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August 02, 2010


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Thanks, Susan! Thank you for doing this research and sharing your knowledge.

I'm a Regency romance author and after reading your blog, I see I have gotten some of my Regency Dance info slightly wrong. My current ms is set in 1812 - 1814. Can you please tell me the name of a ballroom dance that would involve a leap or jump, something a rather arrogant dancing master would teach? Please? I thought there was one where they leap up and try to touch their heel in kind of a square flat footed straight leg manner before coming down. Was it a french influenced Quadrille step?

Oh, this all gets so confusing because I read one thing in one book and attend a workshop and hear another. Can you please set me straight?
Many Thanks

Hi Kathleen,

That sounds like a mazurka step -- you hop on one foot and click the heels together. It's more documented a bit later, 1820s and 1830s, but they did have some form of mazurka in England by around 1820, brought back by the Duke of Devonshire, so it's not completely outrageous for the era. If your ballroom scene involves diplomats from the Continent they might startle the English dancers with a bit of mazurka.

I haven't written about the mazurka in its original form (a sort of made-up-as-you-go-along set dance), but I discussed that step, the coup de talon, a bit in this post.

I'd love to give workshops for romance novelists, by the way, if I knew where to offer them! I got started in the era via Georgette Heyer many years ago.

Thanks, Susan!
I think, Wilson has a mistake about Russian adaptation of Ecossaise. For today we know just two descriptions of Russian Ecossaise: from Kharkiv (1825) and from Moscow (1839) and both of them describe a duple minor longways in a traditional English form with a cd`s figures like hands across, hands four, lead down, etc.
French quadrilles began to dance in Russian balls just in 1813 and was not popular until early 1830th.


Thak you for this intresting article!

And I have any questions:
1. Could you please publish one of the English ecossaise descriptions? I know
only one description - ec. Attempt from Chiver's book. It consists of
typical country dance figures for two couples. But in Russia and in
Germany at the beginning of 19th century all ecossaises had a
progression as a last figure and on the "down the middle and up to
second place". Do you know any of English ecossaises with such progression and
2. About Russian roots of ecossaises - it is joke of history - because
in our memoirs we have found a note that duchess Orlova had brought
ecossaise to Russia from England! In 1800s. And now I can see that it
was imposible, and duchess learned this dance in other country.

Eugenia, St.Petersburg

Hi, Susan! I'm also a Regency romance author. So glad to have discovered your site!!! It's wonderful information, thank you! Btw, did you find out where you can teach a workshop for Regency authors? Contact me and I will give you contact info.

HI Susan. we have recently formed a regency dance group, which is an offshoot of our medieval and tudor group. Could you clear up an issue in regard to a dance figure. with a hands three,four,six or eight round,(in the absence of any instructions in the dance script) is the turn clockwise to the left or anti clockwise. I know Wilson says clockwise to the left, but some are insisting that the turn is to the right or anti clockwise. your thoughts would be much appreciated

Hi Christopher,

In a Regency-era country dance or quadrille, turn to the left (clockwise) first. If it's hands 3/4/6/8 round and back, go to the left first and then back to the right.

It's a different situation with cotillons of the late 18th century.


Thanks for the amazing resource you provide in this blog! I think I've skimmed half of the Regency-era posts now (and learned a ton!), seeking background information for a story I'm writing set in 1821-22. I am still looking for some information about the functional structure of balls, and I wonder if you have come across a resource that might be able to impart the following information:

For private balls and public assemblies such as at Almack's...
How many dance sets would occur?
As quadrilles and waltzes became standard repertoire, would they be intermixed with country dances? Would they be done in sets as well?
I keep finding references to a "supper dance" in the context of a private ball with a sit-down supper. Would this be a full set of dances, or a single dance?
At a typical ball with supper, what time would the dancing start, and how long would it continue after the meal?
Was there any way to find out ahead of time what style of dance would be done in the sets that evening? (I.e., was there a publicly visible program?) Would a gentleman only claim the dances by set number, rather than by asking for the first waltz/waltz set?

A question directly in your wheelhouse: Because the dance doesn't depend on the group size, were waltzes significantly shorter than the repetitive longways dances?

Thank you!

Hello, Susan, I just discovered your site today, August 20, 2017, after reading quite a few "Jane Austen's world" type sites. I am writing a musical play and need some specific info for one (and possibly two or more) dances. Can I hire you to provide some advice via email or phone? Probably just a few minutes of your time would be needed. Or feel free to point me to another expert, as it looks as though you are a very busy person! Thanks!

B. Shewchuk, Manitoba, Canada

I'm intrigued by Mr. Chivers' "multi-part country dances that incorporated two different meters of music." Which of his books talks about this? Do we know if it ever became popular?

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