For those who have asked about the style of the early quadrilles, please see
Thomas Wilson documented the standard stepping for country dances in the
early 19th century as being three chassées, jeté, assemblé. You can see
that being performed, complete with pointy toes, in this video. In modern
terminology: three polka steps and a jump. Note: this is how ALL country
dances were done then! Don't believe what you see in Jane Austen movies!
Note also the arm shape for a hand turn. The smooth downward curve was
believed to look best, rather than the elbow-down-hand-up W shape that we
Each sequence is only danced once by each pair of couples. But there are
many sequences. Very different from a modern dance with multiple
repetitions of one sequence.
For lots more detail see the papers listed at
People have referenced quadrilles as being sometimes done in a sort of
Becket formation, by pairs of couples. As it says at
, "Most early Quadrilles were not
the 8 person Sets that arose in the 1810s (most notable amongst which was
the First Set), but rather a variation of the Cotillion usually arranged for
just four dancers."
= = = = = = = =
Colin referenced La Russe as having derived from a quadrille; indeed when
the EFDSS published it in 1948 it was titled "La Russe Quadrille":
= = = = = = = =
I think that we have to accept the fact that "Quadrille" has joined the
ranks of words such as Allemande, Swing and Dosido which all have multiple
different meanings depending on the country, century and dance genre.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it
means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many
'When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'I
always pay it extra.'
John Sweeney, Dancer, England john(a)modernjive.com 01233 625 362 & 07802
for Live Music Ceilidhs
for Dancing in Kent
for Modern Jive DVDs