then resume first step through the next two bars, and continue to alternate them every second bar. You can also vary the dance at pleasure, by continuing the first step without changing it for the hops; or you can likewise continue these throughout several bars in succession; taking care, of course, to apprise your partner of your intention. Even when well and quietly danced, there is something undignified in the hopping movement of the second step; and we have observed with satisfaction that for some time past it has been replaced by the step of the _Valse a Deux Temps_, which is now generally used instead of the double hops.
This is a round dance for two, which, like the Polka Mazourka, is a combination of the steps of one or two other dances. Since the introduction of the Polka and the Cellarius, several dances have been invented which partake largely of the character of both. La Varsovienne is very graceful, and was popular in England a few years ago. It is not often danced now.
Take your partner as for the Valse. Count three in each bar. Time much the same as in Polka Mazourka. The music is generally divided into parts of sixteen bars each. The steps for the gentleman is as follows in the first part:--
Slide left foot to the left; slightly spring forward with right foot, twice, leaving the left foot raised behind, in readiness for next step, (1st bar.) Repeat the same. (2nd bar.) One polka step, during which turn. (3rd bar.) Bring your right foot to the second position, and wait a whole bar. (4th bar.) Resume first step with right foot, and repeat throughout, reversing order of feet. Lady, as usual, begins with her right foot, doing the same step.
_Second step in second part. 1st bar_.--Gentleman, beginning with his left foot, does one polka step to the left, turning partner.
_2nd bar_.--Bring right foot to the second position, and bend towards it; wait a whole bar.
_3rd bar_.--One polka step with right foot to the right, turning partner.
_4th bar_.--Left foot to second position; bend towards it, and wait as before.
_Third part_.--Take three polka steps to the left. (This occupies three bars.) Bring right foot to second position, and wait one bar. Repeat the same, beginning with right foot to the right.
This is a Polish round dance for two, which was brought over to London from Paris in 1851. Like the Varsovienne, it is now seldom seen beyond the walls of the dancing academy. Perhaps one reason of its short-lived popularity is to be found in the fact that it is rather troublesome to learn, the steps being changed continually. The time is the same as that of the Schottische, but not quite so quick. Take your position as for the Polka.
_1st bar_.--One polka step to the left, beginning with left foot, and turning half round.
_2nd bar_.--Slide your right foot to right, bring left foot up close behind it, as in the fifth position; make a _glissade_ with your right foot, ending with your left in front.
_3rd bar_.--Spring on your right foot, raising your left in front. Fall on your left foot, passing it behind your right foot. _Glissade_ to right with right foot, ending with left in front.
_4th bar_.--Again spring on right foot, raising left in front. Fall on left foot, passing it behind right. _Glissade_ to right, with your right foot; end with same foot in front. Then repeat from beginning during the next four bars, but the second time be careful to end with the left foot in front. During the last two bars you turn round, but do not move forward.
The step for the lady is the same, with the order of the feet, as usual, reversed; except, however, in the last two bars of this figure, which both begin with the same foot.
The Gorlitza, like the preceding dance, is divided into parts. The first part occupies eight bars of the music; the second, sixteen bars. The step for the second part is as follows:--
_1st four bars_.--Commence with Polka Mazurka step, with left foot to the left, and turn half round. Then do the step of the Cellarius to the right, beginning with the right foot; fall on left foot, keeping it behind right foot; _glissade_ with right foot, and end with same in front.
_2nd four bars_.--Polka Mazurka, with right foot to the right, and turn half round. Cellarius step, with left foot to the left. Fall on right foot, keeping it behind; _glissade_ with left foot, bringing it behind.
Repeat from beginning, which completes the sixteen bars of second half of the figure.
Lady does the same steps, with order of feet reversed.
XVII.--THE VALSE A TROIS TEMPS
Twenty years ago, the Valse (or, as it was then pronounced, _Waltz_) was a stately measure, danced with gravity and deliberation. Each couple wheeled round and round with dignified composure, never interrupting the monotony of the dance by any movements forward or backward. They consequently soon became giddy, although the music was not played above half as fast as the valse music of our day. We are bound to admit that this stately fashion of waltzing was infinitely more graceful than the style which has superseded it. But, having confessed so much, we may venture to add that the Valse, as danced by the present generation, possesses a spirit, lightness, and variety quite unknown to its stately predecessor.
The old Waltz was introduced into this country from Germany, where it has always been the favorite dance of the people in all ranks and conditions. But, although we adopted the step of their national waltz, we so entirely altered the time, that it became in our hands a totally different dance, which the Germans themselves would have found it difficult to recognize. At that period, "fast dancing" was unknown in England, and would have been regarded as highly indecorous.
At its first introduction, the Waltz was received with great mistrust by the older portion of the community. If it was to be tolerated at all in correct society, it must at least be danced in a deliberate manner, consonant with the dignity of the English character. It was, therefore, taken at half its original _temps_; it ceased to be the giddy, intoxicating whirl in which the Germans delight, and subsided into the comparatively insipid and spiritless affair known thirty years ago as the "German Waltz."
We have already seen how complete was the revolution effected by the Polka in these old-fashioned ideas. But, although we cannot regret the introduction of a more animated style of dancing, we are sorry that the old Waltz has been so entirely given up. When restored to its original _temps_, the _Valse a Trois Temps_ is nearly as spirited as the _Valse a Deux_; and twice as graceful. It has the additional advantage over the latter, that it contains in each bar three steps to three beats of the time; whereas the _Deux Temps_, as its name implies, numbers only two steps in a bar of three notes; and is thus incorrect in time. We venture to predict that the old Waltz will, at no distant day, be restored to public favor. We shall be heartily glad to welcome it once more, but on the condition that it shall be danced in the only manner which does justice to all its attractions; that is, as it is danced by the German peasants under the wide-spreading oaks of its own fatherland. We proceed to describe the step for the gentleman: the same, beginning with right foot instead of left, will apply to the lady.
Gentleman takes his partner round the waist with his right arm; his left hand holds hers, as in the Polka. Lady places left hand on his shoulder, and right hand in his left hand. Begin at once with the _figure en tournant_. Time 3/4; one step to each beat. First beat in each bar should be slightly marked by the dancers.
_1st beat_.--Slide left foot backwards, towards the left.
_2nd beat_.--Slide your right foot past your left in same direction, keeping right foot behind left, and turning slightly to the right.
_3rd beat_.--Bring left foot up behind right (one bar).
_1st beat_.--Slide right foot forward towards the right.
_2nd beat_.--Slide left foot forward, still turning towards right.
_3rd beat_.--Bring right foot up to right, turning on both feet, so as to complete the circle (two bars). Remember to finish with right foot in front. Repeat from first beat of first bar. Gentleman always turns from left to right; lady from right to left.
The step of the old Waltz is simple enough; nevertheless some practice is required to dance it really well. Remember always to _slide_, not to _step_, forward; for the beauty of this valse consists in its gliding motion. It is not at first easy to dance swiftly and quietly at the same time; but a little patience will soon enable you to conquer that difficulty, and to do full justice to what is, in our opinion, the most perfectly graceful of all the round dances, without a single exception.
XVIII.--THE VALSE A DEUX TEMPS.
We are indebted to the mirth-loving capital of Austria for this brilliant Valse, which was, as we have observed elsewhere, introduced to our notice shortly before the Polka appeared in England, and owed its popularity to the revolution in public taste effected by that dance.
Although the Polka has gone out of fashion, the _Valse a Deux Temps_ still reigns supreme; but within the last two years a dangerous rival has arisen, which may perhaps drive it in its turn from the prominent position which, for more than twenty seasons, it has maintained. This rival is the New Valse, of which we shall speak in its place; but we must now describe the step of the _Valse a Deux Temps_.
We have already remarked that this Valse is incorrect in time. Two steps can never properly be made to occupy the space of three beats in the music. The ear requires that each beat shall have its step; unless, as in the Cellarius, an express pause be made on one beat. This inaccuracy in the measure has exposed the _Valse a Deux Temps_ to the just censure of musicians, but has never interfered with its success among dancers. We must caution our readers, however, against one mistake often made by the inexperienced. They imagine that it is unnecessary to observe any rule of time in this dance, and are perfectly careless whether they begin the step at the beginning, end, or middle of the bar. This is quite inadmissible. Every bar must contain within its three beats two steps. These steps must begin and end strictly with the beginning and end of each bar; otherwise a hopeless confusion of the measure will ensue. Precision in this matter is the more requisite, because of the peculiarity in the measure. If the first step in each bar be not strongly marked, the valse measure has no chance of making itself apparent; and the dance becomes a meaningless _galop_.
The step contains two movements, a _glissade_ and a _chassez_, following each other quickly in the same direction. Gentleman begins as usual with his left foot; lady with her right.
_1st beat_.--_Glissade_ to the left with left foot.
_2nd and 3rd beats_.--_Chassez_ in the same direction with right foot; do not turn in this first bar.
_2nd bar, 1st beat_.--Slide right foot backwards, turning half round.
_2nd and 3rd beat_.--Pass left foot behind right, and _chassez_ forward with it, turning half round to complete the _figure en tournant_. Finish with right foot in front, and begin over again with left foot.
There is no variation in this step; but you can vary the movement by going backwards or forwards at pleasure, instead of continuing the rotatory motion. The _Valse a Deux Temps_, like the Polka, admits of a reverse step; but it is difficult, and looks awkward unless executed to perfection. The first requisite in this Valse is to avoid all jumping movements. The feet must glide smoothly and swiftly over the floor, and be raised from it as little as possible. Being so very quick a dance, it must be performed quietly, otherwise it is liable to become ungraceful and vulgar. The steps should be short, and the knees slightly bent.
As the movement is necessarily very rapid, the danger of collisions is proportionately increased; and gentlemen will do well to remember and act upon the cautions contained in the previous pages of this book, under the head of "The Polka".
They should also be scrupulous not to attempt to conduct a lady through this Valse until they have thoroughly mastered the step and well practiced the _figure en tournant_. Awkwardness or inexperience doubles the risks of a collision; which, in this extremely rapid dance, might be attended with serious consequences.
The _Deux Temps_ is a somewhat fatiguing valse, and after two or three turns round the room, the gentleman should pause to allow his partner to rest. He should be careful to select a lady whose height does not present too striking a contrast to his own; for it looks ridiculous to see a tall man dancing with a short woman, or _vice versa_. This observation applies to all round dances, but especially to the valse, in any of its forms.
XIX.--THE NEW VALSE.
This graceful variation of the valse movement has not long been introduced into England, and is not yet so universally popular as it promises to become. It was, however, much danced in London last year, and there is reason to believe that it will be the favorite dance this season. It is more elegant than the _Valse a Deux Temps_, and more spirited than the Cellarius. The _tempo_ is slower than that of the ordinary valse. The step is extremely simple.
Gentleman takes his partner as for the _Valse a Deux Temps_. Fall on the left foot, and make two _glissades_ with the right (1st bar). Repeat, reversing order of feet (2nd bar). Lady begins with her right foot as usual. The step is the same throughout. _Figure en tournant_.
The peculiarity of this Valse lies in its accent, which cannot be properly explained in words, but must be seen to be understood. We recommend our readers to lose no time in acquiring a correct knowledge of the New Valse. It is unquestionably the most easy and most graceful dance which has appeared of late years, and we are told on first-rate authority that it is destined to a long career of triumphs.
The Galop, as its name implies, is the quintessence of all the "fast" dances. At the time of the Polka mania it was very much in vogue, and was almost as great a favorite as the _Deux Temps_. Although its popularity has greatly declined of late, it generally occurs twice or thrice in the programme of every ball-room; and the music of the Galop is, like the dance itself, so gay and spirited, that we should regret to see it wholly laid aside. The step is similar to that of the _Deux Temps_ Valse, but the time is 2/4, and as quick as possible. Two _chassez_ steps are made in each bar. The figure can be varied by taking four or eight steps in the same direction, or by turning with every two steps, as in the _Deux Temps_. Like all round dances, it admits of an unlimited number of couples. Being, perhaps, the most easy of any, every one takes part in it, and the room is generally crowded during its continuance. A special amount of care is therefore necessary on the part of the gentleman to protect his partner from accidents.
We have now described all the round dances at present in vogue.
The Cotillion is rarely seen in English ball-rooms, but on the Continent, especially in Italy, it is a great favorite. It occupies a somewhat similar position to our own Sir Roger de Coverley, being generally the concluding dance of the evening, in which every one joins. It can be prolonged at pleasure by the introduction of more figures, for it has no definite beginning or end. It is, in fact, more like a long game performed to the accompaniment of valse music than a dance.
We shall describe the Cotillion as we have seen it in the palaces of Italy, where it is danced with enthusiasm, and diversified by an innumerable variety of figures, only a few of which we can undertake to remember. It is never commenced till towards the close of the ball, at so advanced an hour that all the sober portion of the assembly have retired, and only the real lovers of dancing remain, who sometimes prolong this their favorite amusement till a late hour in the morning.
It is customary for gentlemen to select their partners for the Cotillion early in the evening, while the other dances are in progress; for, as it lasts so long a time, it is necessary to know beforehand how many ladies feel inclined to remain during its continuance.
A circle of chairs is arranged round the room, the center being left clear; the spectators stand behind the chairs, so as not to interfere with the dancers. Each gentleman leads his partner to a seat, taking another beside her. To these same seats they return after every figure, it being the etiquette of the dance that no couple should appropriate any chairs but their own, taken at the commencement. When the dancers are arranged round the room, the orchestra strikes up the spirited music of the Cotillion, which consists of a long series of valse movements at the usual _tempo_ of the _Deux Temps_. There are generally several leaders of the Cotillion, who decide upon the succession of the figures. If there are many couples dancing, one leader attends upon a group of six or eight couples, to ensure that all shall take part. We are aware of no fixed rule for the succession of the figures, which depends upon the caprice of the leaders. A good leader will invent new combinations, or diversify old figures; thus securing an almost endless variety. One of the most popular is the following:--
Several gentlemen assume the names of flowers or plants, such as the honeysuckle, woodbine, ivy, &c. A lady is then requested to name her favorite flower; and the fortunate swain who bears its name springs forward and valses off with her in triumph. It is usual to make one, or at most two, turns round the room, and then restore the lady to her own partner, who in the meantime has perhaps been the chosen one of another lady. All having regained their places, each gentleman valses with his own partner once round the room, or remains sitting by her side, as she may feel inclined.
Baskets filled with small bouquets are brought in. Each gentleman provides himself with a bouquet, and presents it to the lady with whom he wishes to valse.
Sometimes a light pole or staff is introduced, to the top of which are attached long streamers of different colored ribbons. A lady takes one of these to several of her fair companions in turn, each of whom chooses a ribbon, and, holding it firmly in her hand, follows the leading lady to the room. Here they are met by an equal number of gentlemen, likewise grouped around a leader who carries the pole, while each holds a streamer of his favorite color, or that which he imagines would be selected by the _dame de ses pensees_. The merry groups compare notes: those who possess streamers of the same color pair off in couples, and valse gaily round the room, returning to places as before.
Six or eight ladies and the same number of gentlemen form in two lines, facing each other. The leading lady throws a soft worsted ball of bright colors at the gentleman with whom she wishes to dance. He catches it, throws it back to the fair group, and valses off with his partner. Whoever catches the returning ball, has the right to throw next; and the same ceremony is repeated until all have chosen their partners, with whom they valse round the room, returning to places as usual. Sometimes a handkerchief is substituted for the ball; but the latter is better, being more easily thrown and caught.
Six or eight chairs are placed in a circle, the backs turned inwards. Ladies seat themselves in the chairs, gentlemen move slowly round in front of them. Each lady throws her handkerchief or bouquet at the gentleman with whom she wishes to dance as he passes before her. Valse round as usual and return to places.
Sometimes a gentleman is blindfolded, and placed in a chair. Two ladies take a seat on either side of him; and he is bound to make his selection without seeing the face of his partner. Having done so, he pulls the covering from his eyes, and valses off with her. It is a curious circumstance that mistakes seldom occur, the gentleman being generally sufficiently _clairvoyant_ to secure the partner he desires.
We have here described a few of the most striking figures of the Cotillion. We might multiply them to an extent which would equally tax the patience of our readers and our own powers of remembrance; but we forbear. Enough has been told to show the graceful, coquettish character of the dance, which adapts itself admirably to the Italian nature, and is as much beloved by them as the Valse by the Germans or the Cachucha by the dark-eyed maidens of Spain. We should rejoice to see this charming stranger naturalized in English ball-rooms. It is especially adapted to sociable gatherings, where most of the guests are friends or acquaintances.
XXII.--THE SPANISH DANCE.
This pretty though now somewhat old-fashioned dance was, before the introduction of the _Deux Temps_ and Polka, a principal feature in every ball-room. It is danced with the step and music of the Old _Valse a Trois Temps_, played slower than the music of the _Deux Temps_.
Sometimes the couples stand in two long parallel lines, as in a country dance; sometimes they are arranged in a circle. The leading gentleman must be on the ladies' side, and his partner on the gentleman's side. Every fourth lady and gentleman exchange places, to avoid the necessity of keeping the other couples waiting. The whole set can thus begin at the same moment.
Leading gentleman and _second_ lady advance and retreat with Valse step, and change places. Leading lady and second gentleman do the same at the same time.
Leading gentleman and his partner advance and retreat, and change places. Second lady and gentleman do the same at same time. Leading gentleman and second lady repeat this figure; first lady and second gentleman likewise, at same time.
Leading gentleman and first lady repeat same figure; second gentleman and lady repeat at same time.
All four, joining hands, advance to center, and retreat. Ladies pass to the left. Repeat three times. Each gentleman takes his partner, and the two couples valse round each other once or twice at pleasure; the second lady and gentleman being left at the top of the figure, as in a country dance. Leading gentleman and partner repeat same figure with succeeding couple to end of dance.
It is obvious that there must be an equal number of couples; and that they must be arranged in sets of four, eight, sixteen, twenty, twenty-four, and so on.
La Tempete was brought over to this country from Paris some years ago. It speedily became a favorite, and for several seasons was much danced in London and the provinces. It unites the cheerfulness of the quadrille with the sociability of the country dance; and when its lively figures are correctly performed, it is both amusing and animated.
It is divided into parties of four couples, like the quadrille; but their arrangement is different. Two couples stand side by side, facing their respective _vis-?is_; there are not any side couples. As many sets of four couples can be thus arranged as the room will accommodate. Each new set turns its back upon the second line of the preceding set. Thus the dance can be the whole length of the room, but is only the breadth of two couples. The figure is as follows:--
Place two couples side by side, the lady standing at the right hand of the gentleman. Place two other couples as their _vis-?is_. Next place two couples with their backs turned to the first set; two couples opposite them for their _vis-?is_; and continue arranging more sets of four couples according to the number of the dancers and the size of the room.
_First part_.--All the couples begin at the same moment, by advancing and retreating twice, with joined hands. First couples (that is, all whose backs are turned to the top of the room) cross, with hands joined, to the places of their _vis-?is_. The latter cross at the same time, but, separating, pass outside top couples to the top, where they join hands, return to own places, and back again to the top without separating; the top couples crossing separately at the same time outside the second couples. Top couples then join hands, and all return to their own places, second couples separating to allow the others to pass between them.
Lady and gentleman in the center of each line join hands, giving their disengaged hands to their two _vis-?is_. All four half round to the left, then half round back again to places. Meantime, the outside lady and gentleman perform the same with their respective _vis-?is_, making a circle of two instead of four. Circle of four give hands across round; change hands; round once more, and back to places. Outside couples perform same figure in twos. All the sets perform the figure at the same moment.
_Second part_.--All advance, retreat, and advance again; all the top couples passing the second couples into the next line, where they re-commence the same figure, their former _vis-?is_ having passed to the top, and turned round to wait for a fresh _vis-?is_; gentleman always keeping lady at his right hand. An entire change of places is thus effected, which is continued throughout this figure, until all the top lines have passed to the bottom, the bottom lines at the same time passing to the top; and then turning round, all go back again by the same method reversed, till all have regained their original places. The dance may terminate here, or the last figure may be repeated, at pleasure. When the first exchange of _vis-?is_ takes place, the new lines at the top and bottom find themselves for a moment without a _vis-?is_; but, at the next move forward, they are provided, and can continue the figure as above described. We extract from a contemporary the following graceful variation in the first half of this dance:--"All advance and retire twice (hands joined). All _vis-?is_ couples _chassez croisez en double_, each gentleman retaining his partner's left hand; eight _galop_ steps (four bars); _dechassez_ eight steps (four steps), the couple on the right of the top line passing in front of the couple on the left the first time, returning to place, passing behind. Thus, two couples are moving to the right, and two to the left. This is repeated. The _vis-?is_ couples do likewise at the same time. This of course applies to all the couples, as all commence at the same time."
La Tempete is danced to quick music, in 2/4 time. The steps are the same as in quadrilles; varied sometimes by the introduction of the _galop_ step, when the couples cross to each others' places or advance into the lines of the next set.
XXIV.--SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY.
We conclude our account of the dances now most in vogue with an old-fashioned favorite, whose popularity dates from a bygone age, and bids fair to survive the present one. Long may its cheerful rustic strains be heard in our ball-rooms, and prove we have not grown too fine or too foolish to take pleasure in the simple dances of our ancestors. Sir Roger de Coverley is always introduced at the end of the evening; and no dance could be so well fitted to send the guests home in good humour with each other and with their hosts. We describe it as it is danced in the present day, slightly modernized to suit the taste of our time. Like the quadrille, it can be danced with equal propriety by old or young; and is so easy, that the most inexperienced dancer may fearlessly venture to take part in it.
Form in two parallel lines; ladies on the left, gentlemen on the right, facing their partners. All advance; retreat (which occupies the first four bars); cross to opposite places (four bars more); advance and retreat (four bars); re-cross to places (four bars).
The lady who stands at the top, and the gentleman who stands at the bottom, of each line, advance towards each other, courtesy and bow, and retire to places. The gentleman at the top and the lady at the bottom do the same. Lady at top and gentleman at bottom advance again, give right hands, and swing quickly round each other back to places. Gentleman at top and lady at bottom do the same. Top lady advances, gives right hand to partner opposite, and passes behind the two gentlemen standing next to him. Then through the line and across it, giving left hand to partner, who meets her half way between the two lines, having in the meantime passed behind the two ladies who stood next his partner. Lady then passes behind the two ladies next lowest; gentleman at same time behind the two gentlemen next lowest; and so on all down the line. At the bottom, lady gives left hand to her partner, and they promenade back to places at the top of the line. (This figure is frequently omitted.) Top couple advance, courtesy and bow, then lady turns off to the right, gentleman to the left, each followed by the rest of her or his line. Top couple meet at the bottom of figure, join hands, and, raising their arms, let all the other couples pass under them towards the top of the line, till all reach their own places, except the top, who have now become the bottom couple. Figure is repeated from the beginning, until the top couple have once more worked their way back to their original places at the top of the line.
Throughout the Ball-room Guide we have endeavored to avoid as much as possible the rise of French words, and to give our directions in the plain mother tongue. Nevertheless there must always be certain technical terms, such as _chassez croisez, glissade_, &c., &c., for which it would be difficult to find good English equivalents. We therefore subjoin a Glossary of all such words and expressions as have long since been universally accepted as the accredited phraseology of the Ball-room.
A vos places, _back to your own places_.
A la fin, _at the end_.
A droite, _to the right_.
A gauche, _to the left_.
Balancez, _set to your partners_.
Balancez aux coins, _set to the corners_.
Balancez quatre en ligne, _four dancers set in a line, joining hands, as in La Poule_.
Balancez en moulinet, _gentlemen and their partners give each other right hands across, and_ balancez _in the form of a cross_.
Balancez et tour des mains, _all set to partners, and turn to places. (See_ Tour des mains.)
Ballotez, _do the same step four times without changing your place_.
Chaine Anglaise, _opposite couples right and left_.
Chaine des dames, _ladies' chain_.
Chaine Anglaise double, _double right and left_.
Chaine des dames double, _all the ladies perform the ladies' chain at
the same time_.
Chassez croisez, _do the_ chasse _step from left to right, or right to left, the lady passing before the gentleman in the opposite direction, that is, moving right if he moves left, and vice versa_.
Chassez croisez et dechassez, _change places with partners, ladies passing in front, first to the right, then to the left, back to places. It may be either_ a quatre _four couples--or_ les huit--_eight couples_.
Chassez a droite--a gauche, _move to the right--to the left_.
Le cavalier seul, _gentleman advances alone_.
Les cavaliers seuls deux fois, _gentlemen advance and retire twice without their partners_.
Changez vos dames, _change partners_.
Contre partie pour les autres, _the other dancers do the same figure_.
Demi promenade, _half promenade_.
Demi chaine Anglaise, _half right and left_.
Demi moulinet, _ladies all advance to center, right hands across, and back to places_.
Demi tour a quatre, _four hands half round_.
Dos-a-dos, _lady and opposite gentleman advance, pass round each other back to back, and return to places_.
Les dames en moulinet, _ladies give right hands across to each other, half round, and back again with left hands_.
Les dames donnent la main droite--gauche--a leurs cavaliers, _ladies give the right--left--hands to partners_.
En avant deux et en arriere; _first lady and_ vis-?is _gentleman advance and retire. To secure brevity_, en avant _is always understood to imply_ en arriere _when the latter is not expressed_.
En avant deux fois, _advance and retreat twice_.
En avant quatre, _first couple and their_ vis-?is _advance and
En avant trois, _three advance and retire, as in La Pastorale_.
Figurez devant, _dance before_.
Figurez a droite--a gauche, _dance to the right--to the left_.
La grande tour de rond, _all join hands and dance, completely round the figure in a circle back to places_.
Le grand rond, _all join hands, and advance and retreat twice, as in La Finale_.
Le grand quatre, _all eight couples form into squares_.
La grande chaine, _all the couples move quite round the figure, giving alternately the right and left hand to each in succession, beginning with the right, until all have regained their places, as in last figure of the Lancers_.
La grande promenade, _all eight (or more) couples promenade all round the figure back to places_.
La main, _the hand_.
La meme pour les cavaliers, _gentlemen do the same_.
Le moulinet, _hands across. The figure will explain whether it is the gentlemen, or the ladies, or both, who are to perform it_.
Pas d'Allemande, _the gentleman turns his partner under each arm in succession_.
Pas de Basque, _a kind of sliding step forward, performed with both feet alternately in quick succession. Used in the Redowa and other dances. Comes from the South of France_.
Glissade, _a sliding step_.
Le Tiroir, _first couple cross with hands joined to opposite couple's place, opposite couple crossing separately outside them; then cross back to places, same figure reversed_.
Tour des mains, _give both hands to partner, and turn her round without quitting your places_.
Tour sur place, _the same_.
Tournez vos dames, _the same_.
Tour aux coins, _turn at the corners, as in the Caledonians, each gentleman turning the lady who stands nearest his left hand, and immediately returning to his own place_.
Traversez, _cross over to opposite place_
Retraversez, _cross back again_.
Traversez deux, en dormant la main droite, _lady and_ vis-?is _gentleman cross, giving right hand, as in La Poule_.
Figure en tournant, _circular figure_.
Begin with the _grand rond_ or great round; that is, the whole
quadrille; first and second couples and sides join hands all round,
advance four steps, and retreat ditto. _L'Ete_ is now sometimes
introduced, the _grand rond_ being repeated between each division of
the figure. But it gives a greater variety and _brio_ to the quadrille
if, after the first _grand rond_, the following figure be performed,
the _galop_ step being used throughout. Each gentleman (at top and
bottom couples) takes his lady round the waist, as for the _galop_;
advance four steps, retreat ditto, advance again, cross to opposite
places; advance, retreat, re-cross to own places. Ladies chain; half
promenade across; half right and left to places; _grand rond_. Side
couples repeat figure. _Grand rond_ between each division and at the
conclusion. Bow to your partners, and conduct your lady to seat.
Page Last Updated February 11, 2008
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