Drawing Room Dances by Henri Cellarius Chapter 14
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The Poles, in executing a mazurka begin by forming a general round, which they extend as much as possible, in order to leave room for the dancers.

The gentleman, whose peculiar duties I shall point out in the article on cotillons, starts first, and describes a figure, which the other couples repeat, replacing each other according to their fancy.

It is seldom that the couples have settled amongst themselves beforehand the figures they intend to execute. A word, and often a sign, is sufficient for all to understand what they have to do, and for each to set out in his turn without the necessity of any other warning or preparation. But the mazurka is not as yet sufficiently common in France for us to execute it as the Poles do, that is to say, without rehearsal, though I do not doubt that we shall eventually be able to extemporize it as in Russia and Poland. For this it is sufficient to know all, or at least the principal, figures of the cotillon, which I shall take care to collect at the end of this volume.

In the meanwhile, that such experience of the dance is not sufficiently general, it often happens that the mazurkas, which are attempted to be improvised in the French ball-rooms, are deficient in order and judgment. Amongst the gentlemen, it is who shall take the responsibility of conducting? there is hesitation, if not positive confusion, amongst the couples, who do not well understand each other's intentions. In a word, it not unfrequently happens that a mazurka, pompously announced, ends in a general rout, for a single unskilful gentleman is often enough to defeat the whole.

To obviate these inconveniences, many persons have requested me to devise certain figures, which might be studied in private, and would thus afford the dancers a settled theme, as it were, or subject, that they might execute literally in the ball-room, and have nothing else to think of than the step. To such wishes I have yielded by composing the quadrille-mazurka, in which I have combined a variety of figures, chosen from amongst those, that appeared to me best calculated to represent the character of the dance. In order to avoid as much as possible whatever of the unusual the mazurka might have in the eyes of certain persons, and to proportion it to the framework of a ball, I have even been at the pains of regulating it in some measure by the laws of the French quadrille.

The mazurka-quadrille may be danced face to face, in four, six, or eight couples, up to thirty-two, which is an advantage for the novices, who are often somewhat embarrassed by the solo promenades.

The music is the same as that of the mazurka, which I have explained above.

I have no vanity whatever in regard to the composition of this quadrille, which is rather a matter of arrangement than invention, and in which I have done nothing more than combine the fragments of figures extracted for the most part from the cotillon. Neither do I pretend that the quadrille-mazurka can pass for the mazurka itself, which to the real amateur has advantages that nothing can replace, but which it is so often difficult to realise in Paris with all the requisites of place, harmony, and above all of patience on the part of the spectators. I offer this new quadrille to the public in some sort as a specimen and foretaste of the mazurka, a kind of compromise between the French and Polish dance. I think that it may perhaps take its place with advantage in the course of the ball, if it were only as a variety and relief in the midst of the waltzes and country-dances. I may besides remark that the entire execution of these five figures does not last more than eight or ten minutes; that beyond doubt is a real merit in the eyes even of the most decided enemies to the mazurka, and will alone suffice to justify, in default of other claims, the success which it obtained last winter in my courses and in the assemblies where they thought proper to adopt it.


As in all the mazurkas, you begin by waiting eight bars to form the round—make a turn to the left (eight bars)—a turn to the right (eight bars)—all the couples make the tour sur place forward (four bars)—and backward (four bars).

  1. Figure A
    • The two couples facing each other make the complete English right and left (eight bars).
    • The two gentlemen, advancing with their partners, give each other their left arms by the elbows, make a demi-tour very rapidly, change the ladies, and make the tour sur place forward (eight bars).
    • They repeat this figure to bring them back to their places (sixteen bars).
    • The same figure for the opposite party (thirty-two bars).
  2. Figure B
    • Wait eight bars.
    • The two opposite gentlemen, holding their partners by the hand, advance (four bars).
    • And fall back (four bars).
    • They cross by the right to change places (four bars).
    • And make the tour sur place forward (four bars).
    • They repeat this figure to bring themselves back to their places (sixteen bars).
    • The same figure for the opposite party (thirty-two bars).
  3. Figure C
  4. Figure D
    • Wait eight bars.
    • The first gentleman begins by promenading in advance with his partner (four bars).
    • He continues the promenade to regain his place (four bars).
    • Petit tour forward (four bars).
    • And backwards (four bars).
    • The gentleman again sets out in advance, makes his partner cross to the left, and without quitting her hand takes with his other the lady of the opposite couple, who catches behind the gentleman, the hand of the first lady (four bars).
    • In this position all three advance together (four bars) and fall back without turning round.
    • The gentleman stoops, passes under the arms of the two ladies, united behind, with which his own are then found crossed (four bars).
    • The gentleman and the two ladies thus execute a round to the right; at the end of this round, the gentleman leaves the lady, he has taken, to her partner, who causes her to make a tour sur place backwards (four bars), while he himself promenades with his lady to regain his place (four bars). Short round forward (four bars).
    • And backwards (four bars).
    • The same figure for the three other couples (one hundred and twenty bars).
  5. Figure E
    • wait eight bars.
    • The two couples facing each other make the English half right and left, at the end of which the gentlemen, without quitting the left hand of their partners, should execute a demi-tour on themselves, and pass the right arm under the left of their ladies to take them by the waist (four bars).
    • In this position they make the tour sur place backwards (four bars).
    • The same half hands round and petit tour to return to their places (eight bars).
    • They then form four hands round and make a demi-tour to the left (four bars).
    • A tour forward (four bars).—Another demi-tour en rond , and to the left (four bars).
    • Petit tour forward (four measures).
    • Double right and left, and return to their places (eight bars).
    • Tour sur place forward (four bars).—And backwards (four bars).
    • The same figure for the other party (forty-eight bars).
    • They finish without stopping by a grand rond , eight steps to the left and eight steps to the right.
    • And a grande chaine plate beginning by the right hand. When the gentleman has returned to his lady, he makes a tour sur place at discretion (sixteen bars).
    • Note. When there are many couples, and consequently the final grande chaine becomes too long, the music must play till the tour sur place is executed.

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Drawing Room Dances by Henri Cellarius Chapter 14

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