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Items from "Historical squares": 54

Parisian Varieties Quadrille

Mid-19th century quadrille, five figures, with music including waltz, polka, and mazurka.Les Variétés ParisiennesA new Quadrille, composed by the "Société Académique des Professeurs de Danse de Paris," etc. Introduced in America by William B. DeGarmoDeGarmo's 1868 book, The Prompter, is available online for…

Quadrille and Cotillion - history

Part of a history of English country dancing in America, this segment looks at the quadrille and the cotillion.

Caution: The author is mistaken when he asserts, "The French had imported the English country dance about the end of the 17th century and apparently took a special liking to the square formation which occurred in some dances." While…

Marlbrouk Cotillion

This dance turns up in the Revolutionary War years of the United States. Here it's danced by a group of students from Brigham Young University. Note the bouncy rigadoon step, which originated in French dance of the 17th century. The tune is known by generations of young children as "The Bear Went Over the Mountain."This video clip is part of the…

Windmill Lancers - Ralph Page

This recording of Ralph Page teaching the Windmill Lancers was recorded in 1972 at one of his weeklong camps. At the start, you hear Ralph providing some historical background on the Lancers before he starts teaching the figures. If you want to jump to the dance itself, it begins around 7:00. The music is "Alte Kameraden," played by the Heintz…

Windmill Lancers / Windmill Quadrille

Caller Don Armstrong provides the instruction and prompts the figures in this Retrospective Session from the 2000 Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, held at the University of New Hampshire. The Windmill Lancers was part of Ralph Page's repertoire. The tunes are being played by Rodney Miller, fiddle, and Bob McQuillen, piano: J.B. Milne (reel) for the…

Square Dance, Oakland, CA - 1919

This silent newsreel footage from Gaumont News, a French company, shows several sets of dancers doing a quadrille in an outdoor setting.

The brief title before the action reads:
"Choose Your Partners"
To the tune of "Johnny in the Low Ground" and "Turkey in the Straw," the Boys and Girls of '61 Dance the Steps of Their Youthful…

George Washington's Favourite

This dance comes from the Asa Wilcox 1793 manuscript held by the Newberry Library of Chicago; St. Louis dance leader John Ramsay found it in Leland Tichnor’s George Washington’s Birthday Balls, 1990, and taught it to the Dance Discovery performing group who dance it in this video.Caller Colin Hume discusses the dance here, and comments:…

Quadrille (Länger, 1824, №1)

The first figure of a quadrille from 1824; the source document is Christian Länger's book, Terpsichore, Ein Taschenbuch der Neuesten Gesellschaftlichen Tänze, and can be read, in German, here. The 3rd figure, danced by the same group, is also available online. The dancers are members of the Golden Forests group in Russia who have posted…

Independence Lancers

The Lancers is a five-part Quadrille that made its way from 19th century ballrooms to 1985 in southwestern Pennsylvania at the Independence Grange Hall, Independence Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania. Recorded May 11, 1985. The Related Item shows footage from 1983 of that dance in the same location.

Cotillon

French dancing masters in the early 18th century created a dance for two couples called the cotillon. This morphed into the cotillion and later became the quadrille. The opening minutes of this presentation by Pierre Chartrand's Danse Cadence troupe illustrates that four-person dance.

Les Lanciers de Quebec - Quebec Lancers

This video illustrates the first two figures of a Quebecois version of the Lancers Quadrille, danced at the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend in January, 2009. The tune and the name for the first figure is La Rencontre des Dames; the tune for the second figure is L’oiseau dans la cage. The music is played by Raz-de-Marée / Tidal Wave:…

La Strasbourgoise Cotillion -Regency era

Demonstration of a period cotillion at a Napoleonic Ball

"Social Dancing in America" - Rod LaFarge

This lengthy history of social dance was written by Rod LaFarge and appeared over three years in American Squares magazine. LaFarge begins with a short look at English country dance, moves to dancing in colonial America, both English-influenced and French, such as the cotillion. He considers the national origins of the American settlers, pointing…

Emergence and Development of the Cotillon

Jean-Michel Guilcher is a pre-eminent scholar of French dance. This is an excerpt from his book, La contredanse: un tournant dans l'histoire française de la danse, translated for the Square Dance History Project by Susan Kevra, a dance caller and professor of French.Some have argued that the four-couple cotillon that emerged in France in the…

Lancers, 5th figure - Wayside Inn, 1932

This home movie is one of eight reels filmed in the 1930s at the Wayside Inn, Sudbury, MA. (More information about these films is available here.) The Inn at the time was owned by Henry Ford. Ford had encountered dancing master Benjamin Lovett at the Inn and hired him to come to Michigan to teach dancing there to his employees. This is the earliest…

Les Quatre Berceaux - related documents

This item gathers together various documents related to the videotaped performance of the dance, Les Quatre Berceaux:• Instructions, as interpreted and explained by John Ramsay with assistance from Mark Rice• Chart constructed by Mark Rice to assist the group as they attempted to re-create the dance• Article sent by Dance Discovery…

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…

Sammy Spring's Quadrille - Don Armstrong

This dance, presented by Don Armstrong at the 1955 Minnesota State Square Dance Convention, comes from the calling of Sammy Spring. Don remarks in his introduction that the dance is similar to one of the figures of the Lancers, and he has this to say about the man from whom he learned the dance:

"We are privileged to have down in Florida one of…

Description of a Quadrille, 1870, West Virginia

Satirical description of a quadrille, from a West Virginia newspaper; no mention is made of a caller

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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