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.