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An Invitation To Dance: A History of Social Dance in America

This online exhibit on the history of social dance in America draws on documents in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society to offer a multi-faceted portrait of the changing nature of American social dance. Items in the exhibit include the cotillion, the quadrille, and other related square dance forms.

Cotillon / Cotillion / Contredanse Française

referring to a dance in our collection:The dance is a contredanse from de la Cuisse, published in 1762. It was not called a cotillion in France. Once de la Cuisse had published his collection, the contredanses became popular in England and were simplified (fewer figures but the same idea of a main chorus with changing verses) and called them by the…

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…

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.

La Nouvelle Carel, French cotillion 1762

Cotillion, La Nouvelle Carel, Le Repertoires de Bals, de la Cuisse, Paris, 1762Here is another dance from the same collection, performed by a different group.

Late Eighteenth-Century Social Dance (article)

Article that provides a summary of 18th century dance, including the contredanse française, a dance for four couples in a square. Also offers links to documents in the Library of Congress website of dance manuals.

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Les Quatre Berceaux - cotillion for 6 couples

“Les Quatre Berceaux” (The Four Cradles) was presented by Dance Discovery at the Missouri History Museum in conjunction with an exhibit on Napoleon. The group reconstructed the dance from the printed French description published in Paris in 1801.Credits:Rebecca Taylor translated the archaic French into modern English.John Ramsay…

Nineteenth Century Social Dance (article)

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

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Nouvelle Anglaise, French cotillion

This dance is Nouvelle Anglaise, a French cotillion by de la Cuisse and notated by Feuillet, published in Repertoire de Bals, Paris, 1762. The music is Sur L'Air du Tambourin de Daquin.The 18th century French Cotillions are the ancestors of 19th century, 20th century and 21st century square dances.Here is another dance from the same publication.

Quadrille Club at The Royal Pavilion

Videotaped excerpts from a series of dances: Jacky Tarr, a three-couple English country dance from a collection by Wilson 1816 02:55 Thethird figure, `La Poule' from a set of five in a quadrille. c. 1812 The `Allemande a Deux' c. 1780, the French modification of the German Landler The `Regents Favorite' a country dance from c. 1800 10:30`La…

Shoo-Fly Swing and La Boulangère

Compilation of sources that reveal the similarity between La Boulangère, a European dance around 1800 and the only dance mentioned by name by Jane Austen, and the Shoo-Fly Swing, its American descendant found as the closing figure of a big set dance.

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 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.

Trois-Rivières manuscript, commentary

http://www.mnemo.qc.ca/spip/spip.php?article154

Waltz Cotillion & Prince Imperial Quadrille

The Quadrille Club and others dancing at a Ball in Richmond, England. The Waltz Quadrille is the first item of three in this video; the Prince Imperial Quadrille begins about 05:53.