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Lancers

Dance Discovery, a St Louis, Missouri troupe, dances all five figures at a Lincoln program given at Lovejoy Library at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville on November 25, 2007. The dance is included in Lincoln's 1861 inaugural ball.

Beseda Quadrille, part I

František Bonuš, a noted dance pedagogue from Prague, led a quadrille workshop in Berea, Kentucky in 1987. The video of the entire workshop is lengthy and has been edited and divided into nine parts. This is Part 1 and shows figures from the Czech quadrille, Beseda, a dance in eight parts. The date of composition for the dance is in…

Beseda quadrille

These are two videos demonstrating the Czech Beseda quadrille from mid-19th century, here performed by a group that rehearsed with noted Czech dance leader Jitka Bonušova. The date of composition for the dance is in dispute, with November 11, 1863, the most commonly accepted.Another full-length version danced by the polished Dvorana dance…

La naissance du cotillon et du quadrille, contredanses françaises

Article (in French) by Simonne Voyer, who is the author of La danse traditionnelle dans l'est du Canada: quadrilles et cotillons. For a translation in English by Susan Kevra, click here.

Nineteenth Century Social Dance (article)

Library of Congress overview of dance history, including links to specific books in their collection.

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The Birth of the Cotillion and the Quadrille, French Contredanses

This is a translation of Simonne Voyer's article, "La naissance du cotillon et du quadrille, contredanses françaises."The translation is by Susan Kevra, Senior Lecturer in French and American Studies, Vanderbilt University, as well as a caller of American contras and squares and English country dances.

Quadrille - J. Scott Skinner, 1905

The People’s Ball Room Guide, published by musician James Scott Skinner in 1905, is a description of 19th century ballroom dances.A website devoted to Skinner's work includes a series of videos illustrating quadrilles and Lancers set to Scottish tunes and danced in Scottish style.Skinner himself was taught to dance by William Scott; the two…

Iowa dance program, 1864

Mid-19th century dance programs were comprised primarily of quadrilles and couple dances. Here is one such program from Des Moines, Iowa, 1864.

PROGRAMME.
Part First.
GRAND MARCH...............
1 ...New Years Quadrille.
2....Rochester Schottische.
3....Coquette Cotillion.
4....Serious Family Polka.
5....Lanciers.
6....Waltz…

Peter Beemer manuscript - Idaho

This is a collection of mid-19th century dance tunes from a remote Idaho location; as such, it is a useful record of the music being used for dances of the period. This website also contains background information on dancing in the mining community that is the source of the manuscript.

In 1862, gold was discovered on Warren Creek in the…

The Lancers - Ralph Page's historical notes

In the pages of his Northern Junket magazine, caller and dance historian Ralph Page enjoyed sharing articles based on his dance research. He included a six-part series on the Lancers. California caller and choreographer Chris Page (no relation) created a highly personal index to some of his favorite pieces from the magazine, including links to this…

Contemporary Accounts of Dance From the American West in the Nineteenth Century

Doctoral dissertation based on primary sources; includes a look at dances on the pioneer trails, in logging camps in mining camps, rural social life and urban social life.

From the author's introduction:

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This study originated with an attempt to establish evidence for a theory of how dance was an integral part of the growing society of…

Social Dancing in Early Minnesota

Scholarly yet accessible article, with illustrations, published in Minnesota History magazine, providing a detailed look at social dance in Minnesota in mid-nineteenth century. Also available online. Some excerpts: "Early in the century, quadrilles had used more complicated steps and patterns such as pigeon-winging—a showy maneuver involving,…

The History of Square-Dancing - S. Foster Damon

The History of Square Dancing, published by S. Foster Damon in 1957, is one of the few books that presents a broad picture of the subject. The book was a reprint of his 1952 article published in the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society.Dance caller and researcher Fred Feild summarizes Damon's main points about the development of squares…

Terpsichore In The Flat Creek Quarters, Pea Ridge

Pencil drawing showing a dance with African-American musicians and dancers with the following manuscript poem below: ‘Listen when I call de figgers! Watch de music es ye go! Chassay forrard! (Now look at ‘em! some too fas’ & some too slow!) Step but when I gibs de order; keep up eben wid de line; Whats got in dem lazy niggers?…

Square Dancing in the 1800s

Fred Feild is a long-time caller and square dance enthusiast; now living in Tucson, he was instrumental in creating the Chicago Barn Dance Company in the mid-1970s. In recent years, he has started looking through historical sources for contemporary accounts of square dancing, and he posts his findings on a Word Press blog. Generous in sharing his…

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Shall We Dance? - Maine, 19th century

This article, written by theMaine Memory Network Curator and Historian for the Maine Historical Society, takes two mid-19th books as a focal point for looking at etiquette and social status as reflected on the dance floor. H.G.O. Washburn's 1863 Ball-Room Manual of Contra Dances and Social Cotillions with Remarks on Quadrilles and Spanish Dance…

History of Square Dancing - Ralph Page

Between 1972 and 1974, Ralph Page wrote a series of essays entitled A History of Square Dancing. For ease in downloading, we have collected them into "chapters" that group together similar topics. The essays were published in the magazine Square Dancing as follows:Dancing In New England 11/1972The Revolutionary Era 1/1973Direct Ancestors…

Frontier Dances - Bob Cook

A native of Colorado, Bob Cook's dancing experiences go back to the time when he was a seventh grader at the Cheyenne Mountain School. He was a member of the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers from 1939 to 1941. In this series of articles published Square Dancing magazine from May 1971 thrugh September 1972, Cook looks at a series of chapters that created…

Origin of Appalachian Square Dance

Thurston rejects the notion that Appalachian squares did not originate from American Indian dances nor were they independently created. He concludes that they came from Europe, particular from the British Isles and even more particularly from Ireland. He demonstrates a strong connection between the structure of typical Appalachian squares with that…