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Historical Dance Bibliography

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Allen Dodworth

Assistant for A. Dodworth's Pupils

3 Preface

With over thirty years' experience in one branch of education, it would be strange, indeed, if a teacher had not gathered together some useful ideas pertaining to his occupation, especially if that teacher had pursued his occupation with a constant desire for improvement, and an unceasing effort to profit by the experience of others in the same line of thought.

This is all that I claim. Have been engaged as a teacher in this branch for more titan thirty years, and during that time over twenty thousand pupils have been under my personal instruction; have, at various times, visited most of the principal schools of Europe, purposely, to extend my knowledge in the various methods of instruction and government of dancing schools. Should, therefore, any of the few regulations adopted appear unnecessarily strict, let it be believed that this long practice and experience has enabled me to judge more clearly than those of less experience, what is best for all.

Then, again, the education of my own family has taught me with what anxiety and, at times, with what uncertainty, parents trust their children to the guidance of teachers. This anxiety is natural, and deserving the utmost respect; yet how little can be said that will relieve it, and yet it should be known what aims a teacher has, and upon what principles he bases his instruction. I will briefly state mine:

From the commencement of my career it has been my belief that instruction to children, in 4 the dancing school, should have for its objects — Physical Strength, Agility of Action, Gracefulness of Motion, Ease of Manner and Politeness: not alone the ability to dance those dances in fashion at the present time, but to move in the presence of others with composure and gracefulness; to learn to associate with others, under pleasurable circumstances, without rudeness; to learn, under these circumstances, how essential it is for our own happiness, that, we practice mutual forbearance, and that in our amusements we should never forget the golden rule:

“Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you”.

When it is said that these objects may be gained by attendance at a dancing school,it is only assorting what experience has proven to be true. Under no other circumstances can as much be accomplished, in this branch, as when children are exhilirated by the good music, and stimulated by the competition of a large school.

During my time, I have passed through all the phases of teaching: individuals, family classes, private classes, boys' schools, girls' schools, boarding schools, day schools, military schools, in fact every possible way — and have finally determined that classes in my own room, where there is ample space for every exercise, and means for ventilation, and where every convenience can be at hand, and where good and proper music can he used, have very greatly the advantage over all others. Here children of both sexes are brought together, taking every possible precaution to admit only those with whom it would be desirable to associate; and the influence if each upon the other 5 is mutually useful. The children meet friends and strangers, and, in the presence of their parents, who usually accompany them, there is scarcely a possibility that under these circumstances, they fail to receive some benefit.

I cannot refrain from confessing here, however, that when surrounded, under these circumstances, by so many children, whose minds are all awake and really for impressions, that the position I occupy is not without grave responsibilities. In the first place, the responsibility that nothing shall be said or done that would stain the pure mind of a child; and, secondly, that the opportunities thrown in my way, under these most favorable circumstances, of inculcating principles that would elevate the tone of character of my pupils, shall not be lost. I feel that, did I fulfil all the duties of a dancing teacher, and neglect these, then indeed my life had been a failure.

It is, I believe, the experience of most teachers, that our ideals are far beyond what we accomplish. I believe, also, that I may trust to the evidence of my patrons, that although I may not have accomplished all that I could see before me, it has not been without faithful and earnest effort to do so.

7 Manners

How few can resist the influence of agreeable manners; and, what is this manner? It may be simply a word or a gesture; yet those kind of persons who mistakenly consider it an exhibition of independence to be rude to others, are nevertheless influenced, and often subdued, by the kindly good manners of another. Is it not manner which gives us the first, and often the most lasting, impression of any person to whom we may be introduced? Do we not all feet it in the effect of a kindly expression, or a gesture of attention? Do not others feel as we do? Surely, then, that which adds so greatly to the pleasures of ordinary intercourse is deserving of great attention; and yet, how few in reality study to cultivate good manners.

It is often supposed that it is the observance of certain fixed rules, but that is a mistake. The rules of etiquette are valuable for the regulation of society; but good manners is an individual virtue, which augments the pleasures of social intercourse an hundred fold. And still it may be asked: “What is this great virtue?” The answer should be, simply, kindness. Surely, then, I cannot too forcibly urge upon the attention of my young pupils the cultivation of this truly “Christian grace”.

9 Etiquette and hints to young men

It has been said by a French author, that “The salutation is the touchstone of good breeding”. If not as much as this, it is, at least. Valuable accomplishment. As circumstances require, it may be profoundly respectful, cordial civil, familiar; in fact, conveying every possible degree of familiarity.

To a lady in the street never nod, but, remove the hat, and, if possible, with the hand on the opposite side to the person you are passing. A slight inclination of the body, with the passing bow, forms the most graceful salutation.

It is the part of the lady to notice the gentleness first, unless quite intimate.

If the lady, with whom you are walking, is saluted by another gentleman, acknowledge the salute by removing your hat.

Should it be necessary to hold a conversation with any lady friends that you may meet in the street do not stop them, but turn and walk in their direction.

Upon attending a party, your first duty is to make your salutation to the lady of the house.

If a lady is accompanied by a gentleman who is a stranger to the lady of the house, she will not fail to introduce him.

A lady or a gentleman will never enter an opera house or concert, room at a time when it will disturb those who are enjoying the performance, nor will they ever make any noise or motion that will interfere with the pleasure of those about them.

10 If you have good sense, you will never attempt to dance in a quadrille, with the figures of Which you are unacquainted.

These remarks have often been made by unfortunate bunglers: “I did as well as any in my set; they all made mistakes”. He, in his ignorance, not being aware that he alone was the Cause of, all the mistakes, simply because he was never in the prover place at the right time; yet how many there are who complacently take their places, and mar the pleasure Of all the others.

To those who attend the afternoon classes

Upon entering the room make your salutation to your teacher. Never run, but always walk across the room; and let your capability for refinement show itself in your walking.

Do not leave the room without excusing yourself. It may not be necessary to ask permission, but ordinary politeness requires that you should excuse yourself to your teacher; and be careful not to leave the room, if possible, more than once during the afternoon.

Keep your seats while another class is receiving a lesson.

To talk loudly is at all times bad taste, and during a lesson, exceedingly annoying, both to teacher and pupils.

Do not dance in the dressing-rooms, as by so doing you annoy others; and that considerate persons never do.

Make no engagements with each other for certain dances.

It is better that young gentleman should wear gloves, as the perspiration of the hands is liable to stain the dresses of their partners.

Never laugh at any awkwardness you may 11 see; you yourself may at times require the protection of this suggestion.

At all times let there be an emulation of kindness to each other among the pupils. If nature has denied gracefulness or ready imitation to any one, do not allow that to be a cause for unkind ridicule, but rather let your good nature prompt you to aid such a one, as it is they who require most assistance.

To the young gentlemen of the evening classes

Nothing can be written that will greatly aid you in acquiring such dances as the Galop, Deux Temps, Redowa, etc. Those who understand the technicalities of the art have difficulty in clearly comprehending a description of a new dance of that class; and if you could understand a description of these dances, it would not enable you to dance them, as the ability to understand is very different from the ability to execute. I believe it to be well understood that the best of instruction, in any art, is but a small portion of the work to be done. Practice, practice, practice, is the lever of success. In this, as in all things else in this world, “Only the diligent meet with success”.

I, therefore, recommend you, as quickly as possible, to throw aside all embarrassment, and at once come to the determination that you cannot learn the galop, deux temps, trios temps, redowa, polka, polka redowa, etc., by receiving a few directions, but that it will require from you a considerable amount of exertion and perseverance. determine to give that exertion, not fitfully but steadily, twice a week, and the full two hours each time; and then, at the end of the term, you will find that you have accomplished 12 all that you should reasonable, expect. If, on the contrary; you enter the class, take your lesson, and then sit down to think about it, the result will be anything but satisfactory, either to yourself or instructor.

Remember this, that a dancing school is a place to which you come for the purpose of throwing aside your awkwardness, nor a place of amusement. But how can that awkwardness be thrown aside, if it is not well shaken!

Don't be afraid to ask each other to dance. He must be an unkind person who will not assist his fellow pupil, especially as each in turn may receive assistance from another. Mutual assistance should be characteristic with those who attend such a place. The success of all depends greatly upon this mutual concession.

No teacher in the world could dance with each pupil until that pupil is accomplished; in truth, it would he a mistake to dance only with one person. Therefore, frequently change; dancing sometimes as a gentleman, again with the same partner as lady, then alone, so that you may learn to be self reliant. If you are doing wrong, the instructor will put you right. If you are doing nothing, there is nothing to put right.

It is better that all present take part in whatever lesson may be given, and none playing the part of spectator to the annoyance of those engaged. Your will find, also, little additions and variations made, from time to time, in the method of imparting the lesson, that will often give a new light upon what to you may appear as a very old subject; and the exercise will always assist in giving pliability and, direction to the muscles.

You are not required to attend in any particular form of dress, but the instincts of every 13 gentleman requires that your dress shall be cleanly, more especially the boots, and these ought to be thin and elastic, suitable for the purpose At the present time, when so many kinds of overshoes may be had there is but one excuse for dirty boots — carelessness.

Ordinary quadrille

Each figure begins at the second strain of the music. The numbers on the right denote the number of measures of music required for each movement.

First figure

Head couples once; side couples once.

Second figure

Head couples twice; side couples twice.

Third figure

Head couples twice; side couples twice.

Fourth figure

Head couples twice; side couples twice.

Fifth figure

Head couples twice; side couples twice.

After last time finish with

All chassez across. Pass and repass partners — 8

Jig figure

Cheat, or coquette

This figure derives its name from the privilege allowed after balancing, either turn the opposite person, or make a feint to do so, and suddenly turning some other person, thus cheating the first.

Basket dance

17 Virginia reel, or, sir Roger de Coverly

Danced with eight couples, in two lines, the ladies on one side and the gentlemen on the other, facing inward.

The top lady and bottom gentleman execute each figure, and are immediately followed by the bottom lady and top gentleman, in the following order:

Forward and back: forward and turn with the right hand; turn with the left hand; turn with both hands; forward and dos-a-dos; forward and back.

First lady then turns with the left hand every gentleman down the line, while her partner turns every lady; between each one turn partner with right hand; when arrived at the bottom, return to the head; separate from partner, lady passing down the outside of ladies' line, and gentleman passing down the outside of the gentlemen; all follow, meeting partners at the bottom, and then chassez up the centre, when first couple chassez down the middle, and takes position below the last couple, when the figure commences with the new couple at the head.

The lancers ### First figure

Same for the other three couples.

Second figure

In forming two lines first and second times, the two side couples separate from their partners and join each side of the head couples, forming two lines, four on a side; third and fourth times, the head couples join the sides.

Third figure

Fourth figure

19 Fifth figure

Caledonian quadrille ### First figure (Twice)

Second figure (Four times)

20 Third figure (Four times)

Fourth figure (Four times)

Fifth figure (Four times)

21 Finish with all chassez across, saluting at the corners, and the same to partners upon returning to places.

Le prince imperial quadrille ### First figure (Four times). Le chaine continue des dames

Second figure (Four times). La nouvelle trenis

Third figure (Four times). La corbeille

Fourth figure (Four times. La double pastourelle

Fifth figure (Four times). La tourbillon

After the ladies repeat the first sixteen bars of this figure a fifth time, all the gents place their partners in the centre, facing outward, each lady thus facing her own partner, when the Quadrille terminates by all saluting.

The German. Known in Europe as the cotillon

To take part in the German it is necessary to understand other dances. In it may be introduced the galop, waltz, deux temps, redowa, polka and polka redowa, with various movements 24 from the quadrille and lancers, in addition to many movements and figures peculiar this dance alone.

Knowing all these dances perfectly well, no one need have any fear in taking part in the German. By taking seats — six or eight couple from the leader — opportunities may be had of seeing every figure executed once or twice be. fore being called upon to take part.

In forming the German, the matter of first importance is the selection of a leader (Cavalier conducteur). On him, in a great measure, depends the success of the dance, but he must be willingly and promptly obeyed by all; he alone must give direction to the music; he alone gives all signals when necessary to take partners, or to warn couples who are occupying too much time, etc., etc. He will designate and commence each figure, and correct those who are at fault, and, in fact retain a constant and watchful supervision of the dance — restraining those too ardent, and urging those too slow — at all times aiming to keep alive the interest of those engaged.

The leader being seated, with his partner upon his right, all the other couples, in the same manner, take seats on the left of the leader. His place is the head of the German, where all figures commence.

At the commencement of each figure, all will follow the leader in a general tour, and at his signal (clapping of hands) all take seats again each couple continuing to dance until opposite their own seats. The figure introduced by the leader is danced in regular succession by all the couples, from right to left.

In cases where the figure introduced requires but few persons, and there is a larger number than 25 twelve or fifteen couple engaged, it is allowable for the leader and his party to dance the figure once and then he may designate two or three sets, who may repeat the same figure.

In selecting partners for a figure, any one engaged in the dance may be selected. The fact of being in the dance is sufficient introduction. Every member of a German should consider that the success and pleasure of the dance depends, very greatly, upon each one faithfully fulfilling their part; and if, at any time, called upon to do something, perhaps bordering on the comic, which may create a hearty laugh, this should not deter any one from completing their part of the figure.

Occasions for hearty, innocent laughter are not too frequent, and he ought to be a happy man who can be the means of adding one occasion for such enjoyment.

The Germans and French enter into this is eminently social dance with much more “abandon” than we do, and consequently, receive in return much more pleasure.

Many figures in the German are designed to be comical; but the effect of such figures among those who never put aside their dignity, is anything but comical; consequently, the German, with us has test much of its original character. But it should be remembered by young persons. that to be funny or only lively, without being rude, is one of the most delicate tests of good breeding. It is a remark I have often made to my pupils, and based upon the observations of many years, that a jig tune will expose all the vulgarity present. And yet all should endeavor to add to the general amount of pleasure and happiness, if for no higher reason than a selfish one; for it has been truly remarked, 26 that to make others happy, and, consequently receive happiness from them, “we must carry our own sunshine”.

Figures ### La course

Lady selects two gentlemen — gentleman selects two ladies. The two threes place themselves opposite, then forward and backward twice; second time, each gentleman takes the lady he finds opposite to him and dances a tour round the room.

N. B. After placing the ladies in their seats, the gentlemen will immediately return to their own.

Les ronds a trois

Lady selects two gentlemen — gentleman two ladies; form two rounds of three, and revolve rapidly; at a signal the lady passes under the arms of the two gentlemen, the gentleman i passes under the arms of the two ladies, to meet each other, at the, same time the other two gentlemen spring towards the ladies, and each takes the lady chance has placed before him.

Les chaises

The leader places a chair hi the middle of the room, upon which he seats his partner. He then selects two gentlemen and presents them to the lady, who selects one, and rises to dance, when the rejected gentleman will take the chair, and the leader will present two ladies; 27 with one the gentleman will rise to dance, the other the leader will dance with.

Les fleurs

The gentleman selects two ladies; each of these ladies name a flower. The ladies are then presented to any gentleman in the circle, who is requested to choose one of the two flowers named. He rises to dance with lady who has named the flower that he has selected. The first gentleman will dance with the other. During the same time the first lady selects two gentlemen, who will name flowers, and are presented to ladies in the same manner.

Les cartes

The gentleman presents to four ladies the four queens of a pack of cards, at the same time the lady presents the four kings to four gentlemen, who immediately search for the corresponding queens.

Le pyramide

Three couple commence — each lady selects a lady — the six form a pyramid, thus:

2 3
4 5 6

Each gentleman selects another; all join hands in line, the first gentleman on the right, 28 who will conduct the line of gentlemen entirely round the first lady, then entirely round the next two, and then round the next three, and again round each until the first gentleman arrives in front of the first lady, when, at the signal, each takes the lady nearest.

Les petits ronds

Three or four couple commence. Each lady selects a lady, each gentleman a gentleman. The ladies place themselves in couples, one couple behind the other, leaving three or four feet space between each couple. The gentlemen place themselves in the same manner, directly opposite the ladies. The first four (two ladies and two gents) hands round and pass the two ladies under the arms of the two gentlemen, to the next two gentlemen, and the first two gentlemen pass to the next two ladies with whom they repeat the figure, and thus, in succession, repeating the trends round, and ladies passing under, until all have passed from one end of the room to the other; and as each couple after the first emerges from the figure will separate and place themselves at each side of the first couple until all are in lines; ladies in one line, gentlemen in another: all then advance, and each gentleman takes the lady opposite to him.

Des dames moulinet

Two couple commence. Each gentleman selects a lady, each lady a gentleman. Form quadrille. Four ladies cross hands with right hands, and pass entirely round to the next gentleman, 29 when each lady will turn each gentleman with left hand, the ladies then again form the moulinet, pass round and turn the next gentleman, repeating four times each time turning a different gentleman; and, lastly, (fourth time), each lady turning the gentleman with whom she formed the quadrille, when all dance a tour around the room.

Les bras enlaces; or, charge of the light brigade

Three, four, or more couples commence. Gentlemen select ladies, ladies select gentlemen. Form a grand round. All forward, four bars, and back same; again forward, when the ladies join hands with each other below and the gentlemen join hands above, in front and across each other, then all make a round to the left. The first gentleman separates from the gentleman on his right, and the lady on the right of the first gentleman (the one selected by first gentleman) separates from the lady on her right, the two ends then go backward until the circle becomes a straight line, the arms still entwined, when the gentlemen raise their arms, still holding fast, and the ladies dart forward from under, and are immediately followed by the gentlemen; and upon reaching the opposite end of the room, the ladies turn round and dance with the gentleman found opposite.

The grand chain

Three, four, or more couple. Gentlemen select ladies; ladies select gentlemen. Form a grand round. At a signal from the leader, all 30 commence a grand chain, with the person to whom the right hand is given; at the next signal, swing round with the one to whom the right hand is given at that moment, and commence a grand chain in the opposite direction, giving left hand first; at another signal, swing round with left hand, and commence a grand chain again in the direction taken at first, and thus changing as many times as the signal may be given, until the signal is given to take partners, when each gentleman selects the lady nearest him.

Only to polka or polka redowa. Double right and left and half ladies' chain

Two couples commence: Gentlemen select ladies, ladies select gentlemen. Form quadrille. Head couples right and left, with side couples on the right. Half ladies' chain with same couple, thus changing partners. All polka round to same place again. Right and left and half ladies' chain; again changing partners with left hand couples. All polka round again. Right and left and half ladies' chain With right hand couples. All polka round. Finally, right and left and half ladies' chain with left hand couples, when the gentlemen regain the ladies they commenced with. Polka all around the room.

The figures of the German may be multiplied to any extent, without any regard to regularity of succession; all depending upon the invention or tact of the leader.

Star and circle

Four couple commence. Each lady selects a 31 gentleman, each gentleman a lady. Form two lines, face to face; four couples in each line. The two middle ladies will cross hands round with the two opposite middle ladies, first going entirely round, giving right hands, and return, giving left hands; they will then all give right hands, each to another lady's left hand, thus forming a star.

The eight gentlemen will all join hands, and form a circle, between the first and second of each two ladies. In this form the circle of gentlemen will pass round under the arms of the ladies while the ladies pass round in form of a star in the opposite direction. At the usual signal, all take partners selected.

Flag figure

Having ten pair of flags, that is to say, two American, two French, two English, etc., etc., the leader will present one of each pair to a lady, and the other to a gentleman. After thus distributing all, those gentlemen having flags will search for the lady having the corresponding one, with whom he dances round the room. Each lady will then present her flag to another lady, and each gentleman presents his to another gentleman. Then again there will be the same searching for corresponding flags; and, after the dance round the room, the same distribution of flags.

Different pairs of colored ribbons may be used in place of flags.

Military figure

Same distribution of flags as in the previous 32 figure; then form in four lines, an officer in front of each, thus:

Line of gentlemen
Line of ladies

In this form, march or dance round the room twice. Second time, each line turn in opposite directions — first to right, second to left, third to right, fourth to left. When at sides of the room, form the two lines into one line, each line facing the other, when all advance and select corresponding flags.

33 How to dance the boston ### With general observations on etiquette, style and manners in dancing ### By Allen Dodworth

(From the Home Journal, April 12th and 19th, 1871)

Origin of the new dance — Its characteristics — First stages and complete development — True laws of the dance — Manual for instructors and learners — Time and musicians, etc.

The origin of this dance has been, and is still, a frequent subject of discussion. I incline to the belief that it is not an invention, but a growth, springing from a natural desire in our young people for a change. We had been hopping in the hop waltz, and jumping in the quick redowa, for a number of years; had allowed those who were so inclined, free license to “tear about” in the galop until this desire lot a change to a more composed and gentle style became quite general. This manifested itself first in subduing the redowa, and the process continuing for a number of years, gradually resulted in the present Boston. The intermediate 34 steps may be easily traced by any one who cares to investigate the matter. We will not, however, dwell on the question of its origin. Let us be thankful for the good taste that has brought about so desirable a change.

In learning a new dance it has been my practice to find its source, if possible, and there gain the technical precision of the motions; but if style and good taste were required, society furnished the models; and the study of these best examples I have always enjoyed as a privilege, learning from them how great, an influence high cultivation, good associations and thorough training have upon our social dancing. To Such examples I am indebted for many useful lessons, not the least of which I value the present opportunity of observing this dance tom its commencement, and noticing how gradually the good taste of our young people has modified, what at first was a truly ungraceful motion, until it now approaches that beautiful old fashioned dance, the Spanish waltz. In fact, our modern Boston, with the dipping motion omitted, is precisely our old-fashioned waltz, and is So named by many at the present time.

I cannot share the opinion that a teacher of dancing has only to teach a few steps and figures, believing it to be his duty, as it is the duty of all teachers, to impart to their pupils a just perception of what is pure in taste in all that relates to his branch of education, and also never fail in his condemnation of those things that have a tendency to debase that taste. I therefore, felt that in its first stage, and during the transition period of our new dance, I could not recommend it to my pupils; but, in its present form; I feel real pleasure in describing it as the latest and best.

35 Boston. Description of the step.

Prepare by standing with heels together, toes turned out

  1. Step forward with the right foot, say eighteen inches, and in making this step bend the left knee, but keep the right leg straight, allowing the heel to touch the floor an instant before the toes. (This bending of the left knee causes a descent. of the body, from which the name dip is derived).
  2. Pass the left beyond the right foot, about eighteen inches, at the same time stiffening both legs and rising on, the toes — while thus passing She left, turn nearly half round toward the right hand.
  3. Bring right heel against the left heel, settling down upon both, and thus finish the half turn.
  4. Step backward upon the left foot, about eighteen inches, dipping with the, right knee.
  5. Pass the right foot backward beyond the left, say not more than six inches— at the same. time stiffening the legs as at No. 2 — and while slitting right foot backward, turn nearly half round by throwing the right shoulder backward.
  6. Bring left heel up to the right heel, settling down on both, and while doing so, finish the second half turn.

36 The lady commences at No. 1, and continues all through the dance — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 — without ever changing.

The gentleman commences at No. 4, and continues through the dance — 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3 — without ever changing. It will be seen, therefore, that while one is making 1, 2, 3, the other is making 4, 5, 6; and this without variation from the beginning to the end.

Pursuit step. ### To go forward without turning

  1. Step forward with the right, (dipping as at No. 1)
  2. Pass the left without turning, (same motion as at No. 2)
  3. Bring right to left heel, as at No. 3
  4. Step forward with left . (dipping as at No. 1)
  5. Pass the right without turning, (as at No. 2)
  6. Bring left heel to right, (as at No. 3)

These movements may be repeated forward to any distance.

To go backward without turning

  1. Step backward with left foot, dipping with right knee
  2. Pass right beyond left, rising on the toes, as at No. 2 above
  3. Bring left heel to right
  4. Step backward with right foot, dipping with left knee
  5. Pass left beyond the right rising on the toes
  6. Bring right heel to left heel

37 These movements may be repeated backward indefinitely.

When two are dancing together, one will make the six movements forward, while the other will make the six movements backward.

The reverse

  1. Step forward upon the left foot, dipping upon the right knee
  2. Pass right foot beyond left, turning nearly half round toward the left hand
  3. Bring left heel to right, thus finishing the half turn
  4. Step backward upon the right foot, (dipping)
  5. Pass left beyond right, about six inches — same time turning half round by throwing left shoulder backward
  6. Bring right heel to left, and thus finish the whole turn.

To change from the right turn to the left, or reverse ### To change by the backward movement

In making 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, as first described, when the dancer arrives at No. 4, which is left foot backward, make No. 5 straight backward, and then bring the heels together without turning half round, as first described. Then, as the right foot steps occur in regular rotation, make that right foot, step backward as No. 1; then pass the left backward, turning half round for No. 2, then bring right heel to left, as at No. 3; next, step forward ; with left foot, then pass right beyond left, turning half round, and finish 38 this reverse turn by bringing the heels together for No. 6.

To change by a forward movement

In making 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, as at first described, when arriving again at No. 1, in place of turning upon No. 2, make that motion straight forward and bring the right heel to left without any turn. Then, as the next in rotation is the left foot, step forward with that foot for No. 4, then pass the right, turning toward the left hand for No. 5; next bring left heel to right for No. 6, then step backward with right foot for No 1, and as the left foot passes beyond backward, continue to turn by throwing the left shoulder backward, then bring the right heel up to left, and thus complete one reverse turn.

The length, direction, etc., of the motions, are varied according to circumstances, which practice alone can enable a person to acquire.

Two-step boston; or the “dip”

l. Step forward upon right foot, say twenty-four inches, making a low dip with left knee 2. Bring left heel to right heel, same time, swing half round upon the right foot 3. Rise on the toes and down again 4. Step backward upon left foot, say twenty-four inches, making a low dip with right knee 5. Having right heel to left heel, swing half round upon the left foot 6. Rise on the toes and down again

The difference between this and the three steps, is in the omission of the second and fifth movements. The first and fourth movements 39 remaining the same in both cases, except that those who use these two steps are liable to exaggerate the dip. These omissions reduce the dance to a matter of fact kind of see-saw, taking from the waltz all that poetry of motion which constitutes its chief charm and excellence.

It is curious to notice how many have been-left behind by the development of our new dance who are still dipping about with this two-step Boston, and to notice also that these are generally the same persons who use the hop waltz, under the belief that they dance the redowa. If we notice farther that both the two-step and the hop waltz are but imperfect imitations of their models, easy to learn and quite easy to teach, we should not be surprised to find so many teachers and dancers contenting themselves with lower grades of movement.

Time and musicians

It is to be regretted that many of those who play for parties and balls know very little about dancing, and are, therefore, scarcely conscious of the peculiar accent or time required for our dances. At many good concerts we may hear the charming compositions of the Strauss brothers played as though speed was the only expression of dance music — and we thus lose much that is good and beautiful. With many of our pianists, this tendency to play fast is very marked, arising, perhaps from the natural defects of their instrument; as an example, it may be mentioned that in passages or melodies of long sustained notes, which have been written with a view to orchestral effect, the pianist 40 is liable to anticipate the time on account of the non-sustaining power of that instrument. This may be an explanation, but not an excuse It is true, also, that much of our dance music is composed and arranged for the use of orchestras, engaged at public gardens and such places, where effect and excitement are the great, objects; and thus also seem to give excitement and hurry to our home dancing. The lancers and quadrille are usually played so fast that the dancers can only run after the music. In this way we lose that composure these dances should have, and the relief they ought to afford from those dances which require greater exertion.

The contest in speed between the musicians and dancers has, in many cases, resulted in the dancers acknowledging themselves fairly conquered, and by the device of dancing what they call the “slow boston” or “double step”. They thus allow their antagonists (the musicians) full scope for their propensity, and are not liable to be hurried out of case and gracefulness into violence and awkwardness in their efforts to keep up.

This “slow boston” or “double step” is simply prolonging each motion of the six, as first described, so that four measures of music may be occupied instead of two. Surely this ought to suggest to those who play for dancing as an occupation, that they do not fulfil all their duties by simply playing the notes they should learn to give the proper time and true accent to each dance. Those who have enjoyed the pleasure of dancing to a good timist, readily understand the importance of these remarks. It is a fact, however, that bad dancers like quick time.

41 It would be unjust not to acknowledge that we have leaders and pianists who conscientiously strive to make themselves acquainted with all that belongs o their department, and the following may be mentioned as a part of their experience:

Four different couples may be seen dancing four different dances to the same waltz; each one of these couples having a “speciality”, insist upon exhibiting that “speciality,” even when the music is not suitable in time.

Very soon, therefore, “hop waltz” rushes to the leader and cries out “Faster, faster!”

After a time “redowa” expostulates with him for playing so fast.

“Deux temps”, in an excited states, follows, wondering what he means by playing so dreadfully slow.

Lastly comes “Boston,” quite out of breath, faint, and, overcome by trying to keep up, implores the leader,in mercy, to play a little slower.

What is the unfortunate leader to do under such circumstances? The scene is a reality, and has occurred many times. It may be noticed, however, that the best dancers rarely complain; they are equal to the emergency, and adopt such a step as will suit the time. May we repeat here, what has been well said before: “Those who know least are most noisy in their knowledge”.

Programmes of dancing should always show what dance the music is intended for; the leader would then know what time to take. It would also be understood that he was playing a time suitable for the dance mentioned, and if some chose to use steps not suitable to that time, they would have no cause to complain, but must 42 accept the inconvenience as their own seeking, and not interfere with those who desire to dance in accordance with the time. To a waltz we have five different dances, videlicet:

  1. Boston;
  2. Two-step Boston;
  3. Redowa;
  4. Deux Temps;
  5. Hop waltz.

Commencing with No. 1, the slowest, the time of each is a little quicker than the preceding one, until, with No. 5, we may dance almost at any speed. We have also the trois temps, polka mazourka, and polka redowa — each a little quicker than the other. The polka should be about the time of a military quick step. It is now becoming very general to use the redowa step to the galop music — in that case the time may be a little slower than when the galop step is used.

It has been my frequent privilege to admire the expertness and originality of some of our young people, noticing the variety of movements they introduce in a waltz — at one time, two steps; at another, three steps to a measure. Then redowa, next perhaps the deux temps, then again the redowa with three slides; changing then to the hop waltz, then to the redowa, with one foot, and hop waltz with the other; next to the Boston, keeping one foot in front then to the redowa again, with so little motion that they would appear to be simply walking round. Thus they go through an infinite variety of changes, and in all gliding, and turning, first this, then that way, through and among the numerous couples, without interfering with any, and, what is still more to be admired, with a quietness of manner, attitude and movement, that showed true taste and cultivation.

No doubt many of these “vagaries of step” (as they might be termed) are inspirations of the moment, and have at the time of introduction 43 a really beautiful effect; but if repeated too frequently, they have the very opposite result.

When we see imitations of great orators or actors, it will be remembered that it is not the genius of the great one that is produced, only some of his peculiarities. Thus it is with our dancing. There are many persons who fail to see the general excellence of those dancers mentioned above, but catch one of their vagaries; and so, with countenances expressive of the deep anxiety they feel, and the great exertions they are making, go dipping or hopping about, first against one couple, then another, seeming to be always in the way; and, what is still more to be regretted, in manner, movement and attitude, showing very little good taste or cultivation; and so they finish in an exhausted state, wondering why people don't keep out of their way.

These imitators, or specialty men, as they are frequently named, will always be found “doing their specialty” to all kinds of music. They dance the “dip” to a polka; “dip” again to galop; waltzes, deux temps, trois temps and mazourkas only furnish other opportunities to “dip”. They also fall into curious mistakes in the manner of holding a partner; as examples, we may notice that, when a gentleman is dancing with a lady who carries a fan or bouquet in the right hand he may naturally take hold of the wrist, and the hold would not appear inappropriate. But our imitator seizes his partner's wrist under every circumstance, and we see empty hands dangling without any purpose. A gentleman in reversing with a lady which is a difficult partner, might be compelled to throw his left arm backward, but 44 this affords no excuse for our imitators, who place their left hand upon their hips, and thus form a group that is not quite within the bounds of delicacy.

These are the kind of people who so often assert that it is no longer fashionable to dance well; or, as they express it, “dance like a dancing master;” and I freely confess that the traditional dancing-master is an example that I should feel very unwilling to imitate, as he is a creation of the ballet — not of our parlors. But if our young friends will reflect for a moment, they will remember that there is something about the movements of a “gentleman” that always has been fashionable, and always will be fashionable, and that something is refined movement, governed by good sense — whatever his judgement allows him to do, he tries to do well. If he feels that it is proper that he should dance among his friends, he makes himself acquainted with all that is necessary before doing so, rather than inflict pain upon those friends by his mistakes or awkwardness.

In teaching ladies and gentlemen, I note what each has to say of the other, and am often brought in contact with persons whose remarks upon our subject are useful and interesting. Ladies say that gentlemen often fail to support them properly in these dances. This is, no doubt, quite true; but ladies must remember that the most agreeable partners for gentlemen are those who do not rely upon being supported, or pulled about, but who dance with their partners, and are able to suggest by a movement that there is danger of collision.

Ladies also say that they are frequently held too firmly, making it difficult to move easily. This is also, quite true; but this sometimes 45 arises from their own manner of throwing their entire weight upon the gentleman, which compels him to use more force than he would do under other circumstances.

Ladies also complain that they occasionally find partners who project their knees so far in front that it is quite impossible to avoid them and they sometimes declare they will dance no more with these gentlemen on that account. And those ladies are to be honored for their self-respect and independence; such a resolution should be universal, as this attitude is simply unpardonable. No advantage is gained by it; it is unmanly in appearance, truly inconvenient, and really offensive to all ladies. The bad taste, we might say vulgarity of the position, has, no doubt, been one cause of the unjust prejudice many good people feel against these dances. We say unjust prejudice, because the objection lies properly against the dancers who abuse this accomplishment, which is in itself beautiful. The fact we can find examples, whose movements show good sense and modesty, ought to encourage us to persevere in our criticism, until the taste of the others is raised to a higher standard.

Gentlemen of good intellectual attainments; artists, who constantly talk about the “æsthetic”; sculptors, whose study is the graceful poise of the human figure, may be seen dancing in this most angular attitude. Officers of our army, navy and militia, fresh from the drill, where the subject of a fine manly carriage is constantly discussed, may be seen dancing in an attitude little removed from the position of an Indian in his war dance! Surely none of these have thought of such a thing as refinement of motion or attitude in their own case, 46 nor can it be possible that it was ever suggested to them that refinement of motion is expressive of refinement of mind. We must not say that this subject requires more cultivation than most of these persons possess. What is it, then, that has caused such a curious perversion? A little bit of history may serve to explain.

About twenty-four years ago there came from Paris to New York, “une danseuse,” accompanied by “un danseur” for a partner. The two established themselves at the corner of Broadway and Canal Street, and named their place a Dancing Academy. A year or two previous to this, the polka had been introduced in Paris, and from there issued to the world, as the novelty of the age. Our young people (and old also) having at that time very great veneration for Parisian styles, and foreign teachers, all felt that their position in their set could not be maintained unless they learned the polka from this most recent importation. They, therefore, rushed to be educated, and there learned to dance in the “most fashionable” style, but, unfortunately, not in the style of the best society of Paris. If modest young men objected to holding their partners too closely, or interfering with their knees, “ Honi soit qui mal y pense ” was repeated, until they believed that they were committing no wrong; but that those who thought so of them were the sinners. It was here that young women were first employed to dance as partners, and this attraction induced many young men to attend regularly for a long time. In consequence of being thus induced to practice, they became very expert; but this dancing with all kinds of persons and all kinds of dancers, had its effect upon these young women, for they naturally became less 47 sensitive than they would otherwise have been. The education, therefore, that our young men received was not favorable to good taste or modesty, and was most unfortunate, as from that time, this vicious style of dancing gained admission in society.

The success of this first place led to the establishment of a number of others; but each succeeding one appeared to descend in the scale, until the good taste and moral feeling of our people starved them all out, and there is not one left at the present day. But the poison had its effect, and still lingers. There is little doubt that many fathers of the present time will be glad to know that their sons are not subject to the temptations of such places,in addition to many others incidental to a life in a metropolis.

At this present turning point in our social dancing, an appropriate opportunity was offered to give utterance to ideas that have long been in mind, and which have been confirmed by an acquaintance of many years with the subject. Topics have been discussed that may not exactly relate to a description of the “Boston,” and yet are intimately related to the subject of good taste in our social dancing. In giving publicity to these opinions, we should have felt great fear and diffidence, had we not known that the judgement and sympathy of many kind friends and patrons supported those opinions, and for whom this publication seemed to be a duty. If any of the remarks appear stronger than the subject demands, let it be believed that they were inspired by our intense desire to assist in removing all that is contaminating from this beautiful and useful art.

The word useful is here used with a full sense 48 of its meaning and importance, for we sincerely believe that “our Good Father in Heaven” has given us this universal love of motion to music for a purpose, as He has given us the love of pleasant sounds, the love of beautiful colors, and the love of graceful outline, all to share in the elevation of the human race. And this love of pleasant motions, called dancing, being so irresistible, in the young shows that it is designed for their time of life, and that we older one are not doing our full duty when we treat it as one of the follies of youth, and do not make use of it as a means of refinement, instead of allowing it to degenerate into coarseness, when it is so evidently intended for a better purpose.

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