Moving right along from my first post in the Sixdrilles series, here are the reconstructions of the next two figures:
Figure Two: L’Été (8b introduction + 24bx4)
4b First gentleman and two opposite ladies en avant and en arrière.
4b Same three chassez-dechassez (à droite et à gauche)
4b Same three traversez, gentleman crossing between the two ladies
4b Same three chassez-dechassez
4b Same three traversez/balancez [see note below] while partners balancez
4b Same three rond de trois
The figure is then repeated by the second gentleman and the two opposite ladies, the third gentlemen and two opposite ladies, and the fourth gentleman and two opposite ladies.
The Sixdrilles are a clever reworking of the figures French Quadrille (or First Set) for a group of twelve dancers in the form of a square of trios, each consisting of a gentleman and two ladies. I have two Scottish sources for them, which match fairly closely:
The Ball-Room, by Monsieur J. P. Boulogne (Glasgow, 1827).
Lowe's Ball-Conductor and Assembly Guide...Third Edition, by the Messrs. Lowe (Edinburgh, c1830)
Monsieur Boulogne is billed as French, but I know no more about him. The Messrs. Lowe were a group of four brothers, all dance teachers, one of whom eventually became famous as dancing master at Balmoral for the family of Queen Victoria. Their book is difficult to date, especially since it is a third edition. A reference to the Sixdrilles being created around the time of the coronation of Charles X puts it at 1824 or later, and a late reference to the opera Guillaume Tell (Paris, 1829) at the very end of the book suggests 1830 onward. The last half-dozen pages look like a later attachment, however, and may have been added for the second or third edition. The Sixdrilles appear much earlier and are integrated into the overall work.
Whatever their precise date, Boulogne ensures that these particular trio-quadrilles are at least documentable to late-1820s Scotland. Let me note, however, that the idea of a quadrille of trios is not unique to Scottish sources. Either a lot of people had the same inspiration or there was significant borrowing of ideas (if not precise figures) going on.
In Germany, quadrilles for twelve (called Douzes) in four-trio (as opposed to six-couple) formations were published in the 1811 and 1813 editions of Wilhelm Gottlieb Becker's Taschenbuch zum geselligen Vergnügen and, closer in time to the Sixdrilles, in Christian Langer's 1824 and 1838 editions of Terpsichore. In London, G. M. S. Chivers included a set of "Troisdrilles" in his mid-1820s The Dancing Master in Miniature, and in far-off Quebec, W. G. Wells included "Tredrilles" in his 1832 Danciad. Wells copied most of his book from English sources, so I suspect his Tredrilles are likewise borrowed.
Given Boulogne's nationality and the Lowes' tendency to borrow liberally from continental sources, it would not particularly surprise me if the Sixdrilles have a French or German source. None of the other trio-quadrilles are precisely the same as the Sixdrilles, however. The Becker Douzes have some interesting figures, but the Tredrilles and Troisdrilles are banal.
The Sixdrilles are excellent, however: intelligent variations on the basic figures that are easy to learn for dancers who know the First Set, as any good dancer of the 1820s would, and a convenient solution to the problem of having more ladies than gentlemen at a ball.
Sadly, it is near-impossible to definitively answer the critical question of whether they were ever actually danced. There's a dearth of written ball programs for the British Isles in this era, and the Sixdrilles need not even have been listed on such. They were musically compatible with the First Set, so most of the room could be dancing a normal quadrille while a few individual sets danced in trio formation. But since the imbalance of genders continues to be a problem today, I find it useful to have a solution documentable to dance manuals, if not to the dance floor.
It's been years since I've written about dos-à-dos sequences for the Regency-era quadrille, but I've been working on new ones on and off for most of that time. Over the last year I've had more chances to teach them, both to my New York classes and in various cities in Russia, most recently Kirov, where I wedged a spontaneous dos-à-dos lesson into one evening's workshop.
One of the key points in my current "basic dos-à-dos concepts" class involves examining the meaning of the phrase "present the right shoulder", as found in sources like Principes et Notions Élémentaires sur l’Art de la Danse Pour la Ville (Paris, 1811) by J. H. Gourdoux and Elements and Principles of the Art of Dancing, a translation of Gourdoux with some changes and added material published by Victor Guillou in Philadelphia in 1817. Both texts use the same phrase (highlighted):
Pour remplir ce trait, un cavalier et une dame de vis-à-vis se présenteront l’épaule droite, et s’avançant, ils passeront dos-à-dos, en exécutant les trois chassés comme pour traverser, et rentreront à leur place, faisant le jeté et l’assemblé. (Gourdoux 1811)
To dance this trait, the opposite lady and gentleman will present their right shoulder to each other, and perform the temps levé and chassé three times as for crossing over; and, turning around each other, they return to their stands doing the jeté and assemblé in the third position. (Guillou)
I hadn't paid close attention to this phrase when working with basic dos-à-dos sequences long ago, but for the last few years I've been quietly studying more advanced step-sequences, which have given me some new insights. The "right shoulder" detail should not be ignored.
I reconstructed Regency dancing master Thomas Wilson's Royal Scotch Quadrilles ten or so years ago and have taught them off and on ever since, eventually with music custom-recorded for me by the dance band Spare Parts. But though I put the basic calls for the figures online years ago, I've never done a detailed write-up of my reconstruction. One reason for that is that while I have long-since solidified my reconstruction of the figures, I've never been satisfied with the step-sequences I've used for one of the last figures of the dance, the chassé-croisé.
Chassé-croisé is a very common figure in Regency quadrilles: partners both face the center of the set, slide sideways to the corners (the gentleman passing behind the lady), balance, slide back, and balance again. Each part takes two bars for a total of eight. There are also four-bar versions that skip the balancing. A couple of years ago I wrote a series of three posts covering different ways to perform the sequence with the French steps which are normally used in quadrilles, the first of which breaks down the figure in detail for those unfamiliar with it.
The problem for me has been that Wilson specifically said about The Royal Scotch Quadrilles that they were "adapted to Scotch steps", and my interpretation of that comment is that the figures should be performed using the best information we have on native Scottish dance steps of that era, the set of steps described by Francis Peacock in 1805, even if the Scots themselves were happily dancing French quadrilles with French steps by the early 1820s. And that presents a problem with this particular figure.
Unlike the French step repertoire, Peacock's does not include any equivalent of the jeté-assemblé combination that often concludes French step-sequences and has the handy effect of "resetting" the feet, leaving the weight balanced evenly so that either foot can be freed to start the next step. That is particularly useful in setting up for chassé-croisé, since while the gentleman moves to the right and therefore can easily start with his right foot in the standard fashion for this era, the lady is moving to the left, and step-sequences call for her to start on her left foot, as may be seen in the sequences I have described previously. If there is no jeté-assemblé, then the lady cannot easily free her left foot instead of her right. And if she starts the sliding sequence with her right foot (there is a Scottish step that makes that a viable option) she ends up with her left foot free for the balancing, which is also non-ideal. What to do?
Over the past decade or so I've experimented with adding "foot fudges" (extra changes of weight), started whole series of figures on the left foot, and sometimes allowed the dancers to balance in mirror image or left-first. None of this is good period practice. There are documented ways to cheat in historical quadrille footwork, but adding extra weight changes is not one of them. There are occasionally step-sequences that start on the left foot, but doing a whole quadrille figure on the opposite foot from one's partner is just wrong. And balancing is generally done with both dancers moving to the right, or on the right foot first, not to the left, and definitely not in mirror image. It's been a constant irritation to me that I couldn't get this one element of this quadrille up to my own standards, to the point where I stopped teaching it unless specially requested.
So I'm particularly grateful to one of my students, who during a private tutoring session this afternoon made an offhand remark that abruptly solved the problem for me. The answer has been right in front of me all along.
This rather wonderful description of the figures of the First Set, or French Quadrille, appeared in the November 29, 1856, issue of Spirit of the Times; A Chronicle of the Turf, Agriculture, Field Sports, Literature and the Stage, a New York journal published from 1831 to 1861. According to ProQuest's bibliographic description, Spirit of the Times was said to "have been the first all-around sporting journal in the U.S.", specializing in racing but also including "field sports, hunting and fishing, agriculture, literature, fashion, and the theater...news, court proceedings, poetry, and advertisements." And, apparently, a description of dancing a quadrille in terms even a sailor could understand.
"The Quadrille Nautically Described" seems not to have been original to Spirit of the Times:
We have some idea that this capital jeu d esprit is not new. But as our dancing season is just commencing, it may amuse some of our readers to see it reproduced. It makes the noble art of dancing a quadrille clear to the simplest (nautical) capacity:
Some of the details of the quadrille description seem to hark back to an earlier era. But I've had no luck tracing any earlier publication.
After that brief introduction, the anonymous author then duly worked his way through the six figures of the First Set: Pantalon, Ete, Poule, Trenise, Pastorale, and Finale. He uses an entirely new set of terms for the figures, and it took me a couple of readings to realize how clever a "translation" this actually was. I'm accustomed to French and English terms for the quadrille figures, but I've never before read them in Nautical!
Let me translate it into English, figure by figure.
Several years ago, I described the Royal Lancers (a.k.a. Horse Guards), one of the ways in which the famous Lancers Quadrille was adapted for a group of sixteen dancers. I mentioned then that this was only one of several different Lancers adaptations for larger sets. The Octagon Lancers is another take on the same idea, written about twenty years later by New York dancing master C. H. Rivers and published in his book A Full Description of Modern Dances. The linked copy is not dated, but there's another copy of the book with a different cover but precisely the same contents which is dated 1885. Rivers seems to have liked the octagon format; a few years later he created a non-Lancers octagon quadrille.
With the exception of the fourth figure, the Royal Lancers doesn't really take advantage of the larger formation. The Octagon Lancers does a much better job of this, though its fourth figure is not quite as good.
The formation, in case it was not perfectly clear, is an enlarged square, with two couples on each side, as shown in Rivers' diagram at left.
Unlike the Royal Lancers, which has the "first couples" (and each other matching-numbered couple) as a facing pair, Rivers has the two first couples as neighbors on the side of the set. He secondarily labels the two couples on each side the left couple and the right couple. The first and second pairs of couples are considered the head couples, the third and fourth, the side couples. Corner couples are, for example, the right couple of the first couples and the left couple of the third couples.
The first three figures of the Octagon Lancers are fairly simple adaptations, which I will cover below. The fourth and fifth figures will get a separate post.
The Octagon Lancers is deliberately choreographed to fit the standard Lancers repeat structure, so any recording of the Lancers can be used. A good one in mid-nineteenth century style is available on the Spare Parts CD Dancing by the Shore.
I was looking for something new to do with galopade for my upcoming classes in Voronezh, Russia when I came across the same set of galopade quadrille figures in several different dance manuals from the 1840s. That seemed to be a sign, and the quadrille turned out to be a fun little set. (Edited 3/21/2015 to add: and the dancers in Voronezh liked it too!)
The quadrille instructions are quite straightforward. There are six verses, each bracketed by the four couples performing a galopade around the set, turning at each position, and a "balance and turn" figure in which they chassez right and left and then turn partners by two hands, ending in close hold to prepare for the galopade at the beginning of the next verse.
[T]he musicians are to engage in conversation, say half a minute or less...meanwhile, the dancers are meditating what is next
I'm never quite sure whether Elias Howe had a sense of humor, but to my twenty-first-century eyes, the above is the second-funniest bit of dance instructions he wrote or published. Just visualize it: the dancers are standing around looking confused meditating what is next while the musicians stop playing and engage in conversation?
My copy of Trifet's Acme of Dances (Boston, c1900) is a bit of a puzzle to date. It's at least a second edition; an earlier (1886) version advertised 114 dances, while mine has 214. It has a copyright date of 1893, but advertises the June, 1900, issue of Trifet's Monthly Budget of Music on the cover. My best guess is that it is a c1900 reprint of an 1893 edition.
Inside, it is a bizarre mashup of several different sources, as evidenced by the changing fonts and formatting of the music. The first forty-eight pages are easily recognizable to anyone who works with nineteenth-century dance music from the Boston area as having been printed from Elias Howe's plates; his font and his dance instructions are unmistakeable. So is his tendency to set figured dances to any piece of music he could lay his hands on.
Here's a simple two-step quadrille that can be introduced with minimal practice time to any group of dancers familiar with the two-step of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
This three-figure set was published in 1894 by H. R. Basler, a music publisher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The figures are by Professor J. P. Brooks, presumably the James P. Brooks listed in a directory of dance teachers in M. B. Gilbert's Round Dancing as a Pittsburgh dancing master. Brooks is listed as the creator of the American Gavotte, a bland little polka sequence also published in Gilbert's tome. This quadrille is not wildly original either, but it's easy and a fun little excuse to two-step with everyone of the opposite sex in the set.
The sheet music for this quadrille is held in the Ralph Page Collection (Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, New Hampshire). The music is by Horace Basler himself, who was apparently a composer as well as a music publisher. The Pittsburgh Sheet Music Collection at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh holds quite a few pieces of music published, variously, by H. R. Basler; the Basler Music Publishing Co.; and Basler's Music House, all between 1879 and 1901, and many also composed by Basler.
While dance instructions are on the sheet music, a slightly more detailed version appears in the 1917-1918 edition of Clendenen's Quadrille Book and Guide to Etiquette, which incorporates B. Coanacher's Fashionable Quadrille Call Book and Guide to Etiquette, 1909. Both the Clenenden and the Coanacher collections were published in Chicago, so the quadrille did get some exposure outside Pittsburgh.
Despite the reprint in Clendenen, I would not consider this quadrille a fashionable dance for 1917. I don't know when the first edition of the Clendenen manual was published (one earlier edition is online), but judging from the fashions on the cover, I would guess the mid-1890s, and it does not appear that Clendenen cared much about current dance trends in the later editions. The instructions in the book note that the quadrille was adopted by the American Society of Professors of Dancing in the September of 1894.
Here's how to dance it:
Calling these three sequences "Scottish" is really a bit of a misnomer, since the sources are Alexander Strathy's Elements of the Art of Dancing (Edinburgh, 1822), which is in large part a translation of a French manual by J. H. Goudoux, and an anonymous Scottish manuscript entitled Contre Danses à Paris 1818. All three sequences are certainly French in their steps and style and quite possibly in origin. They probably would not have caused anyone in Paris in that era to bat an eyelash. But technically, they are documented to Scotland, not France, in the late 1810s-early 1820s.
Several years ago I posted eight easy setting sequences for Regency-era French quadrilles and said in the comments I'd try to post more "soon". That has now stretched to more than five years, but, better late than never, here are a couple of others, this time directly from a trio French manuals by J. H. Gourdoux (or Gourdoux-Daux):
Principes et Notions Élémentaires sur l’Art de la Danse Pour la Ville (2nd edition, 1811)
Recueil d’un Genre Nouveau de Contredanses et Walses (1819)
De l’Art de la Danse (1823)
Once again, these are easy sequences, but a bit more interesting than the previous set.
A while back I discussed the wonderful dance CD Music for Quadrilles, by the English band Green Ginger (with Kevin Smith). At the time, I skimmed over the tracks for five modern Scottish (RSCDS) dances, since I didn't have any way to check the ones with historical sources against the originals. Since then, I've come across a copy of one of the editions of D. (David) Anderson's Ball-Room Guide, a "New, Enlarged, & Complete Edition", which the liner notes of Music for Quadrilles cite as the source for one of the historical dances, New Scotia Quadrille.
According to J. P. (Joan) and T. M. Flett in Traditional Dancing in Scotland, David Anderson taught in Dundee and in a number of other towns from c1850-1911. His Ball-Room Guide seems to have gone through at least five editions, with the "New, Enlarged" versions appearing between the mid-1880s and late 1890s. Since the one I examined is not dated, and I have no others to compare it to, I cannot date it precisely.
New Scotia Quadrille is a single-figure quadrille, one of several in Anderson. No author is given, but it presumably was not Anderson himself, since he was not shy about putting his name on several other dances of his own creation in his book. For the most part, it has very standard figures, much like other single-figure quadrilles of the late nineteenth century. The RSCDS version follows the original instructions fairly closely. But it has one interesting quirk at the end that did not make it into the modern version, and Anderson includes information on quadrille performance in (presumably) at least the Dundee area of Scotland during this era that is also of interest to me in showing regional variation.
I'll give the figures first and then discuss these details.
My third and (so far) final sequence for an eight-bar chassé-croisé comes from Elements and Principles of the Art of Dancing, a translation of J. H. Gourdoux published by Victor Guillou in Philadelphia in 1817. The translation, presumably of the 1811 Principes et Notions Élémentaires sur l’Art de la Danse Pour la Ville, is inconsistent in how closely it hews to Gourdoux's original. This step sequence for chassé-croisé does not appear in the 1811 manual at all and may have originated with Guillou himself.
Even more than Gourdoux's own sequence, this one features different footwork for the gentlemen and the ladies.
(This is the second post in a mini-series covering Regency-era step-sequences for the quadrille figure chassé-croisé. See the first post for a general introduction to the figure.)
My second sequence for chassé-croisé actually comes from a French source, the second edition of Principes et Notions Élémentaires sur l’Art de la Danse Pour la Ville (Paris, 1811) by J. H. Gourdoux. The same sequence reappears in his later manual, De l’Art de la Danse (Paris, 1823). It is similar to the Strathy sequence described in my previous post, but the differences are quite intriguing.
I won't cover steps in this post, since I just summarized them in the previous one and no additional ones are required for Gourdoux's sequence.
By far the most common sequence variations to be found in quadrille manuals of the early nineteenth century are those for setting, forward and back, chassez-dechassez, and crossing over. But a few manuals give sequences for more elaborate figures such as chassé-croisé, in which two dancers, side by side, change places and back. There are quite a few ways to perform the figure, but the most common is probably that danced with one's partner in eight bars as follows:
2b Change places, gentlemen passing behind ladies
2b Change back, gentlemen again passing behind ladies
This can be performed just by two couples (heads or sides) or by all four at once, as in the classic Finale figure of the first set of French quadrilles.
There are many, many sets of early nineteenth-century quadrilles, most of which are simply new music for the First Set or include only minor variations on the standard figures. While I don't normally publish reconstructions of the figures for random sets of quadrille music, this set is of particular interest because a high-quality recording of it is available on The Regency Ballroom CD by Spare Parts.
The music is from the first series of T. Simonet's Fashionable Parisian Quadrilles, Performed by the Bands of Messrs. Michau, Musard and Collinet, with their appropriate Figures as danced at Almack's, the Argyll Rooms and at the Bath & Cheltenham Assemblies. The manual is undated, but in February, 1823, the fashionable magazine La Belle Assemblée reported the publication of "Nos. 42 and 43" of the series, commenting positively:
This is really an elegant little work both in its contents and its typography. We recognize many of the quadrilles as being great favorites in the French metropolis, and the whole of them are composed in a very characteristic and original style.
The typography of this edition is certainly eye-popping by modern standards of design; the front cover alone features a dozen different fonts. The first series includes only sets one through six and presumably is dated somewhat earlier.
(Seventh and last in a series of posts on the 1856 dance L'Alliance. An introduction and explanation of the steps may be found in the first post in the series. Other figures: Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3, Figure 4, Figure 5)
The final figure of L'Alliance commemorates the culminating battle of the Crimean War, the lengthy siege of the fortress of Sevastopol, the panoramic depiction of which by Russian artist Franz Roubaud is shown at left (click to enlarge). Appropriately, this is the longest and most dramatic figure of L'Alliance!
(Fifth in a series of seven posts on the 1856 dance L'Alliance. An introduction and explanation of the steps may be found in the first post in the series. Other figures: Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3, Figure 5, Figure 6)
The name of Figure 4 refers to The Congress of Paris, the peace talks that ended the Crimean War. Raab has his commemorations a bit out of sequence here; the war may have ended with the Congress, but L'Alliance goes on for two more figures!
(Fourth in a series of seven posts on the 1856 dance L'Alliance. An introduction and explanation of the steps may be found in the first post in the series. Other figures: Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 4, Figure 5, Figure 6)
Figure three of L'Alliance. Since the Crimean War was, y'know, a war and thus chock-full of attacks, I have no idea to which particular attack the name refers. The action of the figure does have a sort of attack-and-capture dynamic.
(Third in a series of seven posts on the 1856 dance L'Alliance. An introduction and explanation of the steps may be found in the first post in the series. Other figures: Figure 1, Figure 3, Figure 4, Figure 5, Figure 6)
Moving right along to the second figure of L'Alliance! Presumably the name refers to the Russian emperor Alexander II (left; click to enlarge), who succeeded Nicholas I on the imperial throne in the midst of the Crimean War.
(Second in a series of seven posts on the 1856 dance L'Alliance. An introduction and explanation of the steps may be found in the first post in the series. Later figures: Figure 2, Figure 3, Figure 4, Figure 5, Figure 6)
On to the actual figures of L'Alliance! Figure 1, La Reine, is presumably named after the most notable queen of any nation involved in the Crimean War, England's Victoria (left, click to enlarge).
(First in a series of seven posts.)
L'Alliance was published in Vienna in 1856 as "invented and described" by Johann Raab, a Vienna ballet master and professor of dance. It is a quadrille-like six-figure dance commemorating people and events of the Crimean War (1853-1856). As an American, that war holds no special emotional resonance for me -- my strongest mental association with it is Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade" -- but I am extremely fond of the dance!
I learned L'Alliance originally from Viennese dance teacher Hannelore Unfried at Newport Vintage Dance Week in 2006 and was intrigued enough to dig up the source for myself. My reconstruction is about 95% the same as Hannelore's, and I am indebted to her for her excellent instruction and generous provision of the diagrams of the various figures. I am also extremely grateful to my long-suffering translator, Irene Urban, for both translating from the German and transcribing the figures from the original Fraktur typeface.
On to the actual figures of Howe's "Rats" Quadrille! Please see the first post in the "Rats" series for an introduction to the quadrille and links to sheet music.
Les Rats Quadrilles is a set of five tunes composed by G. Redler as alternate music for the first set of French quadrilles. The tunes are unusually good, and the set became enormously popular and was reprinted for many years, not only in England but in America and Australia as well. In 1854 a piano-duet (four hands) version arranged by J. C. Vierec was published in Philadelphia.
Some editions featured the "tree roots" version of the title shown at left, and others a small orchestra of rats with various instruments. American editions seem to have credited the composer as "J. Redler", but English sources consistently give his first initial as "G".
I do not have a definitive initial date for the first publication of Les Rats, but in 1846, A. M. Hartley, in his The academic speaker, a system of elocution (Glasgow) mentions on page 319 the inclusion of "Redler's popular Rat Quadrilles" in Volume I of the collected Hamilton's Cabinet of Music, a sheet music series, which puts Les Rats into the first half of the 1840s.
Almost four years ago, I discussed the quadrille figure "chassé out", or chassé ouvert, in a post discussing the reconstruction of a mid-century quadrille. I've revisited the figure occasionally since then, both in its Regency-era context and in its unusual mid-19th century appearances in the quadrille calls of American dancing master Elias Howe, and found enough new information to be worth a fresh post on the topic and to make me reconsider how I would reconstruct the figure both for early quadrilles of the 1810s-1820s and for the quadrille sets published by Howe in 1858 and 1862.
My old dance buddy Chris Imershein of the North Carolina group Triangle Vintage Dance writes:
Just curious if you have any historical sources for the proper "spelling" of The Lancers Quadrille(s). Spare Parts has it as "Lancers" on the original [Civil War Ballroom] CD, but as "Lancer's" in their sheet music book. I've also seen it as Lancers' on the web. Any thoughts?
It's not unusual for new sources to turn up that make me go back and reconsider a reconstruction. It's a little irritating for it to happen less than a month after I finally get around to publishing one here on Kickery, and doubly irritating for it to be not a new source but old sources I simply hadn't looked at recently. Fortunately, this is less a change in my reconstruction than further background and options.
In reconstructing the fourth figure of the Mid-Lothians, an early 1820s quadrille, I wrote in my reconstruction notes that "I've never found any description of what step sequence to use for this figure," referring to the grand chain. Actually, I had come across such, many years ago, and they had simply slipped my mind. But I was looking through quadrille sources for a different project and found them again, so here is a little more information about performance options for the grand chain.
This is the sixth and last in a series of six posts covering the six figures of the Mid Lothians, a set of quadrilles from the 1820s. Previous posts: The first figure; background information; and sources, second figure, third figure, fourth figure, fifth figure.
The sixth and final figure of the Mid Lothians is set to a combination of two similar Jacobite tunes, "Lewie Gordon" and "Over the Hills". My ear isn't sophisticated enough to sort through Evans' arrangement and figure out which (or whether) individual strains are drawn from each tune. Lewie Gordon was a son of the Duke of Gordon who fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie and was exiled after Culloden. "Over the Hills", also known as "O'er the Hills and Far Away" and "Over the Seas and far away", has a complex history and may have originally been from England. It is familar to many today as the theme music for the Sharpe television series based on the Bernard Cornwell novels about a British rifleman during the Napoleonic Wars.
Lyrics and background on each tune as well as MIDI files for listening may be found at Christian Souchon's collection of Jacobite songs; there are individual pages for both "Lewie Gordon" and "O'er the Hills". Note that all Souchon's pages play music immediately upon opening! More lyrics for "O'er the Hills" may be found on the song's page at The Compleat Sean Bean, a Sean Bean (Sharpe in the television series) fan site created by writer Winona Kent.
This is the fifth in a series of six posts covering the six figures of the Mid Lothians, a set of quadrilles from the 1820s. The first figure, background information, and sources are discussed in the first post in the series. Second figure here. Third figure here. Fourth figure here.
The fifth figure of the Mid Lothians is set to the famous march of Clan Campbell, "The Campbells are Coming", with its rousing chorus, presumably not sung while dancing a quadrille:
There are many, many recordings of this tune available. Though the lyrics were partly rewritten by Robert Burns in the late eighteenth century, the tune dates back at least to the Jacobite rebellions of the first half of the century.
This is the fourth in a series of six posts covering the six figures of the Mid Lothians, a set of quadrilles from the 1820s. The first figure, background information, and sources are discussed in the first post in the series. Second figure here. Third figure here.
The fourth figure of the Mid Lothians is set to a combination of "Peggy's Love" and "Auld Robin Gray", though my ear is not good enough to pick out which strains are from each tune when filtered through Evans' arrangements.
"Peggy's Love", or "Little Peggy's Love" is a strathspey which has also been used for a Scottish Country Dance. It is said to have been composed by William Marshall and published as "Lady Louisa Gordon's Strathspey" in 1781. It was apparently used as the musical basis for a ballet at the King's Theatre Opera House (the professional home of Regency-era dancing master Thomas Wilson) in the 1790s. Evans mostly retains the strathspey rhythm in his arrangement.
"Auld Robin Gray" was written in 1772 by the Scottish poet Lady Anne Lindsay, with a tune by Reverend William Leeves. The song is something of a sequel to the classic Jacobite song "Logie O'Buchan" (note: music plays immediately upon opening this page) which mourns for the Old Pretender under the guise of a woman missing her lover Jamie while being pressured to marry someone richer. In "Auld Robin Gray", she actually ends up married to Robin Gray before her true love Jamie returns for her. The tune may be heard in a MIDI file created by Christian Souchon (plays immediately upon opening). An arrangement by Hadyn may be found at Ball State University's Digital Music Repository.
This is the third in a series of six posts covering the six figures of the Mid Lothians, a set of quadrilles from the 1820s. The first figure, background information, and sources are discussed in the first post and the second figure here.
The third figure of the Mid Lothians is set to "Riggs O'Barley", previously known as "Corn Rigs are bonie" but taking on a new name after being used by Robert Burns for his 1783 poem, "The Rigs O' barley". Numerous recordings (with the Burns lyrics) are available. It is also found on the sound track of a classic 1973 horror film, The Wicker Man, under the title "Corn Rigs".
Evans' arrangement consists of three eight-bar strains (ABC), with the A strain having an alternate second ending as well. The thirty-two-bar figure is noted on the sheet music as starting on the A strain, so I would expect a repeat structure of A (ABACx4) with the initial A using the first ending and subsequent ones the second.
This is the second in a series of six posts covering the six figures of the Mid Lothians. The first figure, background information, and sources are discussed in the previous post.
The second figure of the Mid Lothians is set to a highly simplified arrangement of the "Lassie wi'the Lint-White Locks", a tune actually called "Rothiemurchies Rant" but so strongly associated with the Robert Burns poem from 1794 that Evans seems to have adopted the poem's title for the tune. It is also known today as "The Graf Spee". The tune is traditionally used for a Scottish Country Dance and can be heard on numerous recordings. Some interesting background may be found at The Mudcat Café.
Evans' version is in a different key and consists almost entirely of relatively sedate eighth notes, unlike the dotted strathspey rhythm of the original, which is given below the quadrille arrangement for comparison.
Evans trims the four strains of the original tune to three strains (ABC) of eight bars each, with the third strain being a repeat of the first with a slight variation in the last bar. The figure is repeated four times. Instructions on the music indicate the that the (thirty-two-bar) figure begins on the A strain, which also has repeat markings. so a repeat structure of A (ABACx4) or possibly A (AABCx4) seems indicated, which leaves the figures concluding on the same music (since C = A) as they began, as is typical for a quadrille figure. Either way, the A strain ends up getting repeated three times in succession multiple times. A (ABBCx4) would also be a possibility, albeit a somewhat odd one for a quadrille, and somewhat reduces the repetiiveness. If not for the figure instructions on the music, I'd be inclined to go with A (BABCx4) just for a bit more variety.
The Mid Lothians, A new Set of Quadrilles, was a set of traditional Scottish tunes selected by J. S. Pollock, "Professor of Dancing / late of Paris /", with the tunes arranged by R. W. Evans and new quadrille figures (given in French and English) choreographed by Pollock. The undated music was published in London in the early 1820s (Google Books dates it to 1821), and the figures additionally appear in Pollock's La Terpsichore Moderne, Ninth Edition (London, c1824) and in Henry Whale's Hommage à Taglioni, A Fashionable Quadrille Preceptor and Ballroom Companion (Philadelphia, 1836). The English-language instructions in all three sources are extremely consistent, though there are a few discrepancies between the French and English versions given on the sheet music.
The set is cannily dedicated to Lady Gwydir, more familiar to students of upper-crust Regency society as one of the famous Patronesses of Almacks under her former name, Mrs. Drummond-Burrell. Born in 1786, Lady Sarah Clementina Drummond, heiress of Lord Perth, married Peter Burrell in 1807, whereupon they both hyphenated their names to Drummond-Burrell to preserve the prestigious Drummond name. In 1820, the couple succeeded Peter's parents to double honors as Baron and Baroness Gwydir (or Gwydyr) and Baron and Baroness Willoughby de Eresby.
The Mid Lothians refers to the area of Scotland around Edinburgh. The title of the set and the use of well-known Scottish tunes may be an attempt to play off the success of Sir Walter Scott's popular 1818 novel, The Heart of Midlothian, or simply a reflection of the popularity of all things Scottish at the time. Some of the tunes used are versions of those famously used by Robert Burns for his poems in the late eighteenth century.
Once a dancer moves past the basic chassé, jeté, assemblé step sequences for early nineteenth-century French quadrilles, the very next step sequence I teach them is this alternate dos-à-dos sequence taken from Alexander Strathy's Elements of the Art of Dancing (Edinburgh, 1822). In this sequence the dancer advances moving forward, travels sideways for the actual back-to-back part of the figure, then makes a half-turn to travel forward back to place before completing the turn on the final measure. This is quite beautiful to watch, but the steps are very simple.
I would consider this sequence slightly too elaborate for country dances, which are supposed to use simpler steps.
Here's the sequence:
1b Chassé forward, passing opposite dancer
1b Jeté (left foot), glissade dessous to the right
1b Making a half-turn to face original place, chassé forward, curving slightly
1b Completing the turn, make a glissade dessous to the left and a final assemblé
The counts are "and ONE and TWO, THREE and FOUR, and ONE and TWO, and THREE FOUR." Note that the two halves of the figure have slightly different rhythm patterns. It may help when learning it to clap or chant them several times.
Here's a quick summary of the necessary steps as used above. These are not full descriptions! All of them can be led on the opposite foot.
Chassé: after an initiating hop on the left foot on the upbeat, move the right foot forward, close the left foot behind it, and move the right foot forward again. This move takes one measure ("and-ONE-and-TWO").
Jeté: extend the left foot out directly to the side (second position raised) then, bringing it in front of the right, leap onto it, raising the other foot behind to point straight down, close along the leg. This is a linear "out and in" motion rather than a curving ronde de jambe. The step is initiated on the upbeat and lands on the first beat of the second measure above ("THREE").
Glissade dessous: slide one foot to the side and close the other foot to fifth or third position behind. The slide to the side is performed on the upbeat with the close coming on the downbeat. This is "and FOUR" in the second measure above, where it occupied the second half of the measure, and "and THREE" in the fourth measure, where it takes up the first half.
Assemblé: extend the left foot out directly to the side (second position raised) then hop, bringing the left foot behind the right in either third or fifth position with weight equally on both feet, bending the knees slightly when landing rather than locking them. Again, this is an "in and out" motion. The step is initiated on the upbeat and lands on the downbeat, ("FOUR") in the fourth measure above.
Sometimes, musicians and prompters for Quadrille dancing, when they intend "Double Ladies' Chain," say "Ladies Grand Chain." This is wrong: the figures are entirely dissimilar.
--- William B. De Garmo, The prompter (New York, 1865)
A century later, this problem is still with us, as modern-day dance historians confuse the two figures when reconstructing quadrilles. The problem is made worse by the plethora of terminology. Though the first of the two is called either a Ladies' Chain Double or a Ladies' Double Chain, the second can be known variously as the Chain of Four Ladies, Les Chaine des Dames Continue, Ladies' Grand Chain, Ladies' Right and Left Around, or Ladies' Grand Right and Left.
Let's take a look at the difference between the two figures.
Subtitled Nouveau Quadrille, Le Triangle is not actually a quadrille in the literal sense of a dance involving facing couples. It was composed by F. Paul and published in his manual, Le Cotillon, in Paris in 1877 and is danced by three couples rather than four, arranged in the form of a triangle. Paul composed it to address the difficulty of finding four couples for the quadrille croisé of the time. He adds modestly that he does not intend to impose it upon dancers, but gives the description only as a proposal. I have never seen Le Triangle in any other source; it may never have been danced outside of Paul's immediate circles.
I combine the two as a category because people who are interested in the one are often interested in the other, but what was danced by Jane Austen (1775-1817) and what was danced during the English Regency era (1811-1820) are actually questions with slightly different answers. Austen's dancing days were more of the late 18th century, and the Regency era was a time of rapid change in social dance, mostly emanating from Paris and London. Austen would have missed out on much of this by being country gentry and by her death just as things were starting to get really interesting dancewise.
Having addressed dance in Jane Austen's lifetime in my previous post, which I recommend reading first for background, let me now talk a little bit about the 1810s. What did they dance during the Regency era? Around 1810, people probably weren't doing much that was different from the previous two or three decades: country dances and reels, with a cotillion perhaps still making an appearance now and then, and occasionally an oddity like the Boulanger, Sir Roger de Coverley, or (in Scotland) the Bumpkin. But change was coming. The upper classes and the residents of London would soon find themselves with a much wider set of options.
The fifth and final figure of the Royal Lancers/Horse Guards quadrille for sixteen is actually not a very radical departure from the fifth figure of the usual Lancers. The only real change is replacing the opening grand chain with a less elegant right hands across/left hands back done by all eight ladies together. The only virtue of this change is that this figure fits the standard music, which a grand chain of sixteen people would not. The rest of the figures are really no more than a typical fifth figure performed side by side but separately by two groups of four couples.
Please refer to the first post in this series, here, for the diagram showing the formation of the Royal Lancers, with each pair of numbered couples (first/first, second/second, etc.) being located diagonally across the set from each other.
Moving right along with the Royal Lancers quadrille for sixteen: the fourth figure is the first figure to really take full advantage of the large-square format, with each repetition bringing the active couples (heads or sides) exactly halfway around the square to the diagonally opposite position. In this, it has more in common with the fourth figure of Allen Dodworth's later New York Lancers (here) than with that the standard Lancers, a version of which is described in the same post.
The formation for the Royal Lancers is shown in the first post in this series, here; reference to that diagram will be useful in sorting out the perambulations of the various couples.
Proceeding through the Royal Lancers quadrille for sixteen, the third figure incorporates choreographic adaptations to the larger square similar to those made in the first two figures. Once again, moves that are usually done by the head or side couples together are divided, but this time in a way which harks back to the oldest form of the Lancers, with the figures led in turn by each lady and her opposite. The ladies chain for four couples is then modified into four ladies chains for two couples each, to suit the large-square formation.
A direct comparison with the third figure of the original Lancers may be made via my post on the third figure of the New York Lancers, here. The formation for the Royal Lancers is shown in the first post in this series, here.
Continuing on from my previous post covering the first figure of the Royal Lancers quadrille for sixteen, here is the second figure. Once again, moves that are usually done by the head or side couples together are divided so that the first couples move during the first time through, the second couples during the second, and so forth. A more substantial alteration is that rather than the side couples (in the first two repetitions) dividing to form lines of four at the heads and those lines going forward and back followed by a two-hand turn to places, the Royal Lancers takes advantage of the ready-made lines of four along each side of the set and allows both the head and side lines to advance and retire sequentially, skipping the two-hand turn to places entirely.
Comparison with the second figure of the original Lancers may be made via my post on the second figure of the New York Lancers, here.
There are several "sixteen Lancers" quadrilles, written for eight couples rather than four, many of which adopt similar solutions in adapting the figures to twice as many couples. The Royal Lancers, or Horse Guards, is a version that I have found in only two sources: Thomas Hillgrove's 1863 A Complete Practical Guide to the Art of Dancing and Professor M.J. Koncen's 1883 Quadrille Call Book and Ball Room Guide. The diagram at the left (click to enlarge), taken from Hillgrove, shows the arrangement of couples for the Royal Lancers. Note that the odd-numbered couples on each side are to the right of the even-numbered ones. Koncen provides a similar diagram but misnumbers two of the couples.
The figures of the Royal Lancers are only minor variations on the standard Lancers ones, but the multiplier effect of doing the figures with twice as many couples makes even the simplest figures substantially more interesting. For the most part, the Royal Lancers may be danced to any Lancers music, but note that there are both 20-bar and 24-bar versions of Figure 4 in the standard Lancers repertoire, and the Royal Lancers requires the longer music.
"This is a very lively figure, as it keeps all the couples occupied and introduces a continual change of partners."
-- Dick's Quadrille Call-Book and Ball-Room Prompter, New York, 1878.
I've posted occasionally about promiscuous figures (Basket and Star, Gavotte and Minuet, Flirtation), single quadrille figures which may be substituted for one of the figures of the first set of quadrilles to provide more variety. Another of these, which dates at least to 1848, was known variously as "The Sociable," "Quadrille Sociable," or "Social Quadrille." Its distinctive feature was repeated partner changes. As noted above, it also had the virtue of having very little waiting out for any of the couples. While Charles Durang, writing in Philadelphia in 1856, sniffed at it as one of the "good, but now unfashionable" old figures, it seems to have remained popular right through the middle of the nineteenth century and is even included in a few manuals appearing into the late 19th and very early 20th century.
Different dancing masters disagreed about which figure of the first set this or other promiscuous figures may be substituted for. One 1878 manual stated that substitution is done for the second or fifth figure, while an 1889 one is equally clear that the third and fourth figures are the ones to replace. My personal opinion is that the Sociable is stylistically most like a fifth figure.
Thomas Hillgrove, writing in 1857, seems to have been the first to build an entire quadrille around the Sociable, using it as figure one in a traditional five-figure set called the "Quadrille Sociable." Six years later, he includes it in a later manual as "Social Quadrille No. 1." A similar five-figure quadrille is included in a manual attributed to Elias Howe and published in 1862. Unfortunately, the five-figure version is not particularly interesting, just one of many interchangeable rearrangements of generic quadrille figures. This may explain why it doesn't seem to have been picked up by many other authors.
The Sociable by itself, however, is a fun little figure, easy to teach and fun to do. Here's the basic version:
This is the fifth and final post in a series covering the individual figures of Allen Dodworth's New York Lancers, published in Dancing and its relations to education and social life in 1885, and comparing them side-by-side with the figures of Dodworth's standard Lancers. The earlier posts in the series, covering figures one through four, may be found here, here, here, and here.
This is the fourth post a series covering the individual figures of Allen Dodworth's New York Lancers, published in Dancing and its relations to education and social life in 1885, and comparing them side-by-side with the figures of Dodworth's standard Lancers. The earlier posts in the series may be found here, here, and here.