Sunday, 5 June 2011

Dancing - Regency Style

Since I’ve posted about my recent Tap Dancing moment of fame on my reading and writing blog, I thought it would be fun to take a short look at some of the dances that Regency society enjoyed.


The Cotillion became popular towards the end of the 18th century and was a square dance with four couples. There were two main parts: a simple section known as ‘the change’ and a more complicated manoeuvre called ‘the figure’ – these would alternate with each other.

The Quadrille progressed from the figure sections of the Cotillion, which were joined in a sequence, and the changes were removed. Although they began with four couples, the sets eventually used only two couples. Different types of music was used for this dance, one of the most famous being the Lancers.

Longways country dances were popular from the 18th century. The dancers formed one long set, but within this they danced in groups of two or three couples – some of these can be seen in the film versions of Jane Austen’s books. They are also progressive, as each couple gradually moves along the set.

The Allemande was a type of skipping step dance for a couple, where the man led and the couple make a few passes, turning in various ways beneath their joined hands.

I’ll talk about the scandalous waltz in another post!

Romy

10 comments:

Lindsay Townsend said...

Fascinating post, Romy! All these different dances. Now I'm off to try the heroine quiz.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Lindsay - thanks for coming over. I'd love to actually try some of them!

CarolB said...

Thanks for this explanation Romy, it helps make sense of some ballroom scenes I've read.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Carol - thanks for your comment!

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I noticed the "scandalous waltz" reference in your book. After watching the waltz on Dancing with the Stars here in the States, I hesitate to think what your Regency characters' reactions would have been. Swooning comes to mind.
Julie

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Julie - yes, it really was that scandalous and I thought it deserved a post all of its own!

Linda Kage said...

How neat. I've always wanted to know about the different regency era dances. And I have seen the Langways in Jane Austen movies! It was the one in the movie about Jane herself, right? "Becoming Jane".

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Linda -you're quite right! I believe that was a longways dance in that film. Really enjoyed that!

Talli Roland said...

Interesting! Thanks for the look back in time.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for visiting, Talli!