Show Menu

Items from "Historical squares": 54

"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…

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…

Caribbean Quadrille - Dominica

This is but one example of a quadrille tradition that has been kept alive in many Caribbean islands, here performed by Dominica Oversea Nationals Association (DONA) - Quadrille Dancers.

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.

Danish Lancers, first figure

La Dorset, 1st figure of the Lancers as danced today in Denmark. Subsequent videos at this site show the other four figures.

Description of a Quadrille, 1870, West Virginia

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

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…

Fledermaus Quadrille

Michael Bergman: Sadly, they've substituted walking steps for the more difficult Regency-era style steps that were still in fashion when the music was written. They are correctly using the older French formation of lines of couples facing couples across the set, with no progression, which predates the four-couple quadrille. On the positive side,…

Frank Chavez Describes American Square Dances and Spanish Cuadrillas in New Mexico

From childhood, 70-year old fiddler Frank Chavez was exposed to New Mexico Spanish folk music, growing up west of Estancia in New Mexico. Frank was a guitar player and then in 1990, after meeting Ken Keppeler and Jeannie McLerie, picked up the fiddle as well. Since then, he’s learn many of the tunes from what he calls “The Golden…

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:…

Grand Square - Edson Cole

This dance starts with the Grand Square figure, along with other calls common to the 5th figure of the Lancers.Edson Cole was a fiddler and dancing master from Freedom, NH. He was documentedby Eloise Hubbard Linscott in her 1939 book, Folk Songs of Old New England. This 78 rpm recording was made available to Dudley Laufman, who released it with…

Haynes Family manuscript - Oregon

This manuscript of sixty-five dance tunes was handed down through several generations of the Haynes, Shuck, and Adams families who came West over the Oregon Trail from Ohio, Kentucky, Iowa and Missouri between 1847 and 1853. Many of the family members were musical, and over the years several people contributed tunes to the manuscript, from which…

Hoodoo Religion and American Dance Traditions: Rethinking the Ring Shout

Article by Katrina Hazzard-Donald looks at the relationship between African-American churches and traditional dance. As the article's summary puts it: "When one considers the history of American dance traditions one rarely thinks about its possible relationship to the local African American "Sanctified" or fundamentalist church described in works…

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.

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…

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 Strasbourgoise Cotillion -Regency era

Demonstration of a period cotillion at a Napoleonic Ball

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.

Lancers, 5th figure

The music for this group of dancers is by Spare Parts, from their compact disc, The Civil War Ballroom.