- Era: 1830s, England
A year or so ago I published a discussion and reconstruction of the 1862 country dance gallopade known as The Gothic Dance and mentioned that there was a very similar dance in London dancing master J. S. Pollock's c1830 manual, A Companion to La Terpsichore Moderne (Second Edition). I've taught this dance at the few 1830s events I've had an opportunity to run, but have not previously published a reconstruction.
The original instructions for the dance, one of a pair of country dance gallopades with numbers but no titles, are as follows:
No. 2. (4 parts)
All advance, retire, and cross over, changing places with partners -- advance, retire, and cross over back again -- first and second couples right and left -- first couple gallopade down the middle to the bottom of the dance, and remain at the bottom.
The formation is a long line of couples, gentlemen on one side (with their left side toward the top of the set, or orchestra) and ladies on the other, in two facing lines. While not specified, I'd have the dancers take hands along those lines. The reconstruction is fairly straightforward:
4b All advance and retire in lines
4b All cross over, passing right shoulders and turning to the right to form facing lines again
8b Repeat all of the above to original places
8b First two couples right and left
8b First couple gallopade down the center to the end, remaining there
(repeat until all couples have gone down the dance)
The similarity to the Gothic Dance as well as to the traditional English Galopede, which this appears to be an early version of, is obvious in the advance/retire/cross over pattern and final gallopade, though the Gothic Dance is far more creative in its figures. This dance is simple and rather sedate by comparison!
The right and left is a country dance right and left rather than a quadrille right and left (chaîne anglaise). Dancers face partners and pass right shoulders to change places. Make a quarter turn to face your neighboring lady/gentleman and pass left shoulders. Make a quarter turn to face partners and repeat all this to places. Each dancer is, in effect, going around the four corners of a square.
All the possibilities discussed for the position taken for the gallopade at the end of the Gothic Dance apply here as well, but since in this case the dance is taken from the same manual as the description of the gallopade incorporating a reverse ballroom hold, that would be my preferred style. The dancers take the opposite of the usual ballroom hold, with the gentleman's left arm around the lady and his right and her left hand extended in front of them as they galop down the set, the gentleman remaining on his side and the lady on hers, separating easily to places at the end of the lines.
As this is an English dance of the 1830s, I would continue to use the fancier dance steps of the era rather than the walking steps of mid-nineteenth-century America. For the advance and retire, chassé, jeté, assemblé forward and the same in reverse (initiating with the left foot). For crossing over, three chassés, jeté, assemblé. For the right and left, three chassés, jeté, assemblé repeated. The galopade, of course, would use a series of sixteen galop steps, the performance of which is described here. The set needs to be long enough for the dancers to galop for a full eight bars and the dancers will need to adjust their step-length according to the number of couples they must pass.
There is no music given for the dance, but any lively thirty-two-bar dance tune of the era will work.