westdance: Thoughts on 15c Italian for KWDS?

Matthew Larsen matt1.larsen at gmail.com
Wed May 9 09:54:05 PDT 2007

> Huh, I hadnt thought of that either.  Guess it's my 19th c-20th c
> dance background talkin'.

:-) Yeah, that was my reaction, too.

> The pattern on the floor groups might include "slot dances" like
> hustle & west coast swing. It might include circle dances like
> Sellengers.  It might include squares like cotillion, quadrille and
> sexdrille (no silly, not that; six as in 3 facing 3 !)

The patterns in quadrilles, ECD, etc, is clearly important, but
they're not improvised, at least not that I can think of.  Though I
have some vague recollection of there being some 19th c. quadrilles
where a leader for each set would call out the figure that would be
danced next (i.e. like calling for the graces, or a grand right and
left or something).  Do you have any recollection of that Cin?  My
memory is hazy.  That would at least be a little like what we're
looking at here.

> You've been waiting for the "only one" where the pattern on the floor
> matters, havent you?  It's the 19th c figured grand march with the
> line of men (or couples) crossing, merging, joining, interleaving,
> passing a symmetrical line of women (or couples).  I do not know when
> this style first appeared, but it doesnt seem to be listed in
> Terpsichore, the well used English Regency era dance book.

I've always thought it had it's origins in the early 19th c., with the
rise of militarism and nationalism.  But I'll admit I don't have any
hard knowledge on that.  In any case, yes, this is clearly an example.

> >I can't think off hand of
> > any kind of dance where the variation part is just the pattern you're
> > making on the floor.  I guess I have to open up that category to
> > include that, at least conceptually.
> I thought of another. I can think of 1 that is folk dance in nature
> rather than classy, e.g. a partner changing  late 18th c (that was the
> claim) schottische circle & partner-changing dance from France.  I'm
> not enough of a 18th dance historian... etc. But again, its not really
> the *floor* that interesting; it's having that improv moment then back
> to the circle in time to meet a new partner.

I don't really know the folk dance landscape very well.  Are some of
the Greek circle dances the kind of thing where there are pattern
variations?  Anyone know?  Or other folk dances, maybe Scandinavian or
Eastern European?


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