Drawing Room Dances
by Henri Cellarius
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FIGURES OF THE COTILLON.
The excursion—La Course. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first gentleman quits his partner, whether after the waltze or after the promenade,
and chooses two other ladies from the circle; his lady on her part chooses two other
gentlemen. They place themselves opposite to each other at a certain distance, and
then commence the waltze or the promenade, each gentleman with the lady that
happens to be opposite to him. This movement is made by one, two, or three couples,
according to the size of the ball-room.
The Rounds of three—Les Rounds à trois. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple sets out, as in the Course, with a waltze or promenade.
The gentleman takes two ladies, and the lady two gentlemen. Consequently they form
two rounds composed of three persons, who face each other. The two rounds turn very
rapidly. At a signal given, the gentleman passes under the arms of the two ladies, with
whom he has just turned, and springs towards his own lady, who on her part has been
turning with the two gentlemen, and the latter then rejoin their
own ladies, and having faced them, reconduct them to their places either in waltzing or polking.
When this figure is executed for the mazurka, the gentleman who holds the two ladies,
makes the lady on his left hand pass under his right arm and under that of the other lady,
which give the appearance of a barrier to be raised. He makes a promenade with the lady
whom he retains. The lady of the other round in like manner, makes the gentleman on
her right pass under her arm, and promenades with the other gentleman. The gentleman
and the lady who have been excluded from the round, rejoin each other and make a
The Chairs—Les Chaires. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The conductor sets out and makes his partner sit down in a chair placed in the centre of the room.
He then takes two gentlemen and presents them to the lady, who must choose one of them.
He then makes the rejected gentleman sit down, and presents two ladies to him that he
may select one. The first gentleman retains the rejected lady, and conducts her to her
place in dancing or waltzing. This figure may be performed by one, two, three, or four couples.
The Flowers—Les Fleurs. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The conductor selects two ladies, and invites them in a low tone to name a flower.
He presents the two ladies to another gentleman, and names to him the two flowers,
that he may choose one of them. The second gentleman waltzes with the lady
represented by the flower he has named, and the conductor waltzes with the other
lady. The partner of the first gentleman executes the same figure with the two
gentlemen she has chosen. The
may be performed by one, two, or three couples.
La Course Assise. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Two chairs are placed back to back in the middle of the room. The first couple
set out either with the waltze or the mazurka. The gentleman and his partner
then take the one a lady, and the other a gentleman, whom they place in the chairs.
The gentleman then seeks two other ladies, whom he takes by either hand, and
places himself opposite the lady he has seated; his partner does the same with
two gentlemen. At a signal given each takes the person opposite—that is
to say, the conductor takes the first lady whom he seated, and his partner takes
the corresponding gentleman; the two
other ladies, chosen in the second place, take in like manner for the waltze or the
promenade the gentlemen placed before them; each, after having made the round
of the room returns to his place. This figure may be executed by two couples,
placing four chairs instead of two.
The Columns—Les Colonnes. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The conductor sets out, promenading or waltzing, and leaves his lady in the
middle of the room. He takes a gentleman, whom he places back to back with
his partner; he takes another lady, whom he places opposite to the gentleman
just chosen, and so on for the rest, till he has formed a column of four or five
couples that he takes care to terminate with a lady. At the signal given by clapping
his hands, every one turns round and dances with his opposite to his place.
A double column may be formed by two couples setting out at the time.
The Cushion—Le Coussin. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first gentleman sets out, holding a cushion in his left hand. He makes the
round of the room with his partner, and leaves the cushion to his partner, which
she must present to several gentlemen, inviting them to kneel upon it. The lady
should draw back quickly from the gentleman that she means to mock, and let it
fall before the one that she intends to choose.
The Cardes—Les Cartes. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first gentleman presents to four ladies the four queens of a pack of cards,
while his partner presents the four kings to as many gentlemen, who rise, and
seek the ladies of their colours. The king of hearts waltzes with the queen, the
king of spades with the queen of spades, &c.
The Pyramid—La Piramide. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Three couple set out together, dancing or waltzing. Every gentleman seeks
another gentleman, and every lady another lady. The six ladies form three
unequal ranks. One lady alone forms the first rank, and represents the top of the
pyramid; two compose the second rank, and three the third. The gentlemen take
each other by the hand and compose a chain. The conductor leads the other
gentlemen and passes, running, behind the three last ladies. He enters the last rank,
then the second, causing the chain of
gentlemen he conducts to wind about the ladies. When he comes in front of the lady
placed at the top of the pyramid, he claps his hands, and leads off either in waltze or
promenade the lady opposite to him. The other gentlemen in like manner waltze or
dance with their opposites. This figure may be executed by five couples,
by forming a fourth rank of ladies.
The Deceiver—La Trampeuse. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Two or three couples set out waltzing or promenading. Every gentleman chooses a
gentleman, and every lady chooses a lady. The conductor alone chooses two gentlemen.
The gentlemen form a line, and place themselves back to back with the ladies, who
form a parallel line. The conductor remains without the ranks, and places himself in
front of the ladies' line. He claps his hands and chooses a lady, at which signal all the
gentlemen turn round, and take for the dance or waltze the ladies who happen to be
behind them. The gentleman, who finds himself without a partner in consequence of the
conductor's choice, returns to his place, unless he can find a compassionate lady in the
circle who will consent to waltze or promenade with him.
The Serpent—La Serpent. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple sets out waltzing or promenading. The gentleman leaves his partner in one
of the corners of the room, her face turned towards the wall, and then goes to choose three
or four ladies whom he places behind his own, leaving a certain distance between each of them.
He then chooses as many gentlemen, him self included, as there are ladies. He forms a chain
with the gentlemen he has chosen, and after having rapidly promenaded this chain, he passes
behind the last lady, then between each one, 'till he has regained his own. He then claps
his hands, and every gentleman dances or waltzes with his opposite. This figure, which
has a great analogy to the
Pyramid, should be chosen by preference in all rooms of small extent.
Two or three columns may be formed by several couples starting at the same time.
The Broken Round—La Rond Brisè. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple sets off, waltzing or promenading. The gentleman leaves
his partner in the middle of the room and chooses two other gentlemen,
who form with him
three hands round
about the lady. The gentlemen turn
very quickly to the left. At a signal given the lady chooses a gentleman for the
dance or waltze, and the two other gentlemen return to their places.
When this figure is done amongst intimate friends and has been
intended for the waltze or polka, the two discarded gentlemen
waltze together about the circle.
The Handkerchief—Le Monchorè. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple sets out. After the waltze or promenade, the lady makes a
knot in one of the four corners of a handkerchief, which she presents to four gentlemen.
He who hits upon the knot waltzes or dances with her to her place.
The Change of Ladies—Le Changement des Dames. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Two couples set out with the waltze or promenade. After having made sundry
circuits, they ought to approach each other, the gentlemen changing the ladies
without losing the step or the time. After having danced with each other's lady,
each takes back his own and regains his place.
The Hat—Le Chapeau. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple sets off, when the gentleman leaves
the lady in the middle of the room, and delivers to her a hat.
All the gentlemen come and form a circle about the lady, with their backs
turned to her, and going very quickly to the left. The lady places the hat on the
head of one of the gentlemen, with whom she makes a tour de valse or a promenade.
The other gentlemen return to their places.
The Shawl—L'Echarpe. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
This figure is the fellow to that of the Hat. A gentleman, with a scarf in his
hands, keeps in the middle of a circle formed by the ladies about him, and
must fling the shawl on the shoulders of the one, with whom he chooses to
dance or waltze. Every gentleman should go to rejoin his lady, and reconduct
her to her place.
The Ladies Seated—Les Dames Assisses. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Two chairs are placed back to back in the middle of the room. The two
first couples begin with the waltze or the promenade. The two gentlemen
seat the ladies, and then choose two others, with whom they make the
tour of the circle, after which they again take their partners to reconduct them
to their places in waltzing or dancing. While the two ladies, they have just quitted,
sit down in their turn, the two gentlemen execute the same figure, and so on for
the rest. When all the gentlemen have gone through the figure there remain
upon their seats two ladies, whom their partners come to liberate. This figure
may be executed by three or four couples, by placing as many chairs in the
middle of the circle.
The Glass of Champagne—Le Verre de Vin de Champagne. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Three chairs are placed in a line, the two outer chairs being turned
another way from that in the middle. The first couple sets off; the
gentleman seats his lady in the middle chair, gives her a glass of
champagne, and goes for two other gentlemen, whom he places on
the other chairs. The lady gives the champagne to one of the gentlemen
to drink, and regains her place with the other, either in dancing or in waltzing.
The Rejected Couples—Les Couples Refusés. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple sets off. The first gentleman kneels on one knee in the middle of the room.
His partner chooses from the circle several couples, which she presents to him, and which
she refuses successively. The couples form in a row behind the gentleman on his
knee, who ends by choosing a lady, with whom he waltzes or promenades, and then
brings back to her partner, who remains in front of the row, and receiving his own
lady reconducts her to her place. The first gentleman reconducts each lady in dancing
and waltzing and when all the couples have disappeared he again finds his own lady,
who had sought refuge behind the column, whom he reconducts in her turn.
The Nosegays—Les Bouquets. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Several nosegays are laid upon a table. The first couple sets off.
The gentleman and his lady, each take a nosegay, which they present,
the gentleman to a lady, and the lady to a gentleman, to make a tour de
valse or a promenade. This figure is repeated by all the couples.
The Presentation of Ladies—Les Dames Presentés(Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple sets off. The gentleman kneels in the middle of the room;
his partner chooses from the circle several ladies, whom she presents to him,
and whom he invites to place themselves behind him in a row till he has
taken one to dance or waltze with. This figure, which has great analogy to that of the
(fig. 19), is better suited to rooms of small size.
The Moving Cushion—Le Coussin Mobile. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple sets off. The first gentleman seats his lady, and places at her feet a
small cushion, before which he successively leads several gentlemen, whom he has
taken from the circle, inviting every one to kneel upon the cushion, which the lady,
in case of refusal, quickly draws back. The rejected gentlemen place themselves in a
line behind the chair of the lady, who indicates her choice by leaving the cushion
immovable before the gentleman, with whom she chooses to waltze or dance.
The ladies of the rejected gentlemen come to deliver them, and make a tour de
valse or a promenade back to their places.
The Ladies Mocked—Les Dames Trompées. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple sets off. The gentleman takes his lady by the hand,
promenades about the circle, and approaches several ladies pretending
to invite them to waltze or dance. The moment the lady rises to accept
his offer, he turns away quickly to address himself to another, on whom
he plays off the same game, till he at last really makes a choice.
The lady of the conductor
dances or waltzes with the partner of the lady who has been elected.
The Magic Hat—Le Chapeau Magique. (Waltze, polka, mazurka).
The first couple sets off. The gentleman gives to his partner a hat,
which she presents to several ladies, requesting them to place something
in it. She afterwards presents the hat to several gentlemen, who take out
one of the deposits, and goes to seek the lady to whom it belongs to urge
her to make a tour de valse or a promenade. This figure may be performed
by several couples at the time.
The Phalanx—La Phalange. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The two first couple set off. Each gentleman chooses two ladies, and each
lady two gentlemen. The first gentleman gives his right hand to the lady on his
right, and his left hand to her on his left; the two ladies give each other their
hands behind him so as to form the ancient figure known by the name of
the Graces. The lady of the conductor takes the same position with
the gentleman she has chosen ; the groups range themselves one after
another in the same manner, and keep so close as to form a phalanx,
which sets out with the pass de polka, a waltze without turning, or a mazurka.
At a given signal the gentlemen, who are between the two
ladies, turn round with them, and each dances or waltzes with his opposite
to his place. This figure may be executed by three or four couples.
The Mysterious Cloth—Le Drap Mysterieux. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple set off. All the gentlemen of the cotillon range themselves
behind the cloth, which two persons hold out displayed, so as to form a
sort of screen, and place above it the ends of their fingers, which the lady
on the other side is to take, thus indicating her partner.
The Gentlemen Mocked—Le Cavalier Trompè. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The five or six first couples start together, and place themselves in ranks two and two.
The first gentleman holds his lady by the right hand, and should not look at the couple
placed behind him. His lady leaves him, and goes to choose a gentleman amongst the
other couples. The gentleman and that lady separate, and advance tiptoe on either
side of the column, in order to deceive the first gentleman at the head of it, and
endeavour to rejoin each other to dance and waltze together. If the gentleman,
who is on the watch, is lucky enough to catch hold of his partner, he reconducts
her, in dancing or waltzing, and the gentleman, who follows, replaces him. In the
contrary case, he must remain at
his post till he can lay hold of a lady. The last remaining gentleman waltzes or
dances with the first lady.
The Double Cross.—Le Croix Doublée. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Four couples start together, and place themselves
(turnstyle fashion.) The gentlemen all give their left hands, and hold their
ladies by the right. Each lady calls a gentleman, who comes and gives her his
left hand; the new gentlemen in turn call upon other ladies, who in like manner
place themselves in rays, all the couples describe a tour in executing together
the pas de valse, polka, or mazurka, then separate, and regain their place, by pairs.
The Grand Round—Le Grand Rond. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Four couples start together. Each gentleman chooses a gentleman, and each lady
selects a lady. A grand round is formed, the gentlemen holding each other by the
hand on the same side, and the ladies on the other. The commencement is made
by turning to the left; then the conductor, who should hold his lady by the right
hand, advances without quitting it, and cuts through the middle of the round,
that is to say between the last lady and the last gentleman. He turns to the left
with all the gentlemen, while his partner turns to the
right with all the ladies. The conductor and his lady having described a semi-circle
reversed, meet again and dance or waltze together; the second gentleman takes
the second lady, and so on with the rest, 'till the chain is exhausted. This figure
may be performed with five, six, seven, eight couples, or even more if the space permits it.
The Twin Circles—Les Circles jumeau. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Four couples start together. Each gentleman chooses a gentleman, and each lady a lady.
The conductor places himself in the ladies' round, and his partner places herself in that
of the gentlemen. The two rounds turn to the left with rapidity; at a given signal the
conductor selects a lady to dance or waltze with; his partner does the same with a
gentleman; during this time the gentlemen extend themselves in one line, and the
ladies in another. The two lines advance towards each other, and every one dances
with his opposite. This figure, as well as the preceding, may be executed by as
many couples as please.
The Deceitful Round—La Rond Trompense. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple sets out. The conductor chooses three ladies,
whom he places with his own at a certain
distance from one another, and as if for the game of puss in the corner.
He then selects four gentlemen, and forms with them a round which is
intermingled with the square formed by the ladies. The five gentlemen
ought to turn with great rapidity, and at a given signal turn round and
take the lady that is behind them to dance or waltze with. There is
necessarily one gentleman victimized, who is condemned to return
alone to his place.
The Convent-Porter—Le Portier du Convent. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple set out. The conductor selects from the circle several ladies,
whom he leads, as well as his own partner, to an apartment adjoining the ball-room,
and of which the door remains ajar. Each lady names in a low voice a gentleman,
whom the conductor then calls upon aloud to come and make a
tour de valse, or a promenade with the lady that has summoned him.
The conductor takes care to reserve one of the ladies for himself. This figure
may also be executed by the lady conductress, who should then imprison the
gentleman she chooses, and call the ladies pointed out by them.
The Mysterious Hands—Les Mains Mysterieux. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The first couple set out. The conductor imprisons in
an adjoining apartment several ladies besides his own, as was
explained in the preceding figure. Each lady passes a hand through
the half-open door. The conductor leads forward as many gentlemen
as he has chosen ladies, when they each take one of the hands, and
dances or waltzes with the lady so elected. The conductor has also the
right of seizing one of the mysterious hands.
The Handkerchief Chase—La Chasse aux Mouchoirs. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
The three or four first couples start together. The gentlemen leave in the
middle of the room their ladies, who should each have a handkerchief in her
hand. The gentleman of the cotillon form a circle about them, with their backs
turned. The ladies toss their handkerchief into the air, and waltze or dance
with such of the gentlemen as have the good luck to catch them.
The Stormy Sea—a Mer Agitée. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Two rows of chairs are placed with their backs to each other, as for the game,
the name of which has served to designate this figure. The first couple sets out.
The conductor, if he has placed twelve chairs in the middle of the room, selects
six ladies, including his own, and seats them in every other chair. He then selects six
gentlemen, with whom he forms a chain that he conducts. After having
described a rapid course about the various parts of the room, and which
he may prolong or vary at pleasure, he finishes by closing around the
chairs in which the ladies are. When he seats himself, the other gentlemen
should do the same, and each waltze or dance with the lady who is at his
right. In this figure as in that of the
Deceitful Round, one gentleman becomes a victim, and must be
content to return alone to his place.
Puss in the Corner—Les Quatre Coins. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Four chairs are placed in the middle of the room at set intervals,
to represent the four corners. The first gentleman after having made
his partner dance a
tour de valseor a promenade, seats her in one of the chairs and
takes the three next ladies to occupy the three other chairs.
He stands in the centre as for the game of puss in the corner.
The ladies still sitting, execute the changes, that are no longer made by pacing,
but by holding each other by the hand, for the exchange of seats.
When the gentleman can possess himself of one of the chairs left
vacant by any lady in the attempt to change places with her neighbour,
he waltzes or dances with her whom he has just dethroned. Another
gentleman then places himself in the centre of the circle, and another
lady takes the vacant chair. When the last gentleman has taken
the place of one of the four last ladies, the partners of the three remaining
should reconduct them to their places in waltzing or promenading.
The Bower—Les Berceau. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Four couples set out together, and form a general circle in the middle of the room.
When the circle is formed, the ladies and gentlemen turn round, and find
themselves back to back without letting go each others' hands. Four other
couples then start, and make a circle about the first, but without turning round.
In that position, and when they face each other, the gentlemen join hands above,
and the ladies underneath. The former then raise their arms high enough to form
a circular passage, that the ladies rapidly run through to the left without quitting
each others' hands. At a given signal the gentlemen lower their arms at the same
time to stop the ladies, who waltze or dance with the gentlemen before whom
they find themselves. This figure may be executed by five, six, seven,
eight or more couples.
The Pursuit—La Poursuite. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
Three or four couples set out. Every gentleman of the cotillon has the right
to go behind each couple and possess himself of the lady to dance or waltze
with her. He should clap his hands to announce his intention of
substituting himself for her partner. This figure continues till each gentleman
has again got possession of his lady to conduct her to her place. To execute
this figure with all the animation required, it is necessary that as fast as each
gentleman possesses himself of a lady, another should replace him.
The pursuit is one of the final figures of the cotillon.
The Final Round—a Rond Final. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
All the persons of the cotillon form a general circle. The conductor separates
himself with his lady from the circle, which should join again, and executes in the
middle a waltze or a promenade. He stops at a given signal, and his partner
quits the circle, while he chooses a lady, with whom he dances or waltzes
within it. He then in his turn quits the circle, and the lady he had chosen,
takes another gentleman, and so on for the rest. When there remain only
two or three couples, a general waltze or promenade is executed. The
Final Round, like the
Pursuit, is generally performed at the end of the cotillons.
The Endless Rounds—Les Ronds Infinis. (Waltze, polka, mazurka.)
All the persons of the cotillon form a general round, and begin by turning to the left. The conductor at a
given signal quits the hand of his lady, who should be on his left, and
continuing to turn in the same direction, enters the round in forming a
colimaçon, while the last lady, whose hand he has quitted,
turns to the right to envelope the other circles that go on diminishing.
When they are quite close to each other, the conductor passes under the
arm of one of the waltzers, and waltzeuses to get out of the circle, every
one following him without letting go their hands. The conductor promenades
at pleasure, and extends the line to reform the general round. All the other
couples perform a general waltze or promenade. This figure, like the two
preceding, is generally placed at the end of the cotillon.
Le Moulinet. (Waltze, polka.)
Three couples start together. After a promenade or a
tour de valse, each gentleman chooses a lady, and each lady a gentleman.
All the gentlemen place themselves in moulinet, giving the left hand to each other,
and the right to the ladies, who themselves should hold them by the left. The
first, third, and fourth gentlemen, waltze or polk in the intermediate space,
while the other couples pace slowly. At a given signal, the waltzing or
polking couple stop to allow the rest to dance or waltze. The conclusion
is made by a general waltze or polka.
Le Moulinet Changeant. (Waltze, polka.)
Setting out of three couples, choice of ladies and gentlemen, position
of the moulinet as in the preceding figure. At a given signal each lady
advances to a gentleman, and waltze or polk without quitting their
order in the moulinet. At a new signal they stop, but always in moulinet,
to recommence a dance or polka with the next lady, 'till each gentleman
has recovered his own partner. General waltze or polka for a conclusion.
The Four Chairs—Les Quatres Chaires. (Waltze, polka.)
In the middle of the room are placed four chairs arranged in the same way as for
Puss in a corner. Four couples set off, in waltzing or polking, and
place themselves, each couple behind one of the four chairs. At a given signal
each one waltzes or polks about the chair behind which it finds itself, and then
passes to the next, and so on for the rest, always going to the right. This figure
should be executed simultaneously to avoid clashing with each other. To finish,
each couple regains its place in waltzing or polking.
The Country Dance—La Contredanse. (Waltze, polka.)
Four couple place themselves in the middle of the room as for the country-dance.
The first couple set off in waltzing or polking about the couple on the right,
and in the same way makes the round of the other couples. The three other
couples repeat the same figure. When all these four have finished, they return
to their places waltzing or polking in the same way as for the
The Handkerchief—Le Mouchoir
. (Waltze, polka.)
Two couples start at the time, the gentlemen, each holding with his left
hand the end of a handkerchief and high enough to pass under it at every
circle that the handkerchief describes. They waltze or polk 'till the
handkerchief is rolled up like a cord.
The Flying Shawls—Les Echarpes Volantes. (Waltze, polka.)
Two shawls are crossed, and tied in the middle. Four couples place themselves
as for the game of the ring, each gentleman takes with the left hand one of the
corners of each shawl, being careful to hold it above his head. Each couple
waltzes, in turning, and always keeping the same distance.
At a given signal all regain their places.
The Fan—L'Eventail. (Waltze, polka.)
Three chairs are placed in the middle of the room upon the same line.
The two at the ends should be turned contrarywise to that in the centre,
as in the figure of the
Glass of Champagne. The first couple sets out in waltzing.
The gentleman seats his lady upon the centre chair, and seeks two
other gentlemen whom he places in the two other chairs.
The lady offers her fan to one of the gentlemen at her side,
and waltzes with the other. The gentleman with the fan must follow the
waltzing couple, fanning them and hopping about the circle.
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Drawing Room Dances
by Henri Cellarius
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