Drawing Room Dances by Henri Cellarius Chapter 16
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In speaking of the redowa, I shall repeat what I have said of the waltze à cinque temps. I must not forget that at the moment of my writing, the redowa is much more talked of than practised, nor do I believe it was introduced into any French ball-room during the last winter.

I have already declared my opinion that nothing which professors may say or write in favour of any new dance or waltze will have the least effect in directing public opinion. The best way is to wait till any novelty has made its way into the ball-rooms before hazarding an opinion. To confine himself to foretelling what an unknown dance may be if it should be adopted by persons of distinction, is I conceive the wisest part for the master. Having imposed upon myself this reserve in regard to the waltze à cinq temps, I shall no doubt be applauded for not departing from it on the subject of the redowa, of which I shall here explain the principles.

This dance, originally Bohemian, is executed by couples, like all the other waltzes, and is composed of three parts distinct from each other.
1st. The pursuit.
2nd. The waltze, called redowa.
3rd. The waltze à deux temps, executed to a peculiar measure, and which, by a change of the rhythm, assumes a new character.

The great obstacle to the redowa is, it must be owned, the small extent of most of the Parisian ball-rooms.

The middle of the floor must of necessity be reserved for the dancers, who execute that peculiar promenade, called the pursuit, while those who dance the waltze turn in a circle about the room. It may be imagined that these two different manœuvres require a certain space, and beyond this, a certain order in the dances, that unhappily one is unused to meet with in France, except in some few assemblies.

The time of the redowa is à trois temps, and should be played much more slowly than the ordinary waltze.

The position of the gentleman is the same as for the waltze à trois temps. The gentleman sets out with the left foot, and the lady with the right.

In the pursuit the position is different; the gentleman and his partner face, and take each other by the hand; they advance or fall back at pleasure, and swing (balance) in advance and backwards.

To advance, the step of the pursuit is made by a glissade forward without springing, coupé with the hind foot and jeté on it, you recommence with the other foot, and so on for the rest.

The retiring step is made by a sliding step of the foot backwards without springing, and jeté with the front foot, and coupé with the one behind.

It is necessary to advance well on the sliding step and to spring lightly in the two others sur place, balancing equally in the pas de poursuite, which is executed alternately by the left foot in advance, and the right backwards.

The lady should follow all the movements of her partner, falling back when he advances, and advancing when he falls back.

Care must be taken to bring the shoulder a little forward at each sliding step, for it should always follow the movement of the leg as it advances or retreats, but this action should not be too marked, as it would give a proof of bad taste.

When the gentleman is about to waltze with spirit, he should take the lady's waist with vivacity as in the ordinary waltze.

The step of the redowa in turning may be thus analyzed for the gentleman.

Jetè of the left foot, passing before the lady as in the waltze à trois tempsglissade of the right foot behind to the fourth position aside—the left foot is brought to the third position behind—then the pas de basque is executed by the right foot bringing it forward, and you recommence with the left.

The pas de basque should be made in three very equal beats, as in the mazurka. The lady performs the same steps as the gentleman, beginning by the pas de basque with the right foot.

To waltze à deux to the measure of the redowa, we should make each step upon each beat of the bar, and find ourselves at every two bars, the gentleman with his left foot, and the lady with her right—that is to say, we should make one whole and one half step to every bar.

This dance, which does not present great difficulties in regard to its elements,—especially for those, who already know the mazurka, and the waltze a deux temps, has yet a peculiar style of its own, which it is necessary to seize. The redowa requires, and perhaps more than any other dance, great flexibility of body and a peculiar feeling for the time, the accent of which should find an echo in the movements of the dancer.

I have of course no need to remark that the principles of the redowa, which I have just explained, do not any-wise belong to myself: I owe them to the kind patronage of many persons of the highest distinction in Prague and Berlin, who have condescended to give me a specimen of this dance by executing it themselves in my presence, that I might have a just conception of its character.

I have thought it right to follow the same rule with the redowa that I have laid down for myself in respect to all other foreign dances—that is, to conform myself as much as possible to the primitive type furnished by the people with whom they have originated, without prejudice to the modifications which custom and French taste have been able to introduce.

If I have had the good fortune to form amongst my pupils some dancers of the mazurka so skilful as to be mistaken for Poles or Russians, I owe it, I may say, to that method, which has always made me, when teaching, go back to the national character of every dance. Such apparent imitation, instead of leading to routine, assists on the contrary the originality of intelligent pupils, and enables them to equal, if not surpass, their models.

I confess that it is my earnest desire to see other masters adopt this system, which at least has the advantage of presenting to the public an invariable type for each dance, and destroys the germ of those divisions and misintelligences so injurious to the teaching and practice.

A master, as it seems to me, ought to avoid giving, under the title of such or such a foreign dance, a fanciful step, which is only a counterfeit, and has originated at the French opera, or even in his own brain. Not that I mean to say that conventional steps are necessarily inferior to those originally executed in Austria, Germany, Poland, or any other country; but they have the grave inconvenience of creating as many sorts of dances as there are professors.

It may be remembered that at the time of the appearance of the polka, almost every one had his own, and often the polka of one ball-room differed from that of another. The mazurka even yet is scarcely settled. But these dances encounter already sufficient obstacles in the peculiarities of their execution without every one pretending to dance them after his own fashion.

May these misunderstandings not occur again in regard to the redowa; may every professor resolve to seek the model of it, not in his own imagination, but the nationality itself of the dance, which is, as it seems to me, at once the most natural and the safest guide. In forming this hope it is no peculiar interest of my own that I have in view; I speak for the general good and from my own experience, which has shown me how much the want of unity in teaching has been injurious to all.

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Drawing Room Dances by Henri Cellarius Chapter 16

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