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May 25, 2016


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Dear Susan and Sandra
Thank you for posting these items concerning the Flirtation Quadrille. I am presenting a paper at this year's North Atlantic Fiddle Convention about Kerr's Merry Melodies, which were/are a set of 4 books of violin airs 'specially arranged for the ballroom'. These date from around 1884/5 onwards. The dances include reels, strathspeys, schottisches, flirtations, waltzes etc. but the books do not explain what a flirtation dance was. Additionally, there is little or no explanation in historical accounts of Scottish dancing texts. I found a dance called 'La Flirt' in Lowe's dance books, but it wasn't until I saw an advert for G. S MacKay's 'Flirtation Quadrille' published in Aberdeen and advertised from 1881-1892 that I realised that it was a quadrille figure. Mozart Allen, Glasgow, published 'Flirtation Quadrilles' by D. Inglis in 1880. Kerr's Pianoforte collection of 1880/1 also includes Flirtation jigs. Both of his very popular publications suggest that the longer form of the dance was a typical ending for a quadrille. More recently, Jim Cameron's Band (from Angus) recorded a Patience Quadrille with a Flirtation figure as the last set in the 1960s. This shows that despite the slightly stuffing views about flirtation quadrille figures shown in your research, that these were popular and continuing dance forms in Scotland in the later part of the nineteenth century. Your explanations and research have been very helpful - especially the Scottish connection!
Rosa Michaelson

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