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Sacred Dances— Cyiele and A flit— The Shield if Achilles— The Hyforchema—Tht 
Gymmpaedia and the Endy matin — The Hirmis and the Pyrrhic Dance — The Bac- 
chanalia — The Salii — Reman Mimes nnder the Empire — The Gaditanian Dancers 



Re/igiius Dances— St rilling Ballet j— Dances if Chivalry— The " Ballet dis Ar- 
dents "—Berginxii di Bilta's Ballet 



The Grand Ballet — Trench Dances if the Clise if the Middle Ages, and if the I 

Renaissance — Bass* Dances — The V lite— The Gaillarde—The Tirdiin—Branlei — 

The Pavane 70-107 


Dancing in th, --Great Century"— Grand Ballets nnder Ltnis XI T. —Masked Balls 
— The Pavane— The Ciurnnte—The Gavitte—The Chacme—The Sarahand—The 
Allemande—The Passepied—Tht Passacaille 1 08- 1 37 


Dancing nnder L*nii XT.— Painters if Fetes GaUntei—Mademiiselle Salle— La ^ 

Camargi — The Minuet— The Patiepied — Ntverre and the Ballet— Gaetan and 

Angnste lestrii .... I j8- 1 70 




Madeleine Guimard — Dancing under Louis XV I. — The Gavotte — The Ballet — Dances 

and Fetes of the Revolution and the Republic— Balls and Ballets of the Directory, the t— — " 

Empire, and the Restoration — Marie Taglioni ....... 171-206 


Rustic and Pastoral Dances — Rounds — Bourrees — Bretonne Dances — Catalan Bails 

— The Farandole — Open-air Dances in Foreign Countries ..... 207-236 


Spanish Dances — Danzas and Bayles — The Fandango — The Bolero — The Seguidillas 
Manchegas — The Jota Aragonesa — The Jaleo de Jerez — The Cachuca . . . 237-261 


Modern Greek Dances — The Italian Tarantella — Some European Dances — Bayaderes 

and Alm'ees — Savage Dances ...... .... 262-288 


Contemporary Dances — The Waltz — The Galop — The Polka — Cellarius, Markowski, 

and Labor de — The Jardin Mabille — Prit chard, Chicard, and Brididi — £>ueen Pomar'e 289-314 


Public Balls — Ranelagh — The Chaumierc — The Sceaux Ball — The Prado — The 
Delta — The Chateau-Rouge — The lie d' 'Amour — L'Ortie and Les Acacias — The 
Mars — The Victoire — The Bourdon — The Bal des Chiens — The Montesquieu — The 
Valentino — The Jardin d'Hiver — The Lac Saint- Fargeau — The Grand Saint- 
Martin and the Descent e de la Courtille — The Closerie des Lilas — Butlier . . 315-338 


Modern Dancing— From the Second Empire to the present Time — Society Balls — The 

Revival of Old Dances in France and in Foreign Countries 339-3°o 


A Brief Survey of the Ballets of this Century — Modern Theatrical Dancing — The 

Operatic Corps de Ballet — The Serpentine Dance — The Public Balls of To-day . 361-380 




Early His fry of Dancing in Great Britain — Anglo- Saxon Dancing — Ntrman Dancts 
— Middle Ages — Dances of Knights-Templars and Templars — Dancing under Tudor 
Sovereigns — James I. and Court Masques — Charles I. and Court Masques — The 
Commonwealth — Dancing under Charles II. — Old May-day Dances— Dancing in 
the Days of Queen Anne — Bath — Beau Nash as Master of the Ceremonies — His 
Successors — Masquerades at Madame Cornell's, Carlisle House — The Pantheon — 
Ranelagh and I'auxhall Gardens — Almack's Cluh and Subscription Balls — Famous 
Dancing-masters and Coryphees of the Eighteenth Century — The t'estris Family — 
Stage-dancing — Opera Dancers at the King's Theatre — Her Majesty's, from Vestris 
le Grand to Kate Yaughan . . 381-415 


The Jig — Irish Jigs — The Hornpipe — Dancing in Scotland — Under Mary, Queen of 
Scots — The Reformation — Scotch Reels — Highland Flings — The Ghillie Callum — 
The Strathspey — English Country Dances — The Cotillion of the Eighteenth Century — 
The Modern Cotillion — Quadrilles — The First Set, or Parisian Quadrille — The 
Lancers— The Caledonians— The Polka— The Waltz.— The Minuet— Court Balls- 
State Balls 416-440 

•*">«* 44'~44 6 

Note. — The Publishers are much indebted to the ^Artists and 
Owners of Copyright works, who have kindly allowed their reproduction 
in this volume, especially to Mr. "J. McNeil Whistler, Mr. Hamo 
Thornycrofl, Messrs. Boussod Valadon & Co., Mr. John Murray, 
and Messrs. Nimmo. Their thanks are also due to Messrs. Durand, 
of 'Paris, for leave to reprint the music of several old French Dances. 



After A. Beve>ia 


Dance, after Carpeaux ........... Frontispiece 

Salome, after Gustave Moreau . . . . . . . To face page 40 

The Due de Joyeuse's Ball, after Clouet ...... ,,74 

Dance throughout the Aces, after Aime Morot ..... „ 100 

The Saraband, after Roybet . . . . . . . .' ,,128 

The Pleasures of the Ball, after Watteau ...... „ 140 

Mademoiselle Camargo, after Lancret ....... ,,152 

The Ball, after Augustin de Saint-Aubin ...... „ 168 

The Arch-Duchess Marie Antoinette in a Ballet danced at Vienna 

in 1765 ,,182 

A Village Wedding, after Teniers . . . . . . . ,,212 

A Village Dance in Brittany, after A. Leleux ..... „ 226 

A Village Wedding, after Taunay . . . . . . . ,,232 

Before the Bull Fight, after A. Zo . . . . . . . ,,238 

La Carmencita, after John Sargent, R.A. ...... „ 256 

Neapolitan Peasants returning from a Pilgrimage, after Leopold Robert „ 266 

The Bride's Minuet, after Debucourt ....... „ 290 

The Cotillion, after Stewart ........ ,,354 

Rosita Mauri in "La Korrigane " ....... „ 364 

Miss Connie Gilchrist, after J. McNeil Whistler . . . . ,,412 

The Cyprians' Ball at the Argyle Rooms, after an Engraving by 

Robert Cruikshank ......... „ 430 


L. : 


the Origin tf Dinting — Dancing tkrtnghnt tit Jgti — General Snrvtj 

IROM the first formation of societies," says Jean Jacques 
Rousseau, "Song and Dance, true children of Love and 
Leisure, became the amusement, or rather the occupation, 
of idle assemblies of men and women." 
Like Poetry and Music, to which it is closely allied, Dancing, 
properly so-called — the choregraphic art, that is to say — was probably 
unknown to the earliest ages of humanity. Savage man, wandering 
in forests, devouring the quivering flesh of his spoils, can have known 
nothing of those rhythmic postures which reflect sweet and caressing 
sensations entirely alien to his moods. The nearest approach to such 
must have been the leaps and bounds, the incoherent gestures, by which 
he expressed the joys and furies of his brutal life. 


But when men began to form themselves into groups, this artless impulse 
became more flexible ; it accepted rules and submitted to laws. 

Dancing, a flower of night, is said to have germinated under the skies 
of the Pharaohs ; tradition speaks of rounds, symbolic of sidereal motion, 
circling beneath the stars on the august soil of Egypt, mighty mother of the 
world. It manifested itself at first in sacred sciences, severe and hieratic ; 
yet even then it babbled brokenly of joy and grief in the processions of 

Later on, in the course of ages, it became interwoven with all the 
manifestations of popular life, reflecting the passions of man, and translating 
the most secret movements of the soul into physical action. From the 
solemnity of religious rites, from the fury of warfare, it passed to the 
gaiety of pastoral sports, the dignity and grace of polished society. It took 
on the splendour of social festivities, the caressing and voluptuous languors 
of love, and even dolefully followed the funeral train. 

As early as the year 2545 b.c. we find traces of the chjjregraphicjaj-t. 
Hieratic dances, bequeathed by the priests of ancient Egypt, were held in 
high honour among the Hebrews. 

But no antique race gave themselves up so eagerly to the art as the 
Greeks. The word " dancing " gives us but a feeble idea of their conception 
of the art. With them it was Nomas or Orchesis, the art of expressive 
gesture, governing not only the movement of the feet, but the discipline of 
the body generally, and its various attitudes. Gait, movement, even 
immobility, were alike subject to its laws. To them it was, in fact, a % 
language, governing all movements, and regulating them by rhythm. 

In Greece, cradle of the arts and of legend, the Muses manifested 
themselves to man as a radiant choir, led by Terpsichore. 

On the slopes of Olympus and Pelion, the chaste Graces mingled 
with forest Nymphs in Rounds danced under the silvery light of the moon. 
Hesiod saw the Muses treading the violets of Hippocrene under their 
alabaster feet at dawn in rhythmic measure. Fiction interlinked itself 
with reality : mad with joy, Bacchantes whirled about the staggering 
Silenus, and the daughters of Sparta eagerly imitated the martial exercises 
of their warriors. 

A whole world of dreams peopled the poetic Greece of long ago. In the 


hush of forests, before sacred altars, in sunshine, under star-light, bands 
of maidens crowned with oak-leaves, garlanded with flowers, passed 
dancing in honour of Pan, of Apollo, of Diana, of the Age of Innocence, 
and of chaste wedlock. 

The Romans imitated the Greeks in all the arts, borrowing their dances 
just as they adored their gods. But primitive Rome was still barbaric 
when the arts were shining in incomparable splendour in Greece. 

Romulus had given a sort of savage choregraphy to Rome. Numa 
instituted a solemn religious dance, practised only by the Salian priests. 

The arts of Greece soon degenerated after their migration to Rome. 
The virginal dances of early Greece, the feasts of sacred mysteries, the 
Keast of Flora, so lovely in its first simplicity of joy in the opening 
flowers and caressing sunshine of returning spring, became unrecognisable, 
serving as pretexts for every kind of licence. 

Theatrical dancing, however, attained extraordinary perfection among 
the Romans, and pantomime, an art unknown to the Greeks, had its 
birth among their rivals. 

After centuries of folly, which brought about the downfall of the 
great race, the art of dancing disappeared. 

It is to be traced again during the persecutions of the early Church, 
moving among the solitary retreats of the first Christians, who, no 
doubt, bore in mind the sacred dances of the Hebrews. In the Church 
of St. Pancras at Rome there still exists a sort of stage, separated 
from the altar, on which, we are told, priests and worshippers joined in 
measures led by their Bishop. These traditional rites, derived from the 
Scriptures, and perpetuated by an artless faith, degenerated in their turn, 
and served at last as pretexts for impure spectacles. 

A papal decree of 744 abolished dancing round churches and in 

A reflection from these sacerdotal dances gleams out again long afterwards 
in the Castle of St. Angelo itself, where a nephew of Sixtus IV. composed 
ballets, and at the Council of Trent, which concluded with a ball of 
Cardinals and Bishops. 

Meanwhile the darkness of night had fallen on the history of secular 
dancing, a darkness that endured for centuries. We know that Childe- 


bert proscribed it in his dominions. We know, too, that the Gauls and 
the Franks, more especially the former, were much addicted to courtly and 
pastoral dancing. 

At the Court of France, the origin of dancing is dimly associated 
with the rise of chivalry. The documents referring to it are rare and 
dubious. Still, we divine that the Middle Ages formed one of the most 
curious epochs in French dancing. Tales of chivalry speak constantly of 
warriors who, without laying aside their harness, danced to measures 
chanted by ladies and maidens. 

Apres la f arise vient la danse (after good cheer comes dancing), says 
an old Gallic proverb, which seems to show that it was customary to dance 
after a feast. We know that each province had its characteristic dances, 
which the lower orders practised with great vigour. Among these were 
Rounds and Branles, the Bourrees of the peasants of Auvergne, Minuets, 
the Farandoles of Languedoc, the Catalan Bails, &c. Two of these early 
dances have survived to our own times under the names of the Carillon de 
Dunkerque and the Boulangere. 

During the interval when dancing found a refuge in the rural districts 
of France, enlivening popular festivals and delighting domestic gatherings, 
masquerades were the favourite amusement of the Court. They denatur- 
alised the original dances of chivalry, but, on the other hand, they constituted 
the first expression of the ballet. 

In spite of the sinister catastrophe known as the 'Ballet des Ardents, 
masquerades remained in favour for two centuries, and the character of 
dancing was but very gradually modified. 

Meanwhile Italy, under the impulse given by the Medici, awoke to a 
knowledge of the literature and arts of ancient Greece and Rome. Thanks 
to these, choregraphy revived once more, after a slumber of several 
centuries. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw it flourishing at 
every Court. Under the patronage of Louis XIII., of Richelieu, and of 
Henry IV., it took on a peculiarly French character. 

The dances in vogue at the French Court were the Pavane, a grave, 
solemn, almost haughty measure, and the Courante. 

Dancing had followed Catherine de' Medici to France, and formed a 
feature of all the festivities she organised with so much splendour. But 


the stateliness that had marked it among the cloaks and heavy swords of 
knights, and the long gem-laden robes of ladies, gave way to a liveliness, an 
animation, a certain voluptuous character under Italian influences. This 
influence of Catherine's not only added splendour to Court functions, but 
spread a taste for dancing throughout France. The Queen, moreover, 
organised allegorical ballets, thus laying the foundations of opera, which 
the Romans in some sort foreshadowed in their declamation of poems to 
the rhythmic sound of instruments. 

Raising the character of masquerades by associating them more closely 
with the arts of music and dancing, Catherine de' Medici further brought 
about the evolution of the masked ball. 

This same period, too, gave birth to those Dances of Death imagined 
by Albert Diirer, Orcagna, and Holbein, sinister allegories masking the 
bitterest satires, terrible utterances of the oppressed, claiming ecpuality at 
least in death. . 

We come now to that great century when all the arts burst forth into 
dazzling blossom, when everything seemed to flash and quiver under a 
novel impulse. Hitherto, the theatre had ministered only to the amusement 
of the Court ; it now opened its doors to the populace, and the populace 
entered with delight. Women made their first appearance on the stage. 
Louis XIV. founded the Academy of Dancing, and, anxious to give a new 
prestige to the art, he himself took part in the Court ballets. But the fairy 
pageants of his youthful reign disappeared during his dreary and devout 
old age. 

Spectacles and dances, less solemn in character, but infinitely more 
refined and exquisite, came into vogue again under the Regency, and 
during the reigns of Louis XV. and Louis XVI. This was the epoch 
of the coquettish Gavotte and the graceful Minuet, the apogee of 

The dances of the eighteenth century had a charm all their own ; with 
their supple and rhythmic grace they combined a dignity which surrounded 
man, and, in a still greater degree, woman, with an atmosphere of beauty. 
A constellation of dancers, male and female, gave a dainty grace hitherto 
unknown to the dances of the eighteenth century. 

But there was a fearful morrow to those days of supreme elegance and 


careless gaiety which, as we look back upon them now through the trans- 
parent gauze of a century, seem to shimmer with a thousand tantalising and 
delicate tints — days like some sweet vision, in which coquettish marquises, 
powdered and jasmine-scented, smiled unceasingly as in the rosy pastels 
bequeathed to us by the masters of their times. The roar of Revolution 
broke in upon the dream ; kings, women, and poets were dragged on 
tumbrils to the scaffold, while cannon thundered along the frontiers. 

And yet dancing went on, but now it was the sinister dancing of the 
red-capped Carmagnole to the refrain of Ca ira. Men and women danced 
round the scaffold, their feet stained with blood. A strange frenzy seemed 
to have taken possession of the nation. Did they seek oblivion in move- 
ment, a diversion from misery, horror, and alarms ? Twenty-three theatres 
and eighteen hundred public balls /were open every evening immediately 
after the Terror. Women attended them clad in the garments of ancient 
Greece, with sandalled feet and bare breasts and arms. 

The Empire was hardly favourable to the development of dancing. 
But soldiers danced on the eve of battle, eager to forget the dangers of 
the morrow, and a certain number of official balls took place during the 
Consulate of Bonaparte and the reign of Napoleon. 

After a feverish interval, while Napoleon's star faded on the horizon of 
the world, two planets rose in the firmament of Opera — Taglioni and Fanny 
Elssler. Other stars succeeded them, but never eclipsed their radiance. 

The Tuileries were far from gay under Louis XVIII. and Charles X. ; 
but after some preliminary dancing on M. de Salvandy's famous volcano, 
choregraphy made its appearance again in the King's household in 1830. 

And while the False a deux temps and the Galop (introduced from 
Hungary) whirled and eddied in Parisian ball-rooms, the elite of society 
often assembled at the magnificent balls given at the Tuileries and the 
English and Austrian Embassies. 

A veritable revolution took place in dancing at this period. The 
middle classes developed a passion for balls, which had hitherto been 
confined almost exclusively to the aristocracy, save for the rustic festivals 
of country districts. Unable, however, to enjoy the amusement in their 
own small rooms, dancers soon flocked -to public saloons, and waltzed at 
Ranelagh, at Beaujon, at Sceaux and at Tivoli. 


These balls, which became famous for their splendour, and the distinc- 
tion of the society frequenting them, were imitated on a humbler scale by 
the students and grisetles who danced the Cancan and the Chahut at the 
Chaumiere, the Prado, Mabille, and the Closerie des Lilas. 

Waltzing and Galoping were practised with furious energy. Pritchard, 
tall, lean, dark and taciturn ; Chicard of the ruddy countenance ; Brididi 
the graceful ; Mogador, Clara Fontaine, Rigolboche, and above all, Pomare, 
became the kings and queens of Paris. 

Another overwhelming revolution took place in 1844 with the intro-. 
duction of the Polka, which invaded saloons, drawing-rooms, shops, and 
even the streets. The Waltz and the Galop were forsaken, and Polka- 
mania set in. Cellarius and Laborde fostered the public enthusiasm. And 
all Paris laughed gleefully when Levassor and Grassot danced the Polka at 
the Palais-Royal 

Presently Markowski arrived on the scene, glorified by a halo of 
traditions. He brought the Mazurka. He created the Schottische, the 
Sicilienne, the Quadrille of the Hundred Guards, in which Mogador 
excelled, and the Folly of Dance shook her bells unceasingly from dark to 

Opera-balls took on a new splendour under the sway of Musard. 
People braved suffocation in the crowded auditorium to see the King of 
the Quadrille, as he was called, conducting a huge orchestra, among the 
effects of which the noise of breaking chairs, and the detonation of fire- 
arms, were introduced at regular intervals ! Musard is said to have 
produced extraordinarily sonorous sounds by these means. 

Dancing still flourished under the Second Empire. The Court balls 
were magnificent functions, but the public balls were deserted one by one, 
and gradually disappeared. The old Closerie des Lilas is transformed 
into Bullier, Mabille no longer exists. We have the Moulin Rouge still, 
but it has little of the frank gaiety of the original public ball. 

The Waltz and the Cotillion still reign in our ball-rooms, but modern 
Greece, more faithful than ourselves to its choregraphic traditions, retains 
the Candiota graven on the shield of Achilles, and traces of those Pyrrhic 
dances which led the Spartans to victory. 

In this brief summary of the History of 'Dancing, we have concerned 


ourselves primarily with classic and with French dancing. In the course 
of the work we propose to deal more fully with the dances of the East, 
of Spain, of Italy, and of the various other European countries in which 
we have been able -to trace the records of the art. We shall also have 
something to say about savage dances. 

We shall pass in review dances impregnated with the voluptuous 
traditions of the Moors, such as the Fandango and the Bolero, the lively 
and impassioned Tarantella, the frenzied measures of the Bayaderes, the 
amorous languors of the Almees, and the curious rites of various tribes. 

In the brief sketch we have now made, the reader will have observed 
that Dancing, born with the earliest human societies, identified with every 
form of worship, has followed in the wake of progress, and developed 
with it. More enduring than the stone of monuments, in spite of its 
airy and diaphanous nature, Dancing has left its traces among all peoples, 
all customs, all religions, and still survives among us to some extent. 

Dancing, like all human institutions, has obeyed the law of eternal 
reaction. It disappeared, and burst forth into life again. It seems now 
to have entered on another phase of decline. 

But the sun will shine out once more, and Dancing will revive. 


Fh the Ilriiish Museum 



Sacred Dances — Cjbelt and Aftlli — fit Shield of Achilla — fit Hyptrchema — 

fit Gymntpaedia and the Endymatia — The Hormos and the Pyrrhic 

Dtnce — The Bacchanalia — The Salii — Reman Mimes under 

the Empire — The Gaditanian Dancers 

IS we have already pointed out in our introduction, the art of 
dancing had its dawn under an Egyptian sky. 

In sacred pageants dating back to the very beginnings 
of history, dancing makes a vague appearance as an expression 
of the immutable order and harmony of the stars. Its earliest movements, 
as in the cadenced swingings of the censer, rocked the shrines of the gods. 
Its first steps were guided by priests before the great granite sphinxes, the 
colossal hypogea, the monstrous columns, and high pediments of their 

The mysterious grandeur of these sacred dances, symbolising the 

* In assigning the origin of dancing to Egypt, I speak only of such dances as have left 
any trace behind. But it is certain that dancing was born with man, and that from the 
beginning it has been allied to gesture. Lucian wrote long ago : " We arc not to believe 
that saltation is of modern invention, born recently, or even that our ancestors saw its 
beginning. Those who have spoken with truth of the origin of this art affirm that it takes 
its birth from the time of the creation of all things, and that it is as old as Love, the most 
ancient of the gods." A modern writer, Be nurd m dc St. l'icrrc, says : " Pantomime is 



harmony of the stars, charmed the spirit of Plato. Castil-BIaze, our 
contemporary, tells us that when one of these astronomical dances took 
place, the altar in the centre of the Egyptian temple stood for the orb 
of day, while dancers representing the signs of the zodiac, the seven 


planets, the constellations, performed the revolution of the celestial bodies 
around the sun. 

Apis, the black bull, strange and divine, with the snow-white forehead, 
and the scarabasus on his tongue, fed by naked priestesses from vessels of 
ivory, was honoured by special dances. Even the grief caused by his 
death was expressed in funeral ballets. 

Ritual dances, a legacy of the priests of ancient Egypt, were highly 
esteemed by the Hebrews. Moses caused a solemn ballet to be danced after 
the passage of the Red Sea. David danced before the ark of the covenant : 

the first language of man ; it is known to all nations ; it is so natural and so expressive 
that the children of white parents learn it rapidly when they see it used by negroes." 




was even included among gymnastics, and was accounted a military 

In the time of Aristophanes it was prescribed by physicians. It gave 
charm to banquets and animation to every festivity. The Athenian festivals, 
in which dancing 
was a feature, 
were innumer- 
able. In addition 
to the Pythian 
games, we hear of 
the Nemasan, and 
the Isthmian ; 
the Agraulia, held 
in honour of the 
daughter of Ce- 
crops, the feasts 
of Adonis and of 

Ajax, the Aloa, rustic rejoicings in honour of Ceres, the Amarynthia, in 
honour of Diana. We note further the Anakeia of Castor and Pollux, 
the Androgeonia, or funeral feasts, the festivals of Bacchus or Anthesteria, 
the Apaturia of Jupiter and Minerva, and others sacred to Pallas, jEsculapius, 
Diana and Apollo, the Boreasmi, the object of which was to appease Boreas, 
the Feast of Oxen, the Feast of the Earth, the Feast of Strange Gods, the 

* " The Greeks applied the term 'dancing ' to ill measured movements, even to military 
marching." — (Butteux.) 

The wonderful legislator, Lycurgus, attached the highest importance to dancing. He 
established many exercises for the physical training of warlike youth, and among these 
dancing had a foremost place. 

The education of the Spartans in particular consisted of an incessant bodily training ; 
and " they danced " in advancing upon the enemy. 

" Noverrc correctly says that what we call dancing, our French dancing, was wholly 
unknown to the ancients, except in so far as their buffoons and rope-dancers made use of 
our mtriihitt, firemtta, ind jtth forwards and backwards. I think with him, that when 
the word 'dancing' occurs in an, old author it should nearly always be translated by 
'gesticulation,' 'declamation,' or 'pantomime'; just as the word 'music' should be in 
most cases rendered by ' philosophy,' * theology,' ' poetry.' When we read that an actress 
'danced ' her part well in the tragedy of Medea, that a carver cut up food 'dancing,' that 
Heliogabalus and Caligula 'danced ' a discourse or an audience of state, we arc to under- 
stand that they — actress, carver, emperor — declaimed, gesticulated, made themselves 
understood in a language without words." — (A. Baron : Ltttrei lur la Dante.) 


Feast of Citizens killed in Battle, the Feast of the Muses, the Celebration of 
the victory at Marathon, the Feast of Naxos, the Triumph of Pallas over 

Neptune, the Feast of 
Craftsmen, the Feast of 
the Morn. 

All the Feasts of Bac- 
chus began with dances 
and rhythmic leaping. 
According to Strabo, no 
sacrifice was offered in 
Delos without dancing 
and music. The very 
poets danced as they sang 
or recited their verses : 
whence they came to be 
called "dancers." Lucian 
consecrated a dialogue to 
the art. Pindar gives 
Apollo the title of the 
Dancer. Simonides said, 
"Dancing is silent poetry." 
Homer thought so 
highly of the art that in 
the Iliad he gives it the 
epithet " irreproachable." 
It played an important part in the Pythian games, representations which 
may be looked upon as the first utterances of the dramatic Muse, for they 
were divided into five acts, and were composed of poetic narrative, of 
imitative music performed by choruses, and finally, of dances. Such, at 
least, is Scaliger's opinion. Lucian assures us that if dancing formed no 
part of the programme in the Olympian games, it was because the Greeks 
thought no prizes could be worthy of the art. At a later period, however, 
the Colchians admitted it into their public games, and this custom was 
generally adopted by the Greeks, the Romans, and nearly all other 


From an Engraving by Massard after Ch. Eisen 



In his odes Anacreon reiterates that he is always ready to dance, 
smiled to see Socrates stand up with Aspasia. 
Aristides danced at a banquet given by Dio- 
nysius of Syracuse. 

Homer says that Vulcan, to please the 
gods, who loved dancing, forged some golden 
figures that danced of themselves. 

In his picture of an ideal Republic, Plato 
insists on the importance of music, for the 
regulation of the voice, and of the importance 
of dancing, for the acquisition of noble, har- 
monious and graceful attitudes. 

The Greeks danced everywhere and on 
any pretext. They danced in the temples, 
the woods, the fields. Every event of interest 
to the family, every birth, every marriage, 
every death, was the occasion of a dance. 
The returning seasons were welcomed with dancing, and harvest, and the 
vintage. Was it not while dancing at a festival of Diana that the beautiful 
Helen was carried off" by Theseus and Pirithoiis? Dancers, treading an 
intricate measure, imitated the endless windings of that devious labyrinth 
whose liberating clue Ariadne gave to Theseus.* 

Cybele, the mother of the Immortals, taught dancing to the Corybantes 
in Greece upon Mount Ida, and to the Curetes in the island of Crete.f 
And it was in Greece that Apollo, by the mouth of his priestesses, dictated 
choregraphic laws, even as he revealed those of music and of poetry. 

" Vulcan, the lame god," says Homer in the Iliad, " engraved on the 
shield of Achilles such a dance as Daedalus had composed for Ariadne 


After CWrflmc 

* Homer describes ■ dance like that which Dxdalus invented for Ariadne. Mcursius, 
who calli it ytparot, attributes in invention to Theseus, about 1300 years before the 
Augustan era. In the midst of the dancers (says Homer) were two saltators who sang the 
adventures of Dxdalus, supplementing their singing by gestures, and explaining in panto- 
mime the subject of the whole performance ; for which reason, doubtless, the saltators were 
set in the centre of the dancers. — (De Laulnaye : Dt U Salmtion ihiitrale.) 

t Certain authors give the name of 'trau\un, or " armed," to the dance of the Curetes. 
This dance was instituted by Rhea to prevent Saturn from hearing the cries of Jupiter in 
his cradle. The priests of Cybele were called Ballatorcs. 



of the abundant tresses, and had revealed at Cnossus. Here were to be 
seen young men and maidens holding each other's hands as they danced 
with cunning and rhythmic steps. The girls wore nothing but a drapery 

of the lightest tex- 
ture ; the young 
men, all ashine with 
the oil rubbed in at 
the gymnasium, had 
tunics of a stouter 
material. From 
their silver baldricks 
hung swords enrich- 
ed with gold ; and 
their companions had 
wreathed their brows 
with garlands of 
flowers. First they 
danced in a ring, 
imitating the circular 
motion of the pot- 
ter's wheel, when, 
seated on his stool, 
he tries it, before making it turn rapidly. Then, breaking up the circle, 
they formed various figures. Round them was a great concourse of people, 
and in their midst were two saltators who, with skilful gestures, executed 
a special dance, interspersed with songs." 

Priapus, one of the Titans, educated the god of war ; before instructing 
him in swordsmanship, he taught him how to dance. 
The Heroes followed the example of the gods. 

Theseus celebrated his victory over the Minotaur with dances. 
Castor and Pollux created the Caryatis, a nude dance performed by 
Spartan maids on the banks of the Eurotas. The Thessalians gave 
their magistrates the title of " Proorchesteres " ; that is to say. "dance 

The nation raised a statue to Elation for having danced the war-dance 



well. Sophocles danced round the trophies taken at the battle of Salamis, 
accompanying himself on the lyre. 

Dancing lent its charm to the banquets of ancient Greece, as is shown 
by Homer in the eighth book of the Odyssey and by corroborative authors. 
Socrates and Plato eulogised the art. Athenasus tells us that Antiochus and 
Ptolema?us practised it with ardour, and sometimes publicly. /Eschylus and 

fnm a Kctur* by SchuUeoberjer in the Miuce du Luxembourg 

Aristophanes danced in public in their own plays. According to Cornelius 
Ncpos, Epaminondas was a proficient dancer. Philip of Macedon married 
a dancer, by whom he had a son who succeeded Alexander. Nicomedes, 
King of Bithynia, was the son of a dancing-girl. Aristodemus, a celebrated 
dancer, was sent as an ambassador to Philip of Macedon. 

This art was'so esteemed in Greece that chorus-masters or leaders were 
cruited among the first citizens of the commonwealth ; they always pre- 
sided over the festival? in which gods and heroes were honoured.* 

* Homer describe* a warrior taunted a* follow*: " Mcriones, good dancer ai you arc, 
this ipeir would have ilain you if. . . ." — (AW, xvi. 603.) 

"Choru*c* of dancer* were very common in Athcnt. They engaged in frequent com- 
petition*, at the clo»c of which the victor* were crowned with all imaginable pomp. The 




The Greeks called skilful dancers the sages of the foot and of the hand, 
because their gestures expressed the mysteries of Nature. 

Athenasus declared that the Arcadians were always a wise people, because 
they practised the art of dancing up to the age of thirty. The best Greek 

dancers were, 
indeed, recruited 
among the Arca- 

Among the 
Greeks, the limbs 
and the body 

sprang from the 
Pyrrhic and other 
warlike dances," 
says Elie Reclus. 

Paintings upon 
vases, bas-reliefs 



In the Louvre 

of marble, of 
stone, of brass, 


In the Louvre 

the Tanagra statuettes, in their grace and purity of form, have transmitted 
to us (as have also ancient poets and authors) the different formulas of 
the Greek dances,. These, very numerous indeed, were all derived from 
three fundamental' types : the sacred, the military, and the profane. 

The sacred dances must have been inspired by Orpheus on his return 
from Egypt; their grave and mysterious style long preserved the impress 
of their origin. According to Professor Desrat, they had much in common 
with the Branles and Rondes of the Middle Ages. Their nomenclature is 

chorus-master or leader, called 'choregus,' was a personage of the highest importance." — 
(De Laulnaye : De la Saltation thedtrale.) 

The art was even a safeguard for the honour of husbands. Agamemnon, departing for 
Troy, established a dancer with Clytemnestra to amuse her. Now ^Egisthus fell madly in 
love with the queen. But the dancer watched over her, turning the lover into ridicule, 
caricaturing his attitudes. Before succeeding in his courtship, yEgisthus had to kill the 


1 1 

extensive. We shall mention only the most important, those around which 
the secondary dances grouped themselves. They are : 

The Emmeleia. 

The Hyporchema (or Hyporcheme). 

The Gymnopaedia. 

The Endymatia. 


After A. Kirch 

The Emmeleia was the class-name of a group of dances essentially 

According to Plato, this group had that character of gentleness, 
gravity, and nobility suitable to the expression of the sentiments with 
which a mortal should be penetrated when he invoked the gods. But 

* Thctc dance* were of the highest antiquity. Common opinion attributed their origin 
to the Satyr*, minister* of Bacchu*. Some writer* hold the Cordax (d «^Aif) to have been 



this dance, which was marked by extraordinary mobility, had also a heroic 
and tragic cast. It set forth grace, majesty, and strength. It produced a 
deep effect upon spectators, 

Orpheus, from his recollections of the priestly ceremonies of Sai's and 
of Colchis, transmitted the laws of choregraphy to Greece. But the strains 


After Bouguereau 
By permission of Messrs. Boussod, Valadon and Co. 

of his enchanted lyre must have modified the primitive cadences, creating 
new rhythms, and movements more in accord with the genius of the race 
to whom he revealed them. Nor were the Greeks slow to surpass their 
masters. The Emmeleia embraced (according to Butteux, Desrat, and others) 
j several dances of a tragic cast, and was danced without the support of a 
chorus or of the voice. 

derived from the Hyporchema. It seems certain that it was jEschylus who first introduced 
saltation into the tragic chorus. This saltation was called o-x'/fiaXioyioc, from irxijp, 
the countenance, because it depicted the attitudes, characters, and affections of the persons 
of the chorus. Sleep, fatigue, repose, thought, admiration, fear, also all "pauses or suspen- 
sions," came within its province. ./Eschylus lived five hundred years before the Christian 
era. — (De Laulnaye : De la Saltation thedtrale.) 



The Hyporchema, on the contrary, while retaining, as did all the 
Egyptian and Grecian dances, an eminently religious character, was accom- 
panied by the chorus.* 

The Gymnopaedia were dances specially favoured by the Lacedaemonians 
in their festivals of Apollo. 
The performers were naked 
youths, singing, dancing, and 
wearing chaplets of palm. 
Their performance often 
served as a preliminary to 
the Pyrrhic dance. 

According to Athenaeus, 
the Gymnopaedia had 
features in common with a 
dance called the Anapale, 
wherein the dancers simulated 
(as in the Pyrrhic) the move- 
ments of attack and defence. 

In the Endymatia the 
actors wore their most bril- 
liant tunics. Performed at 
public and private entertain- 
ments, these dances some- 
times lost their sacred cha- 

All other dances were 
derived from the funda- 
mental types already mentioned, and were more or less connected with 
sacred rites. They were sometimes peculiar to one province or city. 

* The dances classed under (he term Hyporchema date from the remotest times, and 
arc looked upon as the first essays of Greek saltation. In them, as the name indicates, 
song and dance were intermingled, or rather the songs were explained by measured 
gesture*. It is to be observed here that the earliest use made of saltation was in con- 
nection with poetry. These art*, developing by their union, aided each other mutually 
Athcruens says expressly that the early poets had recourse to the figures of saltation, only, 
however, as symbols and representatives of the images and ideas depicted in their verse. 
All dances of the Hyporchema class were dignified and elevated ; men and women alike 

flk WAK-NAM.K 

Front u Engraving in the Biblio(ho|oc Nationalc 



They celebrated a god, a victory, some memorable deed. The Dionysia 
were sacred to Bacchus. The Iambic Dance, according to Athenasus, 
was dedicated to Mars by the Syracusans. The Caryatis was specially 
appropriated to Diana. Lucian tells us that it was danced by Lacedasmonian 

girls in a Laconian 
wood consecrated to 
that goddess. Taught 
by Castor and Pollux, 
it was used at mar- 
riages. It came to be 
in time the dance of 
innocence ; the young 
men and maidens of 
Sparta danced it naked, 
in circles or in graceful 
lines, before the altar 
of the goddess. 

The Callinic, diver- 
sified by hymns, cele- 
brated one of Hercules' 
The invention of the Cnossia, performed in honour of Theseus, was 
ascribed to Dasdalus. In this Dasdalian dance the girls wore chaplets and 
the young men golden swords and shields. It had a warlike character. The 
intention of the Ionic Dance is uncertain. We know that it was dedicated 
to Diana. 

The Charitesia, a dance in honour of the daughters of Jupiter, the 
Graces or Charites, was a favourite with the Boeotians. It was a slow and 
measured dance, performed at night by priestesses dedicated to the services 
of the Graces. 

The women who celebrated Diana in the Purple Dance wore tunics 
of that colour. 

performed in them. Some attribute their origin to the Delians, who sang them round the 
altars of Apollo. Others ascribe their invention to the Cretans, taught by Thales. Pindar 
describes those of the Lacedaemonians. He himself composed several Hyporchemates. — 
(De Laulnaye : De la Saltation theatrale.) 


After an Engraving of the Eighteenth Century 




From a Bas-relief in the British Museum found at Athens 

In the Hormos, another dance in honour of Diana, all the youth of 
Sparta met. Here, as in the Gymnopaedia, the two sexes danced unclothed, 
but without offence to modesty, 
their attitudes being chaste and 
beautiful. This national dance 
wound in a brisk and spirited 
fashion through the public 
streets, led by a young couple. 
Gesture and voice animated 
its movements. It had 
points of resemblance to 
our modern Branle. 
Its rhythmic steps were 
directed now in an 
easterly, now in a 

westerly, direction ; for which reason Butteux considers it to have been an 
astronomical dance. 

The astronomic dance of the Egyptians probably inspired the strophes 
and antistrophes of the early Greek tragedies, in which the choruses executed 
a circular measure to the sound of instruments from right to left, to express 
the celestial motions from east to west, and then reversed the movement at 
the antistrophe, to represent the motion of the planets. These rhythmic 
advances and retrogressions were interrupted by pauses, the Epodes, during 
which the chorus sang. The Epodes symbolised the immobility of the 
Earth, the revolutions of which were unknown to the early astronomers. 

For a long period the only form of worship among the Indians was 
dancing, accompanied by singing. In this fashion they adored their gods, 
the sun and moon, at their rising and setting. These songs and dances took 
the form of lamentations during eclipses. 

The Hormos, with its seemingly Egyptian character, was instituted by 
Lycurgus. Plutarch relates that the nudity of the women who took part 
in it having been made a reproach to the legislator, he answered : " I wish 
them to perform the same exercises as men, that they may equal men in 
strength, health, virtue, and generosity of soul, and that they may learn to 
despise the opinion of the vulgar." 



The Orphic Dances celebrated the courage of Castor and Pollux, and 
their distant expeditions. 

With these sacred dances we may conveniently class others, infinitely 
varied, which accompanied funerals and processions. In the former case, 

the entire community, keeping step and sing- 

J ing hymns, escorted the funeral victims to the 

. , ^^M altar. Before the cortege went the chief 

ASP **+S * jT~" priest, dancing. Sometimes the mourners 

-^H^ were clothed in white. At the head of the 

Bk party marched groups, who danced to the 

A sound of the instruments reserved for these 

H solemnities ; interrupting their dancing at 

intervals, they sang hymns in honour of the 

defunct. Then came the priests and the 

keeners, old women dressed in mourning, and 

hired to simulate grief and tears. 

According to Plato, relatives and friends 
of the deceased were allowed to take part in 
funeral dances, although as a rule in religious 
tanagka f.gurine of a dancer ceremonies dancing was confined to profes- 

Butteux relates that the young people of both sexes in a funeral 
procession were crowned with cypress, and that at one time it was customary 
for a person to precede the cortege, wearing the clothes of the defunct, 
imitating him, and characterising him in terms sometimes eulogistic, some- 
times satirical.* 

Military dances, not so numerous as the sacred, but prescribed by law, 
held a prominent place in the education of youth. 

" To those aware of the importance attached by the Greeks to physical 
education, their military dances need no explaining. To gain and to keep 
as long as possible," says Professor Desrat, "agility, suppleness, strength, 

* Funeral dances were especially brilliant when they celebrated a man famous by his 
birth, his preferments, or his fortune. Then all who took part in the ceremony were 
clothed in white and crowned with cypress. Fifteen girls danced before the funeral car, 
which was surrounded by a band of youths. Priests sang the accompaniment of the 
dances. Women keeners, draped in long black cloaks, closed the procession. 



vigour — this, in a few words, was what the Greeks aimed at in their bodily 

"It was by dancing in their fighting gear," he goes on to say, 
" that the Greeks, a nation of heroes, trained themselves in the art of 
hand-to-hand combat. Does not the dancing 
step with which they advanced in war suggest 
our ■ balance ' step ? Is not the latter (with 
its successive hopping first upon one foot and 
then upon the other) itself a sort of dance ? 
We may add that many movements of our 
bayonet exercise recall those of Greek military 

Plutarch testifies : " The military dance was 
an indefinable stimulus, which inflamed courage 
and gave strength to persevere in the paths of 
honour and valour." 

These martial dances fall into two principal 
groups : the Pyrrhic and the Memphitic. 

According to some authorities, the Pyrrhic 
Dance, a sort of military pantomime, was in- 
stituted by Pyrrhus at the funeral of his father 

Achilles. Others ascribe the honour of it to a certain Pyrrhicus, a Cretan 
or a Lacedaemonian. Others, again, derive the word from the Greek *vp, 
fire, because of the fiery and devouring energy exhibited by its dancers. 
Pindar derives it from *vpa, a funeral pile, and asserts that Achilles first 
danced it on the occasion of the cremation of Patroclus. And there are 
some who hold that Minerva was the first to dance it, in commemoration 
of the defeat of the Titans, and that she afterwards taught it to the 

It is certain that this dance was especially used in the Panathcnaea, 
a festival in honour of Minerva, and was performed there by young 
men and maidens. Xenophon even describes it as having been danced 
by one woman alone. Apuleius indicates its various steps and move- 

The uncertain etymology of its name goes to prove the great antiquity 






of this dance. Highly esteemed by their forefathers, it lingers to this day 
among the Greeks. It was by no means entirely a man's dance. The 

Amazons excelled in 
it ; the women of Ar- 
gos, of Sparta, and of 
Arcadia engaged in it 
with ardour. 

According to Plato, 
the Pyrrhic Dance con- 
sisted of those move- 
ments of the body by 
which we avoid blows 
and missiles ; springing 
to one side, for ex- 
ample, leaping back, 
stooping. It also simu- 
lated offensive move- 
ments ; the posture of 
a warrior letting fly an 
arrow, the hurling of a 
spear, the manipulation 
of various kinds of 

The Pyrrhic Dance 
retained its warlike 
character for a long 
time, but was merged 
at last in the rites of 
Bacchus, whose thyrsus and reeds displaced the shield and spear. 

* The Greeks had several kinds of Pyrrhic Dances, the names of which varied with the 
character of the performance. 

The Hyplomachia imitated a fight with shields. 

The Skiamachia was a battle with shadows. 

The Monomachia was an imitation of single combat, given, according to Athensus, at 

Xenophon describes a martial dance performed for the Paphlagonian delegates by two 
Thracians, their steps, attitudes, and blows keeping time to the music of flutes. After a 


After Raphael Collin 




The Memphitic Dance was in many respects akin to the Pyrrhic. 
Minerva was supposed to have founded it as a memorial of the defeat of 
the Titans. Thus its 
origin was eminently 
sacred. As in the Pyr- 
rhic, the performers car- 
ried sword and shield 
and spear, but, less war- 
like, they danced to the 
sound of the flute. Lu- 
cretius assigned its 
origin to the Curetes 
and the Corybantes. 

Among dances de- 
rived from the Pyrrhic 
and the Memphitic we 
may mention the furious 
Telesias, little known 
outside of Macedonia ; 
also the Berekyntiake 
and the Epieredias of 
the Cretans. 

From time imme- 
morial, scenes from life 
have been represented by 
pantomimic dances.* 

In the Karpaia, for example, the dancer imitated a labourer sowing his 


After Waller Crane 

desperate struggle one of the (wo fell, and wis carried away by his friends. The victor 
sang a song of triumph, and confiscated the arras of his opponent. The lookers-on cried 
oat, thinking the Thracian really dead. But it was merely a game. 

* Cassiodorus attributes the institution of pantomime to Philistion ; Athcnxus assigns it 
to Rhadamanthus or to Palamedes. Pantomimists were distinguished by names that varied 
among the different peoples of Greece. The most respectable of them were called 
Etbologues : this word, derived from 'i^ot and Xayot, signifies painters of manners. One 
of law most celebrated of the Ethologues was Sophron, a native of Syracuse. The 
moral philosophy of these mimes was so pure that Plate on his death-bed kept a copy 
of the poem* of Sophron under his pillow. The Greek pantomimists depicted the 




field and attacked by enemies who, despite his courageous defence, seized 
and carried him ofF with his plough.* 

In the Komastike, two opposed lines of warriors met in a sham fight. 
The attitudes of the Poiphygma inspired terror. The Lion Dance figured 

the majesty and 
strength of the 
lion. The Podis- 
mos showed a re- 
treat and the pur- 
suit of the van- 
quished after a 
battle. The Po- 
lemic resounded 
with the clang of 
shields and spears, 
to which suc- 
ceeded a very 
sweet music of 

In the Cheiro- 
nomia, one of the 
oldest of Greek 
dances, the dancer 
engaged in combat 
with an imaginary enemy. According to Hippocrates, this dance was one 
of the most highly esteemed of the physical exercises used by the disciples 
of Pythagoras. In the Opoplaea, impassioned dancers, inspired by warlike 
music, flung and twisted themselves about, celebrating a victory. 

emotions and the conduct of man so faithfully, that their art served as a rigorous 
censorship and taught useful lessons. The pieces that they acted were called viro0eo-es, 
or moralities ; these differed essentially in character from the iratyvia, or farces, 
designed only to provoke laughter. To those mimes who played on the stage the 
Greeks gave the generic name of 0u/«XiKot. The Athenians in particular were 
distinguished for the excellence of their stage. — (De Laulnaye : De la Saltation 

* This dance, half rustic, half warlike, was peculiar to the Magnesians. Kapjraia, 
from Kapnos, fruit or seed. 

From an Engraving by Grignion 




From an Engraving by B. Picart, after Reroond La Fage 

The Thermagistris simulated the fury of battle ; it rang with the clash 
of axes and swords, brandished by bare-armed dancers with dishevelled hair, 
who worked themselves up to such a pitch of frenzy, that they bit their 
own flesh, and hacked it with swords, till it bled. 

In the Xiphismos, or sword dance, the performers contented themselves 
with brandishing this weapon. 

N >verre says, in his studies on dancing, that his readers will have to 
follow him into a labyrinth where reason continually loses its way. Indeed, 
the ancient authorities on this subject are so constantly at variance that 
it is hard to see any clear path. 

On the Greek stage, the female characters were acted by men ; and 
dancers wore masks adapted to their various parts. For a long time these 
dancers sang their own accompaniments ; but at last the chorus came into 
existence, forming what was known as the Hyporchematic Dance. Greek 
theatrical choregraphy did not develop much elegance until after the 
repression of the buffoons who parodied the verses of Homer, of Hesiod, 
and of other bards. This effected, poets themselves appeared upon the 
stage, declaiming their own works, which dancers at the same time illus- 
trated numerically. This association of poetry, music, dancing, and statuesque 
refinement of attitude endowed Greek choregraphy with a beauty and a 
character all its own. Mnasion (who sang the verses of Simonidcs) and Pyladcs, 
raised the art of theatrical dancing to a high pitch of perfection. Novcrrc, 
-del, and Daubcrval, our great modern masters of choregraphy, have often 
(say* Professor Dcsrat) turned for inspiration to the magnificent compositions 




From an Engraving by B. Picart, after Remond La Fage 

of Pylades, whose most celebrated ballet is that in which Bacchus ascends 
to Olympus, accompanied by Bacchantes and Satyrs. 

Greek dances were directed by certain functionaries, who beat time, 
directing not only the musical cadence of the piece, but also the pace and 

manner in which the action evolved itself. Now 

^. they hastened, now they delayed movements, to 

^^_^^^ bring out finer gradations of meaning. They 

tM ) W wore sandals of wood or iron, differing in 

^Jfc^ [if thickness of sole according to the effects to be 

f~\ Jf produced. Lively music they accompanied by a 

M clinking together of oyster or other shells, held in 

the hand, and used more or less as the Spaniards 
use their castanets — which last are probably a 
survival of the Greek contrivance mentioned. 

Among their gayer measures were the Diple, 
which was a vocal dance ; and the Ephilema, a 
sort of Ronde, chanted to an accompaniment, of 
musical instruments. The Niobe was a veritable 
grand ballet in five parts : prelude, challenge, 
combat, breathing-time, victory. 

The Krinon was a Branle d'ensemble danced 
and sung by choruses. The Parabenai Tettara 
was performed by four dancers only. The 
Xulon Caralepsis was danced staff in hand. Pylades excelled in the 




In the Louvre 




From an Engraving by B. Picart, after Keroond La Fage 


Pyladeios, named after him, and doubtless one of his creations. The 
Schistas Elkheim was a majestic dance, accompanied by a grave chorus. 

The Greeks also indulged in comic dances, gay and lively, but often 
rred by buffoonery, sometimes even by indecency. To these dances, 
says Burette, people had recourse only when 
excited by wine. Theophrastus, in his Charac- 
ters, recounting the actions of a man lost to all 
shame, reproaches him with having danced the 
Cordax in cold blood, when sober. Cordax 
was a Satyr who gave his name to this kind of 

All comic dances were founded more or less 
upon the Cordax. It lent itself readily to im- 

In the Chreon Apokopc, the dancers acted 
the carving of food. In the Hypogones, old 
men came upon the stage hent upon their staves. 
It is not permissible to describe the excesses 
indulged in by the actor in the Iodis. An 
extravagant gaiety marked the Sobas and the 
Stoichcia. In the Nibadismos the dancers 
capered like goats. 

The Morphasmos imitated the attitudes, the gait, the leaps and bounds 
of animals. 


In Ihc inati Collection 



Among the mimetic dances, the majority of which were common to 
Greeks and Romans, we may mention the following : The Loves of Adonis 
and Venus, the Exploits of Ajax, the Adventures of Apollo, the Rape of 
Ganymede, the Loves of Jupiter and Danae, the Birth of Jupiter, Hector, 
the Rape of Europa, the Labours of Hercules, Hercules mad, the Graces, 

From an Engraving by Agostino Veneziano 

Saturn devouring his Children, the Cybele, in honour of Cybele, the 
Cyclops, the Sorrows of Niobe, the Tragic end of Semele, the Wars of the 
Titans, the Judgment of Paris, Daphne pursued by Apollo. 

We must include in this summary of the choregraphy of all nations, 
provinces, and cities, the Bucolic Dance, and the Dance of Flowers, in 
which the Athenians repeated at intervals : " Where are the roses ? Where 
are the violets ? " . . . One dance even took the name of a vessel used 
by gold-smelters. There was the Dance of Noble Bearing, the Round, 
the Combat, the Mortar, the Equal, the Exhortation, the Whirlwind of 
Dust, the Judgment, the Satyrs, the Splendour, &c. Some commemorated 
the victories of Hercules, others represented a naval engagement, some 



were distinguished by the vases known as carnos, carried in their hands by 
the performers. 

In the Dance of Adonis the cadence was marked by gringrinae, Phoenician 
flutes used in the worship of the god. The Hippogynes was an equestrian 
dance performed by women, which shows the great antiquity of the musical 
ride. The Kolia took its name from the movement of the belly in jumping, 

and suggests the 
Danse du Ventre 
of the Almees, 
which perhaps 
owes its origin to 
the Greeks. 

Some of these 
saltations or 
dances were called 
after the flutes 
used by the priests 
of Apollo. Others 
imitated the move- 
ments of the neck, 
or were danced 
with sticks in the hand. Then there were the Dances of Nymphs, the 
furious rounds of the Sileni in Lacedaemonia, the Spear Dance, the World 
on Fire, or Fable of Phaeton, the Dances of the Tresses, of the Knees, of 
Flight, of the Glass Goblet ; the Stooping Dance, the Dance of the 
Elements, and of the Young Slave-girls. Some were more in the nature 
of gymnastics than of dances, such as the Skoliasmos, a rustic dance sacred 
to Bacchus, in which the performers hopped on inflated wine-skins, rubbed 
over with oil to make them slippery. 

To Theseus was ascribed the invention of the Crane, ostensibly an 
imitation of the wanderings of this bird. But it had a deeper meaning, for, 
according to Callimachus, it figured the endless windings and turnings that 
Theseus had to follow before he could free himself from the labyrinth. 
Dances in which animals were mimicked were, however, fairly numerous. 
Two kinds of owls, the vulture, the fox, and other creatures gave their 


After N. Poussin 



names to performances of this class. The Greeks had a third kind of 
choregraphic drama known as the Sikinnis, or Satyric Dance, in which they 
sought relief from the poignant emotions of tragedy. 

The Sikinnis was accompanied by light songs, daring witticisms, and 
licentiously allusive poems. Occasionally it parodied a tragical dance, or its 


After Boy< 

actors, wearing masks which counterfeited the victims of their satire, 
caricatured their fellow-citizens. Socrates was ridiculed on the stage in 
the Clouds of Aristophanes. The official and the private acts of the highest 
personages were burlesqued in the Sikinnis. It was a dance supposed to 
belong especially to the Attic races. But, despite the natural refinement of 
the Athenian intellect, the primitive good humour and vivacity of the Satyric 
Dance gradually disappeared ; drinking-songs, erotic verses, and indecent 
gestures accomplished its degradation. 

In connection with the Sikinnis, Herodotus tells a story of Clisthenes, 
king of Sicyon, who, desiring to marry his daughter suitably to her rank, 
decreed a sort of competition for her hand, inviting to it all the notabilities of 
Greece. A number of rich and powerful suitors presented themselves, among 
others two Athenians. Upon the last day of the festivities, Clisthenes, after a 
hecatomb to the gods and a banquet, proposed a contest in music and poetry. 


Then Hippoclides, one of the two Athenians, whom the young princess 
seemed to regard with special favour, had a table brought in ; upon this he 
mounted, the better to perform an obscene dance. Supposing himself to be 
encouraged by the silence of the spectators, he began in an Athenian fashion. 
His head downwards, walking upon his hands, he traced the principal 

figures of the Sikinnis in the air with his 
outstretched legs. But Clisthenes, beside 
himself with indignation, cried out : " Son 
of Tisander, you have danced the breaking 
off of your alliance with me." The reply 
of the Athenian has become a by-word : 
" Faith, my lord, Hippoclides cares little for 
that ! " 

According to Ulpian, the Sikinnis was 
\- ■ I performed at banquets. Bacchus had brought 

it from India with him. The Satyrs made it 
particularly their own. Certain authors 
describe it as light, lascivious, and varied ; 
others as a martial dance. We know it was 
performed in Roman triumphs and in the 
Pompa Ludorum, when the dancers burlesqued 


in the Louvre serious dances. Dionysius of Halicarnassus 

saw it performed at funerals. 

In the Satyros, a Laconian dance, derived from the Sikinnis, the 
actors, wearing goat-skins, appeared as Satyrs. In the Seilenos the 
dancers disguised themselves as Sileni or as Masnads. The Bacchike, 
familiar to the people of Pontus and of Ionia, was a Satyric Dance in 
honour of Bacchus. The Konisalos was a Satyric Dance of a degenerate 
and lascivious type. 

Dancing, while bound up with the religious ceremonies of Greece, and 
honoured on the stage and in public festivals, was not likely to be neglected 
in private life. As a matter of fact, every family feast, every happy event, 
the arrival of a friend, the return of a traveller, the birth of a child or its 
anniversary, the gathering in of crops, the harvest, the vintage, all were 
made occasions for the enjoyment of dancing. Longus has described the 





From a Drawing by G. F. Romanelli 
(In the pouession of Mr. Wm. Heincmann) 

Epilenios, or dance of the winepress,* in his pastorals. This dance, practised 

originally by members of the family itself, with much vigorous leaping 

and dexterous 

exercises, with or 

without accesso- 
ries, was i n the long 

run given over 

to professional 

dancers and to the 

hangers-on of the 

household. In 

this new form, 

the Epilenios had 

a marked affinity 

with our modern 

acrobatic feats and 

circus perform- 

The Alphiton Ekchuton was the Dance of the Spilt Meal. The Hymen 

or Hymenaios, used at weddings, celebrated a hero who rescued some Spartan 

girls from pirates. The Anthema 
formed part of the Hymen. 

Several other dances, reserved 
more especially for women, such as 
the Hygra, the Kallabis, and the 
Oklasma, consisted of graceful 
movements, measured by the sound 
of flutes. The exquisitely artistic 

* " Meanwhile Dryas danced a 
vintage dance, making believe to gather 
grapes, to carry them in baskets to tread 
them down in the vat, to pour the juice 
into tubs, and then to drink the new 
wine : all of which he did so naturally 
and so fcatly that they deemed they mw 
before their eyes the vines, the vat*, the 
tubs, and Dryas drinking in good sooth." 
—{Dafkmi *nd Chin.) 

■ TutM A«U »ATVm 

"raai • Drawing by C. B. Cipriani 
(la dM nwililhl of Mr. Wm. Heincaunn) 




After Giulio Romano 

statuettes found at Tanagra, of which we reproduce several fine specimens, 

give some idea of the beauty of 
motion as practised by chosen bands 
of young women, when, in the mar- 
vellous setting of antique theatres, 
under the blue skies of Greece, they 
gave themselves up to those perform- 
ances so highly esteemed among a 
people with whom the love of beauty 
was a passion. 

The fidelity of these records is 
unfailing, from the highest to the 
lowest efforts of plastic art. 

The Greeks, as M. Emmanuel 
has well said, had not only their 
Apelles and their Phidias, they had 
also their Dantans and Daumiers, their 
Cherets, Caran d'Aches, and Forains, 
all artists in their own domain, and 
true interpreters of the artistic in- 
stinct. Herculaneum and Pompeii 
have made us familiar with the domestic life of antiquity ; the painted vases 


- - 1 



' 1 

KV\ V 


-■ "■ ii ■■-*—« 

^V | 

:■- -'" ,v 



_ . ir *s**.r;.f : ~' : " 





From a Relief in the Louvre 

The delicious flying 

of Greece offer us a history of caricature and impressionism, in which gaiety 
and fancy are fixed in swift, unerring touches. 

Sculptors vied with painters in this demonstration. 
Eros, found at Myrina by Messrs. Pottier and 
Reinach, his body leaning to the right, his 
arm bent back above his head, describes a curve 
of absolute anatomical correctness. It is entirely 
free from conventionality ; the dancer of our 
own day executes just such a movement. And 
in the same way, the fourth-century figurine of 
a Bacchante in thin and supple draperies, whirl 
ing round on one foot, reproduces the move- 
ment and the appearance of a contemporary 

The swiftness and correctness of vision 
necessary for realistic truth such as this soon 
passed away and gave place to convention. It 
is the glory of modern sculpture that it has been 
able, aided by science, to recover truth in the 
representation of movement. 

While Greece was renowned for the splen- 
dour of her feasts, celebrating by graceful dances and garlands of flowers 

After CM« 




In the Armand Collection, Bibliotheque Nationalc 

the Muses, love, glory "and beauty, Rome, stern and primitive, possessed 
but one dance, the wild and warlike Bellicrepa, invented by Romulus in 
memory of the Rape of the Sabines. 

Later on it appears that the nymph Egeria mysteriously revealed a new 
measure to Numa Pompilius, a pacific sovereign who never opened the 
temple of Janus, and who made an effort to polish the manners of the 
Romans. Certain authors attribute its invention to Salinus of Mantinea ; 
but, however that may be, Numa instituted the order of Salian priests, or 
Salii, to the number of twelve, who were chosen from among those of noble 
birth. Their mission was to celebrate the gods and heroes by dances. 
Clothed for these ceremonies in purple tunics, with brazen baldricks slung 
from their shoulders, their heads covered with glittering helmets, they 
struck the measure with their short swords upon the Ancile or sacred 
buckler of divine origin. 

With the exception of these military and sacred dances, monotonous 
processions rather than dances, which the Salii also performed during the 
sacrifices and through the streets, the only spectacles of the austere city 
were the games in the Circus.* 

Livy tells us that in the year 390, during the Consulate of Sulpicius 

* "Heroic and barbarous Rome religiously preserved the memory of the first Brutus, 
applauded the despair of Virginius, and devoted the head of the decemvir to the infernal 
gods. Entirely absorbed in these great events, the queenly city knew nothing as yet of 
other distractions, luxurious indeed, but necessary to people long civilised." — (Elise 



Peticus, scenic games were invented to appease the gods and to 
distract the people, terror-stricken by the plague that decimated the 

The Ludiones came from Etruria, accompanying their passionate 
dances with the music 
of their flutes. They 
were called "histrions," 
from the Tuscan word 
hister, signifying 
" leaper," says Livy 
again, and instead of 
making use of impro- 
vised verse, as they had 
hitherto done, for at 
first they had no writ- 
ten poems, they soon 
accustomed themselves 
to follow a set plan, 
and to measure their 
gestures by rhythm 
and cadence. The 
Roman youth began to 
take part in these exer- 
cises, and learned to 
recite poems to the ac- 
companiment of musical 

Later on, the arts 
of Greece penetrated 
to Rome, and dancing 

to the sound cf the lyre, the harp, the flute and the crotalum formed 
a splendid portion of the sacrificial rites. These dances were frequently 
solemn, but they also expressed joy and tenderness on secular oc- 

Meanwhile the dance of Lycurgus, the Hormos, lost its graceful 


Id the Loum 



character and became more warlike ; * the Crane Dance had degenerated 
into an amusement for villagers, says Lucian. 

The Roman dances gradually lost their pure and modest character, and 
depicted nothing but pleasure and obscenity. 


From an Etching by R. Blyth, after J. Mortimer 

" In the middle of autumn," says Victor Duruy, " Messalina represented 
a vintage scene in her palace. The wine-presses crushed the grapes ; the 
wine flowed into the vats ; half-naked women, clothed like Bacchantes, in 

* " Minerva approaches. Beside her, with drawn swords, march Fear and Terror, 
constant companions of the Goddess of War. Behind her a flute-player sounds the war- 
like Hormos, and by mingling with the muffled tones of his instrument sharp sounds like 
those of a trumpet, he imparts to the melodies that he performs a more masculine and more 
animated character." — (Apuleius.) 



doeskins, danced around, while Messalina, her hair unbound, the thyrsus in 
her hand, and Silius, crowned with ivy, accompanied the licentious chorus." 
** The austerity of the ancient Romans arose much more from poverty 
than from conviction," continues Duruy. " Two or three generations had 
sufficed to change a city which had only known meagre festivities and 
rustic delights into the home of revelry and pleasure." 


After Boutugcr 
i of Mcurv Bonaod-Valadon and Co. 

" When I entered one of the schools to which the nobles send their 
children," says Scipio /Emilius, " I found more than five hundred girls and 
boys receiving lessons in harp-playing, in singing, and in striking attitudes 
amid histrions and infamous people ; and I saw one child, a boy of twelve 
years of age, the son of a senator, performing a dance worthy of the most 
degraded slave." 

Thus it is clear that the Romans were acquainted not only with sacred 
dances, but with military, theatrical, and private dancing. 


Retaining the sacred dance of the Salii, which, being of Roman origin, 
preserved a warlike character, the Romans borrowed from the Greeks the 
Bacchanalia, whose origin, in Hellas, was religious. These were at first 
reserved for the priests and priestesses of Bacchus, but later on they became 
the accompaniment to nuptial feasts, every citizen took part in them, and, 
from having lent a lustre to worship and a grace to love, they degenerated 
into lascivious performances. 

The Lupercalia were held on the 15th of the Kalends of March in 
honour of the god Pan. The priests of the god, the Luperci, danced 
naked through the streets of Rome, armed with whips, with which they 
struck at the crowds of spectators. 

Other dances accompanied funeral processions, with mourners and with 
the Archimime, who wore a mask faithfully representing the deceased, whose 
history he recited. 

Until the time of Augustus, dancing was entirely given up to the 
obscenities of celebrated mimes, who were principally Tuscan buffoons. 

The Greeks used to represent actions by pantomime before they began 
to recite their tragedies.* The Romans developed pantomime and made of 
it a new art, which the Greeks, who had limited themselves to a series 
of actions expressing only one sentiment, had never practised. The Ludiones 
had outlined scenes at Rome which might be called the first pantomimes, but 
the invention of the genuine mimetic drama appears to be due to Py lades 
and Bathyllus, two celebrated actors who divided public enthusiasm during 
the reign of Augustus. The former, born in Cilicia, created ballets of a 
noble, tender, and pathetic order ; the latter, who came from Alexandria, 
composed lively choruses and dances. Both were freed slaves. Mimes 
and Archimimes enjoyed such favour that many were Parasites of the 
gods. Some of them were admitted among the priests of Apollo, a dignity 
coveted by the most illustrious citizens. 

Juvenal tells us that Bathyllus depicted the transports of Jupiter in the 
company of Leda with such realism that the Roman women were pro- 
foundly moved, t 

* Castil-Blaze. 

t "The pantomimic actors aspired to the expression of intellectual ideas, such as 
times past or future, arguments, &c. Although this was carried out by conventional 



We can form but a faint idea of the perfection to which the art of 
pantomime attained among the Romans. It ranged over the whole domain 
of fable, poetry and history. Roman actors translated the most subtle 
sensations by gestures of extraordinary precision and mobility, and their 
audience understood every turn of this language, which conveyed far more 
to them than declamation. 
This imitative principle, 
the strength, the infinite 
gradations of this mute 
expression, made the 
dancing of the ancients 
a great art. Indeed, 
dancing deprived of such 
elements is nothing but 
a succession of cadenced 
steps, interesting merely 
as a graceful exercise. It 
is the imitative prin- 
ciple, common to it 
with all the other arts, 
which refines and en- 
nobles it. 

We understand the 
Roman admiration for 
pantomime, just as we 
understand their con- 
tempt for dancing when, 
losing its exalted character, it became the mere medium of ribaldry. 

By the word saltan o the Romans meant not only the art of leaping 
or jumping, as might be supposed, but the art of gesture in general. 


gestures only, it was nevertheless an infringement of the limits or the art at first. One 
single actor represented several characters ; two acton sometimes sufficed for a piece, 
perhaps not a complicated one, and more properly to be described as a scene than an entire 
play. Later the number of actors increased, and ended by equalling that of the 
characters." — (Butteux.) 



According to Varro, the word was derived, not from the Latin salto, but 
from the name of the Arcadian, Salius, who taught the art to the Romans. 

Lucian relates that a Prince of Pontus, who had come to visit Nero, 
was present at a performance in the course of which a famous mime 
expressed the labours of Hercules as he danced. The dancer's gestures 


From an Engraving by Gaucher, after Caspar Crayer 

were so precise and expressive that the stranger followed the whole of the 
action without the slightest hesitation. 

He was so much struck by the incident, that on taking leave of the 
Emperor he begged him to give him the actor. Noting the astonishment 
of Nero at his request, he explained that there was a barbarous tribe 
adjoining his dominions, whose language no one could learn, and that 
pantomime would explain his intentions to them so faithfully by gestures, 
that they would at once understand. 



The episode is credible enough. When travelling in Sicily, I noticed 
that the Sicilians are in the habit of holding long communications by means 
of gestures which escape the uninitiated visitor. This custom dates back to 
remote antiquity. It is said that the suspicious Hiero, King of Syracuse, 
fearing conspiracies among his people, forbade all verbal intercourse. The 
Sicilians therefore had recourse to signs. For centuries they have been 
reputed the best pantomimists in Italy, a superiority they owe perhaps to 
the traditional use among them of a silent language they learn in their 
earliest years. 

An historian of antiquity has wisely said that the " soul dances in the 
eyes." It is true, indeed, that every movement of the soul is translated 
with lightning swiftness in the glance. 

It was by her dancing that Salome obtained the head of John the Baptist 
from Herod. 

She danced before his golden throne, scattering flowers as before an 
idol. The great lamps suspended from the palace vault struck out a 
thousand magic gleams from the pearls and chalcedony of her necklaces, 
the gem-encrusted bracelets on her arms and wrists, the gold embroideries 
on her black veils, the iridescent draperies that floated above her feet, 
cased in little slippers made from the down of humming-birds. 

She danced " like the Indian priestesses, like the Nubians of the cataracts, 
like the Bacchantes of Lydia, like a flower swaying on the wind. The 
diamonds in her ears trembled ; sparks flew from her arms, her feet, her 

And for her reward she claimed " the head of John the Baptist on a 

The Romans, as a rule, did not care for dancing themselves, but they 
were passionately fond of it as a spectacle. 

l»r a l*ng time no women appeared upon the stage ; their parts were 
taken by young men, and that may have been one of the causes of the 
degeneracy of the choregraphic art in Rome. Later on, women, who among 
the Greeks were not even permitted to take part in tragedy or comedy, used 
to appear in Rome in pantomime ; the best known of these actresses are 
Arbuscula, Thymelc, Licilia, Dionysia, Cytheris, Valeria and Cloppia. 

Theatrical dancing at that time had attained unprecedented popularity 



in Rome. The degenerate city gave itself up to a frenzy of admiration for the 
rival dancers Pylades and Bathyllus, and the gravest questions of State were 
neglected on their account. Not content with having turned the heads of 
the Roman ladies, they were a cause of disturbance to knights and senators. 
Rome was no longer Rome when Pylades and Bathyllus were absent. 


After Mantegna 

Their Intrigues set the Republic in a ferment. Their theatrical supporters, 
clad in different liveries, used to fight in the streets, and bloody brawls were 
frequent throughout the city. 

" The rivalries of Pylades and Bathyllus occupied the Romans as much 
as the gravest affairs of State," says De Laulnaye. " Every citizen was a 
Bathyllian or a Pyladian. Glancing over the history of the disturbances 
created by these two mummers, we seem to be reading that of the volatile 
nation whose quarrels about music were so prolonged, so obstinate, and 
above all, so senseless, that no one knew what were the real points of 
dispute, when the philosopher of Geneva wrote the famous letter to which 

. ///.t/t/t'f . Ii'ri;/// < ' 'itinnif 



no serious reply was ever made. Augustus reproved Pylades on one 

occasion for his perpetual quarrels with Bathyllus. " Caesar," replied the 

dancer, " it is well for you that the people are engrossed by our disputes ; 

their attention is thus diverted from your actions ! " A bold retort, but 

one which shows the importance attached by the Romans to the doings of 

the two famous mimes. We find that the banishment of Pylades almost 

brought about an 

insurrection, and 

that the master 

of the world was 

forced to appease 

his people by the 

recall of the 


Classic writers 
give various rea- 
sons for the dis- 
grace of Pylades. 
Dion Cassius at- 
tributes it to the 
intrigues of 
Bathyllus ; Mac- 

robius to the disputes between Hylas and Pylades ; Suetonius to the effrontery 
of the latter, who pointed at a spectator who had ventured to hiss him. The 
boldness of Pylades, if Suetonius be right, was hardly surprising, when we 
learn that one day, acting the madness of Hercules, he shot off arrows 
among the spectators. Repeating the scene in the presence of Octavius, he 
indulged in the same licence, and such was the Emperor's mastery of the 
art of dissimulation, that he showed no sign of displeasure. On another 
occasion, when Pylades was acting the part in public, some of the spectators, 
partisans, no doubt, of Bathyllus, objected to his gestures as extravagant. 
Annoyed by this injudicious criticism, he tore off his mask and shouted to 
them : " Fools, I am acting a madman ! " 

At another performance, Hylas was playing CEdipus. After he had 
put out his own eyes, his rival Pylades, who was present, called out : " You 


After BatUu Franco 



can still see ! " Hylas had given an imperfect rendering of the hesitating 
and timorous gait proper to the newly blind. 

The said Hylas was beaten with rods, says Suetonius, at the complaint 
of the Praetor. This rude chastisement of a public favourite is surprising 
enough, and no writer has explained such a derogation from established 
precedents. Among other privileges Augustus accorded to the mimes, 
were exemption from magisterial control and immunity from scourging.* 

*^v 4& j\ 





After Batista Franco 

Are we to attribute to this degeneracy the contempt of the Romans 
for dancing ? Cicero says : " No sober man dances unless he is mad " ; and 
he reproaches the Consul Gabinus for having danced. Horace also rebukes 
the Romans for dancing as for an infamy. Sallust, bitterly apostrophising 

* "Yet Octavius," says De Laulnaye, " inflicted this punishment on Stephanio, the 
author or actor of those pieces the Romans called ' Togataria:,' because the actors in them 
wore the toga. There is one very curious circumstance in the life of Stephanio. He 
twice took part in the celebration of the Secular games. These games, as their name 
indicates, only took place every hundred years, and the public crier, in announcing them, 
described them as solemnities no living man had ever witnessed, or would ever witness 
again. The Emperor, however, who ridiculed all the traditional laws and customs, 
determined to celebrate the Secular games long before the expiration of a centuiy since 
those presided over by Augustus, and Stephanio, who had figured in the latter, appeared 
again in those inaugurated by Claudius." 



a lady, tells her that she dances with too much skill for a virtuous woman. 
Dancing, therefore, was completely perverted ; Rome outdid our Bullier 
and Moulin Rouge ; according to Valerius Maximus, the actors were so 
corrupted that the Massaliots refused to grant them a theatre, lest their 
own manners should 
become perverted by 
their indecency. 

This was too much. 
Domitian expelled 
from the Senate some 
Conscript fathers who 
had dishonoured 
themselves by danc- 
ing. Tiberius, Nero, 
and Caligula pro- 
scribed dancers, 
though they after- 
wards recalled them. 
Trajan displayed 
more energy, and 
tranquillity was re- 
stored for a few 
years. But the 
mimes found ardent supporters among his successors. Constantine, who 
had driven the philosophers from Rome, allowed three thousand dancers 
to remain. Gesar had forced the poet Laberius to dance on the stage, 
and he gave him a gold ring and five hundred thousand sesterces in 
compensation of this indignity. But he could not restore to him his place 
among the knights in the circus, as they refused to allow a dancer to sit 
with them.* This was at the period of the decadence. Roman manners 
were undermined, and the end of the Empire was at hand. 

In addition to the licentious dances of theatres and festivals, the 
Romans, still in imitation of the Greeks, used to call in bands of musicians 


a ucouim 

Alio I 


Alter Vcflel 

• Fcniiult. 



and dancers to divert their guests. Some appeared disguised as Nymphs, 
some as Nereids, some naked. Discoveries at Herculaneum and Pompeii 
have brought to light mural decorations of atria, representing women 
who waited at table, and whose rhythmical movements were regulated by the 
sound of the flute. 

The Gaditanians, famous female dancers from Cadiz, were long the 

delight of Ancient Rome. The 
dance of the Gaditanians was 
so brilliant and impassioned, 
that poets declared it impos- 
sible to describe the strange 
charm it exercised over the 

Many ancient writers allude 
to these dancers. Martial, him- 
self a Spaniard, immortalised 
them in his epigrams. Pliny 
the younger mentions them in a 
letter to Sepficius Clarus ; 
Petronius, Silias Italicus, Ap- 
pianus, Strabo, and a number of 
others all testify to the exciting 
and seductive character of the Spanish dances of their times. 

A German author, speaking of the dances of ancient Gades, says they 
were " all poetry and voluptuous charm." An English writer asserts that 
the famous Venus Cailipyge was modelled from a Gaditanian dancer in high 
favour at Rome, probably the Telethusa of whom Martial sang. In his 
Grandezas de Cadix, the Canon Salazar, who lived in the seventeenth 
century, says that the Andalusian dances of his time were identical with 
those so famous in antiquity. 

" Father Marti, Canon of Alicante," says Baron Davillier, " was well 
acquainted with all the dances in favour at Cadiz in his time, which he 
called Gaditanian delights, delicias gaditanas. According to him, they were 
identical with the ancient dances, though they had been brought to greater 
perfection, to such perfection, indeed, that the former, and even the 


After a Picture by Mme. Demont-Breton 


4 s ? 

famous Phrygian Cordax, must have been mere puerilities in comparison 
with them." 

The use of castanets, which has persisted for more than a thousand 
years, shows the strong affinity between the antique Spanish dances and those 
of the present day. At Rome, as in modern Spain, popular dances were 
cadenced by the clink of castanets. The Spanish castanuelas differ but 
slightly from the crotalia of the ancients. Both are composed of two 
hollow portions, which, striking one against the other, give out a sharp, 
resonant sound. The shape and size are much the same now as formerly. 
The only essential difference is in their composition, for the crotalia of the 
ancients were sometimes made of bronze. 


Froa ■ MS. in the BiblxxUqM Natfeaak 


From Fra Angelico's "Last Judgment," Florence 




Religious Dances — Strolling Ballets — Dances of Chivalry — The " Ballet des Ar dents" — 

Bergonzio di Botta's Ballet 

IFTER the sack of Rome by Totila, dancing disappeared 
almost completely. Most of the authors who have written 
on the choregraphic art bear witness to an interval of some 
centuries between ancient and modern dancing. Neverthe- 
less, people still danced in Roman Gaul, although the wandering troupes 
of dancers who travelled through Gaul as through the other provinces 
of the Empire had brought dancing into marked disfavour. Dancing 
was practised among the Franks and the Goths. Christianity had at first 
encouraged primitive dances, and had even appropriated them to itself. 
Christians celebrated Mysteries in churches by hymns and dances, as the 




After an Engraving in the Bibtiotheque Nationals 

Jews had done before them ; they danced in the cemeteries in honour of 

the dead, and it may well be that these dances were a sacred remembrance 

of the worship of 

olden days. 

" Divine service," 

says the Jesuit priest 

Menestrier, who, 

about 1682, wrote a 

most interesting book 

upon Dancing, " was 

composed of psalms, 

hymns, and canticles, 

because men sang and 

danced the praises of 

God, as they read His 

oracles in those extracts from the Old and New Testaments which we 

still know under the name of Lessons. The place in which these acts of 

worship were offered to God was called the 
choir, just as those portions of comedies 
and tragedies in which dancing and singing 
combined to make up the interludes were 
called choruses. Prelates were called in 
the Latin tongue, Trtsules a Pr<rsiIiendo, 
because in the choir they took that part 
in the praises of God which he who 
led the dances, and who was called by 
the Greeks Cboregus, took in the public 

Scaliger corroborates this statement, 
and says that the first bishops were called 
Prssu/es because they led the dances on 
solemn occasions. The chief priest 

among the Salii, instituted by Numa Pompilius, had the title of 


Dancing wat so far permitted by the Fathers of the Church that 

Macs <>r w«im 



St. Gregory of Nazianzum only reproached the Emperor Julian with the 
bad use he made of it. 

" If you are fond of dancing," he said, " if your inclination leads you to 
these festivals which you appear to love so passionately, dance as much as 
you will ; I consent. But why revive before our eyes the dissolute dances 
of the barbarous Herodias and of the pagans ? Rather perform the dances 

of King David before the Ark ; 
dance to the honour of God. 
Such exercises of peace and piety 
are worthy of an Emperor and 
of a Christian." 

Father Menestrier reminds us 
that Plato considered dancing a 
very efficacious remedy in cases 
such as those to which it is still 
applied in the famous Tarantula. 
" For," says he, " to such persons 
are sung certain songs calculated 
to heat their blood, and to open 
the pores, so as to admit of the 
expulsion of the poison. Danc- 
ing," he continues, " serves to 
moderate four dangerous passions, 
fear, melancholy, anger and joy ; fear and melancholy are relieved by 
rendering the body active, supple, light and tractable, while the frenzy of 
the two other passions is calmed by regular movements. But if dancing 
be a remedy as regards these passions, it is natural to joy, which is, in 
itself, a dance, and a gentle and agreeable agitation caused by the effusion 
of the spirits which, rising in the heart, spread themselves abundantly 
through the whole body. Such is the argument of Plato." 

Vestris also tells us that Christianity in its religious ceremonies had 
followed ancient tradition, both biblical and pagan, and that in its early 
days, according to all the evidence, religious dances were favourably 
viewed by the Church. Such dances must have become confounded with 
profane measures, for they were performed by layman as well as by clerics. 


In the Church of St. John at Basle 



They were performed on certain days and at certain moments in the 
service ; for example, hands were joined and dances performed during the 
singing of the hymn, O Filii. 

M. Emmanuel, in his learned work upon Greek dancing, remarks that 
"if Guido and Pomerancio have depicted ballets of angels, it is because 
St. Basil, in his 
Epistle to Gregory, 
says that dancing is 
their only occupation 
in heaven, and calls 
those happy who can 
imitate them upon 
earth." • 

"It is with this 
idea," he adds, "that 
commentators speak of 
the apostles and mar- 
tyrs as victorious 
soldiers, 'dancing' 
after the battle." 

Certain religious dances have disappeared, others have persisted to our 
own days. One of the Acts of the latest Council of Narbonne proves 
that the custom of dancing in churches and cemeteries on certain feast- 
days obtained in Languedoc till the end of the sixteenth century. 

In the seventeenth century, the people and clergy of Limoges danced 
in the church of St. Leonard on the Feast of St. Martial, singing : 

San Martiaou, pregas per nous et nous epingarcr per boui. 

Mahomet, imitating the Christian practice, instituted a sect of dancers, 
the Dervishes, who twirl round and round with astonishing swiftness, some- 

* St. Basil exhorts us to perform sacred dance* upon earth in imitation of the angels. 
"Quid itaquc bcatius case potcrit quam in terra tripudium Angclorum imitari?" — 
{Efiit. i. 4J Grti*r.) m Philosophers have also existed who believed that these spirits had no 
other means of communication among themselves but signs and movements arranged after 
the manner of dance*. After this we need not be surprised that Virgil, in the Sixth Book 
of the i£oeid, make* the spirits dance in the Elysian fields."— (Father Mcncstricr.) 


Pram a Relief by Donaiello, at Hottr.ce 


times even till they fall down in a swoon, in honour of their founder 
Menelaus. The latter, it appears, danced unceasingly for forty days to the 
sound of the flute, and was rewarded by a divine ecstasy. 

The institution of this sect of dancers is not, indeed, unique. At the 
beginning of the present century, in 1806, just such another was founded 
in New England, under the name of the Jumpers. They looked upon 
dancing as an act of worship ; they alternated it with psalmody, and practised 
it with the utmost fervour in honour of the Deity. Like the Dervishes, they 


From a Relief by Donatello, at Florence 

twirled round for hours at a time, sinking to the earth at last breathless and 
panting. Some among them, like Menelaus, claimed to have achieved a 
divine ecstasy by these means. 

It is in Catholic Spain that religious dances have most notably persisted. 
In the time of St. Thomas of Villanueva, Bishop of Valencia, it was cus- 
tomary to dance before the Sacred Elements in the churches of Seville, 
Toledo, Jeres, and Valencia, and, in spite of the abolition of religious 
dances by Pope Zacharias, the holy prelate approved and upheld them. 

Nor did they confine themselves merely to these dances in Spain. In 
the Middle Ages, pieces known as farsas santas y piadosas, holy and pious 
farces, were performed in churches and monasteries. These were religious 
compositions, relieved by ribald interludes and licentious dances. 

It was the custom in Galicia to dance the Pela, a sort of sacred measure, 


on the Feast of Corpus Christi. A very tall man, carrying a magnificently 
dressed boy on his shoulders, danced at the head of the procession. 

In Catalonia, Roussillon, and several other Spanish provinces, mysteries, 
interspersed with religious dances, were played even in the seventeenth 

A traveller, who visited Spain at the beginning of the present century, 
says Davillier, tells us how he saw Regnard's Legataire Universe/ performed 
at Seville on the Feast of the Assumption, and transcribes the playbill, 
which ran as follows : " To the Empress of Heaven, the Mother of the 
Eternal Word, &c. . . . For her advantage, and for the increase of her 
worship, the actors of this city will this night perform a very amusing 
comedy, entitled Le Legataire Universe/ . . . The famous Romano will 
dance the Fandango, and the theatre will be brilliantly lighted with 

Baron Davillier further tells us that the poems known as villancicos are 
popular verses, originally intended to accompany religious dances, and that 
they are very ancient in Spain. A poet of the later part of the fifteenth 
century, Lucas Fernandez, published a collection of villancicos para se salir 
cantando y vailando (to go singing and dancing), in which Christ, the Virgin, 
and the angels play the principal parts. 

Certain villancicos are still sung to the tunes of Seguillidas. Some of 
them, the Villancicos de Natividad, are sung throughout Spain on Christmas 
night. They are chanted to an accompaniment of somewhat unorthodox 
dancing, and the Redeemer, the Holy Mother, and the angels figure in the 
refrains, together with turron and Manzanilla wine. 

The seises, the choir-boys of Seville Cathedral, have preserved the 
tradition of the ancient representac tones and danzas which formed part of all 
Corpus Christi processions in mediaeval Spain, and the Dance of the Seises 
was authorised in 1 439 by a Bull of Pope Eugenius IV. 

Don Jaymc de Palafox, Archbishop of Seville, attempted to suppress 
them in his diocese. But the Chapter chartered a vessel, and the seises, led 
by their maestro di capilla, embarked for Rome, where they convinced the 
Pope that their costumes and dances could but add to the splendour of 
religious ceremony. 

"The seises" says Baron Davillier, "arc generally the children of 

? 2 


artisans or workmen. They must be under ten years of age on admission. 
They are easily to be recognised in the streets of Seville by their red caps 
and their red cloaks adorned with red neck-bands, their black stockings, 
and shoes with rosettes and metal buttons. The full dress of the seises is 
exactly the same as that worn by their predecessors of the sixteenth century. 
The hat, slightly conical in shape, is turned up on one side, and fastened with 

a bow of white vel- 
vet, from which 
rises a tuft of blue 
and white feathers. 
The silk doublet is 
held together at the 
waist by a sash, and 
surmounted by a 
scarf knotted on 
one side ; a little 
cloak, fastened to 
the shoulders, falls 
gracefully about half- 


way down the leg. 
But the most cha- 
racteristic feature of the costume is the golilla, a sort of lace ruff, starched 
and pleated, which encircles the neck. Lace cuffs, slashed trunk-hose or 
calzoncillo, blue silk stockings and white shoes with rosettes, complete 
the costume, of which Dore made a sketch when we saw it in Seville 
Cathedral, on the octave of the Conception. The Dance of the Seises 
attracts as many spectators to Seville as the ceremonies of Holy Week, 
and the immense Cathedral is full to overflowing on the days when they are 
to figure in a function." 

At Alaro, a little town in the Balearic Islands, two religious festivals 
still survive which are celebrated by dancing. 

The following notes on the subject have been communicated to me by 
H.H. the Archduke Salvator : 

" One of these festivals is celebrated on the 1 5th of August, the day of the 
Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the other on the following day, the feast 



of the patron of the village of Alaro. On these occasions a body of dancers 
called Els Cosiers play the principal part. They consist of six boys 
dressed in white, with ribbons of many colours, and wearing on their heads 
caps trimmed with flowers. One of them, la Jama, disguised as a 
woman, carries a fan in one hand and a handkerchief in the other. Two 
others are dressed as 
demons with horns and 
cloven feet. The party 
is followed by some 
musicians playing on 
the cheremias, the tam- 
borino, and the fabiol. 
After vespers the Cosiers 
join the procession as 
it leaves the church. 
Three of them take up 
positions on either side 
of the Virgin, who is 
preceded by a demon ; 
every few yards they 
perform steps. Each 
demon is armed with a 
flexible rod with which 
he keeps off" the 

crowd. The procession stops in all the squares and principal places, and 
there the Cosiers perform one of their dances to the sound of the tamborino 
and the fabiol. When the procession returns to the church they dance 
together round the statue of the Virgin. The following day, on the 
occasion of the second fete, the Cosiers perform dances to the accompani- 
ment of their band, in front of the high altar after Benediction. They 
then betake themselves to the public square of the village, where a ball 

These processions, veritable strolling ballets, were a survival of 
paganism. Appianus has described them, and attributes their invention 
to the Tyrrhcni. He relates that the young men who formed the 


Froa a Relief by Uu <Mb RokbU, at Floraac* 


procession in these Tyrrhenian celebrations, as he calls them, decked their 
heads with golden garlands, and danced with precision and method. 
Martial tells us that these strolling ballets, originating in Italy, passed into 
Spain, where they have persisted to our time. The Portuguese, too, are 
passionately fond of this kind of dance. For centuries their strolling 
ballets have paraded the streets of their towns, and spread their long lines 
through the country on the occasion of saints' days or other religious 

In 1610, on the occasion of the canonisation of St. Carlo Borromeo, 
the Portuguese organised a strolling ballet, which is still famous. A ship, 
bearing a statue of St. Carlo, advanced towards Lisbon, as though to take 
possession of the soil of Portugal, and all the ships then in the harbour 
went out to meet it. St. Anthony of Padua and St. Vincent, patrons of 
the town, received the newcomer, amid salvoes of artillery from forts and 
vessels. On his disembarkation, St. Carlo Borromeo was received by the 
clergy and carried in a procession in which figured four enormous chariots. 
The first represented Fame, the second the city of Milan, the third 
Portugal, and the fourth the Church. Each religious body and each 
brotherhood in the procession carried its patron saint upon a' richly decorated 

The statue of St. Carlo Borromeo was enriched with jewels of enormous 
value, and each saint was decorated with rich ornaments. It is estimated 
that the value of the jewellery that bedecked these images was not less 
than four millions of francs (^160,000). 

Between each chariot, bands of dancers enacted various scenes. In Por- 
tugal, at that period, processions and religious ceremonies would have been 
incomplete if they had not been accompanied by dancing in token of 

In order to add brilliancy to these celebrations, tall gilded masts, 
decorated with crowns and many-coloured banners, were erected at the doors 
of the churches and along the route of the choregraphic procession. 

* "Ne dia fastidio, a nostri d'ltalia, massime ai Romani, il sentire chc nelle processioni 
di santi e di tanta divotione come fi questa, si mescolasscro e balli e danze, perche in 
Portogallo non parebbe loro, massime ai popolari, fossero processioni nobili e gravi senza 
simiglianti attioni di giubilo e d'allegrezza." — (Monsignor Accoromboni.) 



vSnliiK ta<nui (cattiuuiivVctpfatrfa 
cVnt fir* (iqitruta i-|.utr.n( |ituM'.»l.mtc* 

i>> fiil-iuuwt <t .<f/iuan<->v- vokci- 

4Au tcl\ni.u\l\im lont l',tHU(,l||illl(iVU* 

These masts also served to show the points at which the procession 

should halt, for the dancers to perform the principal scenes of their ballet. 

Such performances 

were also common 

in the South of 


In 1462, on 
the eve of Corpus 
Christi, the good 
king, Rene of 
Provence, organ- 
ised a procession 
called the Lou 
Gue, a genuine 
strolling ballet, 
accompanied by 
allegorical scenes,\ 
combats, and 
dances. These 
allegorical scenes 
were at that time 
called entremets, 
and were invented 
to occupy the 
guests at banquets 
between the 


Fro* a MS. in the HMotWqM <k 1'Ancnal. Para 


The good king mingled the sacred with the profane in his strolling 
ballet. Fame, mounted on a winged horse, and blowing a trumpet, headed 
the march, knights bearing lances followed. Next came the Duke and 
Duchess of Urbino, mounted on donkeys. For three centuries this 

* Mithicu de Coucy speak* of • proceuion witnessed by the Burgundian Ambassadors 
at Milan in 1459, which terminated by a performance of men and women, as warriors 
doing feats of arms for love of the ladies. The procession at Aix, and the important 
part played therein by the Prince of Love, arc an imitation of these warlike, gallant and 
religious festivals. (Castil- Blaze.) 



satirical figure of the Duke of Urbino, mounted on a donkey, followed the 
Corpus Christi processions. 

Mythology had also her share in the festival. There might be seen 
Mars and Minerva, Pan and Syrinx, Pluto and Proserpine, and many 


From a MS. in the Bibliotheque Nationnle, Paris. 

others, with a suite of Fauns, Dryads, and Tritons, dancing to the sound of 
drums, fifes, and castanets, preceding the car of Olympus, whereon were 
enthroned Jupiter, Juno, Venus, and Love. The cortege was closed by 
three grimacing Fates. 

Moreover, in this procession of pagan gods were interspersed horned 
devils worrying King Herod, and demons pursuing a soul over which a 
guardian angel watched. Then came the Jews, dancing round a Golden Calf, 
the Queen of Sheba with a brilliant suite, and the Magi, following a star 
hanging at the end of a long pole. These were succeeded by the Massacre 
of the Innocents, by Christ bearing His cross and surrounded bv fht- 


Apostles. St. Luke appeared bearing on his head the brow of an ox, 
and ceaselessly scratching the scaly skin of a leper. Then came dancers, 
mace-bearers, regular soldiers, and, finally, a hideous figure of Death, driving 
before him with a gigantic scythe this crowd of divine and infernal beings, 
kings, heroes, and saints. 

" King Rene composed this religious ballet in all its details," says Castil- 
Blaze; "decorations, dance-music, marches, all were of his invention, and 
this music has always been faithfully preserved and performed. The air 
Lou Gue has some curious modulations ; the minuet of the Queen of 
Sheba, the march of the Prince of Love, upon which so many no'els have 
been founded, and above all, the veie de Noue, are full of originality. But 
the wrestler's melody (i'air des luttes) is good Rene's masterpiece, if it be 
true that he is its author, as tradition affirms. This classic air has a pleasing 
melody with gracefully-written harmonies ; the strolling minstrels of Pro- 
vence play it on their flutes to a rhythmical drum accompaniment, walking 
round the arena where the wrestlers are competing." 

" The richest and most elegant jewels and costumes were reserved for 
this solemn occasion," says Castil-Blaze again. " These adornments it was 
possible to prepare beforehand. Not so the puffs, the chignons and the 
curls which ladies piled upon their heads, before the Republican era. 
Legions of powdery hairdressers betook themselves to Aix. Their skill and 
talent would hardly have carried them through, had they not begun their 
work long before the event. A number of ladies, whose heads were dressed 
in the very pink of fashion, curled, greased, and powdered, brilliant with 
flowers, feathers, and pompons, consented to spend several nights with their 
elbows on a table, and their heads resting on their hands, to ensure the 
safety of the stately edifices. No lady who failed to make a magnificent 
appearance could hope for a bouquet from the Prince of Love. The 
ridiculous fashions of the day were put to a test which drew down open 
reprobation upon them. The devil's dam, represented by a man six feet 
high, appeared in the dress of a modish lady, with hair dressed in the pre- 
vailing fashion, the absurdities of the whole costume grossly exaggerated." 

A special revival of the Aix festival, instituted by King Rene in 1462, 
took place at the beginning of the present century, in the year 1 805, in 
honour of the Princess Pauline Borghese. 



Religious dances, however, like all dances, whether among the Greeks 
or among the Romans, degenerated. In 554 King Childebert proscribed 
them all in his territories, and in 744 a rescript issued by Pope Zacharias 

forbade any ribald dances 
(danses baladoires).* 

Odo, Bishop of Paris in 
the twelfth century, also pro- 
scribed dancing in churches 
and processions, and especially 
the funeral dances which 
were wont to be held at 
night in cemeteries. Much 
later, September 3, 1667, we 
find a decree of the Parlia- 
ment of Paris forbidding 
religious dances in general : 
the public dances of Jan- 
uary 1 , and May 1 , the torch 
dances of the first Sunday in 
Lent, and those which were 
held round bonfires on the 
Vigil of St. John. 
The clergy, who sold dancing indulgences, and to whom dancing 
was a considerable source of revenue, looked askance at these interdictions, 
and resisted them accordingly. 

It is said that a bishop who owned a property on the shores of the 

* "The abuses that with time had crept into these sacred dances, which had become 
licentious and dissolute, caused them to be abolished, as the Agape or 'love feasts,' 
and the kisses of peace that the faithful used to give one another in the churches were 
abolished. For the same reason many churches gave up music and instruments, and 
several bishops, wisely forbade the chanting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah on the three 
last days of Holy Week, in order to prevent the disorders that used to occur on such holy 
days, owing to the great number of persons who were attracted by the orchestra and the 
fine voices, rather than by piety. 

"I myself have seen the canons take the choir-boys by the hand in some churches on 
Easter Day, and dance in the church, singing hymns of thanksgiving, to say nothing of the 
scandalous customs, introduced by the simplicity of past centuries, but so corrupted by 
libertinage, that not only have severe laws been necessary for their suppression, but much 




permission to his flock to dance, on condition that they 

Baltic Sea gave 
should only 
use the space 
enclosed by 
joining in a 
large ring the 
hands of all 
the inhabitants 
of the neigh- 
bouring vil- 
lages. On this 
space was after- 
wards built a 
town, says the 
legend, the 
town of Dant- 
zic, or City of 

" Neverthe- 
less," says Paul 
Lacroix, " the 
good humour 
and natural 
gaiety of the 
Gauls, their 
passion for 
violent exer- 
cises and for 

sensual gratifications, disposed them to love dancing, and to give themselves 
up to it with keenness. One can thus understand how it is that dancing, 


a MS. in ihe IliWxHhc.iuc d« I'Ancnal, !'»"> 

care and zeal on the part of mott of our prelates to banith these dangerous abuses from 
their dioceses. 

"Our religious acts no longer consist of dances, like those of the Jew and the heathen. 
We are content to make this etcrcisc an honest diversion, which prepares the body for noble 
and dignified actions, and serves for public rejoicings." — (Father Mcncstricr.) 


in spite of the repugnance shown to it by the' Roman aristocracy, in 
spite of the anathemas and interdictions of councils and synods, has 
always been the favourite pastime of the Gauls* and French." 

In 1373, during the reign of Charles V., an unknown illness came upon 
France and Flanders to punish the people, say the old historians, for the 
sins and abuses that marked their religious dances. Numbers of people 
were seized with a dancing mania, threw off their clothes, crowned them- 
selves with flowers, and, hand-in-hand, went singing and dancing through 
the streets and churches. Many, from turning round and round, fell 
breathless and exhausted. " They were so inflated by this exercise," 
says Mezeray, " that they would have burst then and there, but for the 
precaution of fastening bandages very tightly round their bodies." 
Strange to say, people who beheld this turmoil of dancers were 
seized with the same frenzy, and joined themselves to the bands of 
madmen. This disease was known as the " Dance of St. John." Certain 
sufferers were cured by exorcisms. Mezeray adds : " This punishment 
put an end to the dances that were held in France before the churches 
on Sundays and feast-days." 

An analogy to this may be found in antiquity. Lucian relates that 
the inhabitants of a Greek city were seized with a sort of frenzy after 
witnessing a representation of the Andromeda of Euripides. They 
might be seen, feverish, pale and exhausted, running through the streets 
half naked, declaiming parts of the play, with hideous contortions. The 
disease disappeared with the advent of colder weather, and after violent 
bleeding at the nose had relieved the sufferers. 

During the Middle Ages, pantomimes and theatrical ballets disappeared, 
but dancing remained a popular diversion ; and we know, from the 
frequent interdictions pronounced by councils and synods, that dances were 
performed at the feasts of patron saints, and on the eve of great church 
festivals. Dancing, at first despised by the men of this period as an 
amusement unworthy of them, was practised exclusively by women for a 
time, which explains the fact that most of the early mediasval dancing songs 
were composed by women, and introduce female characters chiefly. Men 
appeared only as spectators of such performances, which they watched with 
an interest to which innumerable poems and romances bear witness, 


" Under the walls of a castle named Beauclair," says a song of the twelfth 
century, " a grand ball was soon arranged ; the damosels came thither to 
carol, the knights to look* on." * 

Soon, however, the upper classes borrowed this diversion from the 
populace. But it was not until the beginning of the thirteenth century, 
when the harshness of primitive manners was modified to some extent, that 
the sexes joined in the amusement. Knights and ladies, taking hands, 
danced rounds. In the absence of instrumental music, the dance was 
regulated by clapping hands, or by songs, the verses of which were sung by 
a soloist, while the refrain was taken up by the whole band. This was the 
famous Carole, so often described in mediaeval poems and romances ; it 
was long the favourite amusement at social gatherings and entertainments. 
The author of Flamenco, a Provencal poem, relates that " Youth and Joy 
opened the ball with their cousin, Prowess. Cowardice, ashamed, went and 
hid herself." Paul Lacroix mentions a passage in the romance of Perce-Foret, 
in which it is described how, after a banquet, while the tables were being 
removed, all was prepared for a ball ; the knights laid aside none of their 
accoutrements, but the ladies retired to don fresh toilettes. " Then," 
says the old romancer, " the young knights and maidens began to play 
their instruments to lead the dance, whence comes," he adds, " the old 
Gallic proverb : Apris la pause, vital la danse " (after good cheer comes 

In time a musical accompaniment, though of a somewhat meagre 
kind, took the place of singing. Evidently, these singing dances 
were the origin of the more modern ballets and masquerades. As 
the songs introduced various personages (the May Queen, the jealous 
lover, &c), it was natural that these characters, at first merely mentioned 
in the text, should come to be represented by the dancers. There is, 
in fact, no solution of continuity between the modest Caroles of the 

* The preaching friar, Jacques dc Vitry, clearly explains these proceedings by means 
of an original but homely metaphor. Speaking of the women who led these dances, or 
regulated them by their singing, he says that they wore round their necks the bell of the 
Devil, who kept his eye on them : " It is thus the cow who wears a bell round her neck 
informs the shepherd where the herd is to be found." In another passage he compares the 
persons who sing for dancing to the chaplain who chants the versicle*, and the clerks who 



thirteenth century, and the sumptuous masquerades of the fifteenth and 

" The Middle Ages were the palmy days of dancing, especially in 
France. The feasting and dancing seem to have been incessant, and one 
would think, from reading the old poems and romances, that the French had 
nothing to do but to dance at all hours of the day and night. Tabourot 


After a Picture by Lucas van Leyden in the Brussels Museum 

assigns this very prosaic reason : ' Dancing is practised in order that it may 
be discovered whether lovers are sound and healthy ; to this end, they are 
permitted to embrace their mistresses, so that respectively they may smell and 
savour one another, and see whether each has sweet breath ; therefore from 
this point of view, as well as from many other conveniences that arise 
therefrom, dancing is necessary for the proper organisation of society.' " — 
(P. Lacroix.) 



In the thirteenth century there was a marked development in literature 
and art ; the taste for assemblies and festivities was propagated in Italy and 
in France, resuscitating dancing and theatrical performances. 

"Maskers," says M. Desrats in his Dictionnaire de la Danse, "were 
allowed such liberty of behaviour that we can neither explain nor comprehend 
it. This unlimited liberty gave them admission to every private ball, 

BALL IN Tlir. >"'. KlfcENTM CfcKTl'ftV 

From a M.S. in the Biblioihfc|tM Natioulc 

without invitation, and they might dance with whomsoever they pleased, 
without incurring the smallest observation from the master of the house. 
Neither married ladies nor girls ever refused their invitations. Various 
balls might be mentioned in which Charles VI. had tragic fits of madness, 
and the practical jokes of Henry IV. arc not yet forgotten." 

Yet another diversion was a regular composition. A subject from 

6 4 


fable or history was chosen, and two or three quadrilles were formed in 
which the dancers wore appropriate costumes. An explanatory recitation 
was sometimes added to the dance. A third diversion came nearer to our 
ballet, and is to be found in full vigour in 1675. All have read of the 
joyous masquerades of Charles IX., Henry III., Henry IV. and Louis XIII. 

Louis XIV. figured in 
person, on January 2, 
1655, in a masquerade 
given by Cardinal 
Mazarin, and in many 
other such spectacles. 

Somewhat later, the 
town of Lille gave a 
fete to Philip the Good, 
in which twelve ladies, 
each representing a 
virtue, and twelve 
knights brilliantly 
dressed,' performed a 

The town of Amiens 
offered a ball, or per- 


From the Froissart MS. in the Bihliotheque de l'Arsenal, Paris haps rather 3. ballet, tO 

Charles VI. 

Another, which was given in Paris, at the house of the Duchesse de 
Berri, was, as is well known, the occasion of the king's madness. This 
ball has remained celebrated under the name of the Ballet des Ardents. 
The Duchess invited the whole Court. At that time people were already 
passionately fond of masquerades. 

The king, followed by some companions, came to the ball disguised as a 
savage. The Duke of Orleans took a torch in order to examine the new- 
comers closely, and set fire to the tow held together by pitch that formed 
their attire. The king nearly perished. Less fortunate than Charles (who, 
however, went out of his mind), the Comte de Jouy and the Bastard of 
Foix were burned to death. Young de Nantouillet only escaped by 


jumping into a tub of water. The Duke of Orleans built a chapel at the 
Celestins in expiation of his folly. 

In spite of this tragic adventure, which might have been expected to 
put an end to masquerades, they were long continued. Towards the 
close of the Middle Ages, both in France and elsewhere, they took the 
form, at great entertainments, of gorgeous and fantastic allegories, accom- 
panied by a species of ballet. 

One of the most celebrated of festivities was the fete given in 1489 by 
Bergonzio di Botta of Tortona, in honour of Galeazzo, Duke of Milan, 
who had just married Isabella of Aragon. 

" The Amphitryon," says Castil-Blaze, " chose for his theatre a 
magnificent hall surrounded by a gallery, in which several bands of music 
had been stationed ; an empty table occupied the middle. At the moment 
when the Duke and Duchess appeared, Jason and the Argonauts advanced 
proudly to the sound of martial music. They bore the Golden Fleece ; 
this was the tablecloth, with which they covered the table, after having 
executed a stately dance, expressive of their admiration of so beautiful a 
princess, and of a Sovereign so worthy to possess her. Next came Mercury, 
who related how he had been clever enough to trick Apollo, shepherd of 
Admetus, and rob him of a fat calf, which he ventured to present to the 
newly married pair, after having had it nobly trussed and prepared by the 
best cook of Olympus. While he was placing it upon the table, three 
quadrilles that followed him danced round the fatted calf, as the Hebrews 
had formerly capered round that of gold. 

" Diana and her nymphs followed Mercury. The goddess' followers 
bore a stag upon a gilded stand. It is unnecessary to say that a fanfare of 
hunting-horns heralded the entrance of Diana, and accompanied the dance of 
her nymphs. 

" The music changed its character ; lutes and flutes announced the 
approach of Orpheus. I would recall to the memory of those who might 
have forgotten it, that at that period they changed their instruments 
according to the varying expression of the music played. Each singer, each 
dancer, had his especial orchestra, which was arranged for him according to 
the sentiments intended to be expressed by his song or his dance. It was 
an excellent plan, and served to vary the symphonies ; it announced the 




Beverley Minster 

return of a character who had already appeared, and produced a varied 
succession of trumpets, of violins with their sharp notes, of the arpeggios 
of lutes, and of the soft melodies of flutes and reed pipes. The orchestra- 
tions of Monteverde prove that composers at that time varied their 
instrumentation thus, and this particular artifice was not one of the least 
causes of the prodigious success of opera in the first years of its creation. 

" But to return to the singer of Thrace, whom I left standing somewhat 
too long at the door. He appeared chanting the praises of the duchess, 
and accompanying himself on a lyre. 

" ' I wept,' he went on, ' long did I weep on the Apennine mount 
the death of the gentle Eurydice. I have heard of the union of two 
lovers worthy to live one for the other, and for the first time since my 
misfortune I have experienced a feeling of pleasure. My songs changed 
with the feelings of my heart. A crowd of birds fluttered down to 
listen to me ; I seized these imprudent listeners, and I spitted them all to 
roast them for the most beautiful princess on earth, since Eurydice is no 

" A sound of brass instruments interrupted the bird-snaring virtuoso : 
Atalanta and Theseus, escorted by a brilliant and agile troop, repre- 
sented a boar hunt by means of lively dances. It ended in the death of 
the boar of Calydon, which they offered to the young duke, executing a 


triumphal ballet. Iris, in a chariot drawn by peacocks, followed by nymphs 
clad in light transparent gauze, appeared on one side, and laid on the 
table dishes of her own superb and delicate birds. Hebe, bearing nectar, 
appeared on the other side, accompanied by shepherds from Arcady, and by 
Vertumnus and Pomona, who presented iced creams and cheeses, peaches, 
apples, oranges and grapes. At the same moment the shade of the 
gastronomer Apicius rose from the earth. The illustrious professor came 
to inspect this splendid banquet, and to communicate his discoveries to 
the guests. 

"This spectacle disappeared to give place to a great ballet of Tritons 
and of Rivers laden with the most delicious fish. Crowned with 
parsley and watercress, these aquatic deities despoiled themselves of their 
headdresses to make a bed for the turbot, the trout, and the perch that 
they placed upon the table. 

" I know not whether the epicures invited by the host were much 
amused by these ingenious ceremonies, and whether their tantalised 
stomachs did not cry out against all the pleasures offered to their 
eyes and ears ; history does not enter into these details. Moreover, 
Bergonzio_di_Botta understood too well how to organise a feast not to 
have put some ballast into his guests in the shape of a copious luncheon, 
which might serve as a preface, an argument, an introduction if you will, 
to the dinner prepared by the gods, demigods, Nymphs, Tritons, Fauns, 
and Dryads. 

" This memorable repast was followed by a singular spectacle. It was 
inaugurated by Orpheus, who conducted Hymen and Cupids. The Graces 
presented Conjugal Fidelity, who offered herself to wait upon the princess. 
Semiramis, Helen, Phardra, Medea and Cleopatra interrupted the solo of 
Conjugal Fidelity by singing of their own lapses, and the delights of 
infidelity. Fidelity, indignant at such audacity, ordered these criminal queens 
to retire. The Cupids attacked them, pursuing them with their torches, 
and setting fire to the long veils that covered their heads. Some- 
thing, clearly, was necessary to counterbalance this scene. Lucrctia, 
Penelope, Thomyris, Judith, Portia, and Sulpicia advanced, and laid at the 
feet of the duchess the palms of virtue that they had won during their lives. 
As the graceful and modest dance of the matrons might have seemed a 



somewhat cold termination to so brilliant a fete, the author had recourse to 
Bacchus, to Silenus and to the Satyrs, and their follies animated the end of 
the ballet." 

This dramatico-gastronomic entertainment made a great sensation. All 
Italy was delighted with it, and descriptions of it travelled throughout 
Europe ; but it was one of the last fetes of its kind. Modern dancing gave 
rise to choregraphic tourneys, and ballets with mechanical contrivances, 
more splendid, perhaps, but certainly less original. 







«** h-::> 



From a MS. in the Bodleian Library 


After Jules Gamier 


The grand Ballet — French T)ances of the Close of the Middle dges, and 

of the Renaissance — 'Basse Dances — The Volte — The Gaillarde — 

The Tordion — Branles — The Tavane 

T is a singular fact that modern theatrical dancing makes its 
first appearance under Sixtus IV., in the Castle of St. Angelo, 
where, towards the end of the fifteenth century, Cardinal 
Riario, nephew of the Holy Pontiff, composed ballets and had 
them performed. 

At about the same time, though sacred dances had been long forbidden 
by the Church, Cardinal Ximenes reinstated the Mass of the Mozarabes, 
the author of which was a bishop of Seville in the Cathedral of Toledo. 
It was celebrated with dances in the nave itself. 

Nevertheless, Cardinal Riario failed to inspire the Pope with a taste for 
dancing and the ballet, so preoccupied was his Holiness with Venice and 
the Medici. 

It was under Leo X. that ballets came specially into favour. Cardinals 
not infrequently had them produced. Even Protestants shared the 
common passion for an amusement little in accordance with their austere 


ideal. Brantome tells how Queen Elizabeth received the Grand Prior of 

France and the Connetable de Montmorency at a supper, followed by a 

ballet danced by the ladies of her Court. Its subject was the Gospel story 

of the wise and the foolish Virgins. The former carried their lamps 


while the 

lights of the 

others had 

gone out ; 

the lamps 

of all alike 

were of mas- 

sive silver, 



The ho- 
nour of the 


After a Drawing in the Bibliothc«|uc Nationale 


of dancing properly belongs, however, to Bergonzio di Botta, whose fete 

we have described. 

In fact the success of this pageant, organised for Galeazzo, Duke of 
Milan, was such as to make like diversions the fashion, and to stimulate 
the production of grand pantomimic ballets, allegorical and historical. 

These first appeared at royal courts, and celebrated illustrious births and 
marriages, and important public events. They were all of five acts and 
two entrees, which latter were performed- by quadrilles of dancers, usually 
dressed alike, whose gestures, attitudes, and movements helped to explain 
the meaning of the ballet. 

The Court of Francis I. was much given to dancing, in which art the 
graceful Marguerite de Valois achieved unheard-of success. We read how 
Don John of Austria rode post from Brussels, and came secretly to Paris 
expressly to sec her dance. He went away dazzled. Afterwards he used 
perpetually to say, " How much there is in a minuet ! " This phrase has 
also been attributed to Professor Marcel. 

Catherine dc' Medici entertained the French Court with ballets, the 



poetical refinement of which contrasted curiously with the more than 
doubtful morality of the gaieties accompanying them. Her maids of 
honour, scantily draped and with loosened hair, offered food upon dishes of 
silver, after the antique festal manner. Music and dancing formed part of 
these festivities, at which Henry III. often appeared in female dress, while 
the women donned masculine attire ! 

Henry III. was not the only king who had a taste for masquerading. 

According to Menestrier, 
" princes take pleasure in 
donning some ridiculous 
disguise at times, as is the 
custom at the German 
Wirthschafts. This cus- 
tom is derived, no doubt, 
from the ancient Saturnalia, 
in which the slaves figured 
as their masters and the 
masters as slaves. Greatness 
becomes a burden to the 
great in their diversions, 
and to make these freer and more amusing, they are glad to lay 
aside their rank for a few hours, and to mix on terms of equality with 
those they are accustomed to see at their feet in all the circumstances 
of life. 

"With good reason," he continues, "has Antiochus, king of Syria, 
surnamed Epiphanes, and in derision Epimanes, been branded a fool and a 
madman ; he mingled with the lowest of the people in all their amusements, 
sullying the splendour and profusion of his festivals by base conduct and 
actions unworthy of his birth and rank, dancing with buffoons and actors, 
arranging his banquets himself, removing the dishes, and introducing the 
various courses. Once, in the midst of one of the most magnificent 
entertainments ever given, he had himself carried into the assembly rolled in 
sheets, emerging from which, he danced an entree, figuring a sleepy man 
with such extravagance, that all sensible persons present withdrew, unwilling 
to witness such degradation. (Athenasus.) Plancus cut a figure no less 


After a Drawing in the Bibliotheque Nationale 


undignified, when, representing the sea-god, Glaucus, he donned a fish's 
tail, and danced upon his knees." 

These warnings of antiquity notwithstanding, Catherine diverted the 
attention of her sons from affairs of state by a whirl of midnight gaieties, 
cunningly designed to mask her own dark schemes. 

In the midst of these festivities, the crime of St. Bartholomew was 
hatching, murder was plotted to the sounds of music, the victims were 
marked out among the dancers, the executioners were chosen and prepared. 

Nevertheless, she did much for the improvement of theatrical music, 
introducing Italian musicians, and supporting her ballets by the most effective 

Among certain violinists sent to the Court by the Marechal de Brissac, 
Governor of Piedmont, was an Italian called Baltasarini, who lost no time, 
however, in adopting the more brilliant name of Beaujoyeux. This artist 
introduced a regularity and method hitherto unknown into the management 
of the Court ballets. He was made valet de chambre to the queen-mother, 
and chief organiser of fetes and entertainments. 

A poet of the day celebrated his talents as master of the royal revels in 
the following couplets : 

"Beaujoyeux, qui premier des cendres de la Grecc 
Fait rccourncr au jour lc dessein ct l'adrcssc, 
Du ballet compose, en son tour mesure 
Qui d'un esprit divin toi-meme tc devance, 
Gcomctrc inventif, unique en ta science 
Si ricn d'honncur s'acquicrt, lc ticn'est assure." 

In 1 58 1, on the occasion of the marriage of the Due de Joyeuse, 
Beaujoyeux composed the celebrated Ballet Comique de la Reine, or Ballet of 
Circe, said to have been a masterpiece of choregraphic composition. The 
king's almoner, Lachesnaye, supplied the libretto ; his music-masters, Beaulieu 
and Salomon, the music. In L'Estoile's Journal we read that the queen 
and princesses figured as Nereids and Naiads. 

44 Lortquc Circe" parut en ce ballet pompcux 
Aux jreux dc Medici offcrt par Beaujoyeux 
On choiiit let danscurs parmi ccttc noblesse 
Qui joignait au courage ct la grace ct l'adrcssc."* 

* Deiprciux. L Art ii U Dame. 


The princes and princesses donned costumes so costly on this occasion 
that even the courtiers blamed their extravagance. " Never," it was said, 
"can the king afford another/?/?/" -Some of the costumes cost eighty 
thousand francs. The dresses -of the king and queen in especial shone with 
precious stones and gold embroideries.. This wedding cost the king the 
enormous sum of a hundred and twenty thousand crowns. 

"On Monday, September 18, 1581," says L'Estoile, "the Due de 
Joyeuse and Marguerite de Lorraine, daughter of Nicholas de Vaudemont, 
the Queen's sister, were betrothed in the Queen's chamber, and on the 
following Sunday, at three o'clock, they were married in the parish church 
of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois. The King conducted the bride to the abbey, 
followed by the Queen, the princesses, and the Court ladies, all so richly 
attired, that nothing so sumptuous was ever seen in France. The King and 
the bridegroom were dressed alike, in costumes covered with embroideries, 
pearls, and precious -stones, of inestimable value. Some of the accoutre- 
ments had cost ten .thousand crowns to fashion ; and yet at every one of 
the seventeen festivals given at the King's command after the marriage by- 
the lords and princes related to the bride, and other great nobles of the 
Court, all the lords and ladies wore fresh costumes, most of them fashioned 
of cloth of gold or silver, enriched with embroideries and precious stones, 
in great numbers and of great price. 

" The expenditure had been so great, taking into account the tourna- 
ments, masquerades, presents and devices, music and liveries, that it was 
commonly reported the King was over twelve hundred thousand crowns out 
of pocket. 

"On Tuesday, October 10, the Cardinal de Bourbon gave his entertain- 
ment at his residence at the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, at vast 
expense. He caused a magnificent structure to be made on the Seine, a 
huge boat, in the form of a triumphal car, in which the King, the princes, 
the princesses, and the newly wedded pair were to pass from the Louvre to 
the Pre-aux-Clercs in solemn state. This splendid car was to be drawn 
along by other boats in the shape of sea-horses, Tritons, dolphins, whales, 
and other marine monsters, to the number of twenty-four. Those in front 
were to bear, concealed in their bellies, trumpets, clarions, cornets, violins, 
hautbois, and various excellent musicians, together with certain persons to 



->» ; 



cavalry, who Were flung to the ground and discomfited by the dancing of 
their horses when the flutes began. 

Things still more extraordinary are told of the Sybarites in this 
connection. They were, it is said, in the habit of following up their 
banquets with performances by horses so well trained, that they rose 

m-stic ruiAnnw* 
After * Picture by Toudouie 

on their hind legs at the sound of the flute, and executed a sort of 
dance in this attitude, following the rhythm of the music with great 
precision. Arrianus tells us that the art of dancing was taught to elephants 
in India. We know how extremely intelligent the animal is. It is said 
that in the reign of Domitian, an elephant, who had been corrected by his 
dancing-master for his unskilfulness, was found practising his steps by 

* Reference it made in Pliny to ballets danced by elephants, and Martial writes : 

" Et mollcs dare jtma quod choreas 
Nigro bcllua nil negat magistro, 
Quis spectacula non putct dcorurn ? " 


However this may be, equestrian ballets were seen in Florence in 1608 
and in 1615, and at the magnificent tournaments of Louis XIII. and of 
Louis XIV. 

And in Baucher's Dictionnaire raisonne d 'Equitation ; published in 1833, 
I find : 

" Contredanse : Horsemanship, carried to a certain perfection, 
permits of the performance of all imaginable movements by horses, the 
formation of quadrilles, the complete execution of the figures of the 
contredanse. Thanks to this exercise, as useful as it is charming, our 
amazons can practice in the riding-house in the morning what they dance 
at night. Here, as in the ball-room, they may gain an easy and supple 
carriage, and display the grace and tact which they bring to everything 
they undertake. Nor will there henceforward be anything to hinder our 
young gallants from talking horsemanship to ladies. The latter will, on 
the contrary, be perfectly at home in such conversation ; they will, further, 
after a few lessons in the mounted contredanse, be able to manage a horse 
with every kind of skill and elegance. 

" In teaching it, I ask my pupils to wear a tiny spur. This, with the 
ordinary riding-whip, suffices to accurately direct the movements of the 
horse. Thus equipped, ladies execute without serious difficulty most of the 
manoeuvres hitherto believed to be within the powers of the best horsemen 
only. Therefore I invite my fellow riding-masters to enliven their lessons 
by this powerful means of emulation and attraction. 

" The combined use of spur and whip once mastered, pupils may at 
once turn from the paces of the haute ecole to those of the contredanse. 
The fear of leaving quadrilles incomplete will conduce to regularity of 
attendance ; so that within a limited time debutantes will fit themselves for 
the brilliant and public display of their skill." * 

A month after the De Joyeuse fete another great ballet was produced 
under the patronage of the Cardinal de Bourbon at his residence in the 
Abbaye de St.-Germain-des-Pres. It represented the triumph of Jupiter and 
Minerva. The queen figured in it as premiere danseuse. The Princess of 
Lorraine, the Duchesses de Mercosur, de Guise, de Nevers, and d'Aumale, 
were secondes danseuses, and appeared as Naiads. 

* Baucher goes on to describe his figures and their execution in elaborate technical detail, 



A novel feature in this ballet was a vast fountain, the twelve sides of 
which supported twelve Nereids and the musicians. Above this fountain, 
so transparent as to show a number of fish swimming in the water, rose 
another, surrounded by balustrades, between which were niches for twelve 
Nymphs. On the principal facade, dolphins, bearing up a crown, formed 
a throne for the Queen. Surmounting this prodigious edifice was a ball of 


Froc» * prist bjr Abraham Bom in tbc Bibliolhcquc Nationalc 

gold, five feet in diameter, beneath which other dolphins spouted water in 
glittering jets. The whole structure seemed to be drawn along by sea- 
horses, accompanied by Tritons and Sirens. The Queen and her suite of the 
corps dt ballet wore robes of crape embroidered with silver, and carried gold 
aigrettes in their hands. 

This display of dancing began at ten o'clock in the evening and went on 
till four next morning. It was on this occasion that small presents were 
first distributed among the dancers. The King began by giving the Queen 
a medal bearing on one side a dolphin, and on the other the punning 
inscription : 



" r Delphinum ut delphinum rependas " : "I give a dolphin {dauphin), 
expecting a dauphin in return." 

The Duke of Guise received from the Duchesse de Nevers a medal, on 
which was engraved a sea-horse with these words : 

" Adversus semper in hostem " : " Always ready for the enemy." 


After Abraham Bosse 

M. de Senevois presented to the Duchesse de Guise a medal, bearing this 
legend : 

" Populi superat, prudentia fluctum " : " Discretion appeases the disquiet 
of the populace." 

The Marquis de Pons received from the Duchesse de Nevers a sort of 
whale, bearing her motto : 

" Sic famam jungere fame" which a poet freely translated : 

" Si vous voulez pour vous fixer la Renommc, • 

Occupez toujours ses cent voix." 

The Due d'Aumale received from the queen a Triton armed with a 
trident, riding on stormy waves, with the inscription : 

" Commovet et sedat" : "He troubles and he soothes them." 



The branch of coral offered by Madame de Larchant to the Due de 
Joyeuse had for device an epigram : 

" Eadem natura remansit" : " In vain he changes, he remains the same." 

Professor Desrat thinks that this distribution of tokens may have 
been the origin of our 
modern custom of 
giving presents in the 

Pope Alexander VI. 
and the Borgias 
patronised ballets 
which recalled those of 

In 1500, the sove- 
reign pontiffs already 
possessed a theatre with 
scenery and mechanical 
appliances ; and when 
Cardinal Bernardo Bib- 
biena had the comedy of 
La Calandra played 
before Leo X., certain 
decorations painted by 
Pcruzzi (the Sanquirico 
of the day) were much 
admired, t 

The Council of Trent was distinguished by a ballet given in honour 
of the son of Charles V. Cardinals and bishops took part in it, and it 
was opened by Cardinal Ercole of Mantua. 

* We know little of the chorcgraphic details of the Circe. One author tells us, 
anlcwljr enough, that the performers "danced face to face, back to back, in circle, in 
square, across, in line, fleeing, stopping, and falling into poses, interlacing themselves 
together." Which suggests to Professor Desrat the comment: "These steps must have 
been mainly glided through, since the Basse Danse still reigned supreme. And, as the 
caprcssion of the plot was always imperative in these ballets, the steps must have been a 
good deal eked out by gestures." 

t Caitil-Blazc. 


From a Print in the DibliotW-que N&Uonalc 



One of the greatest itinerant ballets ever seen was that organised by 
the Church itself in Portugal, in 1609, on the occasion of the beatification 
of Saint Ignatius Loyola. This ballet represented the capture of Troy ! It 
was also danced in Paris, where its first act, performed before the Church of 
Notre Dame de Lorette, introduced the famous horse, an enormous mass of 
wood, set in motion by a secret mechanism. Around this animal, dancers 

acted various epi- 
sodes of the siege. 
Then the troupe, 
followed by the 
gigantic horse, 
moved on to the 
ancient Place St. 
Roch, where was 
the church of the 

Scenery, set up 
round the Place, 
represented the 
city of Troy with 
its towers and high walls ; all of which fell down upon the approach of 
the horse. Then the Trojans advanced among the ruins, performing a 
martial dance like the Pyrrhic of Greece, surrounded by fireworks ; 
while the flanks of the horse poured forth rockets upon the smoking 
city. " A most beautiful spectacle," says Father Menestrier, " was the 
simultaneous discharge from eighteen trees, all loaded with similar 

Next day, the ballet was continued in the second act by a nautical fete, 
wherein appeared four brigantines decorated richly with gold and with flags, 
on which were stationed choirs of singers. It was terminated by a grand 
procession, in which three hundred horsemen, dressed in the antique fashion, 
escorted ambassadors from the four quarters of the world to the College of 
the Jesuits. And the four quarters of the world themselves were represented 
in a final scene. 

" Having arrived," says Father Menestrier, " at the Place de la Marine 


After a Drawing in the Bibliotheque Nationale 


a M 

< ■ 

i ,s 


B § 

h tJ 

s ■ 

" 5 



(at Lisbon, I suppose), the ambassadors descended from the brigantines and 
mounted certain superbly ornamented cars. Upon these they advanced to 
the college, preceded by several trumpeters, and accompanied by the three 
hundred cavaliers. After which, various persons, clothed in the manner of 
different countries, performed a very agreeable ballet, forming four troupes 
or quadrilles to represent the four quarters of the world. The kingdoms 
and provinces, represented by as many genii, marched with these various 

nations and peoples be- 
fore the cars of the 
ambassadors of Europe, 
of Asia, of Africa, and 
of America, each of 
whom was escorted by 
seventy cavaliers. The 
troupe of America was 
the foremost, displaying, 
among other dances, a 
very whimsical one of 
young children disguised 
as apes, monkeys, and 
parrots. Before this car 
rode twelve dwarfs upon ambling nags. The car of Africa was drawn by 
a dragon. Variety and richness of apparel was not the least among the 
attractions of this fete ; some persons wearing precious stones to the value 
of over two hundred thousand crowns." 

Under the Good King Henry, dancing inclined chiefly to jollity. The 
Bearnese have always been famous dancers. Henry IV. excelled in the 
Tricotet, to which he even added a variation that was called after him. 
The Tricotet was a very ancient and merry dance ; it demanded a motion of 
the feet quick as that of needles in knitting — whence the name, says La 
Monnoye, in his glossary of Christmas songs. 

Henry danced it, we are told, to a favourite tune of his, the words of 

which were : 

"J'aimons lcs filles, 
Et j'aimons lc bon vin. 
De nos bons drilles 


After a Drawing in the Bibliotheque Nationale 


Voila tout le refrain : 

J'aimons Ics filles, 

Et j'aimons le bon vin. 


These Tricotets were performed in many ballets to airs divided into 


After a sixteenth-century Print in the Bibliothcque N 

four couplets and entrees. The last of them was danced to the tune Vive 
Henri £>uatre, which has remained so popular in France. Gardel intro- 
duced it in 1780, in his ballet of Alinette a la Cour, where it had an immense 
success. So well did the step suit the words, that at its performance the 
whole audience burst out all but simultaneously into the chorus : " Vive 
Henri £>uatre, vive ce roi vail/ant ! " * 

The grave Sully himself supervised the royal fetes. Touching this we 
find the following passage in his CMemoires: 

* Profcijor Dcsrat. 



" While we had Henry of Beam with us, little thought was given to 
anything save to merrymaking and gallantry ; inexhaustible opportunities 
for which were afforded him by the relish Madame, the king's sister, had 
for these things. It was this princess who taught me my trade of courtier, 
to which I was then very new. She was good enough to have me invited 
to all entertainments ; and I remember that she was pleased to teach 


After a Picture by Aertzen in the Amsterdam Museum 

me herself the steps of a ballet afterwards performed with much 
magnificence. . . . These sports and shows, which needed a certain amount 
of preparation, always took place in the Arsenal. ... I had a spacious hall 
erected for the purpose." 

In the twenty years of Henry IV.'s reign (1589 to 16 10), over eighty 
ballets were performed at Court, besides balls and masquerades. One, the 
so-called Sorcerers' Masquerade, was given on February 23, 1597, the first 
Sunday in Lent ; the king had a passion for masquerades, and frequented all 
the assemblies and balls in Paris. " He patronised," says L'Estoile, " the 
salons of Madame de Saint-Andre, of Zamet, and of many another. 
Wherever he went he always had with him the Marquise de Verneuil, who 
used frequently to take off his mask and kiss him, wherever he might be." * 

* Castil-Blaze, 










' IB 

franca Iritya. 


It was while at one of these fetes that news reached him of the taking of 
Amiens by the Spaniards. " This is God's chastisement ! " he exclaimed. 
" Long enough have I followed the fashion of the kings of France ; 'tis 
time I play the King of Navarre ! " Then, turning to his beautiful 
Gabrielle, he added : " Fair mistress, I must betake me to other arms, and 
mount and ride upon another warfare." 

The Court of Louis XIII. was somewhat gloomy. The Due de 
Nemours composed ballets 
to enliven it, one of these 
being the Ballet of the 
Gouty. To assist at this 
fantastic performance, given 
in 1630, the duke had him- 
self carried in on a litter, 
from which he beat time with 
his baton. 

The Mountain Ballet, 
performed in August, 1631, 
was also characteristically 

The scenery consisted of five great mountains — the Windy, the 
Resounding, the Luminous, the Shadowy, and the Alps. In the midst was 
a certain Field of Glory, of which the inhabitants of these five mountains 
wished to take possession. Fame opened the ballet and explained its 
subject. Disguised as an old woman, she rode an ass and carried a wooden 

Then the mountains opened their sides, and quadrilles of dancers came 
out, in flesh-coloured attire, having bellows in their hands, and windmills on 
their heads. These represented the Winds. Others rushed out, headed 
by the nymph Echo, wearing bells for head-dresses, and on their bodies 
lesser bells, and carrying drums. Falsehood hobbled forward on a 
wooden leg, with masks hung over his coat, and a dark lantern in his 

After these came the inhabitants of the Luminous Mountain — Sleep, and 
Dreams, and True Fame (as opposed to the farcical Fame of the wooden 


After an Engraving by Callot in the l>ibliothi'.|ue Nalioiialc 



trumpet) — and certain horsemen in brilliant costumes, who put to flight 
the Winds, the Echoes, &c. 

The king himself danced in certain ballets of the period, which were 
somewhat coarse in their buffoonery. Such were the " Ballet of Sir 
Balderdash " and the " Grand Ball of the Dowager of Confusion and her 
Darling of Sillytown " (Ballet de Maitre Galimathias et le Grand Bal de 
la douairiere de Billebahaut et de son fanfan de Sotteville). 

Cardinal Richelieu, anxious to introduce spectacles of a somewhat 

higher order, had the Grand 
Ballet of the Prosperity of the 
Arms of France put on the 
stage. In the first act, which 
passed in hell, there were to 
be seen Pride, Guile, Mur- 
der, Tyranny, Disorder, 
Ambition, and Pluto, sur- 
rounded by Fates and 
Furies. The second act 
returned to earth, where 
Italian, Spanish, and French 
Rivers engaged in mortal 
combat. Then came the 
capture of Arras. In the third act appeared Sirens, Nereids, Tritons, 
America, and a procession of the gods of Olympus. This was all, as we 
see, very tedious and incoherent. 

We have already alluded to those personalities which abounded in the 
plays of Aristophanes and contemporary Greek poets. Ballets, somewhat 
akin in this respect to the Greek comedies, were not unknown in France, 
and rapidly degenerated into mere vulgar buffooneries. A ballet, given in 
1616 at Court, recalled the first thymelic ballets by its pointed allusions to 
the arrest of the Prince of Conde. The passage is in a dialogue between 
Damon and Sylvia : 

'Damon. Who could see the lilies of your face without longing to serve you ? 

Sylvia. Yet you would dare to steal them from me ! 
Damon. Oh, sweet it is to see the myrtle that crowns you ! 

Sylvia. It is a crown to be admired, not clutched at ! 

Am \f 


•^^^ J^ 'V* 


1iii14tB *il 


Slpp^s y J^^^l 


Qian Wrtt* irtn' 


After an Engraving by Callot in the Bibliotheque Nationale 

rcaro»*» at thb covkt or tn* <.«axd uiici or tvkanv dikinc tii« carnival or 1616 
Afur la EagrariM by Calk* in lb. BiblioiMqa* NatKwak 



But the Court had seen ballets of a higher order than this. 

" Rarely," says Menestrier, " has there been seen a ballet more superb 
than that performed in the Salle de Bourbon, March 19, 16 15, for the 
marriage of Madame with the King of Spain. Thirty genii (being the 
chamber and chapel musicians of the King), suspended in the air, heralded 
the coming of Minerva, the Queen of Spain. This goddess, surrounded by 
fourteen nymphs, her companions, appeared in a mighty gilded car drawn 
by two Cupids. A band of Amazons accompanied the car and made 
a concord of lutes. Then Minerva danced to five separate tunes, 
several figures to each tune. And in a sixth tune, all voices and lutes 
and violins joined. Then Minerva and her nymphs danced together. 
Forty persons were on the stage at once, thirty high in the sky, and 
six suspended in mid-air ; all of these dancing and singing at the 
same time." 

The Duke of Savoy brought the carnival of 1697 to a close by the 
ballet of Circe driven from her Dominions. He gave it as an entertain- 
ment to the ladies of the Court. Circe and her attendants danced while 
" they wrought their enchantments with wands, turnings, and intertwinings." 
There came twelve rocks dancing various figures, and in the end heaping 
themselves upon each other, so as to make but one mountain, from the 
sides of which issued dogs, cats, tigers, lions, boars, deer, wolves, which 
mingled their cries, their mewings, their roarings, and their howlings with 
the sounds of the orchestra ; the whole forming " the most grotesque 
concert ever heard," says Father Menestrier. 

This hurly-burly over, a cloud descended from heaven and covered all 
the mountain ; and the twelve blocks of rock, heaped upon each other, 
transformed themselves miraculously into twelve brilliant cavaliers, who 
executed a dance. It became customary to organise splendid entertain- 
ments in honour of all important events. 

This same year a ballet was danced at the Court of Savoy, on the 
Duke's birthday, the subject of which was Prometheus stealing Fire from 

In 1628, the students of the College of Rheims gave a ballet to celebrate 
the taking of La Rochelle, which event brought about the political unity 
of France. The subject was the capture of the Car of Glory by the great 



Theander. A certain Black Tower was infested by giants, who challenged 
all knights-errant to fight for the famous car. This tower was environed 
by sorceries, so that its gates could not be forced, save by the blast of an 
enchanted horn. Subject and allusions were alike puerile : the Black Tower 


After aa 

THE BAU.Kt FEEFORMEI* AT the court of Tuscany IN |6i6 
by Calkx in the Bil.liothc.]ue Nationals 

was La Rochelle, and the sorceries that guarded it were Heresy and 

At Savoy again, in 1634, they danced a "moral ballet," for the 
birthday of Cardinal Richelieu, the theme of which was Truth, the enemy of 
Seeming, upheld by Time. • 

It opened with " a chorus of those False Rumours and Suspicions which 
usher in Seeming and Falsehood," writes Father Menestrier, who shall 
speak for himself, that we may lose nothing of the raciness of his 
description : 

" These were represented by actors dressed as cocks and hens, who sang 


a dialogue, partly Italian, partly French, with a refrain of clucking and 
crowing. The hens sang : 

" Su gli albori matutini, 

Cot, cot, cot, cot, cot cantando, 
Col cucurros s'inchini, 

E bisbigli mormorando 
Fra i sospetti, e fra i rumori, 

Cu, cu, cu, cu, cu, cu, cu, 
Salutiam del novo sol gli almi splendori." 

The cocks replied : 

"Faisant la guerre au silence 

Cot, cot, cot, avec nos chants, 
Cette douce violence 

Ravit les cieux et les champs ; 
Et notre inconstant hospice, 

Cot, cot, cot, cot, cot, cot, cot, 
Couvre d'apparence. un subtil artifice." 

" After this song of cocks and hens the background opened, and 
Seeming appeared, seated upon a huge cloud and accompanied by the 
Winds. She had the wings and the great tail of a peacock, and was covered 
with mirrors. She hatched eggs from which issued Pernicious Lies, 
Deceptions, Frauds, Agreeable Lies, Flatteries, Intrigues, Ridiculous Lies, 
Jocosities, Little Fibs. 

" The Deceptions were inconspicuously clad in dark colours, with 
serpents hidden among flowers. The Frauds, clothed in fowlers' nets, had 
bladders which they burst while dancing. The Flatteries were disguised 
as apes ; the Intrigues, as crayfishers, carrying lanterns on their heads' and 
in their hands ; the Ridiculous Lies, as crippled beggars on wooden legs. 

" Then Time, having put to flight Seeming with her train of Lies, had 
the nest opened from which these had issued ; and there was disclosed a 
great hour-glass. And out of this hour-glass Time raised up Truth, 
who summoned the Hours, and danced the grand ballet with them." 

But let us now return to the dances, properly so called, from which 
theatrical choregraphy has caused us to wander. 

Tabourot, in his Orchesographie, describes two dominant types of 



dancing as existing towards the close of the Middle Ages. These were 
the Basse Danse, or 
Low Dance, and the 
Danse Baladine, or 
High Dance. The 
Basse Danse was 
grave and slow, ori- 
ginally a monopoly 
of the aristocracy ; 
it had, however, 
descended among the 
common people in 
his time, and he 
notes its abandon- 
ment by the upper 
classes with regret. 
" It has been out 
of fashion this forty 
or fifty years, but I 
foresee that wise and 
modest matrons will 


After u Enjrarimf by Crispia dc Pu ia the BibUothi^ua Nalioiulc 

yet return to it." 

The Branle, the Pavane, the Gaillarde, the Courante, and, above all, 
the Volte, were extremely popular. 

The measure of the Basse Danse was triple. It was accompanied by 
the hautboy, or long flute, and the tabour.* 

The Basse Danse was divided as follows : 

i. The Reverence. 

2. The Branle. 

3. The Passes. 

4. The Tordion. 

* "The labour, accompanied by the long flute, was, in the days of our fathers, 
employed because one player could manage both instruments together, and produce entire 
symphony and accord, without need of further expense, or the hiring of other musicians, 
such at violinists and the like." — (Thoinot Arbeau : Tabourot.) 




After an Engraving by Theodore de Bry in the Bibliothcque Nationale 

The Tordion was independent of the others. Rapid jumping move- 
ments were naturally excluded from all of them. 

Tabourot lays down the following precepts concerning the Basse Danse : 

" When you have entered the place where is the company awaiting the 
dance, you will choose an honest damosel according to your inclination. 
Then, doffing your hat or cap with your left hand, you will offer her your 
right hand to lead her out to dance. She, discreet and well-instructed, will 
give her left hand, and rise to follow you. You will conduct her to the end 
yj of the hall in view of everybody, and warn the musicians to play a Basse 

Danse ;( otherwise they may inadvertently strike up another kind of dance., 
When they begin to play you begin to dance. And see, in demanding of 
them a Basse Danse, that they understand it to be a regular and usual one. 
But if the air of one Basse Danse suit you better than another, you may 
give them the beginning of the song." 

Thfexworthy Tabourot gives some humorous counsel touching 

" Having mastered your steps and movements and a good cadence, 
do not in company keep your eyes on your feet, bending your head to 
see if you dance well. Carry yourself uprightly, and with an assured 
look. Spit and blow your nose sparingly ; but if necessity constrain you 
thereto, turn your face another way, and use a clean handkerchief. 

" Let your speech be gracious, gentle, and well-bred. Let your hands 
hang easily, neither as if dead, nor yet as if in travail to gesticulate. Be 
neatly dressed, with your hose pulled tightly up, and clean shoes. 

" You may, if you will, lead out two damosels ; but one is sufficient ; for, 
as the proverb says, ' He who leads two leads one too manyf^Likewise 
when you stand at the end of the hall with a damosel, another may set 




After an Engraving by Theodore de Bry in the Bibliothcque Xalionalc 

himself at the other end with his mistress, and when you approach each 
other in dancing, you must either retreat or turn aside." 

The Gaillarde, otherwise called the Romanesque, had its origin in the 
Roman Campagna, where it is still popular, according to Kastner. It was 
a Basse Danse, unknown to the common people, patronised by the gentry, 
and danced like others of its class to the music of the tabour and hautboy. 

Hear the good Tabourot again : 

"Those in the towns who now (in 1588) dance the Gaillarde, dance it 
tumultuously, nor do they attempt more than five steps. In the beginning it 
was danced more discreetly ; the dancer and his damosel, after making their 
bows, performed a turn or two simply. Then the dancer, loosing his 
damosel, danced apart to the end of the room. . . . Young people arc 
apter to dance it than old fellows like me." 

The Gaillarde was long a favourite dance. The Gaillardes most in 
use were : // traditore mi fa morire, L ' Antoinette, La Milanaise, and Baisont- 
nous, ma belle. 

This last should have been the most popular ; " for," says Tabourot, 
"we may conjecture that it gave graceful occasion for a delectable 

The Tordion. or Tourdion, generally danced after the Basse Danse, to 
which its livelier rhythm made a diversion, differed little from the 
Gaillarde. Its steps were smoother and more gliding ; the performers 
walked and sidled more than they danced. Tabourot gives some hints as 
to the manner of dancing it : 

" So long as the musicians continue to play, you must change from foot 
to foot, and keep time reciprocally. In dancing the Tordion you always 
hold the hand of your partner, and he who dances it too vigorously will 



much distress and jolt his damosel. When the music ceases, you will bow 
to your partner, restore her to her place with gentleness, and, taking leave 
of her, thank her for the honour she has conferred on you." 

The Haute Danse, or Danse Baladine, had none of the stateliness and 
gravity of the Basse Danse ; it was the free and easy dancing of the 

■ L'RAL It LI". ii I 

After Adncn Morcau 

populace, and included Rondes, Bourrees, Farandoles, and all sorts of 
fantastic pantomime. 

As for the Volte, which gradually superseded the Basse Danse, it dates 
from the time of Henry III., who, says Professor Desrat, was the first to 
dance the waltz " a trots temps" under the name of the Volte. 

A description of its earliest appearance, given in Tabourot's Orcbeso- 
graphic (1589), clearly defines the character of this dance. 

The Volte, known later as the Valse or Waltz, is of French origin : it 
came from Provence to delight the Court of the Valois. 


In writing of the Volte, the good-humoured Tabourot shows a spice of 
malice : 

" The damosel, her skirts fluttering in the air, has displayed her chemise, 
and even her bare leg. And you shall return her to her seat, where, put 
what face on it she may, she will find her shaken-up brain full of 
swimmings and whirlings ; and you will not, perhaps, be much better. I 
leave you to consider if it be decorous for a young girl thus to straddle 
and stride, and whether, in this Volte, honour and health be not hazarded. 
. . . you may pursue the Volte thus through many turnings, whirling now 
to the right, now to the left." 

The Branle, according to Jean Jacques Rousseau, was extremely popular 
down to the seventeenth century. It was probably the oldest of our figure 
dances. A ball would commonly begin with a Branle d'Entree and terminate 
with a Branle de Sortie, like the modern Boulangere — a dance accompanied 
by singing, as were all Branles. The refrain was repeated at the end of each 
couplet, both in the Boulangere and in the Branle, and in both the dancer 
embraced his partner. 

" This is perhaps the dance which has left the most appreciable traces 
on our popular amusements and our children's games," says M. Celler in 
his Origines de TOfera. He instances in support of this opinion the 
Boulangere, the Carillon de Dunkerque, the Chevalier du Guet, Vive Henri 
Quatre, and so on. Rameau, in his Maitre a Danser, describes the gravity 
of the Branle at the Court of Louis XIV., while Tabourot shows it as full 
of gaiety and animation under Henry III. 

Tabourot's counsels and instructions are always amusing : 

" The Branle," he says, " is performed to four bars of the song, 
accompanied by the flute. In the first bar, the dancer turns to the left, 
keeping the feet together and moving the body gently ; during the second, 
he faces the spectators on the right ; during the third, he again looks to the 
left ; and during the fourth, to the right once more, while stealing a sweet 
and discreet glance at his damosel. 

" And first of all in the Double Branle, you will walk a double to the 
left side, and then a double to the right side. You know well that a double 
consists of three steps and then feet together. To perform it you will, 
after making your bow for the first bar, keep the right foot firm and steady, 

'.//in' throuohcml //if 

' ,lr Si//,- '/« //•/.< 



throwing to one side the left foot, which will for the time be held in the 
air. For the second bar, the left foot is the firm one, and the right is the 
one extended, the leg being nearly straight. The third bar is a repetition 
of the first. For the fourth bar, bring the feet together. These four steps, 
performed in four bars or beats of the tabour, we call the double to the 

TMl: Ml 
After Adrica Moceiu 
of Moan. BooMod Valadon and Co. 

left ; and the same you will perform to the right side, reversing the preceding 

"The players upon instruments are all accustomed to begin a ball by 
the Double or Common Branle ; after that cometh the Simple Branle ; then 
the Gay Branle ; and last of these are the Branles called Branles of 
Burgundy, and Branles of Champagne. This sequence of four sorts of 
Branles is appropriate to the different persons who take part in them. The 
old step gravely through Double and Simple Branles ; young married 


people dance Gay Branles ; and the youngest lightly trip the Branles of 
Burgundy : all, however, doing their best." 

Branles were at one time so widely popular that almost every province 
had its own. Among the best known were those of Burgundy and of 
Gascony (mentioned by Queen Margot in her twenty-eighth Nouvelle), and 
the Branles of the Haut Barrois, of Poitou, of Scotland, of Brittany, of 
Malta, and others. There were also the Pea Branle, the Mustard Branle, 
the Rubbish Branle, and so on. In the Laundresses' Branle, every one 
clapped hands at intervals to imitate the noise of the beetles. In the 
Hermits' Branle, the couples saluted their neighbours to right and left, 
crossing their hands on their breasts, after the manner of monks. A figure 
in the children's Round, the Bridge of Avignon, recalls this Branle. 

In the Wooden Shoe or Horses' Branle, the performers stamped noisily 
on the ground, a peculiarity we meet with again in the Bourrees of 
Auvergne and Limousin. 

In the Branle of the Official, we already find an admixture of the Volte ; 
it was slower than others, but in its last bars, the dancer took his partner by 
the waist and jumped her into the air. I have seen the same thing in the 
popular dances of Roussillon. 

Queen Margaret of Valois excelled in the Torch Branle. This dance 
had a most aristocratic vogue. " A dancer, holding a flambeau in one 
hand, chose and danced with a partner. Then he handed her the flambeau. 
She in turn selected a gentleman, with whom she danced. The latter took 
the torch ; and so on with the rest."* 

A survival of this is to be found, thinks Professor Desrat, in the 
Cotillion figure called the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance. But 
here the lady returns the candle to a cavalier whom she rejects. 

We must not forget the Gavotte Branle, " in which the damosel is not 
to be lifted, nevertheless she is to be kissed," says Tabourot; adding, in 
token of its novelty : " Had this Branle existed in my young days, I had 
not failed to have taken note of it." 

The Bocane was fashionable at Court under Louis XIII. and during 
the Regency of Anne of Austria. According to Piganiol de la Force, its 

* Vcstris. 

r-rr"l r-T n / 

(Eil«it. dct Ecbol du Tempt Pk.ij _ A. DwW & Ff]>, i&taan) 



inventor was Jacques Cordier, surnamed Bocan, a dancing-master absolutely 
illiterate, and even ignorant of music. He was crook-shanked and gouty, 
his hands and feet being distorted by his malady. Yet this poor wretch 
was the wonder of his age, playing the violin miraculously, and composing 
charming airs. He taught all the great ladies ; among his pupils were the 
queens of France, Spain, England, Poland, and Denmark. Charles I. of 


After * Ikiotc by P. CoM* in lb* Hague Mutcum - 

England held him in high esteem, heaped presents upon him, and invited 
him often to his table. 

" The Pavanc," writes Madame Laura Fonta, " was a noble and 
beautiful dance, in high favour from about 1530 until the minority of 
Louis XIV'., who preferred the Courante. Historians differ as to its 
origin : some refer it to Spain, others to Padua. 

" The Pavane, although dating, so far as its mimetic movements arc 
concerned, from the thirteenth century, appears to have gradually assimilated 
the character of the Basse Danse. It was, however, both in its step and 
its time (which was duple) less grave than the latter ; and it was 



undoubtedly an amiable kind of dance, since it permitted at its wind-up • the 
stealing of a kiss ' from one's damosel, instead of the mere ' discreet ogling ' 
of the Basse Danse." 

This majestic Pavane was a dance of courts ; all the princely caste of 


Europe adopted it ; it was a point of honour to dance the Pavane gracefully. 
Admiring crowds gathered about the dancers. And it was truly beautiful 
to see kings, princes, and great lords, draped in fine cloaks tilted up by 
swords, and queens and princesses in robes of state, held up by maids of 
honour, advancing to the sound of instruments, and pacing in cadence, 
rather than dancing, with a pomp and a majesty as of gods and 

" Splendeur doree et rose et bleue 
D'un innombrable diamant, 
Le paon miraculeusement 



Developpcra son ample queue ; 

En la largeur de ses deplis 

Tout un ctal d'orfcvrc tremble, 
Et la Pavane lui resserable, 

Mais avec des pieds plus jolis ! " 

One understands why certain authors derive the name from the Latin 
pavo, peacock ; for these dancers recalled the slow strutting of that bird 
of marvellous plumage as he spreads the glittering sheen of his tail. 

Thoinot Arbeau tells how the earliest Pavanes were sung and danced 
by their performers to the music of tabours, viols, hautbois, and sackbuts, 
in duple time. Marguerite de Valois, whom Brantome calls " the sweetest 
lady on earth," was as supreme in the Pavane as in the Volte. Henry III., 
too, distinguished himself in this dance, among his minions, at the 
sumptuous fetes of his Court. 

We have noted the various phases through which dancing passed in the 
Middle Ages, the sixteenth century, and the early years of the seventeenth. 
We shall see it becoming grave and pompous at 
the Court of Le Rot Soleil, like that monarch 
himself, who was, indeed, a proficient in the art, and 
we shall have yet another opportunity of pointing 
out how faithfully this graceful pastime reflects the 
character of different epochs in our history. 

dmci or mum 
Fiwa * MS. in ib« BiWotUquc Nuiouk 


After a Picture by Toudouze 


'Dancing in the " G-reat Century" — grand 'Ballets under Louis XIV. — (Masked 'Balls 

— The Tavane — The Courante — The Cjavotte — The Chacone — The Saraband — 

The cillemande — The Passepied — The Passacaille 

JATHERINE DE' MEDICI, Henry IV., and Cardinal 
Richelieu, passionate admirers of choregraphic spectacles, had 
encouraged all such displays, and made them fashionable. 
Louis XIV. supported them even more actively than his 
predecessors. The continuity of such pageants at his Court and in his 
capital caused dancing to be finally accepted as one of the habits of 



French society. The influence he exercised 
on the art was strongly felt throughout the 
eighteenth century, and has persisted to our 
own times. 

There was a great deal of dancing 
under Le Roi Sole: I. 

" On n'a de plaisir que d'cxerccr des violons, 
Danser un pcu dc chaque danse, 
Et lcs tricotcts d'importancc," 

a covmn tx thi uuit or night 

niWMs !■ WSJ 

said a rhymer of the day. 
I '4 ^h! ^F Choregraphic spec- 

y tacles had hitherto 

been confined exclu- 
sively to Courts. 
Louis XIV., who fre- 
quently figured on 
the stage himself 
threw open the doors 
of the theatre 
to the public, 
which soon ^g 
developed a passion 
for the new amusement ; and, under the 
impulse given it from such exalted quarters, 
dancing, no less than the other arts, shone 
with unparalleled lustre. The ballet de- 
veloped all sorts of novel combinations and 
happy audacities, resulting in marvellous 
effects. Poets and musicians could count 
most surely on the King's favours by de- 
voting themselves to inventions of this class, 
as Bcnserade, Lulli, and even Molicre himself 

VIV. At t.l RM Xttrit IN 111! SALtST 

I'trfurmtd In 165) 



The grand ballet d'action, which gave rise to a considerable 

development in theatrical 
dancing, dominated the 
choregraphy of the cen- 
tury of Louis XIV. But 
there was also much 
dancing of a more in- 
timate kind, Minuets, 
Gavottes, Courantes, 
Pavanes, Passacailles, 
and Passepieds. The 
middle-classes danced the 
Pavane, Cotillions, Con- 
tredanses, and Brandons ; 
the people affected Branles, 
Rondes, and the ancient 
rustic measures. 

In 1 66 1, the Royal 
Academy of Dancing was 
founded by royal decree. 
But the appointed mem- 
bers of this new Areopagus 

took very little interest in it, and their. proceedings were chiefly confined 

to revels in the tavern of l'Epee-de-Bois, which they had chosen as their 


Besides the ballets introduced in the operas of Lulli and other musicians 

of the period, a great many ballets were danced at the Tuileries, and others 

at the Louvre, at Versailles, and at Fontainebleau. 

In 165 1, when the King was thirteen, he danced in public for the first 

time in the Masque of Cassandra. It was not until 1670 that he ceased to 

appear on the stage. It is said that the following couplets in Racine's 

Britannicus caused him to discontinue the practice : 


After a Print in the Bibliotheque Nationale 

" Pour toute ambition, pour vertu singulicre, 
II excelle a conduire un char dans la carricre, 



A disputer des prii indigncs dc ses mains, 

A se donner lui-mcme en spectacle am Romains, 

A venir prodiguer sa voix sur un th6atrc, 

A reciter des chants qu'il veut qu'on idolatre." 

The King generally figured as one of the gods, but he occasionally 
appeared in a less ex- 
alted character. In the 
Triumph of Bacchus, 
for instance, he took 
the part of a thief, 
excited by copious 

In the Ballet of 
the Trosperity of the 
Arms of France, the 
King played the lead- 
ing part, and appeared 
surrounded by his 
whole Court. This 
spectacle caused some 
surprise among the 
Parisians, who came in 
crowds to see him. 

As was customary 
in all the Court ballets, 

the King wore a mask typical of the character represented, after the 
fashion of the classic stage.* 

Father Mcnestrier describes this ballet, an extraordinary jumble of the 
siege of Casscl, the taking of Arras, Flemish topers, Spanish and French 
soldiers fighting to music, and the gods of Olympus ! 


After a Print in the Bibliothcquc Nationalc 

• Girdcl the elder was the first dancer who appeared on the stage without a mask. 
Strange to sajr, this innovation was not much to the taste of the spectators. It persisted 
however, and two yean later, when Gactan Vcstris was urged to resume his mask, he could 
not make up his mind to do so. 

I 12 


It would be tedious to enumerate all the ballets given at the Court. 
Suffice it to say that the King danced in twenty-seven grand ballets, not 
to mention the intermezzi of lyrical tragedies and 

"Dans des ballets brillants que la France admirait 
Entoure de sa cour, lui-meme il figurait." 

We may instance, as a typical example 

of such performances, the famous Ballet 

du Carrousel, held on a large open space 

in front of the Tuileries in 1662. On 

this occasion, royalty was well represented 

in the cast. The King danced at the 

head of the Romans, his brother led the 

Persians, the Prince de Conde commanded 

the Turks, and the Due de Guise the 


In the Grand Ballet du Roi, 
performed at the Louvre in 
1664, Mercury, Venus, and 
Pallas sang a prologue. Cupids, 
disguised as blacksmiths' appren- 
tices, issued from Vulcan's cave 
to the clang of hammers. Venus 
then appeared, showing Mark 
Antony and Cleopatra in a galley drawn by Cupids, while a naval 
engagement raged on the horizon. Then came Pluto, carrying off 
Proserpine, Nymphs, and more Cupids. The gardens of Ceres, and of 
Armida and Rinaldo appeared in turn. It was one of the most marvellous 
ballets of the period. 

The year following, the poetical ballet of the Birth and Power of Venus 
was given at Versailles. In this, of course, the gods and goddesses 
appeared in full force. 

" Neptune and Thetis, followed by Tritons, who acted as chorus, 


From an old Print in the Bibliotheque Nationale 


Eagranaf by ttkmtim U dot ia Um BibKotMqa 



expressed their pride and delight that a goddess of incomparable beauty, 
destined to reign throughout the world, should be born in their realm. 
Neptune began thus : 

" Taisez-vous, flots impctueux, 
Vents, devenez respcctueux. 
La mere des Amours sort de ma vaste empire. 

Voyez comme elle brille en s'elevant si haut, 
Jeune, aimable, charmante, et faite comme il faut 
Pour imposer des lois a tout ce qui respire. 


Quelle gloire pour la Mer, 
D'avoir ainsi produit la merveille du monde, 
Cette divinite, sortant du sein de l'onde, 
N'y laisse rien de froid, n'y laisse rien d'amcr. 

Quelle gloire pour la Mer ! 

" Venus then rises from the sea on a throne of pearl, surrounded by 

Nereids, and is presently car- 
ried up to heaven by Phosphor 
and the Hours. The marine 
gods and goddesses press for- 
ward to see her. The Winds 
arrive with a rushing sound. 
iEolus, apprehensive of the 
destruction they generally 
work, locks them up in their 
cave. Castor and Pollux de- 
clare that navigation shall 
henceforth be prosperous, in 
honour of this birth. Sea- 
captains, merchants, and 
sailors rejoice at their appear- 
ance. The Zephyrs, who had 
left the other winds to bring 
the happy news to earth, an- 
nounce it first to Spring, 

From a Print lu ihc BiWiotl.eque Nationale i O' 



Frolic, and Laughter, who hasten to devote themselves to the new 
divinity. Flora and Pales, with a band of shepherds and shepherdesses, 
swear to obey no laws but hers. The Ballet of the 'Birth of Venus ended 
here, the second part illustrating her power. The Graces proclaim it, 
declaring that the sway of 
the goddess extends through- 
out the whole world. The 
rest of this allegory, composed 
for the late Madame of France, 
was made up of some dozen 
entrees of Cupids, Jupiter, 
Apollo, Bacchus, Sacrificing 
Priests, Philosophers, Poets, 
Heroes and Heroines subject 
to Beauty, and the episode of 
Orpheus seeking Eurydice in 

The Ballet of Hercules 
in Love was given on the 
occasion of the King's 
marriage in 1660; it is 
memorable for its ingenious 

The first tableau showed 
a rocky region with a back- 
ground of sea and mountains. 

Fourteen rivers under the sway of France appeared reclining upon 
the mountains. Clouds descended from the sky, and parted near the 
ground, disclosing fifteen women, symbolical of the fifteen imperial houses 
from which the royal family of France was derived. These, after perform- 
ing a stately dance, were again enveloped by clouds, and carried up to 
heaven. Then mountains, rocks, sky and sea, moon and stars, sang in 
chorus, praising the King and Queen. 

The Ballet of Cupid and Bacchus, the music of which was by Lulli, and 
the dances by Beauchamp, was performed before the ladies of the Court in 


From * Kvcntecnth century Prim in the Bibliothcque Nation*!* 



1672, by the Master of the Horse, the Duke of Monmouth, the Due de 

Villeroy, and the Marquis de Rossey. 

On February 14, 1667, Benserade's ballet of The Muses was given at 

Sai nt- Germain- en- 
Laye. In this ballet, 
Moliere's Melicerte 
and Pastorale Comique 
were performed as 
interludes at first, 
and were replaced 
afterwards by his little 
comedy, Le Sicilien. 
A masque of Moors 
followed after the 
comedy, and brought 
the ballet to a close. 
Four noble Moors and 
four Moorish ladies 
were ' represented by 
the King, M. Le 
Grand, the Marquis 
de Villeroy, the Mar- 
quis de Rossan, 
Madame Henrietre of 
England, Mile, de la 
V a 1 1 i e r e , M'm e . d e 
Rochefort, and Mile. 

de Brancas. A few months later Le Sicilien was played at Moliere's 

theatre in the Palais-Royal by the author, La Grange, La Thorilliere, 

Du Croisy, Mile, de Brie and Mile. Moliere.* 


From an old Print in the Bibliothique Nationale 

* On January 20, 1 86 J, this ballet-comedy was revived at the Comcdie Francaise. 
Lulli's intermezzi were replaced by a Pas-de-trois, danced by Mile. Nathan, Morando, and 
Genat, of the Opera. The dance called the Swallow, which forms part of the ballet, is 
suggested by Isidore, one of the characters, who asks : "What gratitude do I owe you, if 
you but change my present slavery to one still harsher, and do not allow me any taste of 
liberty?" This dance is an imitation of a game played by Greek girls, the tradition of 



In the Triumph of Love, performed in 1 68 1, women first appeared 
on the stage. Their parts 
had hitherto been taken 
by men. Quinaut and 
Lulli broke down the tra- 
dition, and persuaded some 
of the greatest ladies of the 
Court to play, among others, 
the Dauphiness, the Prin- 
cesse de Conti, and Mile, de 

Impatience was a comic 
ballet, composed of a series 
of disconnected scenes, all 
bearing upon the title of 
the piece. It was very 
curious. Famished persons 
burnt their mouths in 
their haste to swallow 
their soup ; fowlers waited 
in vain by their snares ; 
impatient creditors appeared, 
litigants, &c. Dupin, who played the part of an owl, recited these 


" Mon petit bec est asscz beau, 
Et le reste de ma figure 
Montre que je suis un oiseau, 

Qui n'est pas de mauvais augurc." 


From a Print in Ihc RibliothoHic Xalionale 

which survived till the eighteenth century. (Sec the letters of Andre" Chcnicr's mother.) 
In this game a young girl held a swallow captive. It escaped, she and her companions 
pursued, and finally recaptured it. At the last performance of the piece, which was given 
at the Opera on March 19, 1892, during the Franco-Russian fttti, for the benefit of city 
ambulances and the sufferers in the Russian famine, the Moorish masqueradcrs were 
supplemented by four couples of Harlequins, four couples of Louis XIII. pages and waiting- 
maids, and eight couples of gardeners, male and female. They danced a Rigaudon by 
Rameau, a Chacone by Lulli, a Sicilicnnc by Bach, and a Forlanc from Campra's F.'tti 

1 1 





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The following couplet occurred in Louis XIV. 's part : 

" De la terre et dc moi qui prcndra la mcsure, 
Trouvera que la terre est moins grande que moi." 

In this series of curious and remarkable ballets we must include 

that of The Game of Piquet, an 
intermezzo in Thomas Corneille's 
Triomphe des Dames, played in 

The four knaves appeared 
first with their halberds, to pre- 
pare the stage and place the 
spectators. Then came the 
kings, leading the queens, whose 
trains were borne by slaves. 
These slaves represented Tennis, 
Billiards, Dice, and Backgammon, 
and were dressed in appropriate 
costumes ; the dresses of the 
kings, queens, and knaves were 
exactly copied from ordinary 
playing-cards. They proceeded 
to dance with their suites of 
aces, eights, nines, &c, in com- 
binations forming tierces, 
quarts, and quints; eight 
champions in the background represented the ecart, or reserve of cards. 
Red and black cards then ranged themselves in opposite lines, and finished 
the ballet by a general dance, in which the colours intermingled. 

Sainte-Foix is of opinion that this intermezzo was not a novelty, and 
that Thomas Corneille or his collaborators took the idea from a grand 
ballet performed at the Court of Charles VII., which suggested the game of 
piquet. This piece of information is offered to those persons who play 
.piquet every day, unconscious of its origin (Castil-Blaze). There was 
some idea of reviving this ballet at Angers, in 1892, for the quingentenary 
of the invention of playing-cards. 


From a Print in the Bibliothcque Nalionale 




All the historical and allegorical ballets of the reign of Louis XIV. 
were distinguished by the extraordinary complexity of the mechanical con- 
trivances, and a theatrical pomp, a presentment of strange and imposing 
effects, unprecedented in those 

As we have already shown, 
the composers of the period 
were ably seconded by the in- 
terpreters of their grandiose 

La Bruyere compared Pe- 
cour and Le Basque, two famous 
opera-dancers, to Bathyllus of 
ancient Rome. "He turned 
the heads of all the women 
by his airy grace," he re- 
marked of one of them. 

Beauchamp, the inventor of 
choregraphic writing, a con- 
summate artist and learned 
composer, was Director of the 
Royal Academy of Dancing, 
Master and Superintendent of 
the King's ballets, and after- 
wards Ballet - master of the 

Royal Academy. He excelled in lofty and imposing compositions, and 
often danced himself, side by side with the King. 

At a somewhat later date, Dupre (the Great) outshone all his predeces- 
sors by the graceful distinction of his steps and the nobility of his attitudes. 
" It was the rare harmony of all his movements that won for Dupre the 
glorious title of the God of Dancing," says Noverre in his letters. Indeed, 
this famous dancer is said to have looked more like a god than a man upon 
the stage. 

At last Ballon appeared, justifying his name by the lightness of 
his steps. 


From an old Prist in the Bibltoihcquc National* 



The balls given by Louis XIV. were very magnificent, but not very 
enjoyable. Cold ceremonial is the natural enemy of pleasure. The grandest 
of these balls was perhaps that given on the occasion of the Duke of 
Burgundy's marriage. " The gallery at Versailles," says an eye-witness, " was 

divided into three equal parts 
by two gilded balustrades four 
feet in height. The middle 
portion formed the centre, as it 
were, of the ball, having a dais 
of two stages, covered with the 
most beautiful Gobelins tapes- 
try, at the back of which were 
placed chairs of crimson velvet, 
ornamented with deep gold 
fringe. These were for the 
King, the King and Queen of 
England, the Duchess of Bur- 
gundy, and the princes and 
princesses of the blood royal. 
The three other sides were 
lined in the front row with 
very handsome chairs for the am- 
bassadors, the foreign princes 
and princesses, the dukes 
and duchesses and great officials 
of the Crown ; other rows of 
chairs behind these were filled by important personages of the Court and 
town. To right and left were crowds of spectators, arranged as in an 
amphitheatre. To avoid confusion, these spectators were admitted through 
a turnstile, one after the other. There was another little amphitheatre 
for the King's twenty-four violinists, six hautbois-players, and six flautists. 

" The whole gallery was lighted by large crystal lustres, and a number 
of branched candlesticks filled with thick wax candles. The King had sent 
cards of invitation to every one of any distinction, with a request that they 
should appear in their richest costumes ; in consequence of which command, 


From an old Print in the Bibliotheque Nationale 

H HAM. IM f »■» 

of ih*l <Uu in lb* 



the simplest coats of the gentlemen cost as much as three or four hundred 
pistoles. Some were of velvet embroidered with gold and silver, and lined 
with brocade worth no less than fifty crowns a yard ; others were of cloth of 
gold or silver ; the ladies were equally splendid, the brilliance of their jewels 

making an admirable effect 
in the light. 

" As I leaned on the bal- 
ustrade opposite the King's 
dais, I reckoned the assem- 
bly to be composed of eight 
hundred persons, their dif- 
ferent costumes forming a 
charming spectacle. Mon- 
seigneur and Madame of Bur- 
gundy opened the ball with 
a Courante, then Madame 
of Burgundy danced with 
the King of England, and 
Monseigneur with the Queen 
of England ; she in her turn 
danced with the King, who 
then took Madame of Bur- 
gundy ; she then danced 
with Monseigneur, and he 
with Madame, who ended 
with the Due de Berri. 
Thus all the princesses of the blood danced in succession according to their 

" The Due de Chartres, who is now Regent, danced a Minuet and a 
Saraband so beautifully with Madame la Princesse de Conti, that they 
attracted the admiration of the whole Court. 

" As there were a great number of the princes and princesses, this 
opening ceremony was a long one, making a pause in the general dancing, 
during which the Swiss guards, preceded by the chief officers of the royal 
^able, brought in six stands, covered with a superb cold collation, including 


From a Piint in the Hennin Collection, Bibliotheque Na.ionale 



all kinds of refreshments These were placed in the centre of the room, 
and any one was at liberty to eat and drink what he would for half an hour. 

" Besides these tables, there was a large room to one side of the gallery, 
with two tiers of shelves, on 
which were ranged bowls full 
of everything one could 
imagine to make up a su- 
perb collation, enchantingly 
served. Monsieur and sev- 
eral ladies and gentlemen of 
the Court came to see this, 
and to take refreshment ; I 
also followed them. They 
only took a few pomegra- 
nates, lemons, oranges, and 
some sweets. As soon as 
they had gone, the public 
was admitted, and in a 
moment everything had dis- 

" In ( another room were 
two large buffets, one with 
all kinds of wine, and the 
other with various liqueurs 
and cordials. The buffets 

were railed off by balustrades, and from behind these a great number of 
officers of the buttery were ready to serve to any one whatever he : wanted 
during the ball, which lasted till morning. The King went to supper 
at eleven with the King and Queen of England the Queen, and the 
princes of the blood ; while they were away, only grave and serious 
dances were performed, in which the grace and nobility of the art were 
shown in all their beauty." 

Masked balls, which were very fashionable in the reign of I^ouis XIV'., did 
not begin till after midnight. Most of them differed from Court balls by 
the greater liberty of manners allowed, which by no means destroyed their 




beauty. If any one at this period wished to go to a ball, but not to dance, 
he simply wrapped himself in a large cloak. The ladies put on a scarf. 
This convention was nearly always respected, though sometimes the ladies 
tried to pull off a refractory cloak, and force the wearer to change his mind . 
It was a great triumph if their efforts were successful. 

The Pavane, the noble dance of Henry III.'s Court, or the grand bal, 


From a contemporary Print after Jan Miel 

as it was formerly called — which had taken the place of the Basse Danse 
on great occasions — still survived at the Court of Louis XIV. It was not, 
however, that spoken of by Tabourot : " The gentleman may dance it 
wearing his hat and his sword, and you ladies wearing your long dresses, 
walking quietly, with a measured gravity, and the young girls with a 
humble expression, their eyes cast down, occasionally looking at the 
audience with a maidenly modesty. . . ." 



It is the Pavane, he says again, "which our musicians play at the wed- 
ding ceremony of a girl of good family, . . . and the said Pavane is played 
by hauthois and sackbuts, and called the grand bal, and it lasts until all 
those who dance have been two or three times round the room, unless they 
prefer to dance backwards and forwards." 

For more than a century the principal dancers of the grand ballet had 


After a Picture bjr Tcnicn 

made their entrance to the tune of the Pavane. And it was not only a 
favourite in theatres and at the Court, but the delight of the French middle 
classes. The gentleman, his hat in one hand, his sword at his side, a large 
cloak thrown over his arm, gravely offered his right hand to his partner, 
rigid in her long train, heavy and stiff" with gold and jewels. Like a couple 
of idols, the lord and the lady advanced in solemn cadence. . . . Before 
beginning the dance they walked gravely round the room, bowing to the 
master and mistress of the house. To amuse the onlookers, a Gaillardc was 
sometimes danced after the old-fashioned Pavane. 



The Pavane was above all things a ceremonial dance.* 

After having gone through various modifications which gradually altered 

its primitive character, this dance became altogether pretentious under 

Louis XIV. and finally disappeared. f 

The great monarch himself preferred the Courante, which had been very 

After a Picture by Tenders in the Munich Pinacothek 

fashionable in the sixteenth century. It was one of the oldest figure dances. 
Tabourot has described a little ballet scene which, in his youth, served as an 
introduction to this dance : 

* " It serves as an opportunity for kings, princes, and lords to show themselves on 
solemn occasions in their robes of state, when they arc accompanied by their queens, 
princesses and ladies, their long trains often carried by young girls. The Pavane also 
serves to usher in a masquerade of triumphal cars of gods, goddesses, emperors, &c. 

"The Pavane may be played on spinets, flutes, hautbois, and like instruments, and may 
even be danced to singing, but the rhythmic beating of a small drum helps wonderfully in 
making the different movements." 

t It is interesting to see the theory of the Pavane transcribed by Professor Desrat, 
the music re-arranged by Signoret. (Borneman, publisher, 15 Rue dc Tournon.) 



• When I was young, the Courante took the form of a game or ballet; 
three young men chose three girls, and, placing themselves in a row, the 
first dance:! with his partner, and then led her to the other end of the 
room, returning alone to his companions ; the second did the same, then 
the third ; and when the 
third returned, the first 
went to fetch back his 
partner, making desperate 
signs of love ; the damosel 
refused him her hand, or 
turned her back upon him ; 
the young man then re- 
turned to his place, pre- 
tending to be in despair. 
The two others did the 
same. At last they all went 
together to their damosels, 
each one to his own, kneel- 
ing down and begging, with 
clasped hands, for mercy. 
The three damosels then 
yielded, and all danced the 
Courante together." 

The gravity and state- 
liness of this dance had 
caused it to be adopted in 
the Court receptions and the 

houses of the nobility. The Philidor collection contains many Courantcs 
danced before Henry II., Charles IX., and Henry III. Cahuzac tells 
us that I»uis XIV. danced it perfectly. The drama of the day is full 
of allusions which testify to its popularity. 

•• I'ecour gives him lessons in the Courante every morning," says 

I ir dear Baptiste (Lulli) has not seen my Courante," says Moliere. 

Lift re says that the Courante began by bows and curtseys, after which 


After a seventeenth Century Drafting in the Bibliotheque Nationalc 


the dancer and his partner performed a step of the Courante, or rather a 
set figure, which formed a sort of elongated ellipse. This step was in two 
parts : the first consisted in making a plie releve, at the same time bringing 
the foot from behind into the fourth position in front by a pas glisse (that 
is, sliding the foot gently forward along the floor), the second consists of a 
demi-jete with one foot, and a coupe with the other foot. 

" This shows," he adds, " that the Courante was rather a march or walk, 
full of stately poses, than a dance, for the feet never left the floor." 

The Courante step was very like that of the Minuet. It is a purely 
French dance, of backward and forward steps, which have been assimilated 
to those of the Spanish Seguidilla. 

1 he Gavotte of Louis XIV.'s reign reappears with Marie Antoinette, 
and again after the Revolution. 

The origin of the Chacone is obscure. Cervantes says that it was a 
primitive negro dance, imported by mulattoes to the Court of Philip II., 
and modified by Castilian gravity. The Chacone, a complicated dance, 
better suited to the theatre than to general society, was distinguished by its 
grand style and its artistic character. It was in great favour as a cere- 
monial dance at the Courts of Louis XIII. and Louis XIV. 

Most of the grand operas concluded with the Chacone. Its varied and 
charming music admitted of the arrangement of all kinds of tableaux vivants, 
while the solo dancer executed its steps with precision and skill. As late as 
the eighteenth century, Gaetano Vestris had a great success in the Chacone. 
His master, the celebrated dancer Dupre, distinguished himself in Rameau's 
Chacones. Jean-EtiennevDespreaux compared this dance to an ode : 

"De l'odc la Chacone a l'eclat, Penergic ; 
Elevant jusqu'au ciel son vol audacieux, 
La Chatone sans doute est la danse des dieux. . . ." 

The Saraband, which comes from Spain, was a noble and impassioned 

A number of Spanish authors of the sixteenth century discussed the 
origin of the Zarabanda. It appeared for the first time, they say, towards 
1588, at Seville. The historian Mariana regrets the frenzy which seems to 
possess every one when the Saraband is danced, calling it el pestifero bayle de 
Zarabanda — that pestiferous dance, the Saraband. 

:." llt'll'll' 


According to Gonzales de Salas, who wrote in the seventeenth century, 
a distinction was made in Spain between Danzas and Bayles. Danzas were 
composed of grave, solemn, measured steps, the arms never sharing in the 
action. Bayles, on the contrary, from which the majority of the Spanish 
dances were derived, were dances in which the entire body took part. 

The Saraband was the most popular of all the Bayles ; it was* generally 
danced by women, to the guitar. Sometimes flutes and harps sustained the 
notes of the guitar, and accompanied the song and dance. Dancers some- 
times performed the Saraband, accompanying themselves with guitar and 

The enormous success of the Saraband extended beyond the Pyrenees. 
It was the triumph of Ninon de 1'Enclos ; the Due de Chartres and the 
Princesse de Conti also excelled in it. 

The Saraband was also in high favour at the Court of Charles II. of 
England. This King, the grandson of Henry IV. and the son of one of 
the most typically French of princesses, graduated in all the elegancies of 
the French Court during his years of exile from his kingdom, to which he 
returned almost more French than the French. A curious document in 
this connection is the picture by Janssens der Tanzer at Windsor, in which 
he appears at a ball given at the Hague on the eve of his restoration (p. 133). 

An Italian named Francisco composed the air of one of the most 
celebrated Sarabands. The Chevalier de Grammont wrote as follows on this 
subject : " It either charmed or annoyed every one, for all the guitarists of 
the Court began to learn it, and God only knows the universal twanging 
that followed." 

Such was the enthusiasm excited by these airs, that Vauquelin des 
Yveteaux actually wished to die to the sounds of the Saraband, "so that his 
soul might pass away sweetly." He was eighty years old ! 

But the popularity of the Saraband died out after the seventeenth 
century. Jean-Jacques Rousseau says that in his time it was never danced, 
except in a few old French operas. 

The Minuet, on the other hand, was the special dance ot the Court of 
Louis XV., though Louis XIV. had danced several Minuets, the music of 
which Lulli had composed expressly for him. 

The Allcmandc was a very old dance, rather heavy in style. It was 



danced in 1540 at the fetes given by Francis I. to Charles V. One of the 
peculiarities of this dance was that the dancer held his partner's hands 
through all the turns and evolutions. 

Tabourot says : " It can be danced by a large company, for, as you are 



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^HjiTW W$82jir ri ^miF' .#/§ l^^flb' ifl^l 


From an Engraving by Caldwell after Brandoin 

holding your partner's hand, many others can place themselves behind you, 
each one holding his own partner, and walking forward and retreating in 
duple time, three steps and one pause (the foot raised), without a hop. When 
you have walked to the end of the room, you turn, without loosing your 
partner's hands. The others follow in time, and when the musicians have 
finished this first part, every dancer stops and faces his partner, beginning as 
before for the second part. The third part or figure is also danced in 
duple time, but faster and more lightly, with little hops, as in the 

"In dancing the Allemande," observes one author, "the young men 



! I 

1 < 


often steal the ladies, carrying them off from the partners who hold them, 
and he who is thus forsaken tries in his turn to seize another lady. But I 
do not approve of this style of dancing, as it may cause quarrels and 

The Allemande was in favour up to the end of the eighteenth century. 

It has another special feature — it is executed by a great number of 
persons, directed by a single couple. It may therefore be considered a sort 
of Branle. The description given by Thoinot shows that it is somewhat 
like the English Sir Roger de Coverley, a dance in which the partners 
are placed opposite each other in parallel lines. A couple advances, followed 
by the rest, and, after having walked to the end of the ball-room, all 
come back and turn, still retaining their partners. The music of the first 
Allemande is given in the Orchesographie, with a description of the steps. 
The old and the modern Allemandes are not at all the same ; both dance 
and music differ essentially. Pecour, the celebrated dancing-master of the 
Opera under Louis XIV., has left us the music of the Allemande in Magny's 
Choregraphie, a measure in § time — fairly lively for those days. The 
principal steps are borrowed from the Courante and the Gaillarde. The 
two dancers advance down the room, and separate in turning, one to the 
right, the other to the left ; after a few steps they unite again in the centre, 
separating once more, and walking alone down the sides. The gentleman in 
one angle and the lady in the opposite angle execute a few steps that form a 
square ; they then meet again and take their first places to finish (Desrat). 

The Passepied, a figure dance originating in Brittany, as is supposed, was 
a favourite for a long time at the Court, in spite of its quick, rhythmical 
movement in triple time. 

Madame de Savigne danced the Passepied at the festivities held at the 
meeting of the Estates in Brittany. Her daughter, Madame de Grignan, one 
of the best dancers of the day, was also fond of this dance. 

The Passepied was a sort of lively Minuet. Noverre, in his letters, 
speaking of Mademoiselle Prevost, of the Opera, mentions how gracefully 
she danced the Passepied : 

"Le leger Passepied doit voler terre a terre." 
" The Passacaille," says Professor Desrat, " came from Italy." Its slow 



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grave movement, in triple time, was full of grace and harmony. The ladies 
took much pleasure in this dance ; their long trains gave it a majestic 

These, if we exclude ballets, were the principal dances in favour in the 
Circat Century. 


Frrm Print in the Hennin Collection, Bibttotheqae Nationals 


After a Picture by Pesne in the Ilerlin Museum 


Dancing under Louis XV. — Tainters of Fetes Galantes — (Maaemoisehe Salic — La 
Camargo — 77c [Minuet — The TassepieJ — 3{ji'erre and the 'Ballet — 
Gaetan and duguste Vestris 

RT, at the close of the seventeenth century, was full of 
vague aspirations towards new developments. The open- 
ing of the eighteenth century was marked by a reaction 
against the majestic solemnity, the monstrous etiquette, and 
the official piety that had prevailed during the later years of the Grand 
Monarque. The art of the new era inclined to artificiality ; but it had a 
peculiar and distinctive charm. Painters sought inspiration in love and joy, 
in sylvan delights, in dainty idylls. The influential classes were less 
ostentatious and more refined than in the seventeenth century. The nobles 


still ruled society, but great financiers began to patronise dawning talent, 

and to encourage the growth of a luxurious 


It was a reign of daintiness and of taste, 
of a very fine-spun taste, of a daintiness 
perhaps a trifle mincing and affected. Pictorial 
art lacked energy and deep feeling — lacked 
greatness, in a word ; but it was pretty, it 
was seductive. Decorative art was charming. 
On the walls of the rooms, between the 
windows, long mirrors were embayed in finely 
voluted woodwork. Pearly tinted boudoirs 
and drawing-rooms, scented with ambergris 
and benjamin, and gay with garlands of painted 
flowers, displayed frail serpentine caprices of 
ornamental carving, furniture of the school of 

A I'.WOK l\ It \V\Sr f-llMl. 

After Aug. de St. Aubin 


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mr * \ 


tnm a PriM m Um BiMiotMqiM NiiMaal* 

Boule, and Vernis-Martin 
panels — vivid, glowing 
like flower-beds, islanded 
in gold. Workers in pre- 
cious metals designed 
ornaments. Miniatures 
were enshrined in price- 
less cases. Ladies affected 
gauzy tissues, bedecked 
with mauve ribbons and 
bouquets; they put 
patches on their cheeks 
and carmine on their lips, 
and cased their dainty 
feet in high - heeled 



There was a passion for painters who could fix the gala lire of this 
elegant time on canvas. Such were Watteau (already famous at the end 
of Louis XIV. 's reign), Lancret, and Boucher. Much of their work was 

inspired by the theatre, 
at that time the delight 
of the whole nation. 
Watteau, who was the 
incarnation of his age, 
dressed his characters in 
the most elegant cos- 
tumes, decking them out 
in ruffles and jabots. 
He was the creator of 
The Embarkation for 
Cythera. From the 
palette of Boucher, the 
king's painter, flowed 
an unending stream of 
Loves- and roses, ex- 
quisitely in keeping 
with the delicate panel- 
ling, water green, pale 
blue, ivory relieved by 
gold, in which they 
were set. Boucher and Watteau filled the boudoirs of the day with 
pictures of curly sheep led in green pastures by be-ribboned shepherds 
and shepherdesses. Lancret painted graceful courtiers dancing the 
Minuet with dream-womeru. on flowery lawns, in a setting of rose and 
azure hillsides. Latour/fne pastellist, the lover of a dancer, was inspired, 
unwittingly perhaps, by the gauze of his mistress's skirts ; and modelled 
his portraits in diaphanous tones, fresh and dewy as the dawn. 

Dancing followed the new impulse of the other arts. The cold and 
majestic Pavane gradually made way for the graceful and noble Minuet, the 
rapid Passepied, the lively Gavotte. The ballet yielded to the same 
inspiration — in its pursuit of elegance, in the variety of its steps, of its 


After Pietro L-onghi 




'4 1 

attitudes, of its grouped combirntions. Noverre appeared, and attained 
undeniable success in a hundred ballets. 

d two women, two dancers, Mademoiselle Salle and Mademoiselle 

■Kjk F-j'^m 

i i .. i ■ ■ -. - . _ _ 



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to ' ■ ^f-^SPl 


rx ^£rf3 

M rl >^m^ 



l'au..i« au th*At«e nuutCAM 
i a I'rml after Walteau in the Bibliolhlrquc Nationals 

Camargo, stand out in graceful silhouette against the rosy background of 
the eighteenth century. 

taire apostrophises them thus: 

" Ah ! Camargo, que vous ctcs brillantc ! 
Mais que Salic, grand Dicu, est ravissantc ! 
Ouc vos pas sont legers ct que les siens sont dou» ! esc inimitable ct vous ctcs nouvcllc ! 
Les nymphes dantcnt cotnme vous, 

Et les Graces danscnt commc cllc ! " 

Mademoiselle Salle knew how to give expression to her dancing, but 


she disliked very rapid measures and choregraphic eccentricities, and would 
never attempt them. 

She was idolised. The huge crowds that pressed about the doors of the 
theatre fought for a sight of her. Enthusiastic spectators, who had paid 
great sums for seats, had to make their way in with their fists. Upon her 
benefit appearance in London, at the close of the piece, purses filled with 
guineas and jewels were showered on the stage at her feet. The Cupids 
and Satyrs of her troupe, keeping time to the music, picked up this 
spontaneous tribute. On this memorable night, Mademoiselle Salle received 
more than two hundred thousand francs, an enormous sum for that 

As to Mademoiselle Camargo, she revealed the bent of her genius 
almost in her cradle. It is said that on hearing a violin played when 
she was but ten months old, she moved to it so excitedly, and yet so 
rhythmically, that those who saw her prophesied that she would be one 
of the first dancers of the world. 

Born in Brussels, she was the daughter or. a dancing-master. Her 
grandmother was of the noble Spanish family of Camargo, which had given 
several cardinals to the Sacred College. 

In her tenth year, the prediction called forth by the incident of the violin 
entered upon fulfilment. She was sent to Paris by the Princesse de Ligne, 
who had remarked her extraordinary talent, and became the pupil of Made- 
moiselle Prevost, the famous performer of the Passepied. Three months later 
she made her debut at Rouen. At sixteen she appeared at the Opera, in 
the Caracteres de la Danse, with unparalleled success. Nimble, coquettish, 
light as a sylph, she sparkled with intelligence. "She added," says Castil- 
Blaze, " to distinction and fire of execution, a bewitching gaiety which was 
all her own. Her figure was very favourable to her talent : hands, feet, 
limbs, stature, all were perfect. But her face, though expressive, was not 
remarkably beautiful. And, as in the case of the famous harlequin 
Dominique, her gaiety was a gaiety of the stage only ; in private life 
she was .sadness itself." 

When she danced, people fought for places at the doors of the Opera as 
they had done to see Mademoiselle Salle. Disputants wrangled fiercely as 
to her merits ; novelties in fashion took her name ; a shoemaker made his 


fortune out of her — the most elegant ladies of Paris demanded to be shod () 
la Camargo. Introduced at the Tuileries by the Marquise de Villars, she 
was received with an ovation. This splendid triumph awoke the jealousy 

After a Picture by Watuau in the New Palace, Itetlin 

of Mademoiselle Prevost, who discontinued her lessons, and even intrigued 
against her brilliant pupil. La Camargo then put herself under the 
instructions of the celebrated dancer, Rlondt. 

In spite of her successes, she had to resign herself at first to Ik- a mere 



figurante in the corps de ballet. One night, however, Dumoulin, nicknamed 
the Devil, was to have danced a pas seul. Something occurred to retard 
his entrance, although the musicians had struck up his tune. A sudden 
inspiration seized the Camargo (who was one of a troupe of attendant 

demons), and quitting her place, she 
executed Dumoulin's dance with diabolical 
energy before an enthusiastic audience. 

La Camargo brought about an abso- 
lute revolution in opera by her fanciful 
and ingenious improvisations. The con- 
quest of difficulties of execution delighted 
her. She offended the upholders of the 
classic tradition, who sang of her as : 

"Ccttc admirable gigotteusc, 
Grande croqueuse d'entrcchats." 

But they were wrong about these 

entrechats (of which La Camargo " cut " 

the first in 1730).* She crossed her 

feet in the air four times only ; thirty 

years later Mademoiselle Lamy of the Opera crossed hers six times ; 

and, later still, eight crossings were achieved. 

" I have even seen a dancer cross sixteen times," writes Baron, " but 
don't suppose I admire such gymnastics, or your pirouettes either." 

The Comte de Melun carried off the young dancer when she was 
eighteen years old. La Camargo had made it a condition that she should 
be accompanied by her little sister ! Their father, Ferdinand de Cupis de 
Camargo, petitioned Cardinal de Fleury that the Count should be made to 
marry the elder girl and portion the younger. 

Mademoiselle Camargo had certainly no vocation for marriage. She 
soon left the Count for his cousin, Lieutenant de Marteille. This 
brilliant officer was eventually killed in Flanders, when his mistress was 


Alter an Engraving by Gravelot in the 

Ilibliothcque Nationale 

" In the entrechat, the dancer springs up, crossing his lett several times in the air. : 
(Professor Desrat.) 



so profoundly affected as to retire from the stage for six years. She 
quitted it finally in i~4i, and lived in seclusion till her death. 

" Her neighbours and friends regretted her as a model of charity, of 
modesty, and of good conduct," says one writer. " She was granted the 


From a Print »ft«r Tiepolo in lh« BiblKXhoiut Nalionalc 

honours of a ' white,' or maiden's, funeral. She had had, however, many 
lovers, among whom were the Due de Richelieu and the Comte dc 
Clermont, to whom she had borne two children. But she was remembered 
only as the grave, sweet woman whose last years had been spent in lone 
liness and meditation." 

Opera-balls were inaugurated in the early days of the Regency, and with 
such success that three took place every week throughout the carnival. 
The theatre buildings then formed part of the Palais-Royal. On lull- 
nights, the auditorium was converted into a saloon eighty-eight feet long ; 
the boxes were adorned with balustrades draped with costly hangings of the 




richest colours. Two buffets, one on each side, separated the boxes trom 
the space set apart for the dancers. These fetes were arranged on a scale of 
the most luxurious magnificence ; " the room was lighted by over three 
hundred large wax candles, to say nothing of the tapers and lamps, arranged 
in the wings. The orchestra was composed of thirty musicians, fifteen at 

From a Print in the Bibliothcque Nationale 

each end of the ball-room. Half an hour before the ball began, the 
musicians assembled in the Octagon room, with kettledrums and 
trumpets, and gave a concert, performing the great symphonies of the best 

In connection with these balls, G. Lenotre describes an adventure of 
which Louis XV. was the hero. 

"On Shrove Tuesday of 1737," he says, "we find in Barbier's Journal 
that Louis XV. came from Versailles incognito to the opera-ball. The 
Due d'Ayen had supped with the King, who said nothing of the project. 
After the Court had retired, the King, attended by a footman, went up to 
the Duke's apartments. D'Ayen had gone to bed. The King knocked. 


The Duke inquired who was there. 'It is I.' 'I don't know who you 

A I V f k 

A'Ur * P>ctur* by W«ii«m ia the Edinburgh fMhrj 

mean. I am in bed.* ' It is I, the King.' The Duke, recognising the 
King's voice, hastened to open the door. 'Where are you going, Sire, at 


this hour ? ' ' Dress yourself at once.' ' Allow me to ring, I have no 
shoes.' 'No,' replied the King, 'no one must come.' 'But where are we 
going ? ' ' To the Opera Ball.' ' Oh, very well ! ' said the Duke ; ' let me 
find the shoes I have just taken off.' When he was dressed, they descended 
into the courtyard. The King, who .had not put on his blue ribbon, took 
the Duke's arm to pass the sentries. The latter made himself known- 
1 It is I, the Due d'Ayen.' ' I have the honour of knowing you perfectly 
well, Monseigneur,' said the guard. 

" They got through, and went to the carriages that were waiting for them 
in the street. Relays had been posted at Sevres since six o'clock in the 

" The King wore a blue costume, with a rose-coloured domino. He 
got out of his carriage in the Rue Saint-Nicaise, and with his eight 
companions, all, like himself, in dominoes, made his way to the Opera 
House. By some mistake, only seven tickets had been taken, so they were 
stopped at the door, where they paid two crowns of six francs to be allowed 
to go in all together. The King remained for over an hour and a halt, 
unrecognised by any one. He enjoyed himself greatly, and mixed freely 
with the crowd. He did not take the road to Versailles again till six 
o'clock in the morning. 

" But he had to pass through the private apartments, which were shut up 
and guarded. They knocked. A sentry of the bodyguard demanded who 
they were. The reply was : 'Open at once. It is the King.' 'The King 
is in bed, and I shall not open the door or allow you to pass, whoever you 
may be.' They had to wait and get a light. The sentry then recognised 
the King. ' Sire, I beg your pardon, but my orders are to let no one pass ; 
therefore, have the goodness to cancel my instructions.' ' 

" The King," says Barbier, " was much pleased by the sentry's pre- 

" The courtiers of Henry II., the cruel associates of Charles IX., the 
favourites of Henry III., the warlike nobles of Henry IV., the flatterers of 
the Cardinal Minister, the great men of Louis XIV.'s Court, the rakes of 
the Regency — all alike danced the unbending Haute Danse," says Elise 
Vo'i'art. Gayer measures were only permitted at the end of a ball. 

The Minuet, a dance of little steps, as the name indicates, had come 

? § 


- 7 


1 * 


< * 




After a Print in the Hennin Collection, Bibliothcque Nationale 

from Poitou, where it contrasted sharply with the clog-step of the Branle 

Poitevin. At first a gay and 
lively dance, simple, yet not 
without distinction, it soon lost 
its original vivacity and sport- 
iveness, becoming grave and 
slow, like other fashionable 
Court dances. 

It was in this denaturalised 
Minuet that Louis XIV. 
excelled. Pecour, the great 
dancer, gave a new vogue to 

the Minuet by restoring some of its original charm.* 

But the golden age of the Minuet was the reign of Louis XV., when 

this dance held the foremost 

place. It was the fashion then 

both at the Court and in the 


The Court Minuet was a 

dance for two, a gentleman 

and a lady. It was danced in 

moderate triple time, and was 

generally followed by the 


The Minuets most memor- 
able in the annals of dancing are 

the Dauphin's Minuet, the Queen's Minuet, the Menuet d'Exaudet, and the 

Court Minuet. 

In his T)ictionnaire de la Danse Compan dilates at some length upon 

After a Print in the Hennin Collection. Bibliothcque Nationale 

* " The characteristic of this dance is a noble and elegant simplicity ; its movement is 
rather moderate than rapid ; and one may say that it is the least gay of all such dances." — 
[Grande Encyclopedic) 

t "The Minuet consists of three movements and a step on the point of the foot. 
The first is a demi coupe of the right foot and one of the left. The second is a step 
taken on the point of the right foot, both legs straight at the knee. In the third, at the end 
of the last step, you drop the right heel gently on the floor, so as to permit a bending of the 


the Minuet. He tells how in " set " balls, a king and queen were 

thk ccMrrmMum 
From a Print after Waiteau in the £cole des Beaux Art* 

appointed, who opened the dance. The first Minuet over, a fresh cavalier 
was chosen by the queen. This gentleman, when he in his turn had danced 

knee, which movement causes (he left leg to rise ; it pastes to the front with a dtmi aupi 
iefmpft —which it the third movement of the Minuet and its fourth step. 

"The true step of the Minuet is composed of four steps, which nevertheless by their 
connections (to use the technical word) arc but one step. 

"There was another and easier method of executing the Minuet. Bringing the left foot 
in front, let it support the weight of the body ; and bring the right foot close to the left in 
the first position. This right foot is not, however, to touch the ground ; the right knee is 
bent a little, so that the foot is clear of the floor. Next, with this right knee sufficiently 
bent, the right foot is brought to the front, in the fourth position, and the body raised on 
the toes, both legs being straightened one after the other. Thrn, in its turn, you allow the 
right heel to support itself on the floor (without putting the left down), and you bear with 
ike weight of your body upon the right foot, and pass the left foot forward (just l 

I £2 


his Minuet, escorted the queen back to her place and, bowing, inquired her 
pleasure as to her next partner. The queen having pointed out the partner 

of her choice, her late cavalier went in 
search of him, and, bowing low, requested 
him to dance. 

The Minuet was introduced into 
opera -ballet. "Composers introduced 
its airs in sonatas, duets, and other 
musical pieces, as they had formerly 
done with the Jig and the Gavotte," 
says Vestris. " But of all these," he 
adds, " the Minuet alone was long-lived. 
Indeed it is still introduced in sym- 

As we have seen, the Minuet was 
the fashionable dance, the Passepied 
and the Gavotte claiming a fair share of 
popularity as well. 

We have already spoken of the 
As to the Gavotte, it was popular under Louis XV. ; but it was 
supreme under Louis XVI., and we shall consider it later on in the height 
of its glory. 

In 1745, Rameau introduced the Contredanse in ballets. It was so 
favourably received that it at once superseded the Bourree, the Minuet, and 
the Cosaque, and even temporarily eclipsed the ambitious Gavotte. 


After a Picture by Pesne in the Palace, Berlin 

formerly did with the right) to the fourth position. Then you raise yourself upon this left 
foot and walk the two remaining steps on the toes, the first step being on to the right point, 
the second on to the left again — but at the last you must drop once more on the left heel, 
so as to start again firmly." — (Vestris.) 

Compan says : 

"The number of bars in each of these repetitions should be four, or some multiple 
of four, for this is needful to the due execution of the Minuet step. And care should be 
taken by the musicians to emphasise each division by a noticeable drop in the music, so as 
to aid the ear of the dancer, and keep him in time." 

There are divers other Minuet steps, such as the Minuet Backwards, and the Sideways 
or Open Minuet ; but these are mere variants upon the standard dance. 




The majority of writers derive the French word Contredanse from 
Country Dance. If we accept this etymology, the Contredanse was of 
English origin. It bears some resemblance to our modern Quadrille. 

Pecour, Beauchamps, Dupre, Feuillet, Desaix, and Ballon make up a 

Aflrr * Picture t> Rowi 
By pennU'.ion of Meuis. Boutsod Valjilou and Co. 

brilliant constellation of composers and choregraphers at this period. But, 
thstanding their renown, they diverged but little from the old routine, 
and effected no thorough-going reform of ballet-opera or of operatic 
entertainments. Every opera had Passepieds in its prologue, followed by 
Musettes in the first act, by Tambourins in the second, and by ChacOMt 
and Passepieds in the acts following. Such was the consecrated formula, 
upon which no one dared to innovate. "These matters," says Baron, 
"were decided, not by the development of the opera, but by considerations 
quite apart from this. Such and such a dancer excelled in Chacones, 



such another in Musettes. Now, in every opera, each leading character 
had to dance his special dance, aid the best dancer always concluded. It 

was by this law, and 
not by the action of the 
poem, that the dancing 
was governed. Anil 
what intensified the 
mischief was that poets, 
musicians, costumiers, 
decorators, never con- 
sulted one another. 
Each had his prescriptive 
routine ; each pursued 
his own old path, indif- 
ferent as to whether he 


After a Piint in the Bibliotbcque Nationale 

arrived at the 


goal as his neighbour. 

To reform all this was a Herculean task. No single individual could 

diverge from the beaten track till all abandoned it, till there was mutual 

understanding, concerted action. Concerted action — that was asking too 

much ! 

"Enfin Noverre vint, et le premier en France 
Du feu dc son genie il anima la danse ; 
Aux beaux temps de la Grece il sut la rappeler; 
En rccouvrant par lui leur antique eloquence 
Les gestes ct les pas apprirent a parler." 

^^Noverre, the celebrated ballet-master of the Courts of France, Stuttgart, 
Vienna, and St. Petersburg, revived the art of pantomime, and created 
the Grand Ballet a" Action in its present form. The two Gardels and 
Dauberval perfected it, giving it a more scrupulous correctness, a more 
elegant refinement. 

Noverre revolutionised dancing. Rejecting outworn conventions, he 
appealed straight to nature. " A ballet," he said, " is a picture, or rather 
a series of pictures, connected by the action which forms the subject of the 
ballet." To him, the stage was a canvas on which the composer expresses 











his ideas, notes his music, displays scenery coloured by appropriate costumes. 

" A picture," he continued, " is 
an imitation of nature ; but a 
good ballet is nature itself, en- 
nobled by all the charms of art." 
We pass over Noverre's definition 
of painting ; to discuss it would 
be to wander from our subject. 
He expands it thus : " The music 
is to the dancing what the libretto 
is to the music " — a parallel by 
which he meant that the musical 
score is, or ought to be, a poem, 
fixing and determining the move- 
ments and the action of the 
dancer — a poem which the artist 
is to recite and interpret by 
means of energetic and vivid 
gestures, and by the flexibility 

and animation of his countenance. It follows that the action of the dancer 

should be an instrument 

for the rendering and 

the exposition of the 

written idea. 

Noverre not only 

carried his care for de- 
tail to an extreme in 

his regulation of the 

ballet, but he persuaded 

himself that dancing 

could express every- 
thing : 


After an eighteenth Century Print 


; ■ 


Sutfuif xS^M^uW^mStXt^t.-- > • 

' mp m - m ^<m:m& 

\ -Ti^jfe; Tffc fll 5%J t \, ""AtjA 




t;c; magnificent ballet given at chantilly fok 
the diversion of jus majesty louis xv. 

" Noverre, sur un art qu'il crut universel, 
Du ton le plus augustc cndoctrinant 1'Europc, 
Eut fait danser Joad, Phcdrc, ct le Misanthrope." 



Besides, was there not a ballet-master who claimed to have translated 
Beaumarchais' epigrams into entrechats and jetes battus t 

Noverre did his best to drive masks, paniers, and padded coat-skirts 
from the stage ; he strove 
to effect a reformation in 
costume.* Actors were 
often negligent in their 
dress for lack of means. 
At this time leading actors 
had a salary of one hundred 
louis a year ; while figurants, 
singers, and dancers thought 
themselves happy with four 
hundred francs. Singers 
appeared on the stage in 
costumes that had some- 
times done duty for eight 
years, their tarnished 
spangles showing the under- 
lying tin or copper. 

Noverre found it hard 
to rouse the theatre from 
its torpor. He had a long 

struggle with the costumier, who used often to bid him mind his own 
business, and stick to his dancing. 

In the Ballet of the Horatii, by Noverre, Camilla appeared in a huge 


After a Print in the BiUioihcquc Natiooalc 

* But not with complete success, according to Castil-Blazc. We read in fact that "on 
January 21, 1772, Cmttr and Pollux was performed — an opera by Ramcau, and an old 
favourite with amateurs, from whom it had long been withheld. In the fifth act 
Gactan Vcstris was to appear as the fair-haired Apollo ; he represented the Sun-God in an 
enormous black full-bottomed wig, and a mask, and wore a big gilded copper sun on his 
breast. For some reason M. Vcstris could not take his part that night, and M. Gardcl 
consented to act as a substitute, but only on condition that he should be at liberty to 
appear in his own long fair hair, and that he should be allowed to discard the mask and the 
ridiculous copper sun. This happy innovation pleased the public, and from that moment 
leading actors abandoned the mask. It continued, however, to be used for some years by 
the chorus, by ' furies ' and ' winds,' and by ' shades ' — whose white masks were considered 

1 58 


hooped petticoat, her hair piled up three feet high with flowers and 
ribbons. Her brothers wore long-skirted coats, set out from their hips 
by padding. The Horatii wore what had once been cloth of gold, 


After a Print by Gravelot 

and the Curiatii cloth of silver. Their powdered hair was arranged on 
each temple in five rolls, and on the top of the head in a sort of 
pyramid, the so-called " Greek tuft," very much like the curl worn by 
our circus clowns. 

We can imagine the piteous face with which Noverre contemplated the 

peculiarly appropriate. In 1785, in the prologue of Tarare, 'winds ' still appeared with 
trumpet-cheeked masks; but they no longer, as formerly, carried bellows in their hands." 

We need not go back to the traditions of antiquity in tracing this custom, for masks 
were in common use among French women in the sixteenth century, and throughout the 
reign of Louis XIII. 



The revolution Noverre had 



personages of his ballet thus rigged out. He triumphed at last, but only 
after many struggles. 

inaugurated in theatrical dancing 
gained ground steadily. There were 
many clever dancers on the French 
stage, the Vestris, Gardel, and Dau- 
bervals but it was impossible for 
them to execute, dances properlv 
so-called. They came on in enor- 
mous helmets, crowned by a mass 
of plumes, their faces concealed by 
;^\ *\ masks. They advanced from the 

back to the front of the stage with 
prodigious bounds, displaying the 
suppleness of their figures with great 
effect ; each one of them was careful 
to bring out his particular strong 
point, the beauty of his arm, the 
perfection of his leg ; but this was 
hardly dancing in the true sense of 
the term. 
" Would you know what theatrical dancing really is ? " cried an author of 
the day. " Transport yourselves in fancy to the happy times of Pylades 
and Bathyllus. See Pylades plunging the spectators into the deepest grief, 
tee them turn pale when Orestes dances, listen to the passionate cries of the 
Roman ladies. Or would you take your idea of dancing from another 
quarter ? This century has produced three or four ballets in the true 
style. Are you not deeply impressed by the transports of Medea, in 
the illustrious Noverre's ballet? How the truth of Madame Allard's 
acting holds us captive ! How we feel the woes of Creiisa, as 
depicted by Mile. Guimard ! How Jason fascinates us ! This is true 
dancing !...." The author then expatiates on the ballet, Sylvia : 

" How delicious is that moment when the Faun (Dauberval) at last finds 
himself again in the arms of his beloved Sylvia, who had avoided him, 
and whom he himself had been forced to avoid ! 



*Le feu de lcurs regards s'anime avee la danse ; 
L'amour, sans se raontrcr, fait sentir sa presence : 
Et plein d'un sentiment vif et dclicicux, 
Chacun sent lc plaisir qu'il a vu dans lcurs ycux.' 

44 This is dancing indeed ! What we lack is not talent, but emulation. 
It almost seems, in fact, as if this were deliberately repressed. How I 


ttom aa fnin't by Baun, after a Drawing by A. de Si. Aubin 

should rejoice to see a great dancer performing some noble part without 
plumes or wig or mask ! I should then be able to applaud his sublime 
talent with satisfaction to myself; and I could then justly apply the term 
•great ' to him, whereas now the most I can say is : l yfh ! la Mia gamba ! ' 
It is evident, therefore, that theatrical dancing demands many reforms. 
They cannot, of course, all be carried out at once ; but we might at least 



All? vivace 


wi PlLCff ILt j Iff 


i Irrnlrrj li 




begin. Let us do away with those cold, painted masks, which deprive us 
of what would be one of the most interesting features of a pas-de-deux, the 
expressions of the performers' faces. The disappearance of the periwig 
would follow of itself, and a shepherd would no longer dance in a plumed 

helmet. See with what satis- 
faction the suppression of one 
single mask was hailed by the 
public ! Note the superiority of 
Vestris dancing with uncovered 
face in the Champs Elysees, and 
Vestris as a shepherd in a wig 
and mask ! How much we all 
preferred Gardel as the Sun- 
God without his wig and mask! 
How we admire Dauberval be- 
cause he has thrown off con- 
vention, because he dances a 
shepherd dressed as a shepherd, 
and gives true expression to 
his steps, his gestures, and his 
face ! " 

Noverre's ballets are usually 
in the grave style, and are all 
remarkable for their ingenuity. 
Our ballet-masters and librettists still find it to their advantage to study 
his Letters on the Imitative Arts. Among his principal choregraphic 
works we may mention The Death of Ajax, The Judgment of Paris, 
Orpheus' Descent into Hell, Rinaldo and Armida, The Caprices of 
Galatea, The Toilette of Venus or the Roses of Love, The Jealousies of the 
Seraglio, The Death of ^Agamemnon, Telemachus, The Clemency of Titus. 
But Noverre sometimes turned from the serious ballet to works in 
a lighter vein, such as Cupid the Pirate and The Embarkation for 

Noverre made an attempt to perpetuate the most successful chore- 
graphic steps by means of writing, though the Academy of Music took but 




1 66 


a languid interest in the subject. The Egyptians, it is said, had already 
made use of hieroglyphs to indicate dances. The Romans had a method of 
notation for saltatory gesture. Under Louis XIV., the dancer Beauchamp 
gave a new form to this notation, of which he was declared the inventor by 


- Z — • ■ . * 

If ■"! 





i i 

k j 


• / 

\ i 

t I 


a parliamentary decree. In the treatise on choregraphy published in Paris 
about 17 13 by Feuillet and Desaix, there are some fifty plates in which 
dancing is represented by means of engraved characters. They look like 
forms of incantation, the mysterious pages of a book of magic. Lines, 
perpendicular, horizontal, oblique, complicated curves, odd combinations of 
strokes, somewhat akin to Arabic characters, musical notes sprinkled 
apparently haphazard over the page, represented the movements of the 
dancer's feet with the most logical precision. 


After an Engraving by Lcbu in the Btbliotheque Nalioule 


To Noverre we owe the constellation of ballet-composers who succeeded 
him — Gardel, Dauberval, Duport, Blasis, Milon, and the Vestris family ; 
just as we owe the brilliant dancers of the end of the eighteenth century to 
the inspiration of Mademoiselle Salle and La Camargo. 

After the retirement of La Camargo, the principal honours of the stage 
fell to the lot of the fa- 
mous Gaetan Vestris, pupil 
and successor of Dupre. 
Dupre had shone before 
the footlights for thirty 
years ; he was tall, of a 
superb carriage, and he 
danced Chacones and Pass- 
acailles with incomparable 

The Vestris family, of 
Florentine origin, swayed 
the sceptre of dancing for 
nearly a century. Gaetan, 
who was called "the hand- 
some Vestris" (to distin- 
guish him from his four 
brothers in the same 
profession), appeared on 
the stage in 1748, at the 

Opera, from which he did not finally retire till 1800. "Few dancers 
have been so highly favoured by nature," says Baron. " He was about 
five feet six inches in height, with a well-turned leg, and a noble and 
expressive face. He made his first appearance on the stage in 1747 and 
retired in 1781. But having, like the actor Baron, the rare good fortune 
to preserve his vigour and grace to extreme old age, he reappeared at 
intervals — in 1795, 1799, and 1800 — always with great applause." 

I Is dancing was full of grace and distinction. He carried himself 
superbly, surpassing even the great Dupre. His fatuous conceit, however, 
became proverbial. He used to say : " This century has produced but 

1 68 



" '«6\ 



three great men — myself, Voltaire, and 
Frederick the Great ! " Berchoux re- 
cords his vanity in the following quat- 
rain : 

" Ses yeux ne daignaient voir de son temps sur 

la terre, 
Que trois grands hommes : lui, Frederic, 

Quand il fallait entre eux determiner son 

II se mettait toujours a la tete des trois." 

In the time of the Vestris, dancing 
was strictly divided into three varieties 



a^^n)^ '!<*«.* ^*-±. 

Jem ' 


— the serious, the serio-comic, 
and the comic. The most 
celebrated of the comedy 
dancers of the time was M. 
Lany, who first appeared at 
the Opera in 1750, and did 
not retire till 1769. His 
drollery never sank to tri- 
viality. He was inimitable in 
" shepherd " parts : 

" Dans les patres Lany tut le 
premier en France 
Qui fit sentir jadis une juste 


From a Print in the liibliothcque Nationale 


> ; 





From an Engraving in the Bibliothcque Nationals 

D'un temps mis ;i sa place enscigna lc pouvoir, 
Et soumit Terpsichore aux regies du devoir. 
Par cc mattrc savant la dansc rcpardc, 
N'ofTrit plus ricn dc rude a la scene cpurcc. 
Let danseurs en mesure apprircnt a toraber, 
Et le pas sur le pas n'osa plus enjamber; 
Tout rcconnut les lois dc cc guide fidclc, 
Gardcl ct Daubcrval, il fut votrc modele."* 

Augustc V'estris, the son of Gaetan, was received with enthusiastic 
applause on his first appearance before the public, August 25, 1772, in the 
ballet of La Cinquantaine, at the Opera. Born in March 1760, he was not 
quite twelve years old at the time. He was a youthful prodigy. His 

Dcsprcaux, L Art dt U 'Dan it. 


mother, Madame Allard, of the Opera, used to say that the first steps her 
son had taken in this world were dancing steps. His sublimely fatuous 
father, recognising the talent of the child, named him " the god of 
dancing " ; reserving, however, for himself the title of " his inspired 
creator." In two strides the young Auguste used to cover the whole 
distance from the back of the stage to the footlights. His high bounds 
were so prodigious that they drew forth from his father the well-known 
boast : " If Auguste does not stay up in the air, it is because he is 
unwilling- to humiliate his comrades ! " 

Fragment of a Picture by Watteau in the Berlin Gallery 



aha JL 



B ■ 

■ / 

|L^% /^ 


Bw j»-'.»- -1 

{■ t 


^t - *m 



After a Picture by Lancrcl in ihc Berlin liallcry 


CSladeltme Gurnard— Dancing under Louis XVI.— 1 'he gavotte— Tie Ballet— 

'Dances and Fetes if the Revolution and the Republic— Walls and "Ballets of the 

Directory, the Empire, and the Restoration — CMarie Taglioni 

>WARDS the end of the last century a brilliant dancer 
appeared, who was the darling of the Court and city for 
twenty-six years. She was not content to enchant all 
beholders by the expressive grace of her dancing, the 
voluptuous elegance of her movements, the rhythmic harmony of her 
steps. " She is a shadow, flitting through the Klysian groves, a graceful 
Muse who captivates mortals," said an author of the day. She dazzled 



society by her magnificence and the splendour of her entertainments, which 
rivalled those of royalty. 

She was born in Paris in 1743. She is said to have been marvellously 
gifted, to have had an exquisite figure, marvellous grace, and extremely 

distinguished manners ; 
and, further, a disposition 
at once impressionable, 
tender-hearted, and 

During the construc- 
tion of her house, she 
noticed a young artist 
engaged in painting the 
panels, who seemed very 
sad. On asking the cause 
of his trouble, she learned 
that he was greatly dis- 
tressed at his poverty, 
which prevented him from 
continuing his studies. 
She immediately obtained 
a pension enabling him 
to go to Rome. The 
painter was David. She 
was also the patroness of 
Fragonard, who was a 
constant visitor at the little theatres she had built in her country-house at 
Pantin, and in her hotel in the Chaussee d'Antin ; these certainly inspired 
some of his prettiest scenes, notably those in which his characters are 
masked, for, in spite of Noverre's efforts, the mask was worn at the 
theatre until 1772. 

Year after year the Prince de Soubise made her a handsome present of 
jewellery as a new year's gift. On one occasion, the winter having been 
particularly severe, she wrote to the Prince and asked him if he would let 
her have the value of his usual offering in money. M. de Soubise sent 


From a Lithograph 



her six thousand livrts ; whereupon she explored the dreary tortuous alleys 
round about her, and distributed the sum in alms to the poor in their 
wretched houses and garrets. 

"Along with these impulses of charity, and pity for the poor and 
suffering," says M. Bauer, 
"she had a diabolical 
spirit of intrigue, and was 
the soul of all the cabals 
which were the despair 
of the Opera. Backed up 
by Saint - Huberty, she 
made the theatre subject 
to her will, and imposed 
her authority on the 
Court, her associates, and 
even on the public, brook- 
ing no rival about her." 

Ardent, proud, gene- 
rous and passionate, she 
was equally reckless in the 
expenditure of her wealth 
and of her affections. 

Both at her country- 
house and in the Chaussee 

d'Antin, her theatre was provided with private boxes, to which the ladies 
of the Court resorted to see the comedies in vogue. 

The brilliance of this fascinating assembly was incomparable. The 
prettiest women of Paris vied with each other in beauty, grace, and 
toilettes. Princes of the blood, dignitaries of the Court, and Presidents of 
Parliament were noticeable among the men, and the darker boxes were often 
visited by prelates, and occasionally by academicians. It was a gala day, 
«ay» Fleury, for one of our actors, when he could escape from the desert 
of the Corned ie Francaisc, and disport himself on the boards of a theatre so 
perfectly arranged.* 

* Henri Bauer, IllnitratitH. 




- ~_^C*»* 


From a Lithograph 



Ov? y»»~ 


In addition to the most distinguished persons of the day, Mile. 
Guimard received the habitues of the Court, and delighted to vex the 
authorities by making her entertainments clash 
with those given by the King. She discussed 
questions of dress and coiffure with the 
Queen, who sought her advice on these 

Her table was long the meeting-place of 
courtiers, celebrated authors, and all that was 
great and illustrious in Paris. She was pen- 
sioned by a prince, a financier, and a bishop. 

The revolution- 
ary storm,which 

destroyed so 

many things, 

was the ruin of 

" Some years 

before this," 

says M. Henri 

Bauer, " Mile. 



jf* *"** 





From a contemporary Drawing (1770) 


Guimard's money difficulties obliged her to 
get rid of her mansion in the Chaussee 
d'Antin. Her mode of selling it was some- 
what original : she had it put into a lottery, 
issuing 2500 tickets at 120 livres a-piece. 
The prize was won by the Comtesse du Lau, 
who immediately resold the house for 500,000 
livres to the banker Perregaux. Seventy- 
five years later it was the scene of M. Arsene 
Houssaye's marriage with his second wife, 
Mile. Jane della Torre." 
Mile. Guimard retired from the Opera in 1789, and married the dancer 

After having enjoyed every pleasure, and revelled in splendour, Guimard 




« IV I. ir* by LaactcI ta ibc Bcrlio C*Ucr) 



had to struggle in her old age with difficulties verging on misery, and she 

died neglected at the age of seventy- 

The Gavotte was the favourite 
dance under Louis XVI. and 
throughout the time of the Direc- 
tory. This dance was of very 
ancient origin ; it dated from the 
sixteenth century, and was, as we 
have said, a sort of Branle. 

Not only did the leading couple 
choose and kiss the lady and 
gentleman who 'were to lead after 
them, but the leaders generally 
embraced all the dancers one after 
the other. 

In Sandrin ou Vert galant there 
is an account of a Gavotte, in 

which instead of kisses, little presents were given : 

" Michaud prcnd Marion, la tire de la dance, 
Et apres avoir fait sa noble reverence, 


From a Print in the Bibliotheque Nationale 

* " Monsieur de Goncourt," says M. Henri Bauer, "has given us quite a touching picture 
of her old age. She lived in the Rue Mcnars, at the corner of the Rue de Richelieu, and 
still received a number of her old friends and associates. The conversation naturally often 
turned on the brilliant successes she had achieved on the boards of the Opera, which still 
interested her. 

" One day the company pressed her strongly to dance some of the steps that had made 
her so celebrated, with her husband, Desprcaux. They refused for some time, but finally 
yielded. Some boards were put up on trestles in an adjoining room, but with what seems 
to us quite a fine touch of coquetry, the dancers arranged a curtain to conceal half the 
stage, so that only their legs were visible. Those present at the performance were fired with 
enthusiasm, and accorded a regular ovation to the two dancers, who were great artists still. 

"But entreaties to repeat the experiment, even with the promise of a great financial 
success, were in vain : they were wise enough not to do so, knowing that the brilliant days 
of the winter of life have no to-morrows. 

" Her feet on her foot-warmer, she liked to talk of the past, and when the conversation 
turned to memories of the ballets in which she had danced, she took from beside her, 
where it was hidden under her dress, a little toy theatre, put her hand into the aperture, and 
with her thin bony fingers indicated with swift, unerring gestures the steps, movements, and 
attitudes of herself and her comrades." 


II la baise a la bouche et cliquetant lesdois, 
Monstrc qu'a bien dancer il ne craint villageois ; 
Or, il a lcs deux mains au cote, puis se tourne, 
Et devanc Marion presence sa personnc ; 
Puis resautant en l'air gambada lourdemenc ; 
Haut troussant le talon d'un sot contournement. 


Allir a itctuic by Lucnl in Uk llcrlin Gallery 

La tillc s'cnhardil ct son hommc rcgardc, 

Et a tout ce qu'il fait de prcs cllc prend garde. 

S'il fait un taut en Pair, Marion saute aussi ; 

S'il dance dc costc, cllc fait tout ainsi, 

Tant qu'a let voir dancer, a tout lc mondc il scmblc 

^u'llt aicnt rccordc leurs tricotci ensemble. 

Or, Michaud ayant fait suant ct hallctanr. 

Son devoir dc dancer, lc bouquet bicn content 


II Iivre entre les mains de Marion, puis passe, 

Et seulc la laissant se remet a sa place. 

Marion tourne autour et si hien se conduit 

Qu'au vueil des assistants prend Sandrin, qu'ellc suit. 

Qui lui prete la main comme par moquerie, 

Puis dan^ant de plus beau, saute comme une pie. 

Sandrin, qui la dedaigne, avecques gravitc, 

V'ous dance a la grandeur d'un pas non usite 

Aux dances du village, et tant et tant s'oublic 

Qu'il ne daigne baiscr la fillette jolie, 

Laquelle souriant lui laisse le bouquet, 

Puis reprend pour dancer la gauche de Jaquet." 

Then farther on : 

" Claudin premiercment 
En tire lc miroir qu'il donnc gentiment 
A cellc qu'il menait, qui, honteuse fillette, 
L'ayant rccu montre sa couleur vcrmeillettc. 
La fille dc Pierrot, que Thibaut conduisait 
De luy le peloton, et la bourse recoit, 

La fille dc Samson, gentille de nature, » 

Gaycment prend du don la plus belle ccinture." 
&c. &c. Sec. 

" By the term Gavotte, properly speaking," writes Mme. Laure Fonta, 
" we must understand the dances in short parts when good merry dancers 
vary the movements in the most fantastic fashion, even intermingling with 
the duple rhythm of these dances the triple rhythm of some Gaillarde. 

But this bright, sparkling dance was modified like -so many others that 
have undergone the influence of time. In the eighteenth century it had 
points of resemblance with the Minuet ; it became languid and gliding, 
rather solemn, and somewhat pretentious. 

Vestris tells us that the Gavotte consisted of three steps and an 

Littre says that the step of the Gavotte differs from the natural step, in 
that one springs upon the foot which is on the ground, and at the same 
time points the toe of the other foot downwards. This movement is the 
sole indication that one is dancing and not walking. 

The air of the Gavotte was in duple time, moderate and graceful, 
sometimes even tender and slow ; it was divided into two parts, each of 



which began with the second beat and ended with the first, the phrases 

and rests recurring with every second bar. Famous Gavottes were written 

for the stage by Gluck, Gretry, &c. The one in Panurge by Gretry was 

a particular favourite, and was danced 2t every ball ; its success was due to 

its strongly marked rhythm, 

a valuable quality for ordinary 

dancers. This Gavotte had 

no second part, and, to supply 

the want, the composer had 

the first part repeated four 

times, a convenient device 

certainly, but a puerile one, 

necessitating a good deal of 

wearisome iteration. 

The Gavotte had lost 
favour, save at the theatre 
and among professional 
dancers, when Marie Antoi- 
nette restored it to fashion. 
We know that this graceful 
queen danced the Minuet to 
perfection ; she was delighted 
with the one which Gretry 
composed on the air of a 
Gavotte in his opera Cephale 
el Procris, though Gretry's air 
is said to have been wanting 
in spirit and in charm, and to 
have made the steps difficult 

of execution. Be this as it may, the Gavotte became the fashion hence- 
forth at society balls, with a few other dances reserved for distinguished 

Moreover, various Gavottes in light and tender rhythms were in vogue 
at this period. Fertiault, in his Hisloire di la Danse, describes the Gavotte 
as follows : 

I us IHK THURACr. Al vi. 

After A. tic St. Auhin 


" Skilful and charming offspring of the Minuet, sometimes gay, but 
often tender and slow, in which kisses and bouquets are inter- 

All evidence shows that the Gavotte was closely akin to the simple 
Branle, to which it owed its origin. This dance, which was in great 


After Charles Eisen 

favour for six centuries, still retained the first three steps of the Branle. 
under the Directory, and at the beginning of the present century. 

"In 1779," says G. Lenotre, " we catch a glimpse of Marie Antoinette 
at the Opera Ball in the Comte de Mercy's letters. She had been once with 
the King, who encouraged her to go again, in -strict incognita, accompanied 
only by one of her ladies. 

" The Queen accordingly left Versailles without any suite, and at 
the barrier, got into a hired carriage to avoid recognition. Unfortunately, 
the carriage was so old and ramshackle, that it broke down at a little 

distance from the theatre. The Queen, with the Comtesse de Henin, who 

r»«l» OH THI OCCAM"* 0* III* HI 111 ii or mi Ml rain 
Aftar an Engraving by Mom the younger 

was in attendance, were obliged to go into the nearest house, which was a 
silk-mcrcir's shop. She did not unmask, and as it was impossible to mend 


the carriage, the first hackney-coach that passed was hailed, and Marie 
Antoinette arrived at the ball in this equipage. She there found several of 
her household, who had come on separately, and who remained with her all 
the evening. The details of this little adventure produced no effect at 
Versailles, beyond causing the King to laugh, and to rally his consort on 
her journey in the hackney-coach ! 

" M. de Mercy was mistaken," adds Lenotre. " The numerous enemies 
the Queen had already made would not allow such a fine opportunity for 
calumny to pass by. 

" Opera Balls were then the common scene of all sorts of adventures. 
Two days after Marie Antoinette's accident, another adventure took place 
which eventually became a matter of some importance. On Shrove 
Tuesday the Comte dArtois took advantage of his incognito to address 
some rather cavalier speeches to the Duchesse de Bourbon, who, in a 
moment of irritation, threw aside the muslin veil that concealed the features 
of the future Charles X with her fan. The Prince, angry in his turn, 
pulled her away from her partner, M. de Toncherolles, and crumpled up 
her mask on her face. 

" The next day, M. de Bourbon sent a challenge to his cousin, which 
the King forbade his brother to notice. The Comte d'Artois was inclined 
to obey ; but most of the princes and nobles of his circle agreed between 
themselves, and notified to the prince, that if he refused M. de Bourbon satis- 
faction, the nobles would refuse him all service and honour in the kingdom, 
and that his regiment would no longer consider him worthy of his command. 

" The two princes accordingly fought. M. de Crussol, Captain of the 
Bodyguard, begged them, as they crossed swords, to be sparing of blood 
that might be precious to the State. The duel took place in the Bois de 
Boulogne, and during the engagement the Queen and her suite were 
present, in a sadly preoccupied frame, at the first night of Irene at the 
Comedie Francaise. All at once the persons in the pit got up and began 
to clap their hands. The Comte dArtois, who had been slightly wounded 
in the arm, came in arm-in-arm with the Due de Bourbon. The whole 
audience rose and cried ' Bravo ! ' The popular joy knew no bounds when 
the King's brother advanced to the front of his box, and gracefully saluted 
the Duchesse de Bourbon with his wounded hand." 

.'///-. Tran-mlUicAt trie., tnibiaede 

if i Mf .' ' t.UilIrJ itrr/ormrj it/ Sir/i/m ■ tatuuuy ''■'! 



Auguste \'estris, the son of Gaetan, who, according to his father, 
"only refrained from floating in mid-air lest he should mortify his 
comrades," made his debut on August 25, 1772, in the ballet of La 
Cinquantaine, in which he achieved a brilliant success. We find him 
still to the fore under Louis XVI. ; for thirty-six years he was premier 


From a coatraporary Print in the Hibliothh|ue Nationals 

danseur of the Optra, retaining the favour of the public until the end. 
His popularity seemed as great as ever at the age of sixty-six, when he- 
had retired, and was a professor at the Conservatoire. In 1826, a perform- 
ance of Paul el V'trginie was given at the Opera for his benefit. Vestris 
took the part of the negro Domingo, and was much applauded. 

" He died," says M. Bauer, "in 1842, and was therefore eighty-two 
years old. These instances of longevity are very frequent among dancers : 
Vestris the first was seventy-nine years of age ; (milliard lived to be 


seventy-three ; La Carmargo died at sixty, and Dauberval, Despreaux, and 
Noverre all lived to a great age." 

"On June II, 1778," says M. Pierre Veber, "Mile. Guimard 
and the younger Vestris danced in the new ballet Les Petits Riens, with 
Dauberval and Mile. Agelin. The performance was a great success. The 
only author mentioned was Noverre, the celebrated ballet-master. It was he 
who had imagined the three scenes, the three ' little trifles,' which were in 
fact the groundwork of his ballet. The first scene represented Love, 
caught in a net, and put in a cage ; the second, a game of blind-man's 
buff - ; and in the third, which was the greatest success, Love led two 
shepherdesses up to a third, disguised as a shepherd, who discovered the 
trick by unveiling her bosom. ' Encore ! ' cried the audience. Mile. 
Guimard, the younger Vestris, and Noverre were heartily applauded, but 
not one 'Bravo ! ' was given to the composer of the music — who was no 
other than the divine Mozart. 

"Mozart, who, fifteen years ' before, had been acclaimed in Paris as an 
infant prodigy and an inspired composer, was vegetating in the city in 
poverty and obscurity. The success of Les Petils Riens apparently made 
little difference to him, for a few days after the performance we find him 
leaving Paris, and seeking employment as an organist to ensure his daily 

At the commencement of the reign of Louis XVI., Mme. Allard was 
still dividing the honours with the great master Dauberval, and dancing the 
pas-de-six with him. 

Mile. Allard was as charming as La Camargo, and to the grace of her 
predecessor she added a fire, a vivacity, and a flexibility peculiar to herself. 
At one time she was an ideal Sylvia, timid and gentle ; at another, the 
terrible Medea. Now she displayed the airy grace of the goddess of 
flowers ; now the voluptuous charm of a sultana. 

Dorat, in his poem on dancing, exclaims : 

"Que n'ai-je le genie et le pinceau d'Apcllc! 
Allard, a mes esprits, ce tableau me rappelle, 
Jamais nymphe des bois n'eut tant d'agilite, 
Toujours l'essaim du ris voltige a tes cotes. 
(_)uc tu melanges bien, o belle enchanteressc, 
La force avec la grace ct l'aisancc ct l'adresse." 



At the time when Dauberval succeeded Vestris at the Opera, and danced 
the divertissement of Sylvie with Mme. Allard, the theatre of the Porte 
Saint-Martin had become the rival of the Academie de Danse. Grand 


After * Picture by Lencret in the New Palace, Bctlin 

ballets had been given there, mounted with the utmost splendour. 
Le Deserteur, La Fille mat Gar dee, Les Jeux d'Eg/ee, Jenny, and various 
compositions of Dauberval 's had a great success. 

2 A 

1 86 


At about the same time the brothers Gardel composed some of their 
most masterly ballets. The elder, Maximilian, was born in Munich ; he 
died from the effects of an accident in 1787, having been premier danseur 
and maitre de ballet, besides attaining distinction as a violinist, a harpist, and 

His brother Pierre succeeded him in his functions, and wrote a number 


After a Picture by Lancret in the Berlin Museum 

of ballets : Telemaque, Psyche, Le Jugement de Paris, La Dansomanie, 
Alexandre chez Apelle, Paul et Virginie, La Suite de Venus, L 'Oracle, 
Le Deserteur, Le Coq du Village, Le Retour de Zephyre, Austerlitz, &c, 
which long retained a place in the repertory. 

The ballet-pantomime in three acts, Psyche, was given for the first 
time under the Constituent Assembly, on December 14, 1790, at the 
Theatre des Arts, passing on a good deal later to the Academie de Danse. 
It was performed nine hundred and twelve times. 


La Dansomanie, a celebrated ballet-pantomime in two acts, was given x , 
on the 20th Prairial, year VIII. of the Republic. It is said not to have 
been one of Gardel's best works, and it is possible that the troubles of the 
times somewhat affected his brilliant talents. 

Indeed the author, in a sort of appeal to the public, wrote thus : 
"Since March 5, 1793, I have been apparently sunk in idleness. I 
have regretted it myself a thousand times. Many of my friends have 


After Louret 

complained of it, some have accused me of a total loss of power ; I brought 
my reason to bear on my despair, answered the complaints of my friends by 
showing them the causes of my apparent idleness, and let the others say 
and write what they liked. But at last, now that the time has arrived for 
submitting one of my new productions to the public, I owe that public 
the whole truth. I therefore take this opportunity to tell it. Is 
this a ballet I am about to submit to you ? I answer, * No, it is a joke, a 
regular farce, a mere trifle, claiming only to show you, under the mask of 

1 88 


gaiety, the graces and the divine talents, which have so often commanded 
the admiration of the public," &c. 

" For all those familiar with the Revolution," says Professor Desrat, " it 
is easy to read between the lines, and to see that Gardel wrote his ballet of 
La "Dansomanie in a depressed state of mind, and intentionally avoided 
recalling his earlier ballets." 
And the professor adds : 

" But this did not prevent the great success of La Dansomanie, 
which kept its place in the repertory for a considerable time. The subject 

was playful and calculated 
to please the more fastidious 
tastes of the period. In the 
divertissement of the first 
act peasants, villagers and 
Savoyard farmers filled the 
stage ; peasants, dressed like 
Turks, were the heroes in 
the second act, and then 
came Basques and Chinese. 
The great dancers Milon, 
Beaupre, Vestris, and Mme. 
Gardel all figured in this 
ballet, and Mile. Chameron took a minor part. It was in this ballet that 
the Waltz was danced at the Opera for the first time. 

The theatrical ballet lost its old splendour under the Revolution ; it 
was only associated with the fetes of the Republic in its itinerant form, 
which had been obsolete for centuries. We must admit, however, that 
these revivals were marked by a certain solemnity. Actors from the Opera 
figured in the forefront of these ballets, dressed in classic costumes, and 
supported by choirs from the Conservatoire (then designated the Institute 
of Music), singing patriotic hymns and cantatas. 

Gardel composed the ballet of Guillaume Tell, which was enthusias- 
tically received by the Committee of Public Safety. 

The fifty thousand francs necessary to mount it were voted, but twice 
they disappeared from the cash-box and no one dared to trace them. A 


From a Print of 1793 



prudent silence reigned, and the author took back his ballet without 

Gardel conceived the idea of giving a spectacular representation of the 
Marseillaise at the Opera, in some points recalling the Pyrrhic of the 


After Dibucourt 

The performance opened with a blast of trumpets, which was the signal 
for the appearance of a crowd of warriors, women, and children. The 
combatants prepared for battle with dances, and a sort of tableau vivant 
was arranged after each couplet. The last strophe : 

" Amour sacrc de la patric, 
Conduii, soutiens nos bras vengcurs : 
Liberie", libcrtc chcrie." 
tec. tec. tec. 

• Subsequently, towards the end of the Second Empire, and during the war of 1870- 
1871, Mmc. Bourdat, enveloped in the folds of the tricolour flag, declaimed the 
MtneilUiif with a vigour that invariably brought down the house. 



was sung in muffled tones like a prayer. The actors on the stage and the 
spectators in the hall fell on their knees before Liberty, represented by 

Mile. Maillard. A religious silence 
followed. Suddenly the trumpets 
summoned the valiant defenders 
of Liberty, the tocsin sounded, the 
drummers beat the generate, the 
cannon thundered, the actors sprang 
up, brandishing their arms, crowds 
rushed on, armed with hatchets 
and pikes, and all, seized with 
heroic frenzy, shouted the refrain : 

" Aux armes, citoyens . . ." 


(Le bon genre) 

The Festival of the Supreme 
Being, decreed by the National 
Convention, designed by David, 
and conducted by Robespierre, 
was the most important of the 
itinerant ballets of that time. It 
was a ceremony of a classic nature, 
and not without grandeur, in spite 
of a certain declamatory character. 

On the morning of the 20th 
Prairial, year II., all the doors and 

windows in Paris were garlanded with flowers and boughs of oak. The 
joyous inhabitants, summoned by the drum, repaired to their Sections. The 


(Le bon genre) 


women and young girls, clad in white and crowned with vine-leaves, carried 
roses in their hands. The Sections arrived in good order at the Jardin 
National, where from a fountain rose a colossal statue, representing 
Wisdom, who pointed heavenward with one hand and held a crown of 


After Thoaau Gauuborougk, K.A. 

stars in the other. There was dancing and singing under the ancient trees ; 
a ray of joy shot across the gloom. The members of the Convention presently 
took their places on a platform, and choirs of singers chanted a hymn to the 
Supreme Being. The President delivered a speech, and, quitting the plat- 
form, he set fire with a torch to an image of Atheism. 



The members of the Convention, each bearing in his hand a bunch of 

corn, flowers, or fruit, then proceeded to the mustering-place between two 

parallel lines of the people who accompanied them, the men on one side, and 

the women on the other. They surrounded a car, drawn by oxen with 

gilded horns, on which was set up the statue of Liberty, seated under the 

shadow of a tree, and surrounded with 

sheaves of corn and agricultural tools. 

Upon the steps were displayed the symbols 

of trades : the printing-press, the hammer, 

the anvil, &c.,* and a trophy of musical 

instruments showed that a charming art 

had not been forgotten. 

Symbolic groups marched by the side of 

the Representatives : Infancy, decked with 

violets ; Adolescence, crowned with myrtle ; 

Manhood, his brows bound with oak-leaves ; 

and Old Age, whose white hair was decked 

with vine and olive leaves. During the 

march, the statue of Liberty was covered 

with offerings and with flowers. 

At the gathering ground a mountain, bearing the tree of Liberty on 

its summit, represented the national altar. 

" Pure souls and virtuous hearts," exclaims the author of the official 

report, " a charming spectacle awaits you here ; it is here that liberty 

accords you its sweetest delights." 

" An immense mountain," says Castil-Blaze, " symbolised the national 

altar ; upon its summit rises the tree of liberty, the Representatives range 

themselves under its protecting branches, fathers with their sons assemble 

on the part of the mountain set aside for them ; mothers with their 

daughters place themselves on the other side ; their fecundity and the 

virtues of their husbands are the sole titles to a place there. A profound 

silence reigns all round ; the touching strains of harmonious melody are 

* " You who live in luxury and indolence," said the official report of this///*, " you 
whose existence is nothing but a weary sleep, perhaps you will dare cast a glance of scorn 
upon these useful instruments. Away, away from us ! Your corrupt souls cannot delight 
in the simple joys of nature." 




heard : the fathers and their sons sing the first strophe ; they swear with 
one accord that they will not lay down their arms until they have 
annihilated the enemies of the Republic, and all the people take up the 
finale. The daughters and mothers, their eyes fixed on the heavens, sing a 
second strophe ; the daughters promise only to marry men who have served 


fnm Norblin'i Caltrii Jn I'mtt it Parit 

their country, the mothers rejoice in their fecundity. * Our children,' they 
say, * after having purged the world of the tyrants who have coalesced against 
us, will return to fulfil a cherished duty in closing the eyes of those who 
brought them into the world.' The people echo these sublime sentiments, 
inspired by the sacred love of virtue." 

"A third and last strophe is sung by all present. General 
emotion prevails upon the mountain : men, women, girls, old men, children, 

2 B 



fill the air with their voices. Here, the mothers press the babes they are 
nursing to their bosoms ; there, seizing the younger of their male children, 

those who are not strong enough to 
follow their fathers, and raising them 
in their arms, they reverently present 
them to the Author of Nature ; the 
young girls cast heavenward the 
flowers they have brought, their only 
possessions at this tender age. At 
the same instant the sons, fired with 
military ardour, draw their swords, 
place them in the hands of their old 


fathers, and swear to make them 

victorious, to make Equality and 

Liberty triumph over the oppression 

of tyrants. Sharing the enthusiasm 

of their sons, the delighted old men 

embrace them, and give them their 

paternal benediction. A formidable 

discharge of artillery, the voice of 

national vengeance, inflames the 

courage of our republicans, for it 

announces that the day of glory has arrived. A manly, warlike song, 

premonitory of victory, responds to the roaring of the cannon. All 




Frenchmen express their feelings in a fraternal embrace, with one voice 
they raise to the Divinity the universal cry, Vive la Republique. The 
20th Prairial, year II., ought to be 
noted in indelible letters among the 
splendours of our history ; the name 
of the Supreme Being echoed on the 
same day, at the same hour, through- 
out the length of France. Twenty- 
five millions of people assembled at 
the same time under the vault of 
heaven, addressing to the Eternal 
hymns and songs of joy." 


It might fairly be supposed that 
the events of the Revolution dealt 
the death-blow to dancing, strictly 
so called. But, if we may credit 
the author of Paris pendant la 
Revolution, scarcely was the Terror 
at an end when twenty-three theatres 
and eighteen hundred dancing 
saloons were open every evening in 
"Read," says M. Henry Fourment, "Mercier's description of the 
Victim Balls. The women modelled their attire on that of Aspasia, with 

rtaaca uu noat or the directory period 



bare arms, bare bosoms, sandalled feet, and hair bound in plaits round 
their heads, for fashionable hairdressers dressed their customers' hair with 

casts of classic busts before them. 

" The chemise had been banished 
for some time, and replaced by a 
knitted silk vest which clung to the 
figure. It was the mode to be 
dressed a la sauvage. 

"Will posterity believe," says 
Mercier, " that people, whose rela- 
tions had died on the scaffold, 
inaugurated, not days of solemn 


general grief when, assembled in 
mourning garb, they might bear wit- 
ness to their sorrow at the cruel losses 
so recently incurred, but days of 
dancing, drinking, and feasting. For 
admission to one of these banquets 
and dances, it is necessary to show 
a certificate of the loss of a father, 
a mother, a husband, a wife, a 
brother, or a sister under the knife 

of the guillotine. The death of collaterals does not confer the right of 
attending such a fete. 




" Moreover, dancing is universal ; they dance at the Carmelites, between 
the massacres ; they dance at the Jesuits' Seminary ; at the Convent of the 
Carmelites du Marais ; at the seminary of Saint-Sulpice ; at the Filles de 
Sainte-Marie ; they dance in three ruined churches of my Section, and 
upon the stones of all the tombs which have not been destroyed. 

" They dance in every tavern on the Boulevards, in the Champs 
Elysees, and along the quays. They dance at Ruggieri's, Lucquet's, 

LA T**Msr 

(L* boa genre) 

Mauduit's, Wenzel's, and Montausier's. There are balls for all classes. 
Dancing, perhaps, is a means towards forgetfulness." 

Under the Consulate we only hear of one ballet, in one act, Lucas el 
Laurette, given at the Opera on June 3, 1803, and danced by Goyon, 
Vcstris, and Mme. Gardel. It was by the composer Milon, who became ballet- 
master from 1813 to 18 1 5, and to whom we owe, in addition to Lucas el 
Laurelle, Le Relour d'Ulysse, Les Sauvages de la Mer du Sud, Pygmalion, 
Hero el Liandre, Les Noces de Gamacbe, Clary, Les Fiances de Caserle, 



IJEchange des Roses, La Promesse de Manage, Nina, L'Epreuve 
Villageoise and Le Carnaval de Venise. 

Dancing under the Empire was certainly not very brilliant, as one can 
easily understand. Nevertheless, M. Nuittier, the learned librarian of the 
Opera, gives us some curious information concerning the dancers of that 

" In these days," he says, " when the functions of men-dancers are for 

After Raffct 

the most part limited to supporting or lifting up the lady, it may perhaps 
seem surprising that male dancers formerly enjoyed a popularity as great, ir 
not greater, than that of women. Nevertheless it was so, not only under 
the old regitne, in the time of Vestris, but a period of military glory, when 
manners were certainly not effeminate, in the early days of the Empire. 
The dancer Duport was at the height of his success ; his salary equalled 
that of the first singers ; to keep up his position, he paid 6000 francs for 
rent ; his table cost him as much, and his carriage 2900. When he danced, 
the usual guard was increased by five cavalry soldiers. His bust was cast in 
bronze, and, not content with interpreting the works of others, he ventured 

1- £ 

i > 

- V 


3 I 



to compose ballets himself. It would seem that this was not an official 

venture, but that he wished to see whether his ballets would equal those of 

his contemporaries. The result was not encouraging." 

On the 20th Germinal, year XII., Napoleon took the trouble to write to 

Cambaceres from Lyons that it was inconceivable to him why Duport had 

been allowed to 
compose ballets. 

" This young 
man has not been 
in vogue a year. 
When one has made 
such a marked suc- 
cess in a particular 
line, it is a little 
precipitate to in- 
vade the speciality 
of other men, who 
have grown grey at 
their work." 


After Carle Vernet 


en we see 

the sovereign in the 

midst of the cares 

of government so well acquainted with the success of a dancer, and 

occupying himself seriously with a question of choregraphy, we can only 

bow once more before the all-powerful master of the world. 

Bonaparte, indeed, seems to have always taken an interest in the art 
of dancing. In a letter to the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian 
expedition, after enumerating all kinds of- things necessary for the 
expeditionary force, such as cannon, guns, provisions, &c, he mentions : 
" A troupe of ballet-girls."* 

On the occasion of the marriage of the Emperor Napoleon with the 
Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, a ball took place in Vienna in the 
saloons of the Imperial Redoubt. The guests, numbering six thousand, 

* Illustration, December 1894. 


20 1 

entered in dominoes or in some seemly disguise, with or without a mask ; 
they were allowed to appear in dress-coats, or in a Hungarian costume 
without spurs. A magnificent temple was constructed in one room, in the 
centre of which stood a genius, laying his left hand on the Arms of 
France and Austria, and crowning them with laurels. On the pediment, 
two other genii held escutcheons surmounted by imperial crowns, with the 


After an Engraving by Botio in the Bi >liothcquc Narooale 

monograms of Napoleon and Marie- Louise. The Emperor, the Empress, 
the Archduchess Marie-Louise, the Imperial Family and the French 
Ambassador made their appearance at the beginning of the ball. 

Among the ballets of the Empire we may mention Les Filets de 
Vulcain, by Blachc, given at the Opera on June 27, 1806. This ballet, 
which had been alreadv performed at Lyons, where Blache was a professor 
of dancing, was a great success. 

La Laitiire Polonaise, by the same author, excited the greatest 
enthusiasm. A dance of skaters introduced into this ballet added greatly 

2 c 


to its success. La Porte Saint-Martin adopted this new idea, which 
probably gave rise to the skaters' dance in Le Prophete. 

Isidore Auguste Blache, one of his sons, composed the ballets of 
Polichinelle and of Joco for the celebrated dancer Mazurier. They were 
given at La Porte Saint-Martin. The part of the monkey in the ballet of 
Joco was eventually taken with so much suppleness and agility by the dancer 


After an Engraving by II. Zix in the Bibliotheque Nalionale 

Paul, that he was nicknamed Paul the Aerial, so lightly did he spring from 
tree to tree. 

A second son of Blache's was also a ballet-master at the Porte Saint- 
Martin for three years. He then went to St. Petersburg, where he gave 
Don Juan, Gustave Vasa, Les Grecs, Malakavel, and Jtmidis des Gaules 
with great success. 

Le Retour d'Ulysse was played for the first time on February 27, 1807. 
Mile. Chevigny was a great success in the part of the Nurse, but this 
performance was marred by a sad accident : Mile. Aubry fell from a 


20 $ 

cloud, on which she was seated, and injured her arm. She never recovered, 
and never appeared on the stage again. 

The ballet of Antolne et Cleopatre, with music by Kreutzer, performed 
March 8, 1808, was a brilliant success for Mile. Chevigny, who took the part 
of Octavia. 

Desdetot, of the 
Academie Roy ale, 
ballet-master to the 
Court of Russia, 
composed the ana- 
creontic ballet of 
Zepbyre et Flore, 
which was per- 
formed at St. Peters- 
burg and Paris in 
1815. The two 
acts entailed a grand 
exhibition of ballet- 
girls. Beaupre took 
the part of Pan, 
and Albert that 
of Zephyr. The 
libretto was lively, 
the mounting taste- 
ful, and the success 
of the ballet was 

Blasis, whose 
ballets seem to 
close the cycle of 

grands ballets a" actions, was premier danseur to the King of England, and a 
ballet-master as celebrated as Dauberval and Gardel. 

His six principal ballets arc fine compositions, and he further wrote an 
excellent book on dancing. His Achille a Scyros, though it bears the same 
name as a ballet by Gardel, has an entirely different plot. Mokanna, ar 

THf VK*>C 

After En 



Oriental subject, is a ballet in four acts taken from Thomas Moore's 
Veiled Prophet. The scene is laid in Persia, in the year 163 of the Hegira. 
Vivaldi, a grand ballet in two acts, takes us to Venice towards the 
middle of the sixteenth century. In Les Aventures Nocturnes, Blasis, 
usually a choregrapher of a serious bent, obtained a great success in the 

comic style. In Zara, the 
romantic element predomi- 
nates, and, according to com- 
petent critics, it is a first-rate 
work. Finally, Alcide, or 
L'Essai de la Jeunesse, was 
written in the allegorical 

In year VII. of the Re- 
public, a certain Mademoiselle 
Taglioni appeared at the 
Opera with some success. 
Her name often figures in 
the playbills from 1804 to 
1 806 ; she took part in La 
Caravane, Le Connetable de 
Clisson, and Les Noces de 
Gamache. She was the aunt 
of the celebrated Marie Tag- 
lioni, who had such an extra- 
ordinary success on the same 
stage some twenty years later. Marie Taglioni was born at Stockholm of an 
Italian father and a Swedish mother ; she made her debut at Vienna in 
1822, in a ballet composed by M. Taglioni expressly for his daughter, and 
called, Reception d'une jeune Nymphe a la Cour de Terpsichore. 

In 1827 she made her debut in Paris in Le Sicilien, and appeared in 
La Vestale, Mars et Venus, Fernand Cortes, Les Bayaderes, and Le Carnaval 
de Venise. 

Her talent, so instinct with simple grace and modesty, her lightness, the 
suppleness of her attitudes, at once voluptuous and refined, made a 


From a Lithograph in the Bibliotheque Nationale 



sensation at once. She revealed a new form of dancing, a virginal and 
diaphanous art, instinct with an originality all her own, in which the old 
traditions and time-honoured rules of choregraphy were merged. After an 
appearance of a few days only on our 
boards, this charming mirage vanished 
to shine in great triumph at Munich 
and Stuttgart. 

But she came back, and an enthu- 
siastic reception awaited her. 

In Les Bayaderes and, above all, in 
La Sylphide, her art attained the utmost 
limits of spirituality. 

And in the midst of these brilliant 
successes, taking the hearts of the 
people by storm, admitted to the inti- 
mate friendship of the £)ueen of Wiir- 
temburg, she remained sweet, simple, 
and reserved. 

In 1 832, she married Comte Gilbert 
des Voisins ; but this union was or 

brief duration, for almost on the morrow of the wedding she was forgotten 
by her husband.* 

In 1837, Marie Taglioni gave her farewell performance before her 
departure for Russia. 


* "Arsenc Houssayc," says Henri Bauer in V lllustrathtt, "has described their last 
interview at a dinner given twenty years afterwards in 1852, by the Due dc Morny, at 
which Rachel and Taglioni were present. 

" Comtc Gilbert des Voisins arrived when they were already at table. His first words 
were : * Who is that the-professor on Morny's right ? ' [She was very cultivated, and spoke 
all the languages of Europe.] His interlocutor, by no means afraid of hurting his feelings, 
replied, * It is your wife.' Des Voisins considered, and at last remarked : ' After all, it is 
quite possible.' 

* Mile. Taglioni, pointing out her husband, asked Morny why he had invited her to 
dine in such bad company. 

"After dinner Gilbert des Voisins who feand nothing, not even his wife, had the 
impertinence to ask to be introduced to Marie Taglioni. She entered into the joke, 
saying: ' I fancy, monsieur, that I had the honour of being presented to you in 183a.' That 
was the year of their marriage." 


We hear of her later on in London in great distress, giving lessons in 
dancing and deportment. 

" It was a sad sight," says M. Henri Bauer, " to see her, a white-haired 
woman, escorting a bevy of English schoolgirls in Hyde Park in the 
winter, at Brighton in the summer, or, accompanied by a little old Italian, 
who played the kit for her, teaching dances and court curtseys to the 
proud daughters of the gentry." 

She died at Marseilles, very old and very poor. 

"incroyahle" dance 
After a Print in the Bibliothique Nationale 


After a Picture by Deleft 
By permifeica of Mean. Bouwxi VaWon and Co. 


Runic enA Pastoral 'Damn — Rounds — Hourrics —"Bretonnc 'Dances — Catalan Kails — 
The Farandole — Open-air Dances in Foreign Countries 

IK have seen how, in the age of dreams, the nymphs of the 
fountains, treading the grass and flowers under their dew-be- 
spangled feet, danced virginal rounds by moonlight. The 
Ciraces, holding each other by the hand, swayed and circled in 
chaste undulations, and it was thus that Terpsichore appeared to mortals, 
leading her joyous band. We have seen the maidens of Greece, inspired by 
radiant fictions, dancing rhythmically under forest boughs, in honour of 
sylvan divinities, and of returning spring. . . . 

What remains to us of this divine dream, of the charming rites of a 
vanished worship, save the Round ? 



The Round was the first expression of dancing, and now, as in the 
remotest ages, children take each other by the hand and dance in circles, 
to express delight, and even to celebrate the joys of days that are no 

" Nous n'irons plus au bois, 
Les lauriers sont coupes." 

A whole world divides the expression of joy which makes them clasp 

hands, intertwine, and mingle 

their movements by a common 

^jj/BM impulse, from the dances of 

advanced civilisations. 

The Round is the primi- 
tive dance, the true rustic 
dance. It existed even before 
Syrinx, plaintive under the 
burning lips of Pan, poured a 
new intoxication into the souls 
of dancers.* 

There is .something so 
natural, so instinctive, in its 
movements, that we shall find 
it in all primitive and rustic 

Thus, in early days, young 
girls danced Rounds in tie meadows of our ancient Celtic Limousin, 
to celebrate "the coming of fair weather." Here, in this region, the 
original rudeness of whose inhabitants had been tempered by the Gallo- 
Romans, delight in the renewal of the earth entwined their fingers, and 
gave a rhythm to their movements and attitudes. These Rounds 
of theirs were the Maiades, or May Dances, of antique origin ; the 


After Mouilltjon (1850) 

* Pan was accounted the inventor of rustic dances by the ancients. Syrinx was a 
nymph of Arcadia, daughter of the river-god Ladon. Pursued by Pan, she fled to the banks 
of the river and disappeared. In her place the god found only a cluster of reeds, from 
which he fashioned the Pan pipes, or seven-tubed flute, which took the name of the 



leafy beeches under which they took place were called the trees of the 
Maiades. At Merlines, there is a piece of table-land which still bears the 
name of the Coudert des Maiades, and a short time ago the aged tree of 
the Maiades still outspread its hoary branches in the forest of Chavanon. 
The word came in time to be applied to all places where dancing could be 
enjoyed ; such, for in- 
stance, as the lonely 
country inns, where 
couples meet to dance on 
fine Sundays. 

The dancing -song 
proper to these May 
festivals was called the 
Calenda Ma'ia, and the 
Queen of Spring, in 
whose honour the dance 
was performed, figures in 
early Limousine poetry 
under the pretty title of 
Regina avrilloza. 

The ancient Round 
still lingered in those 
late centuries, and the 
Mai'ade of Limousin and 
Poitou was, in fact, the 
dance of Ariadne, the 
dance engraved upon the 
shield of Achilles by 

Vulcan. The maidens of Greece still dance it, one of their number 
leading, and holding in her hand a kerchief or a silken cord to denote 
the windings of the labyrinth. 

This dance, transmitted to us by the Romans, was performed by a long, 
undulating chain of persons, whose movements were regulated sometimes by 
songs, and sometimes by instrumental music. 

Like the dance described by Homer, it was led by a singing choregus. 

2 D 


After a Lithograph by Grcnicr 



"The dance," says M. Bedier, in his study on the May festivals, 

" moved from right to left ; it 

consisted of an alternation of 

three steps to the left, and of a 

f&*0~ ~^^3fc- l swaying of the body without 

▼V -JbjLalh _, *m& gaining ground. The three steps 

were made to one or two coup- 
lets sung by the soloist ; the 
refrain, which was taken up by 
the whole circle, marked the 
time devoted to the balancing 

The MaYade of Limousin has 
been transformed into a wedding- 
dance, and a popular dance called 
the Promenade. Children dance 
the Wedding Round in the 
evening, after the marriage feast. 

" The Wedding Round," says 
Jean Dutrech in Lemouzi, " is 
danced by an indefinite number of persons, who join hands, either in 
a chain or a circle." 

The first verse of the song runs thus : 

"On dit, monsieur, que vous etcs 
Amoureux d'une bcaute ; 
Auriez-vous bien la bonte 
De nous la faire connaitre, 
En donnant un doux baiser 
A celle que vous aimez." 


After H. Teurt 

The second is addressed to the girl : 

"Et vous, charmante brunette, 
Qui captivez tous les coeurs, 
Cessez, cessez vos rigueurs ; 
Ne faites pas la severe, 
Embrassez le serviteur, 
Qui a su charmer votre coeur." 


Aflei Witleau 


Sometimes these verses are sung : 

" Lcs lauriers sont au bois, 
Qui les ira cueillir ? 
J'entends le tambour qui bat, 
Et l'amour qui m'appelle ; 
Embrassez qui vous plaira, 
Pour soulager vos peines, 
Vos peines, vos peines." 

" The person to whom these various objurgations are addressed," says 
Jean Dutrech, "goes and kisses one of the other dancers, and returning, 
takes his or her place in the middle of the circle with the partner chosen. 
The dancing and singing are then resumed. 

"C'est la fille a Guillaume, 
Et le fils a Gendremont, 
Qui airnent le pain tendre (bis) ; 
Entrez dans cc petit rond, 
Tout rond. 

" Mettez-vous a genoux, 
Et jurez devant tous 
D'etre fideles epoux, 
Et puis embrassez vous 
Sur l'air de tra la la la, 
Sur l'air de tra de ridera, 
Et Ion Ion la." 

" When this Round is danced on the actual day of the wedding, the 
game always begins with the newly wedded bride or bridegroom, and 
continues till each dancer has had a turn." 

In the Permenada, or Promenade, an indefinite number of dancers 
join hands in a line, and sing, forming figures, and skipping, as they 
advance towards a solitary dancer who confronts them, as in the childish 
Round : C'est le chevalier du roi. 

In all its variations, the Round is essentially a joyous dance. I have, 
nevertheless, lighted upon one singular anecdote in its history. 

A painter, very famous in his day, died at Harlan in 1574, at the age 
of seventy-six. As he was very rich, and had no heir, he set aside a part 
of his fortune in his will for the purpose of starting two young couples in 



life every year in his native village. He made it a condition, however, that 
on the wedding-day the happy pair and their guests should form a circle, 
and dance to the music of violins and hautbois round his grave ! 

In the course of my travels I once saw a very graceful Round danced by 
peasants in Sardinia ; they 
accompanied their dance by 
a song, in the Sardinian 
rhythm, the most extra- 
ordinary kind of music 
imaginable. It is hardly the 
sound of the human voice, 
but a kind of musical buz- 
zing which swells, dies away, 
and swells again. Some- 
times a high note broke in, 
pure and sonorous ; then 
the bass resounded in its 
turn. Now and again the 
voices chanted in unison, 
forming a sort of muffled 
accompaniment to the 
improvisations of the soloist. 
This strange and original 
singing, which it is very 
difficult to analyse, might 
be compared to an Arab 
cantilena, accompanied by a grave murmur of sacred chants. It was in the 
village of Belvi, in Sardinia, on the slope of the great Gennagentu. 

At the sound of this singular music cast on the evening breezes by 
mountain musicians, young girls and men advanced to form a circle round 
them. The maidens took hands and stood closely side by side ; the 
young men did the same, the two groups joined at one end, and the dancers 
circled, retired, and advanced in a slow cadence, regulated by the melody of 
the singers. 

Such is the Sardinian rhythm, and the Douro-douro dance. The music 


After an Illustration for M. dc Laborue'i Song*, by MoraM 



is grave and beautiful, as is the dance, which is a kind of undulating 

In Gascony, too, we find the Round associated with popular festivities 
and weddings. 

My friend M. Kauffmann, coming away from a wedding-mass in this 

district one day, heard 
some musicians strike 
up a slow, gently 
modulated chant, to 
which all the party at 
once responded. 

" The bridegroom," 
he said, " took his 
bride by the hand, the 
various couples fol- 
lowed their example, 
and all marched along, 
accommodating their 
steps to the air with 
rhythmic movements 
of much grace and 
elegance. Now re- 
volving, now gliding 
forward, in a gradual 
crescendo, they broke 
at last into a lively, 
rapid dance, the un- 
dulating movements of 
which produced the most graceful attitudes, and the most unexpected effects, 
recalling certain aspects of the Provencal Fandango. This dance is called 
the Rondo. It continued till we reached the little rustic house, in the 
courtyard of which, under the shade of green boughs borrowed from the 
neighbouring forest, an excellent meal, suited to the well-known sobriety of 

the guests, had been provided by M. B , to which we did not fail to do 

ample justice." 


After Taunay 



"The honest folks of the Landes, who are passionate lovers of dancing, 
left the table to mingle joyously in their favourite Rondo. Towards 
evening it became a formidable crescendo, a mad, headlong race, reckless, 
and even terrible at last. Excited, not by drink, but by their much-loved 


1 ngravini by Buan after A. ik St. Aubin 

pastime, all the young couples, turning, twisting, jumping over obstacles, 
climbing, leaping, escalading, running, only paused when the sounds of the 
fife died away for lack of breath on the part of the exhausted musicians. 
The great points to observe in the dancing of the Rondo are never to 
unclasp hands, and to follow every movement of the leader blindly." 

M. Georges Perrot, in his travels among the Southern Slavs, saw a 
Romaika, which seems to be a variety of the Round. 

" There are very few Eastern dances," he says, " in which the two sexes 



mingle, and even when this occurs, as in certain varieties of the Romaika, 
it is only in a kind of Round, in which all the men first join hands and 
dance, and then all the women. They never dance in couples. Even in 
the Romaika, only the leader of the Round dances ; the others form up and 
march while the choregus leaps and bounds. Except in this exercise, which 
recalls the Homeric choruses, and in which a whole village takes part, 
dancing is merely a spectacle, as in our ballets." 


M. Charles Yriarte gives an elaborate description of the national dance 
of Dalmatia, the Kollo, a rustic dance, with certain characteristic features 
which distinguish it from the ordinary Round. 

" The word Kollo means a circle. It is a Round, formed by alternate 
male and female couples, its peculiarity being that the man does not take 
the hand of the woman next to him, but passes his arm under hers to clasp 
the hand of her neighbour. The whole ring, thus intermingled, stamps on 
the ground, singing a monotonous air, somewhat mournful, but not 
unpleasing. One Sunday, at Gradisca, the banks of the Save for a distance 
of about a league were covered with groups of women strangely adorned 
with glass beads, huge crowns, artificial flowers, false pearls, and jewels of 
curious design, the brilliant hues of which stood out against their richly 
embroidered bodices. It was in honour of some local fete ; the women 


AfWr a Pklurt by Dcboconn 



danced together in groups, slowly, without change of place, giving a sort of 
challenging expression to the undulations of their bodies." 

According to M. Dora d'Istria, this Round is of a variable character, 
agreeing with the age and temperament of the dancer. " Sometimes," he 
says, " a young virgin performs it, exciting the spectator's admiration by 

her modesty ; some- 
times the wife of a 
Bosnian troubles all 
hearts by the signifi- 
cance of her move- 

M. Dora illustrates" 
the intense fascination 
of the Kollo by the 
following legend : 

The Haidouk Ra- 
doi'tza, who had been 
cast into a dungeon 
of Lara, feigned death 
so aptly, that Bekis 
gave orders for his 
funeral. But the 
Aga's wife, doubting the reality of this sudden decease, advised that fire 
should be kindled on the Haidouk's breast, to see if the " brigand " would 
not move. Rado'itza's heroic soul was equal to this ordeal, and he never 
stirred. The Turkish woman demanded a further test ; a serpent, warmed 
in the sun, was laid in his bosom. The motionless Haidouk showed no 
sign of fear. The Aga's wife then proposed that twenty nails should be 
driven in under his finger and toe nails. Firm of purpose, he did not even 
breathe a sigh. His tormentor then ordered a Kollo to be danced round 
the prisoner, hoping that Ha'ikouna would force a smile from the Haidouk. 
Haikouna, fairest and tallest of the daughters of Lara, led the Round. Her 
silken trousers rustled, the necklace round hei throat tinkled with every 
step. Radoitza, unmoved by tortures, could not resist her spells ; he 
looked at her and smiled. But the young Servian, at once proud of her 


After Charlet 



triumph and touched by it, dropped her silken kerchief on Radoitza's 
face, that her companions might not see him smile. This ordeal ended, 
Radoitza was thrown into the sea, but he, a practised swimmer, reached the 
<=hore, returned by night to the house of Bekis Aga, struck off his head, 
killed the " Turkish vixen " by driving the nails he had pulled from his 


as mraoitrTU dance 
After a Picture by Dcyrolk 

own hands and feet into hers, carried off Ha'ikouna, " heart of his breast," 
took her away to Servia and married her in a white church. 

In Roumania, an ancient Round known as the Hora is danced in 
languishing cadence to the lingering notes of bagpipes. The youths 
who dance it hold hands, advancing to the left in four or five steps, then 
stamping on the ground, pausing, and repeating the measure. 

" (iradualiy," says M. Lancelot, " the mandolin strikes in to enliven the 
solemn strain, and seems desirous to hurry it, emitting two or three 
sonorous notes, but nothing moves the player of the bagpipes ; he perseveres 


in his indolent rhythm. At last, a challenging phrase is thrice repeated; the 
dancers accompany it by stamping thrice on the ground, and looking back 
at the girls grouped behind them. The latter hesitate ; they look at each 
other, as if consulting together ; then they too join hands, and form a 
second circle round the first. Another call, more imperious still, is 
sounded ; they break from each other, and mingle in the round of young 

"At this moment, the old gipsy opens his keen little eyes, showing his 
sharp white teeth in a sudden smile, and shaking out a shower of joyous, 
hurried notes over the band, he expresses, by means of an agitated 
harmony, the tender thrill that must be passing through all the clasped 

"The Hora proper now begins. It lasts a long time, but retains 
throughout the character of languor that characterised its commencement. 
Its monotony is varied, however, by a pretty bit of pantomime. After 
dancing round with arms extended, the men and their partners turn and 
face each other in the middle of the circle they have been describing. 
This circle they reduce by making a few steps forward ; then, when their 
shoulders are almost touching, they bend their heads under their uplifted 
arms, and look into each other's eyes. This figure loses something of its 
effect from the frequency with which it is repeated ; and the cold placidity 
with which the dancers alternately gaze at their right-hand and left-hand 
neighbours is disappointing, and robs the pantomime of all its classic 

" Attempts have been made to identify the Hora with the Roman dance 
depicted on so many bas-reliefs, and they may possibly have a common 
origin ; but the slow, dragging measure of the Roumanians, that excludes 
all expression of emotion, even to a smile, is far removed, indeed, from 
the passionate animation with which we may credit the daughters of ancient 
Rome, to judge by the frank gaiety and unrestrained mirth that distinguish 
the noisy rounds of their Trasteverine descendants." 

... I was wandering one evening on the lande. The sun was setting, 
and his dying rays still lingered on the distant mountains of Auvergne, 
the rosy peaks of the Puy Mary and the Puy Violent. The sunlight 
had faded from the plain, but twilight had not yet fallen ; the luminous 



reflections from the sky touched the gorse and heather with pearly glints. 
Here and there, in the distance through the oak-trees, the slumbering 
pools shone with a motionless lustre. I strolled slowly back to the village. 
Suddenly, the 
sound of bag- 
pipes, playing a 
Bourree, rose 
upon the soli- 
t u d e . The 
notes, nasal and 
somewhat vul- 
gar when I 
listened to them 
in the village 
inn, took on a 
strangely poig- 
nant music here, 
in the evening 
peace of the 

monotonous fields, encircled by the distant peaks of the Cantal. It was 
neither joyful nor melancholy, but full of infinite sweetness. And the 
music crept into the lande, into the horizon, and seemed to tremble in the 
mists that rose from the valleys. 

Shepherds were dancing a Bourree to the pipes, before folding their 

" Jeou i 'ay lant ccrcada, 
Boimton per bouisson, 
A la fin t'ay (rouvadc, 
Amc 'un gcntil garynin." 


From a Lithograph in the Biblioth^tjue Nilionak 

I felt more strongi\ than ever that music and dancing, like everything 
else, must be judged of in their native setting to Ik- appreciated. 

The Bourree of Auvergne is looked upon as a heavy dance, somewhat 
coarse in character. The stamping of sabots or hob nailed shoes is a 
characteristic accompaniment, marking every third beat of the measure. 



But when you light upon the dancers on a lovely summer evening in the 
fields, how charming is the vision you bear away with you ! 

The Bourree is a native of Auvergne. It is said to be derived from a 
very ancient Branle. It is the popular dance throughout Cantal, Puy-de- 


After an Engraving of the Time of the Consulate 

Dome, Correze, Haute-Vienne, Creuse, a part of Dordogne, Lot, Aveyron, 
Cher, Indre, Vienne, Charente, and Haute-Loire. 

According to an old proverb, the Auvergnats are the folks to dance ! 

Yes, say the Limousins : 


" Per ben la dansar. 
Viva lous ouvergnatz," 

" Per ben la chantar, 
Vivas les limouzinas. . 

And, indeed, the women of the Limousin have a collection of Bourrees 
no less varied than original. You will hear their songs on moors flushed 

AU. t > IV 

■ Collection, by Thomti Stothanl, K A 



with the purple of heather, in savage gorges where mountain torrents 
churn among the rocks, under the mysterious shade of forest oaks, and, 
like me, you will listen entranced. 

The Bourree was introduced at the Court of the Valois by Marguerite 
daughter of Catherine de' Medici. The success it obtained continued till 

the close of Louis XIII. 's reign. It is a mi- 
metic dance. The woman hovers round the 
man as if to approach him ; he, retreating and 
returning to flee again, snaps his fingers, 
stamps his foot, and utters a sonorous cry, to 
express his strength and joy. Bach, Handel, 
Rameau, and other masters composed Bourrees, 
the rhythm of which differed slightly from that 
of the traditional Bourrees. Some of our 
modern musicians have also treated the theme, 
among others M. Saint-Saens, in his Rhapsodie 
d ' Auvergne, M. Raoul Pugno, in the entr'acte of 
Petite Poucette, and M. Sylvio Lazzari, in his 
charming orchestral suite. 

The Catalan dances have no sort of affinity 
with the Bourrees of Auvergne or Limousin. 
They are, indeed, distinguished from all other 
dances by special features. The Catalan Bails have a touch of the 
sentiment that informed the antique Hormos, in which virginal grace 
joined hands with masculine vigour. In my childhood I often witnessed 
the Bails of Roussillon, and I still retain charming recollections of these 

At the first notes of a short flageolet, and a little drum, slung on the 
performer's arm, which constitute the orchestra, the dancers come forward. 
They wear a red cap hanging at the back of their heads, a short jacket 
with metal buttons, a broad sash, the faxa, rolled round the waist, tight 
breeches, and the thin shoes known as the aspardenya : the male dancer 
begins by a prodigious leap, passing his right foot over his partner's head. 
This feat, which demands great agility, is called the Camada redona. The 
female dancer at once retreats, but presently runs back to her cavalier, who 

After Victor Maurin 




retires in his turn. Then the couples change partners many times, first the 
cavalier and then the lady. Finally, all the couples join in a Round, and 
the women, placing their hands on the shoulders of their neighbours, spring 
into the air above their heads. The latter support them, holding them up 
under the arms, and they, bending their heads, kiss their respective cavaliers. 
The brilliant costumes, the faces, flushed with 
pleasure, make up a radiant picture in the 

Sometimes the woman rushes up to her 
partner, places her left hand in his right, and 
with a sudden spring, stiffening her left arm 
the while, she rests her right haid on his 
shoulder. He at once lifts her up, and holds 
her above his head, seated on his hand. Some- 
times, instead of seating her on his hand, he 
catches her up, and holds her hanging across it. 

The Neapolitan dance of Victor Maurin's 
sketches seems to be identical with this Bail. 

The Catalan dance struck Father Vaniere, a 
Jesuit of Beziers, as so poetic, that he gave it a 
place in his 'Protdium rustic um. He describes it 
as a harvest pastime. 

" The beauty of these dances," says M. 
1 fearjr, who has made a study of the Catalan Bails, " consists in the 
smoothness with which the female dancer retreats. There must be no 
suspicion of jerkiness or jumping in her movements. She must slide on 
tip-toe, without making any regular steps, her hands in her apron, her head 
a little on one side, that she may see the retrograde course she has to 
follow in the Round. She circles languidly, though rapidly, round the 
central space of the enclosure, with a movement full of grace." 

Santa Kulalia, in the Island of Ivic,a, I was present at a dance in 
which the posturings of the female dancers, though quieter and more subdued, 
rccallcj those of the Catalan women. The young giils revolved in a sort of 
slow waltz. The young men whirled round energetically to the sound of 
drum and flute, but the brilliantly dressed maidens, their eyes modestly 


After Victor M uirin 

2 V 



downcast, moved with a sort of undulation, their elbows against their hips, 
their hands slightly raised, like idols. 

The male dancer, a coloured scarf rolled round his neck, a handkerchief 
or a pair of enormous castanets (cas/agnolas) in his hand, sometimes in gala 
dress, sometimes in a simple short jacket, throws himself about, stamps, 
leaps into the air, and at intervals kicks out furiously on either side. 


After G. Vuillier 

The intention of this mimetic dance is clear enough. The young girl 
sways and trembles, chaste and gentle. Her partner follows her, protects 
her, drives off other wooers, and bounds into the air at last, in joyous token 
of victory. 

The Farandole, the old popular dance of Southern France, still survives 
in Provence and in Roussillon, where I well remember seeing it danced at 
village festivals in honour of the patron saint. The dancers stand in a long 
line, holding each other by the hand. Sometimes handkerchiefs, the ends 
of which are held by the dancers, add to the length of the human chain. 




- Ha 


-^ - 




The dancers, winding rapidly under each other's arms, gyrate round a 
single couple in a long spiral. The ancient Farandole has never lost favour 
entirely, and Court ladies danced it occasionally in the eighteenth century. 
It is still introduced in modern ball-rooms in the Cotillion, and as a wind- 
up to the American Quadrille. 

Barbantane is said to be the place where the Farandole was danced in 
the greatest perfection. 
To a native of Pro- 
vence Li farandouldirt dt 
Barbantano is the ne plus 
ultra of dancing. At 
Manosque we may still 
see the dancers of St. 
Pahcras performing old 
steps to old airs played 
by the tambourinaircs, and 
executing the Bravade. 
This Bravade is a sort 
of fantasia of the foot, 
accompanied by loud cries 
and the report of fire- 
arms, all in honour of 
the saint, who used to be 
borne along in proces- 
sion. The interdiction 
of processions by the 

authorities has put an end to the saint's annual progresses, but the dancers 
still play their part. 

The Contrapas is a purely Catalan dance, in which women rarely take 
part. The dancers join hands and move round in a circle. It is, in fact, a 
sort of Round, led by two principal performers, who give the time and the 
step. They perform a few steps to one side, repeat them to the other, and 
the whole band imitates their movements. This swaying motion would be 
monotonous were it not "diversified by a rapid battemem with the heel 
against the instep. In spite of this embellishment, the Contrapas is a 

THK Vol. r |< 
After H. Bclbuifi 



solemn dance. It is, in fact, a choregraphic curiosity, deprived of all charm 
by the absence of the feminine element. 

As we see, many districts of France have preserved their old distinctive 
dances. Certain rustic dances, for instance, have persisted along the coast 
of Brittany. 

"At Pontivy, near Vannes," says Elise Voiart, "couples, ranged one 


From a Lithograph by Raflet 

behind the other, move alternately from right to left, and from left to 
right ; the execution of these monotonous movements is called dancing ; 
the performance is a sort of Branle. The number of performers is not 
limited ; as many are admitted as the space will allow. The music of bag- 
pipes and hautbois regulates these rude dances, the airs of which consist of 
three bars, passing from grave to acute. In Upper Brittany, in the 
neighbourhood of Nantes, there is more art in the dancing. The couples 
dance with arms entwined ; that is to say, the woman's right hand is held in 
the man's right hand, her left hand in his left, as in the Allemande ; the 



dancers clap hands in time to the music, and then return to their places. 
This performance is repeated until the air comes to an end, or fatigue forces 
the dancers to desist." 

In certain foreign countries, the ancient rustic festivals of special 
significance have been preserved. An example of this may be found in 


Japan, where the Rice Festival is still celebrated. This dance consists of 
some thirty figures, danced by men alone, in a costume composed of a 
girdle of rice straw, a round hat of the same material, pressed down over 
their eyes, and a little cloak, the wide sleeves of which, floating out behind 
them, simulate the wings of a huge moth. 

Masquerades, accompanied by national dances, have always held a 
prominent place among popular amusements. "We may turn again to Japan 



for an example. The dance of the Lion of Korea is of this class. It is 
danced in the streets, and the approach of the performers is announced by 
the discordant sounds of fifes, timbrels and drums. M. Aime Hubert 
describes it thus : 

" A troupe of four comedians enters from a side street. Three form 
the orchestra, the third gives the performance. He is rolled in a very full 



t : \ 



After a Picture by Leopold Robert 

cloak, striped or speckled, surmounted by an enormous lion's head of 
fantastic design. This monster lengthens himself at his pleasure, and every 
now and then suddenly towers a metre or two above the heads of his 
companions. The children who follow utter shrieks, in which fear and 
defiance mingle. One or two, more daring than the rest, venture to lift 
the folds of the long cloak, and pinch the legs of the mysterious mounte- 
bank. He, for his part, threatens them, turning his head towards them, 
opening his jaws, and shaking the thick white paper mane that encircles his 
scarlet face ; or begins to jump about to the music of his acolytes. He, 
too, is armed with a drum ; but when he leaves off" dancing he lays it aside, 

E i 


- « 


£ « 



and falling to the ground, he transforms himself into a quadruped, executes 
a few grotesque gambols, and finally pulls off" his disguise. The monster 
has vanished, but the juggler remains." 

The same writer describes the rustic festivities held in the suburbs of the 
capital by the citizens. Strolling dancing-girls are invited to these fetes, 


After a Picture by Monies 

whose specialities are pantomime, posturing, and character-figures. The 
most graceful of their performances is the Fan Dance, a sort of panto- 

" There are further," says M. Humbert, " certain national dances, 
which are cultivated in town society, and which naturally find a place 
among the diversions of these open-air entertainments. The ladies 
generally dance alone. They form a quadrille, each dancer retaining her 
original place, and confining her movements to swaying her hips, turning 
or drooping her head, and stretching out her arms and hands, not without 
grace and elegance, but with much monotony of action. 



" The men never dance, except for the purpose of showing off some 
choregraphic feat among intimate friends, generally when inspired by the 
fumes of saki ; or when they take part in the Rounds, which are a 
favourite termination to family banquets." 

The Rice Dance is also a rational pastime in Madagascar. Here it is a 
genuine pantomimic 
performance, exe- 
cuted by one man. 
The dancer first 
imitates the clear- 
ing of the soil, the 
wielding of the axe, 
the felling of trees ; 
then the burning 
of the destroyed 
forest; he runs 
about from side 
to side, blowing 
as if to fan the 
fire, and, always 
observant of time 
and cadence, he mi- 
mics the crackling 
of the flame, the 
snapping of the 
branches. Then he 
goes on to the 
sowing of the seed, 
and, after it is buried in the earth, to the invocation of the gods. 

M. Desired Charnay, to whom we owe the above details, gives a vivid 
description of the Bird Dance of the Malagasies : 

" Leaning forward with outstretched arms, like a sibyl of antiquity, 
the dancer beats slowly on the ground with her naked feet. She throws out 
her arms, draws them back, lets them sink to the ground, then stretches 
them as far as possible above her head ; all in vain ; she is chained to earth, 


A UA.VCE Or KAMU-iiAiOlks 

After Gtrdae 
>!>• (wmuHloa of Horn. Bound VaJadon and Co. 



and cannot fly. The music swells in a rapid crescendo, the voices become 
louder, the clapping of the hands more vigorous, the dancer's movements 
more hurried, the upper part of her body is almost motionless, while her 
arms beat the air like wings that struggle helplessly to lift her into space. 
She becomes impatient at last, a sort of rage possesses her. She runs 


After Carl BOker 

panting round the circle that encloses her, the ground re-echoes dully to the 
beating of her feet ; she twists her arms, her hands, her fingers convulsively, 
At last she pauses in despair, and we all applaud her." 

The natives of the New Hebrides celebrate the banana harvest with 
festive dances. " Persons of every age take part in these," says Dr. Hagen, 
" from the infant whom the mother carries on her hip, to the toothless old 
grandmother. The female dancers are tricked out in frippery of every hue. 
They form a circle, from which each one comes forward in turn ; she 
chants a couplet, to which her companions reply, advancing towards her, 
and then retreating." 



Dancing, that mirror of human passions, has mingled its slow or rapid 
measures with all the events of human life. We find it under the chilly 
skies of the North, under the burning sun of the Equator, in the remotest 
islands of the Pacific ; it is, in fact, a universal language. 

In Denmark, fathers train their children to dance to the fiddle in rustic 
inns ; Spanish parents look proudly on as their little ones make their first 

H \w I DAItCl 

attempts to the music of the guitar, and are overjoyed to see signs of a 
vocation in one of their dark-eyed girls. 

The Bashi-Bazouks execute war-dances round their camp-fires ; 
Tziganes and Gitanas gather crowds around them now, as in the Middle 
Ages, when they wandered from town to town, bearing the voluptuous 
charm of Oriental dances throughout Europe. 

Dancing, however, is greatly modified by climate. In the northern and 
temperate zones it is a pastime more or less popular ; in the south, it is a 
passion. Thus the soul of each nation informs its dancing. In one 
country, ferocity and delight in bloodshed find expression in frenzied 



measures ; in another, dancing is a diversion, reflecting the prevalent 
gentleness of manners. The most barbarous races indulge in it ; among 
certain savage tribes, it serves to ratify treaties or to declare war. The 
Calumet Dance of the Iroquois, for instance, is said to have had all the 
prestige of a national institution consecrated by law. 


From an Engraving by G. E. Hicks after E. Webb 


After a Picture by Garcia Mencia 


S paiish Dances — Danzat and 'Baylti — The Fandango — The Bolero — The Seguidillas 
Manchegai — The J it a Aragonesa — The Jaleo de Jerez. — The Cackuca. 


'ANISH dancing is of great antiquity. It doubtless under- 
went various Moorish modifications, and certain of its steps 
are obviously of Arab origin. But everything goes to show 
that in all its essentials it is heir to the traditions of the 
Gaditanas — whom we have already mentioned — those famous dancing-girls 
of Cadiz, who created such a furore in ancient Rome. 

Obscurity envelops the history of the national dances of Spain during 
the Middle Ages. In a study dealing with public amusements, the learned 
Jovellanos suggests that the art of dancing took refuge in the Asturias 
during the Arab invasion. We know that minstrels and troubadours 
(juglares and trovadores) did not cease to compose baladas and danzas, and 


that the dance known as that of King Alonzo the Good belongs to the 
twelfth century. 

Among the earliest dances of the Peninsula were the Turdion, the 
Gibadina, the Pie-de-gibao, the Madama Orleans, the Alemana, and the 

Under Philip IV., theatrical dancing rose to an eminence hitherto 
unattained in Spain. In the Court Theatre at Buen Retiro, certain Danzas 
Habladas (spoken dances) were performed, in which allegorical and mytho- 
logical subjects were developed with immense success — not, however, in a 
manner wholly new, as something of the sort was already known in the 
days of Cervantes. 

Here, as at Versailles under Louis XIV., ballets were organised with 
extraordinary magnificence of decoration and costume, members even of the 
royal family taking part in the performances. Celebrated poets, such as 
Quevedo and Luis de Benevente, composed several of these ballets, follow- 
ing thus in the illustrious footsteps of their predecessors, Lope de Vega, 
Mendoza, and Calderon, among whose works pieces of the same class are to 
be found. Little by little these ballets d'action supplanted the national 
dances on the stage, so that the Zarabanda and the Chacona were almost 
extinct early in the eighteenth century. But then a new impetus was given 
to choregraphy, and the Fandango, the Bolero, and the Seguidillas 

" What people so barbarous," cries the poet Tomas de Yriarte, " as 
not to be stirred by the tunes of its national dances ! " All Spain, indeed, 
thrills to the notes of the Fandango — pre-eminently the national air, and one 
that accompanies a step so ardent and so graceful as to be " worthy of 
performance at Paphos, or in the temple of Venus at Cnidus." 

" Like an electric shock, the notes of the Fandango animate all hearts," 
says another writer. " Men and women, young and old, acknowledge the 
power of this air over the ears and soul of every Spaniard. The young 
men spring to their places, rattling castanets, or imitating their sound by 
snapping their fingers. The girls are remarkable for the willowy languor 
and lightness of their movements, the voluptuousness of their attitudes — 
beating the exactest time with tapping heels. Partners tease and entreat and 
pursue each other by turns. Suddenly the music stops, and each dancer 

, //„ !i.\„//' i ,,,/,/. 



shows his skill by remaining absolutely motionless, bounding again into the 
full life of the Fandango as the orchestra strikes up. The sound of the 
guitar, the violin, the rapid tic-tac of heels (taconeos), the crack of fingers and 
castanets, the supple swaying of the dancers, fill the spectators with ecstasy." 
The measure whirls along in a rapid triple time. Spangles glitter ; the 


After a Picture by France* 

sharp clank of ivory and ebony castanets beats out the cadence of strange, 
throbbing, deafening notes— assonances unknown to music, but curiously 
characteristic, effective, and intoxicating. Amidst the rustle of silks, smiles 
gleam over white teeth, dark eyes sparkle and droop, and flash up again in 
flame. All is flutter and glitter, grace and animation— quivering, sonorous, 
passionate, seductive. OR ! ole ! Faces beam and eyes burn. Oft, ore I 
The Bolero intoxicates, the Fandango inflames. 



Father Marti, Dean of the Chapter of Alicante, wrote as follows in 
17 1 2 : "You know that dance of Cadiz, famous for centuries for its 
voluptuous steps, and still performed in every house and suburb of the 
city to the delight of all spectators ; not only is it in favour with negresses 


After a Picture by Kindler 

and other low people, but also with ladies of the highest repute and 

" The step is danced by one or by several couples, who follow the 
measure with the most pliant undulations of the body." 

The Fandango has points of resemblance to the Seguidilla. 

"A singular anecdote, the authenticity of which I do not guarantee," 
writes Baron Charles Davillier, " is related by a seventeenth century author 
in connection with this famous dance. It is said that its indecency so 
scandalised the Vatican that its proscription was resolved upon, under pain 



of excommunication. A consistory having been convoked to try the 
matter, sentence was about to be pronounced, when a cardinal interfered to 
say that it was unjust to condemn even the guilty without a hearing : he 
moved that the Fandango should appear before its judges. This being 
agreed to as equitable, two Spanish 
dancers, one of each sex, were 
summoned. They danced before the 
august assembly. Their grace and 
vivacity soon drove the frowns from 
the brows of the Fathers, whose 
souls were stirred by lively emotion, 
and a strange pleasure. One by one 
their Eminences began to beat time 
with hands and feet, till suddenly 
their hall became a ball-room ; they 
sprang up, dancing the steps, imi- 
tating the gestures of the dancers. 
After this trial, the Fandango was 
fully pardoned and restored to 

If the Fandango as danced by the 
populace is too racy of animal life 
and passion, it grows milder when 
introduced into society. Moderated 
by the laws of the theatre, it gains in 
grace, though it loses in vigour. 

The light and lively Bolero, or Volero, is not an ancient dance. It 
dates from the end of last century, and its invention is ascribed to Sebastian 
Ccrezo, a celebrated dancer of the time of Charles III. Experts, neverthe- 
less, trace in it remnants of older dances- of the Chacona, for example, and 

the Zarabanda. It is a more dignified and modest dance than the Fan- 
dango ; but it has, like the latter, certain affinities with the Seguidilla. 

The Bolero, which is a dance for two persons, consists, says Blasis, of 
five parts : 

1 he paseo, or promenade, which is introductory ; the differentia, in 

2 H 


After EilcUn 


which the step is changed ; the trayersia, or cross-over, in which places are 
changed ; then the so-called finale ; followed, in conclusion, by the bien 
parado, distinguished by graceful attitudes, and a combined pose of both the 
dancers. The Bolero is generally in duple time, though some Boleros 
are written in triple time. Its music is varied, and abounds in cadences. 
The tune or air may change, but the peculiar rhythm must be preserved, 


After a Picture by Cabral y IJejarano 

as well as the time and the preludes, otherwise known as feintes pauses 
(feigned pauses). The Bolero step is low and gliding, battu or coupe, but 
always well marked." 

On the stage, the Bolero is performed by several parejas, or couples. 
One of its most graceful posturas, or attitudes, is that called the dar la 
vuelta, in which the dancers find themselves face to face after a half turn. 
The woman's part in this dance is infinitely more expressive and im- 
passioned than that of the man. " Ole ! ote ! the Bolero intoxicates ! " as 
says a Spanish writer. 

By Seguidillas are to be understood not only the national dances, 


but also certain popular stanzas by which they are accompanied. The 
step of the Seguidilla of the present day had its origin in La Mancha 
(hence the term Seguidillas manchegas), and it dates from the early part of 
the eighteenth century ; but Seguidillas of some sort — very different, 
perhaps, from those we know -are extremely ancient. They are mentioned by 
Cervantes in Don Quixote, and also in the Vida y Hechos del Picaro Guzman 


After a Picture by Worms 
Bjr perniuion of Mean. Bouieod Valador and Co. 

de Alfarache, by Mateo Alcman, who lived in the latter part of the six- 
teenth century. 

"Our buildings and weapons of war," says Alcman, "are renewed from 
day to day. . . . Chairs, cupboards, tables, lamps, candlesticks are also 
changed. It is the same with our games and dances, our music and songs. 
I he Zarabanda has gone ; Seguidillas arc in fashion ; which, in their turn, 
will disappear to make room for newer dances." 

Mariano Soriano Fuentes, one of the most popular composers in the 


Peninsula, and the author of an excellent history of Spanish music, is of 
opinion that the Seguidillas may be regarded as the oldest dances of Spain, 
excepting only those dances called Bailes en Coro (Rounds), and the 
Danza Prima, still in vogue in the Asturias. Senor Fuentes eulogises the 
Seguidilla as an ideal popular pastime, full of variety in its figures, graceful, 
spirited, gay — yet not immodest, and comparing favourably in this respect 
nth the Andalusian dances. 

But even in Andalusia, the penny fans {abanicos de calania) sold in the 
precincts of the bull-ring on feslas, the tambourines, and the quaint yellow 
carriages in the streets, are all decorated with pictures of Seguidillas — 
very primitive pictures in glaring colours : 

" No ka de f altar zandunguera, 
Puesta en jarras una dama 
De las que la liga ensenanj' 

" In which there is always a fine lady, with her arms a-kimbo, and not 
ashamed of her garters." 

The Andalusian Seguidillas have a rapid rhythm, and are accompanied 
by verses {coplas de baile) which are usually gay and lively. 

In La Mancha — whose inhabitants, lovers of music and dancing, are the 
merriest folk in Spain — Seguidillas are improvised by popular poets to suit 
every occasion. Whistled by muleteers, sung in taverns, echoing through 
the torrid air of the plains, the coplas de Seguidillas are innumerable : 

" Dans la Mane he les jeunes files 
Triomphent dans les seguidilles." 

The coplas of La Mancha are famous. Many of them are ephemeral ; 
others endure to enrich that patrimony of ancient song transmitted from 
generation to generation, printed at Barcelona, or in the neighbourhood of 
Seville or Madrid, and sold at bookstalls, or hawked by blind men through 
the country-side. 

Need it be said that the theme of these coplas is love — the longing and 
the joy of the lover, or his jealousy, his anguish, his rage ? The structure 
of these verses is simplicity itself — a more or less regular couplet or two, 
(the copla proper) and an estribillo, or refrain. 


2 45 

Baron Davillier, in his Espagne, gives specimens of some popular 
Seguidillas : 

" Mi carazcn valanda 
Sf/ui- J tu ftttt i 
Lt cortastt las alas. 

A Ml 
After a Picture by D. PucbU 

Y qutdt dentra. 
Par atrrrida 
Se quedari par sitmpre 
En el metida." 

" My heart flew to thy breast. Thou didst cut its wings, so that it 
remained there. And now it has waxed daring, and will stay with thee 
for evermore." 

" San Iks ejas, hrmasa. 
Flirts arptnes, 
Que can mirar iraspasan 
Las earazanes. 



Miraste el mio, 
T desde aquel instant e 
Por ti deliro." 

" Thine eyes, O my beauty, are cruel spears, that pierce hearts with a 
glance. Mine thou hast looked upon — and ever since, I have been mad." 

Now it is a young girl who 
sings : 

" Aunque me ves que canto, 
Tengo yo el alma 
Corno la tortolilla 
Que llora y canta, 
Cuando el consorte, 
Herido de los celos, 
Se escapa a I monte." 

" Lo, I sing ! but I sing 
and weep like the turtle-dove, 
whose mate, stricken of jealousy, 
flies away towards the moun- 

" These songs," continues 

Davillier, " probably go back to 

the seventeenth century, to the 

days of Gongora. To us they 

may appear very lackadaisical 

and insipid ; yet, as compared with our own popular poetry — with our 

street catches and our bon-bon mottoes — these Seguidillas are superior 

both in taste and style." 

During my own travels in the Balearic Islands, I halted in the little 
town of Pollenza, near Cape Formentor. Here I noted down certain 
malaguenas which seem to me to have something in common with the cop/as 
de Seguidillas. Love is still the theme of these verses, which are tender and 
sometimes quaint : 

" Una estrella se la paraida 
En el ciel y no parece ; 
En tu car a se ha metido ; 
T en tu /rente resplandece." 


After a Lithograph by Grenicr 


2 47 

" A star is lost and appears not in the sky ; in thy face it has set 
itself; on thy brow it shines." 

" A un sabio U fregunti 
De qui mat me moriria 
I~ me a'iio ' Del qurrer ! ' 
Serrana, que le tenia ! " 

tmk HArrv rAMit.v 
Alter a Picture by Manuc Yus 

" 4 What shall I die of?' I asked the wise man. He said, 'Of love ! ' 
And I loved thee already, girl of the mountains ! ' " 

I heard these coplas de malaguefias everywhere. The wind bore them up 
the mountain, the waves of the sea rocked them, they hung about the dusty 
path of the muleteers, they echoed from the mysterious depths of twilit 
patios to the tinkling accompaniment of guitars. 

Nearly every Spanish province has its special Seguidillas, similar in 
character to th««c of La Mancha, but modified by the temperament of its 



inhabitants. In Andalusia these dances are called Siquiriyas. Elsewhere 
such qualifying terms as Gitanas, Mollaras, Sevillanas, Aragonesas, Valen- 
cianas, are used. Seguidillas Gallegas are peculiar to Galicia, Pasiegas 
to Santander, Quipuzcoanas to the Basque Provinces. Few Spaniards are 
unacquainted with the Seguidilla step. 


After a Picture by Ferrandiz 

Baron Davillier describes one of these dances which he witnessed at 
Albacete : 

"One day at the fair of Albacete, one of the principal towns of 
La Mancha, we saw Seguidillas Manchegas characteristically danced. The 
dancers of the district met in a low-roofed room of the parador de la 
diligencia (coaching-inn), the best hostelry of the place. The guitarist 
wore,- instead of the usual gaudy short jacket (marselles), a thick lambskin 
zamarra ; and had substituted for the classic sombrero of the Andalusians 
a cap (montera) of wild-cat skin. He began in a minor key with some 



rapid arpeggios ; and each dancer chose his partner, the various couples 
facing each other some three or four paces apart. Presently, two or three 
emphatic chords indicated to the singers that their turn had come, and they 
sang the first verse of the cop/a ; meanwhile the dancers, toes pointed and 
arms rounded, waited for their signal. The singers paused, and the 
guitarist began the air of an old Seguidilla. At the fourth bar the castanets 


After a Picture bjt Ru-x <i« \ '..l.iierj 

stiuck in, the singers continued their copia, anil all the dancers began 
enthusiastically, turning, returning, following and fleeing from each other. 
At the ninth bar, which indicates the finish of the first part, there was a 
slight pause ; the dancers stood motionless and the guitar twanged on. 
Then, with a change of step, the second part began, each dancer taking his 
original place again. It was then we were able to judge of the most 
interesting and graceful part of the dance — the bitn parado-- literally : well 
stopped ! Hacer el bitn parado is a Castilian idiom indicating- the 
renunciation of a useless thing for a better. The bien parado in the 
Scguidillas is the abrupt breaking off" of one figure to make way for a new 

2 1 


one. It is a very important point that the dancers should stand motionless, 
and, as it were, petrified, in the position in which they are surprised by the 
certain final notes of the air. Those who managed to do this gracefully 
were applauded with repeated cries of ' "Bien parado ! bien parado ! ' 

" Such are the classic lines upon which the dance is regulated, but how 
shall we describe its effect upon the dancers ? The ardent melody, at once 
voluptuous and melancholy, the rapid clank of castanets, the melting 
enthusiasm of the dancers, the suppliant looks and gestures of their 
partners, the languorous grace and elegance of the impassioned move- 
ments — all give to the picture an irresistible attraction, only to be appre- 
ciated to the full by Spaniards. They alone have the qualities necessary 
for the performance of their national dance ; they alone have the special 
fire that inspires its movements with passion and with life." 

"The Seguidillas," says a Spanish author, " may be regarded as typical 
of nearly all our national dances. Unless prejudiced in favour of foreign 
fashions, every native praises the Seguidillas. A description of them gives 
an approximate idea of the Bolero, of the Fandango, and of several other 
popular steps ; but no mere description can adequately render the graceful 
attitudes, the charming melodies, the movement and the expression, which 
are the essence of this enchanting dance." 

" La Jota en cl Aragon 
Con garbesa discrecion. . . .' 

This popular couplet indicates at once the modesty and the vivacity 
of the Jota Aragonesa — the national dance of Aragon- 1 — originating, as many 
think, in the Passacaille, so popular with the Latin races in the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries. Be this as it may, the Jota is a thoroughly 
Spanish dance, distinguished by its reticence from the dances of Andalusia. 
Not only does it enliven popular merry-makings, it also gives splendour to 
certain religious festivals. A Jota, called the Natividad del Sei'wr (Nativity 
of Our Lord) is danced in Aragon on Christmas Eve, accompanied by 
songs. And, when the fete of Our Lady del Pilar is celebrated at 
Saragossa, enthusiastic Jotas are sung and danced at all the cross-roads, 
invoking the favour of the Virgin. 

Like the Seguidillas of Andalusia, the Jota Aragonesa has its ancient 


2 ?' 

coplas y which have been handed down from generation to generation. The 
Aragonese are proud of their national Jota — infinitely finer to them than any 
other dance of Spain : 

" Diccn que las Andaluzas 
Las mas talcntosas 
Mas en gracia las csccden 
Las muchachas del 
Aragon ! 

Los que cnsalzan la 
Dc Cadiz y dc Jerez, 
Cicrto cs que bailar no 
La Jota una sola vcz." 

'• The Andalusian 
women are the more 
accomplished, it is 
said, but the girls of 
Aragon are the more 
graceful. Those who 
boast of the Cachucha 
of Cadiz and of Jerez 
have surely never seen 


.Vtrr a Picture by Manuel Viis 

the Jota danced." 

At the town of Pollen za, in Majorca, the people of the inn where I 
lodged organised a sort of fete, to which they invited the best local 
dancers and musicians. A large hall, cleared of its furniture, and lined 
along the walls with chairs, was turned into a ball-room. On the appointed 
evening, young men with guitars arrived, and girls dressed in their best, 
and accompanied by their families. When all had taken their places, the 
sides of the hall being occupied by spectators, who even overflowed into 
the passages, two guitars and a violin executed a brilliant overture, founded 
upon the popular airs of Majorca. Then quite a young boy and girl, 
castanets in hand, danced a charming Jota to an accompaniment of guitars, 
and of castanets, dcafeningly and ceaselessly plied by girls who waited 



their turn to dance. The Majorcan Jota, while lacking the brio and 
voluptuousness of the Jotas of the mainland, is charmingly primitive, 
modest, and unaffected. 

Other provinces besides Aragon have their Jotas ; Navarre and Catalonia, 
for example. The Jota Valenciana closely resembles that of Aragon. The 
Valencians have always loved dancing. History informs us that as early as 


After a Picture by Moreno 

the seventh century, the entrance of the archbishops into Tarragona was 
celebrated by dances. And in 1762, at the laying of the foundation-stone 
of Lerida Cathedral, dancers were brought from Valencia to celebrate the 

Senor Soriano Fuentes gives rather a curious anecdote connected with 
our subject : 

" When, in the thirteenth century, Peter III. came to the throne or 
Aragon, a revolt broke out ; the king, the better to overlook the rioters, 
withdrew from the town. The rebels, to the number of some four 


2 S* 

hundred, under the leadership of a barber called Gonzalo, descended one 
day upon the royal camp, where they performed coarse and defiant dances, 
accompanied by insulting verses. Gonzalo even forced the king and queen 
and court to take part in these buffooneries. His Majesty, destitute for 
the moment of efficient troops, had to swallow the affront. But the tide 

A HlsTIC t' 

A'tei a Picture by Peru Kubio 

eventually turned, and Gonzalo was overpowered, and led before his 

" ' O dancer, singer, and poet,' said the king, * dost thou remember 
a certain performance executed before me? Little was I then able to 
reply, but to-day shalt thou finish thy song — with an additional verse — on 
the gallows ! ' And as he said, so was the thing done." 

The dashing Jalco dc Jerez is generally performed on the spur of the 
moment by some supple-waisted gipsy with castanets, to the accompaniment 
of a guitar, and the notes of some old love-song. She rushes forward, 


bounding, leaping, darting here and there, wheeling giddily, fleeing and 
returning. And connoisseurs applaud her noisily . . . Ole ! ole ! 

Each province has its peculiar dance, of which the inhabitants are 
proud. The Galicians and Asturians vaunt their Muyneira and their 
Danza Prima, the Andalusians their Bondina, the La Manchans their 
Seguidillas, the Salamancans their Charro, the inhabitants of Valladolid 
their Zorgono, the Murcians their Torras and Pavanas. 


After a Picture by John Sargent 

Sooner would the true Spaniard see the Moors masters of Spain again 
than give up his bull-fights and his dances : 

" Antes volvicransc Moros 
Toditos los Espafioles, 
Que renunciar a sus oles 
Y a sus corridas de toros.'' 

The Gallegada, of Galicia — to be seen also in Madrid and other cities — 
is danced best in its native province : 

" En Galicia Gallegada, 
Perfctamente bailada." 



Besides this dance, the Galicians have (in common with the Asturians) 
the Muyneira, generally performed to the music of the gaita, a sort of bag- 
pipe, heard at every public and private fit*. 

The Danza Prima of Asturias dates back to the days of the Gothic 
kings. It is a sort of Round, danced by young men and women, each of 
whom sings a cop/a, the refrain of which is taken up by all the rest. 


Af cr a f'ktuic by Worn 

By Ptnaiuioa of Mown. Bouaaod Valadoo and Co. 

In Old Castile, in Kstremadura, and in Salamanca, the I labas Verdes is a 
very popular dance. It is accompanied by coplas and their refrain. 

The name Polo, like Seguidillas, is applied both to a dance and to the 
songs accompanying it. This dance is of Moorish origin. Baron Davilliei 
describes a performance of the Polo : 

The singer ran his eye over the girls present and, smiling on one of 
them, he sang : 



li Ven aca, chiquiya, 
Que vamos a bailar un polo 
Que sc junde medio Seviya ! " 

" ' Come hither, little one, and we'll dance a Polo that'll shake down 
half Seville ! ' The girl so addressed was perhaps twenty years of age, 

plump, robust, strapping, 
and supple. Stepping 
proudly forward, with 
that easy swaying of the 
hips which is called the 
meneo, she stood in the 
centre of the court await- 
ing her cavalier. Then 
castanets struck up, 
accompanied by the gay 
jingle of tambourines, 
and the bystanders kept 
time by tapping the flags 
of the yard with their 
heels or their sword- 
canes, or by -palmadas 
— that is to say, by 
slapping the backs of the fingers of the right hand twice in quick succes- 
sion into the palm of the left hand, and then striking the two palms 

"The dancer, marvellously seconded by her partner, had little need of 
these incitements : now she twisted this way, and now that, as if to escape 
the pursuit of her cavalier ; again, she seemed to challenge him, lifting and 
lowering to right and to left the flounced skirt of her calico dress, showing 
a white starched petticoat, and a well-turned, nervous leg. 

"The spectators grew more and more excited. Striking a tambourine, 
some one cast it down at the girl's feet ; and she danced round it with 
redoubled animation and agility. . . . But soon the breathless and exhausted 
dancers had to sink upon a bench of the courtyard." 

The name Cachucha — which distinguishes a Spanish national dance — is 


Af[ir an Etching by Goya 

• • 

■ • • I , 

. , / ' I / /# / 



also given to anything that is pretty, graceful and fragile — to a very light 
boat or canoe, for example : 

" Mi cachucha por la mar 
A todos vientos camina, 
Pcro nunca va mejor 

Qua cuando va dc b ilina ' 


After G. Dart 

According to Blasis, " the Cachucha is danced by a single dancer of either 
sex, in triple time. The movement is moderate at first ; but, little by 
little, the dancer increases his speed, and the clatter of the castanets he holds 
in his hand. The air is locked upon as a national one. The steps of the 
Cachucha, like its music, arc gay, graceful, and impassioned. The bust and 
head play a great part in the expressive movements which characterise this 

Among the dances of the present day in Spain is the Zapateado or 
Guaracha the latter being the name given to this dance when it is 
performed on the stage. 

2 K 


The Zorongo is a simple but rapid dance : the dancer darts backwards 
and forwards, beating time with his hands. It very much resembles the 
Tripoli Trapola, the main difference being that the latter terminates with 
three half-turns. Both dances are original and charming, and the music 
which accompanies them is extremely tuneful. 

We must not omit the Tascara from our summary of extant Spanish 


After a Picture by Worms 

dances. It is of great antiquity in Spain, and has been popular in the 
South of France ever since the Middle Ages. Baron Davillier says that it 
is mentioned by Quevedo, and that Cervantes (in the Viage el Parnasso) 
'• describes the great belly and long neck of the fantastic monster from which 
this dance derives its name. In 1837 it was a feature of the fetes given to 
celebrate the promulgation of the famous Constitucion. The Tascara 
ngured as a dragon ; it opened an enormous mouth, and men, concealed 
inside, caused it to gnash its teeth noisily. On the back of the Tascara 


2 59 

was perched a sort of lay-figure, dressed up as a woman, and called by the 
people — oik hardly knows why — Ana Bolena." 

A whole volume would not afford space for a complete study of ancient 
Spanish dances. We will glance rapidly at the chief of them, mentioning 
the Turdion — probably the old French Tordion, which we have already 

After Dot* 

discussed — and the Gibadina, or Hunchback's Dance, of which we know 
nothing but the name. 

The famous I'avana, our sixteenth-century Pavane, came from Spain 
into France. Catherine de Medicis and Marguerite de Navarre excel lei) 
in it. 

" To this day in Spain," writes Baron Davillier, " they speak of enlrados 
de pavana "the Pavana-like entry of a man who comes solemnly and 
mysteriously to say something ridiculously unimportant And again, pasos 
de pavana, is said of a personage whose walk is affectedly slow " 

The Passa-callc was another very fashionable sixteenth-century dance. 



The name indicates literally something that passes or goes on in the street — 
probably because in the first instance the Passa-calle was mostly danced in 
the streets. It had the most passionate devotees in Spain, and enjoyed 
much favour in France, whfre it was known as the Passacaille. 

The Folias, too, was a very popular measure. The ferocious Pedro 1. of 
Portugal delighted so greatly in this dance that he used to spend whole 


After an Etching by Goya 

nights in dancing it with his family, and the few other persons who risked 
their safety in his vicinity. 

According to Fernandez de Cordova, the Chacona was no other than 
the ancient dance of the Gaditanas. The Ole Gaditano is also supposed to 
be a heritage from them. 

"One fete dav," says Baron Davillier, "we saw the Ole wonderfully 
danced, in a suburb of Cadiz, by an extremely clever bailarina called, 
from the slightness of her figure, La Nena (Baby), rather a common name, 
by the way, in Andalusia. 

" An exquisite and peculiar suppleness of body and carriage is required 



to dance the Oie well. This La Nena possessed in a high degree, being, 
indeed, unrivalled in htr backward curving and posing. It was something 
nurvellous to see her conclude a step of the most captivating animation by 
bending backwards. Her willowy figure drooped with graceful languor, 
her shoulders and arms sank till they almost touched the ground. She 
remained thus for an instant or two, her neck extended, her head thrown back, 
as if in ecstasy. Then suddenly, as if touched by electricity, she bounded 
up again, shook her ivory castanets in cadence, and finished the dance with 
as much energy as she had begun it." 


Aficr a Prist la ibe IUUiofhr.|nc National! 


From a Photograph by Sommer and Son 


(Modern Greek Dances — The Italian Tarantella — Some European D.wces — 'Bayaderes 
and ullmees — Savage Dances 

SIXTY Greek women with their children took refuge on a height 
when Ali Pacha of Janina put the villages of Suli to fire and 
sword. These women watched the pitiless slaughter of their 
husbands and brethren. Then, in despair, they threw their 
children from the precipice into a torrent that roared at its foot, and, 
taking each other's hands, danced a last distracted round. One by one 
they left the dancing circle and flung themselves into the abyss. As victim 
after victim disappeared, the circle narrowed, and resumed its funeral 
measure. When the dance ceased, the cliff was deserted. There was 
silence, broken only by the eternal roar of the torrent. Nothing stirred, 



save the thin wreaths of smoke rising from the heaps of embers that had 
once been villages. 

Greece still guards the glorious memory of her ancient dances. This 
sombre round, danced by Suliot women about to die, expressed their 
despair, like the dances of their ancestors on the eve of battle. 

For many centuries past dancing has been dissociated from religious 
rites among the Greeks. It is only 
in the mountain fastnesses of certain 
semi-barbarous clans that the old 
union still lingers, though scattered 
vestiges of the ancient choregraphy 
are to be found here and there in 
the peninsula of Hellas. 

The dance that Homer describes 
as engraved upon the shield of 
Achilles is still performed. Lightly 
clad girls, dancing hand in haul, 
follow a leader through windings 
that represent the Cretan labyrinth, 
and indicate the episode of Theseus 
and Ariadne. The dancers move with 
a slow, sweet rhythm through scenes 
of surpassing loveliness. The 
spectator dreams that he is watching 
that round of Nymphs and Graces 
described by Hesiod. 

The Greeks have retained several other antique dances. The Arnout 
Dance recalls that of the ancient Greeks, when they went to battle dancing 
— as did also the Lusitanians, according to Diodorus Siculus. The Arnout 
leader* animates his company by cracking a whip or shaking a staff, as he 
rushes from one grcup to another, followed by dancers moving in cadence 
with hands entwined. 

The Ionian, a true Bacchic dance, still survives among the Greeks. 


From an eighteenth Century Print 

* Mm Greek dance* ire guided by 1 leader, a*bp ii >r< bMj a tucccnor ol (lie ancient 


especially at Smyrna in Asia Minor. The Agrismene, once a dance of the 
festivals of Aphrodite, is not extinct. Young girls, when they have filled 
their jars at the sacred wells of Callichorus, join hands and dance and sing. 
To this day kilted Greeks, quiver on shoulder and bow in hand, perform 
the ancient Pyrrhic Dance. The Klephts, or Brigands, follow their thoregus 
in a long chain, dancing and singing while he marks time by nodding his 

In modern Sparta, M. Henri Belle saw a performance of the Syrtos, a 
grave, slow dance, evidently of ritual origin : 

" The dancers, taking each other by the hand, turned monotonously in 
a circle. But after the resinous wine began to circulate there was more 
animation. A tall fellow danced a few steps, gravely and seriously, yet 
lightly and gracefully. Then he began to rotate with wonderful speed* 
sometimes almost crouching on the ground, sometimes straightening himself 
with a leap, swaying to and fro, gesticulating with his arms, utterly without 
method or grace, or the least concern for the movements of his companions. 
Having at last become, as it were, the fugleman of the whole band, he 
directed their movements with a handkerchief, supporting himself on the 
shoulder of a companion. And so, silently and sedately, the dance went on 
till fatigue forced the performers to desist. 

"Northern Negropont," he writes in another part of his travels, "is 
famous for its dances ; that executed by the natives of Mantoudi is 
apparently a rhythmic pantomime of the hauling ashore of fishing-nets. 

" In Chios the natives danced to a rather pretty Turkish air, something 
like the music of the Farandole of Provence ; men and women hold each 
other's hands, while a detached couple dance before the group." 

But the dance seen by M. Belle at Megara was the most attractive 
of all : 

" The village women, gracefully and vividly dressed, were drawn up in 
long files of forty or fifty. Those of the first file gave their hands to 
those of the third file over the shoulders of the second. In the same way, 
the women of the second line joined hands with those of the fourth, over 
the shoulders of the third — the whole forming an alternation and interlace- 
ment not easily described, but very charming. This done, all moved 
together, three quick steps forward and three back, singing a slow and 



measured chant, their gold embroideries glittering and their silken vests 
showing the varying colours of a sea under the setting sun. 

" This is a very ancient dance, the learned tell us. It is distinguished 
by a virginal and graceful sobriety, by a pure elegance in marked 
contrast with the libidinous undulations and contortions of the Moslem 
harem dances. Mere brazen animalism has never become acclimatised 
among the Hellenes, 
and though their 
rhythmic dancing is 
pursued to-day mainly 
for pleasure and 
healthful exercise, it 
is easv to realise that 
it was once a religious 
symbol, or even a 
ritual ceremony." 

" The ancient May 
dances still exist in 
Greece," says M. 
Fertiault. "On May- 
day in certain 

villages, women and children assemble in honour ot Flora, visiting green 
meadows, gathering flowers, covering themselves with blossoms from 
head to foot. The most beautiful among them being chosen leader, they 
dance and sing. One sings, ' Welcome, O Nymph, goddess of May ! ' 

i the chorus echoes the refrain, ' Goddess of May ! ' " 

Let us pass from the azure skies of Greece to those of Italy, where we 
shall find the Tarantella, a dance that owes its name to the great spider, 
whose bite was supposed to be cured only by dancing to the point of 
exhaustion, both names being derived from Tarentum. This dance is 
dcscriScd with much vivacity and humour by M. M. Monnier : 

" Back to Naples and quickly ! for in that Villa Rede I quitted so 
abruptly I hear the tabour calling to arms the tabour and the 
Castanet* that joyous tabour of long descent, as ancient, says Bidera, 
as Cybclc — but Bidera loves to make all things old ! Yet the tabour 

2 1. 

1 t f t- IAH\MK!I.\ m NAI l-t-s 
From an eighteenth Century Print 


is at least as old as are the frescoes of Herculaneum, where it is painted in 
the hands of slim Bacchantes whose light fingers shake it. Follow the 
sound : it is the Tarantella ! 

"The dancers salute each other, dance timidly awhile, withdraw a 
little, return, stretch out their arms, and whirl vehemently in a giddy circle. 
Then partners turn their backs on each other, and go their several ways, as 
in the scene between Gros-Rene and Marinette. 

'"J'aime lc bruit du tambourin. 
Si j'ctais fillc de marin, 

Et toi pccheur, me disait-clle, 
Toutcs lcs nuits joyeusement, 
Nous danserions, en nous aimant, 
La tarentcllc ! ' 

" This is what one sees in royal Naples on the eve and day of 

Other dances are known to gondoliers and sailors in this land of 
sunshine. The villagers, gardeners, and vintagers of the Roman Campagna 
affect the antique rhythm of the Saltarello. Men twanging the guitar and 
women shaking the tambourine vie with each other in agility. It is the 
popular dance of country fetes. The heavy herdsmen of Calabria have a 
rough dance called the Sheep Dance. The Italian upper classes prefer the 
simple and graceful movements of the Montefiorina. Thus, in Italy, 
dancing varies according to place and circumstances, yet everywhere reflects 
the peculiarities of the people. 

Let us now turn to the other extremity of Europe. According to 
Fertiault, Russians tread on one spot almost without changing ground in 
their popular dances. '-They turn and turn, on the flat of the foot, moving 
their shoulders, and arms, and hips clumsily, to the sound of a long guitar 
called the balaleica, supplemented by the singing, the shouts, and even the 
whistling of the spectators." 

But M. Fertiault knew nothing of the dance known as the Little 
Russian, nor of the dancing songs and scenes of the Russian army. 

" On fete days," says M. Gaston SchefFer, " in a barn or at a tavern 
door, the guitarist, whom we find here as in Spain, plays a slow air. Some 












dancer, singing the while, then executes a step by himself. He thumps 
the ground with his heels, at first slowly, then with increasing speed, but 
with an air of gravity, his hands on his hips and his chest erect. This 
done, he drinks a cup of scalding tea and begins again. But no longer 
alone. A partner presents herself, and, without touching each other, the 
two perform a pantomime, the motif of which is the eternal theme of 


Frost an Etch og by Pinclli 

coquetry. The girl is coy and the lover pursues. To divert his attention 
she throws down a flower ; he picks it up and strives to catch her. . . 
This is the so-called Little Russian." 

Soldiers sing and dance on the march and in camp. " It is only in the 

Russian army that regimental choirs exist. At the head of each regiment 

.rides or walks a squad of the best singers, who while away the hours of 

marching by popular songs that make the men forget their fatigue. A 

soloist sings a verse, his comrades take up the chorus. During the long 



summer evenings, the soldiers dance in couples accompanied by these singers. 
In Russia, as in other Slav countries, and in Greece, dancing and singing 
are generally associated. Dancing songs are common to all the Russian 
provinces. The measure is always rapid, sometimes of dizzy speed. 

M. Dijon describes a quaint Russian dance. " Let us join," he says, 


After a Picture by Weeks 

" this circle of peasants, young and old. The men and maidens do not 
commingle, but stand silently apart, like groups of dumb creatures. At 
last the piper begins. Then one of the dancers takes off his cap and waves 
it, bowing towards a girl. She, if amicably inclined, unfolds her kerchief, 
of which each takes a corner, and the couple begin to turn on the green, 
but in absolute silence, unbroken by word or laughter. Resplendent in her 
holiday bravery, and proud of her long tresses, the young girl dances 
stolidly, not permitting her partner to touch so much as her fingers. The 



piper drones on monotonously for hours ; and the honours ot dexterity in 

this ' turning,' as the dance is called, are eventually awarded by the 

spectators to her who 

during the whole fete 

nas most successfully 

preserved a wooden 

impassivity, unbroken 

by a syllable or a 


Upper class Rus- 
sians dance the dances 
ot all nations, more 
or less, but their fav- 
ourite is the light and 
graceful Cainaca, a 
1 of swaying waltz. 

We now turn from 
Europe to the land 
of the Brahmins, to 
Bengal, and the banks 
of the (ianges, that 
mighty and sacred 
river. Mirrored in 
its waters, we see 
magnificent palaces 
and temples, shaded 
by gigantic baobabs 
and tamarind - trees, 
half hidden by flowers. 
This is Benares, the 
holy city of innumer- 
able pagodas, whither 
pious pilgrims and 

priests and illuminati come to die, in the ecstatic hope that their souls 
miv, after many transmigrations, attain the blessed rerose of Brahnu. 

A »AYAI>««* 
Aller a Picture by Cc* 
of Maw*. Bonaod Valadoa u4 Co. 


Savage bulls and monstrous serpents, consecrated to the gods, wander in 
the precincts of these temples, within the mysterious walls of which are 
immured girls who never leave their prison — Devadassis and Bayaderes, 
chosen for their beauty to dance before the idols. 

The word Devadassi (meaning a slave of the god) is derived from deva, 
a god, and dassi, a slave ; but a Devadassi is commonly called a Nautch, 
that is to say, a dancer. As for the name Bayadere, it is used only by 
Europeans, and is of Portuguese origin. 

" Any Hindoo," says M. H. Fourment, " may devote his daughter, or 
his daughteis, to the service of the deity ; but, in the case of the caste of 
the Kai'd Koleti (or weavers), it is obligatory thus to consecrate the fifth 
daughter, or the youngest, should the family contain less than five girls. 
These Devadassis are admitted to the temple in their ninth or tenth 
year, when they are decorated, as a sign of their marriage to heaven, with a 
jewel of gold (the taly) strung on a cord of a hundred and eight 
strands — one for each of the hundred and eight faces of the god Roudza. 
This string is stained with saffron in memory of Lakme, the goddess of 
joy. The Devadassis dance thrice daily, at the hours of the poudja, in the 
pagoda. Their dance is a prayer of love. Their ecstasy symbolises the 
annihilation of the individual soul in that of universal deity. 

"Their long-lashed black eyes are melting, languishing, and dreamy; 
their skin is golden and transparent, like that of all the Hindoo women, but 
what distinguishes them from women of every other race is their exquisitely 
supple and voluptuous gait. The blossoms of a land which breathes forth 
every sort of fragrance serve to bathe them in sweet scents, and balmy 
breezes rock them as with mystic cadences and sacred chants. . . ." 

The ancients deified Love; the Bayaderes, living mementoes ot 
antiquity, are still its priestesses. They are the delight of Eastern nations. 
No feast or festival is complete without them ; they adorn religious 
pageants, and add to the luxury of royal entertainments. 

When an Asiatic wishes to honour a guest, he shows him the 
Bayaderes ; it is the necessary complement of his hospitality. They dance 
to the music of the talan (a couple of discs, one of which is of polished 
steel, the other of copper), the hautbois, the flute, and the drum, and 
generally choose hideous or deformed musicians as foils to their beauty. 


Their hair, anointed with aromatic oil, falls in a shower about their 
hips ; among its jetty waves sparkle diamonds, precious stones, and gold 
chains, interspersed with flow 

Their dance, says Arago 
certain affinities with the Spj 

Hoffher says, in his tra 
that the young veiled Devac 
form groups before beginnir 

" A double bagpipe, 
monotonous tourte, drones 
the prelude, the melanc 
notes of the hautbois and 
flute without holes strike 
reinforced by the steel 
copper discs, and drums, j 
signal from the ballet-ma 
tney advance and unveil. ^ 
infinite grace and exquisite 
they mingle, intertwine, 
glide apart in their expre 
dance. The old dancing-wc 
who surround them sing 
clap their hands, while the 
toxicating scent of flowers f 
on the warm air. . . ." 

There are variations in tl 
was present at a dance at Srii 
elite of the Bayaderes, from I 
jewels from head to heels. 

with their dancing, which consisted of a succession of statuesque poses of a 
purely antique character. They advanced in couples, gliding along the 
ground, moving slowly and languidly, with studied art of" a very correct 
character. It was like a bas-relief on a Greek temple of the best period. 



A sort of quivering motion of their naked feet caused a jingling of the 
golden rings and belis with which their legs were laden, and this metallic, 
cadenced sound at last produced a most curious effect upon the ear and the 

T. er . ,,„. _.,.,<., ,u iyj Aif rec i Grandidier. The dance of the Bayaderes 

pantomime, generally accompanied 


)h by Neurdein 

by songs, chanted to a slow, monotonous rhythm. Three men, with a 
drum and cymbals, accompany the movements of the dancer, while her 
comrades, crouching on the ground, clap their hands and sing in chorus. 
As a rule, only one dancer performs at a time ; stamping on the ground 
with her bell-laden (eet, she is content to turn round and round, with 
undulations of her arms and body that are rather strange than harmonious. 
The songs are generally simple recitative, which the singer interrupts at 




intervals by piercing notes, which seem tD rise into the air like the lark 
mounting skywards from his furrow. The European newly arrived in 
India, who has often heard the Bayaderes described as irresistible 
enchantresses, will assuredly feel astonishment and disappointment at the 
sight of these dances and the sound of these songs, so different to those his 
imagination had pictured on 
the faith of travellers' tales. 

" The Bayaderes' costume 
is very rich, and extremely 
modest, more so than that of 
the women who are seen in the 

" It must be admitted that 
in hot countries, where mind 
and body both demand calm 
and tranquillity above all 
things, nothing less suitable to 
the enjoyment of life could 
well be imagined than our 
swift, intricate dances and 
learned music. With us, 
pleasure itself is a toil, 
whereas the performances of 
the Bayaderes cause no fatigue. 
Plunged in a gentle drowsi- 
ness, no lassitude of mind <>r 
body supervenes, as the spec- 
tator allows himself to be 

lulled by these poetic tales of love, the eternal theme of all such 
representations. 1 must confess that I felt a certain pleasure in them, 
especially after having lived seme time in the East. Under the influence oi 
my hookah, the pantomime and the chants of the Bayaderes appeared to me 
as the visions of a dreamer, without arresting my attention in a fatiguing 


We will quote Louis Roussclct, whose studies on the India of the K.ij.ih- 

2 M 

After a Picture by I'cralla 


made a great sensation, as our readers will remember ; he describes various 
scenes of which he was a spectator. 

" I seated myself," he writes, " on a luxurious divan, and was at once 
surrounded by servants, offering me sherbet and fruit, or sprinkling me 
with rose-water from large silver bottles. A few paces from me I saw the 
pale-faced, large-eyed Bayaderes, covered with diamonds and costly tissues, 
crouching on the ground by the musicians, awaiting the signal for their 
dance. . . . 

" Rising, they unfolded their scarves and shook out their pleated skirts, 
jingling the little bells on their anklets, by which they mark the cadence. 
After a preliminary chorus, accompanied by viols and tam-tams, they 
formed a half-circle, and one of them advanced in front of us. Her 
arms extended, her veil floating about her, she began to turn slowly round 
and round, with a slight quivering of her body, which made her bells 
tinkle. The soft and languorous music seemed to lull her ; her eyes were 
half closed. Each dancer took her turn in a pas seul ; one imitated a 
serpent-charmer or a wrestler ; another, more impetuous, twirled about 
with great rapidity. A third, who wore a pretty pearl-embroidered cap, 
followed the music with a coquettish movement of the- body peculiar to 
herself. They concluded with a lively round, accompanied by songs and 

" In all this there was no trace of the obscenity, supposed to be 
characteristic of the Bayaderes' dances. Their bearing, though it has a 
touch of coquetry, is always modest, and their costume stricter than that of 
other women. Nor must we look for dancing from them in the ordinary 
sense of the word. Postures, attitudes, and chants make up the official 
Nautch Dance of the Hindoos. I say ' official,' because I did see, upon 
occasion, dances of a very .different character, to which strangers are rarely 
admitted. These were regular ballets, somewhat like those of our own 
operas, but full of the ardent and voluptuous Eastern spirit. Under 
ordinary circumstances the Nautch Dance is so serious and, indeed, so 
unattractive, when the dancers are neither young nor pretty, that many 
disappointed Europeans imagine they are assisting at some lugubrious 
ceremonial rite." 

After describing the Festival of Dassara at the Court of Baroda, and the 



curious licence accorded to the Hindoo Bayaderes during this celebration, 
M. Rousselet tells us that in R:ijputana the Bayaderes always enjoy special 


He was present one evening in the Armondjan Palace at the religious 
dances of" the Nauratri, performed by Nautch-girls. 

" They were placed on the upper terrace of the Palace ; an immense 

Yt m in 

t lAYADfcRtt 
Ka(ravi»g hy Poiwoo after Sol iK'st 

carpet was spread upon the ground ; brasiers filled with resin flared in the 
angles of the wall, struggling with gusty flashes against the brilliant star- 
light. In the midst of 1 compact circle of women, who crowded the vast 
platform, glittering with jewels and spangles, a dancing-girl moved 
languidly to the sound of the ancient music of Indian worship. The 
scene was truly beautiful and poetic. The uncertain light, glancing fitfully 
upon the graceful crowd ; the starry vault above us ; the tufts of palm and 
Him that waved at our feet, shaking out their intoxicating scents upon the 
clear mountain air, that came to us laden with the keen odours of the 
jungle ; the mysterious rhythm of the music- all combined to give a strange 
charm to the evening," 


At the Court of the Begum of Bhopal he saw the most charming of all 
the dances. 

" After a dance of young men, cathacks, a dancing-girl triads her 
appearance. She was dressed in the costume of the women of the people, a 
bodice and a very short sarri, and bore on her head a large wheel of osiers, 
placed horizontally on the top of her skull. Round the wheel hung strings 
at equal distances, each terminating in a running knot, kept open by means 
of a glass bead. The dancer advanced to the spectators, carrying a basket 
of eggs, which she handed to us that we might satisfy ourselves they were 

" The musicians struck up a monotonous staccato measure, and the dancer 
began to whirl round with great rapidity. Seizing an egg, she slipped it 
into one of the running knots, and, with a sudden jerk, threw it from her 
in such a manner as to draw the knot tight. By means of the centrifugal 
force produced by the swiftness of her rotations, the string flew out, 
till the egg stood in a straight line with the corresponding ray of the 
circumference. One after the other, the eggs were all thrown out on 
the strings, until at last they formed a horizontal halo round the dancer's 
head. Hereupon her movements became more and more rapid ; we could 
scarcely distinguish her features. It was a critical moment ; the least false 
step, the slightest pause, and the eggs would have been smashed one against 
the other. How then was she to interrupt her dance, how stop it ? 
There was but one way : to take out the eggs as she had put them in. 
Though it hardly appears so, this last operation is the more difficult of the 
two. By a single movement of the utmost neatness and precision, the 
dancer must catch the egg and draw it to her ; it will be readily understood 
that if she were to put her hand into the circle unskilfully, and touch one 
of the strings, the general harmony would be at once disturbed. At last 
all the eggs were safely extricated, the dancer stopped abruptly, and 
apparently not in the least giddy after her gyrations of some half-hour, 
she walked firmly towards us and presented the eggs, which were 
immediately broken into a dish to prove that there had been no 

M. Emile Guimet, a more recent traveller, thus describes his experience 
of a Bayadere dance : 



"The music begins. The melody, marked by loud percussions at 
intervals, is plaintive, sad, languishing, but belongs to our own order of 
harmony. There is nothing Chinese, nothing Arab, above all, nothing 
Japanese about it. If Arab music has preserved the tonality of antiquity, 
Indian music reveals the origin of modern European methods. 

"There are three dancers, who dance in turn. The first has very 

\ m mm nvtcER 

From a Photograph 

regular features and wonderfully expressive eyes. Her dancing is more in 
the nature of pantomime than of a succession of steps. She advances with 
an expression of restrained passion, then retires, as if' alarmed and 
humiliated by her involuntary confession. Her movements follow the 
rhythm, her gestures emphasise her supposed sentiments with much grace 
and energy. In her face and attitudes she seems to express in turn 
sympathy, terror, joy, anger, recklessness, shame, self-aban;!onment, delight 
and humiliation, the intensest passion and the bitterest remorse. 



"How remote from this touching poetry are the sensual Almees of 
Cairo or Algiers, or the cold Geishas of Kioto ! Even the ouled-nails of 
Biskra, who have preserved the traditions of antiquity in the oases of the 
desert, give but a feeble reflex of this Brahminic epopee, at once burning 
and delicate, expounded to us by glances and gestures. 

"•The dancer's costume is red and gold, her black bodice is covered 
with gold spangles. Her hair is very simply dressed, with a few flowers 


After a Picture by Richtcr 

for ornament. She wears jewels in her nostrils, numerous bracelets and 
anklets, and enormous toe-rings. 

" The Bayadere who takes her place has a colder cast of countenance, 
but she is much handsomer. Her head-dress of fragrant flowers, without 
leaves or stalks, forms a sort of coronet, and falls down on the nape of her 
neck with the ends of her hair. She wears costly bracelets on the fleshy 
part of her arms, and her feet are plated with rings and golden circlets. It 
seems marvellous that she should be able to stand up and dance under the 


weight of all her sumptuous fetters. Her dance, though less expressive 
than that we have just witnessed, is statelier and more elegant ; her very 
coldness gives more distinction to her attitudes. 

" As to the subject, it is still an amorous drama, a scene inspired by 
the touching episodes of the Ramayana, or some other mythological 

The Egyptian, Tunisian or Algerian Almees differ greatly from the 
Bayaderes, for the very essence of their dances is obscenity. 

The Egyptian Almees wear a long silken robe, covered with a pattern 
and fastened about them with a sash ; a gauze veil is drawn across their 
breasts. Like veritable Bacchantes, they give themselves up to suggestive 
contortions, to the sound of castanets, tambourines or cymbals. 

The ouled-ndils of Algeria, adorned like idols, laden with necklaces, are 
famous- for their Danse du Ventre. They may be seen nearly everywhere 
throughout the country, but in greatest perfection at Ouargla, where 
any one may witness their dances by the expenditure of a halfpenny for a 
cup of coffee. 
• At the sound of the rhaita, a shrill-toned clarionet, the thar, or 
tambourine, the dherbouka, a skin stretched over a pot from which the 
bottom has been knocked out, and which emits a hollow resonance, the 
thebel, a big drum, on which the performer strikes with a piece of bent 
wood, the Almees advance. They wave their arms, loaded with jewels, 
their silken sashes interwoven with gold, above their heads, and walk, 
swaying their bellies, half naked, in a manner more alluring than decorous. 

" Eastern dance," says Jules Lemaitre, " is essentially a solo and a 
spectacle. ... It is eminently private and intimate in its character. 
Within the narrow limits and the dim light of a Moorish room it may 
interest an artist, a voluptuary, or a student of manners by the suppleness of 
its movements, the harmony of its lines and contours." 

At Tunis, Almees are to be found everywhere, even in the lowest dens. 
Their obscene dances are performed throughout the province, in cafes, at 
private entertainments, and even at certain ceremonies. 

I was once a guest at a Jewish wedding, and after the marriage had 
been solemnised at the synagogue I followed the procession to the home of 
the newly wedded pair. The festival was held in the patio. All around, 



from ground-floor and first-floor windows, hung bunches of human fruit, 
women gleaming with jewels ; an orchestra, composed of a harmonium, a 
flute, a violin, and a long-necked mandolin, gave out a deafening music. 
The music ceased for an instant ; a look of attention came into every 


Afar a Picture 

face, as if something important, the nature of which was well known to all 
present, were about to happen. 

A little girl came forward, her eyes modestly downcast. She raised 
them, and cast a languishing glance at the spectators. Then, half closing 
her lids, she began to dance, to the monotonous accompaniment of voices 
and orchestra, swaying her body to and fro in attitudes that contrasted 
painfully with the solemn character of the preceding ceremony. Mean- 




while women, lost in the obscure recesses of the rooms, gave utterance to 
the you-you, the cry which emphasises this dance. 

Much the same kind of dance obtains in savage Africa. Commandant 
Colomieu relates that one evening at Metlili, during his journey across the 
Algerian Sahara, he saw the negroes and negresses of the oasis perform one 
of their ceremonial dances with great pomp. The instruments of the 


After a Drawing by Decamps in the Louvre 

orchestra were iron castanets, accompanying a kind of chant, to which the 
dancers, male and female, twisted themselves about with contortions that 
suggested a veritable infernal ballet. 

The negresses, excited by the applause, gave themselves up to a 
choregraphic onslaught, in which the boldest and most daring attitudes 
alternated with postures of mincing grace and affectation. 

Dancing is still a rite among all primitive races, just as it was under the 
antique civilisations, and in our wanderings throughout the world we find 
it associated with religious ceremonies, festivals, and even with funerals. 



The religious sect of Aissaouas in Mussulman countries execute frenzied 
dances, the performance of which I have often witnessed. It is a strange 
spectacle to see the howling crowd, excited by the fumes of incense, 
bending and throwing back their heads in cadence, their haggard eyes 
rolling wildly, and the guethdia, the long tresses of hair on the summit of 
their shaven crowns, flying round them, now falling on their shoulders, now 
covering the napes of their necks. The movement of head and body 


From a Photograph 

becomes more and more emphatic, the boom of the tam-tams deepens, 
until at last the Aissaouas, seized with delirium, crunch wood, iron and 
glass between their teeth, scorch their flesh with red-hot coals, and swallow 
live scorpions. 

The Patagonian Indians of America hold a festival once a year in 
honour of Vita Oucntrou, the god of good. On this occasion they grease 
their hair, paint their faces with extreme care, and dress in the most 
grotesque costumes ; but it is unlawful to laugh during the ceremonies. 
The tribesmen form themselves in line, their faces to the cast, their women 
behind them. The dance then begins, the only change of position being 
from right to left ; the women sing, accompanying themselves on a wooden 


drum, covered with a wild cat's skin of many colours. The men pirouette 
on one foot, the opposite one to that on which the women balance them- 
selves, and blow with all their might into hollow reeds. Suddenly, at a 
signal from the Cacique, cries of alarm resound ; the men spring hastily to 
horse, and breaking off their dance, follow each other in a fantastic 

The Mandans, one of the Indian tribes of the upper Missouri, perform 
what is known as the Bison Dance at a certain religious festival which they 
celebrate with fasting, prayer, sacrifices, and all the tokens of profound 
devotion. Eight Mandans, wrapped in bison-hides, on which the horns 
and the eyes are left, are the actors in this strange ballet. Naked but for 
these skins, their bodies painted in bands of red, white and black, and 
bearing on their shoulders a fagot of willow-branches, they imitate the 
movements and appearance of the bison. Space forbids a more detailed 
account of the religious festivals accompanied by dances, in which the 
Indians mimic the fauna of their country, serpents, beavers, vultures, &c, 
while the master of the ceremonies invokes the Great Spirit. 

The Indians of the Amazon solemnise their great religious festivals with 
the most curious processions and ceremonies. At Exaltacion de la Santa 
Cruz, M. Franz Keller-Leuzinger saw a dozen macheteiros (sword-dancers) 
in head-dresses made from the tail feathers of the araras and down from 
the breast of the toucan, with stags' feet fastened to their ankles, and large 
wooden swords in their hands. They marched under the leadership of their 
chief, who brandished a huge silver cross, and were followed by the whole of 
their tribe. They went from Calvary to Calvary, singing psalms and waving 
censers. Before each cross these braves executed a sort of allegorical dance, 
which evidently symbolised the submission of the Indians to the Church, 
and their conversion to Christianity. This manifestation accomplished, the 
macheteiro, bathed in sweat, approached the Calvary with many genuflexions, 
and laid his wooden sword and fantastic aureole at the foot of the crucifix. 

Descriptions of this kind abound in books of travel. In the Philippines 
the Negritos dance a sort of Pyrrhic at marriage feasts. 

The men form a circle, each one laying his left hand on the hip of the 
one in front of him ; with their right hands they brandish bows and arrows 
with a threatening air ; they move round slowly, with jerky steps, striking 



the left heel hard upon the ground. Three women occupy the centre of 
the circle, chanting, or rather screaming, an air, which is restricted to a few 
shrill, piercing notes. A young Negrito, who wears garters of wild boar 
skin, strikes a drum at intervals, and rushes into the circle. He prowls 
round the women, backwards and forwards, goes away and comes back again, 
running about with the anxious and cunning look of the thief fascinated by 


From an Eagm iug by Bartolozri after Cipriani for Ctk'i I Vr<v« 

the thought of his booty, but fearful of a surprise. It is the devil, or rather 
Tagaloc, who fills his office among the Negritos. 

In his journey through the Valley of Huarancalqui and the Pajonal 
district, M. Paul Marcoy saw private dances performed in honour of the 
birth of Christ. These quasi-devotions were practised before a shrine 
representing the Nativity, El Nacimiento. 

* A dozen women were seated in a semicircle round the nacimiento, 
before which two candles, two bottles, and a glass were placed upon a little 
table. In the vacant space between this table and the gallery a woman of 
fifty and a young Cholo danced a national dance to a guitar accompaniment, 



pausing between each figure to curtsey to the shrine. Adjoining the room of 
the nacimiento was a second, in which a crowd of dancers of both sexes 
stamped about with tremendous energy. 

" When any visitors arrived, a woman of the company, who seemed to 
have constituted herself guardian of the nacimiento, rose, filled the glass on 
the table with brandy, and offered it in turn to each of the newcomers, with 

the usual formula : 
' Que le aprovecha 
la orina del nino 
Jesu.' ' Many 
thanks,' replied 
the person ad- 
dressed, wiping 
his or her lips, 
and waiting his 
or her turn to 
dance. After a 
few steps executed 
before the naci- 
miento, and the 
consumption of a 
few more drams, 
the dancer, now sufficiently warmed up, passed into the neighbouring 
room, there to take part in those character-dances the Spaniards call 
troche y moche." 

The same traveller saw dances performed at funerals in Peru. 
" Like the Scandinavian heroes," he says, " the Conibos pass after death 
to a martial Paradise, the chief diversions of which are jousts and 
tournaments. The Virgins of Walhalla are represented by Aibo-Mueai 
(courtesans), who offer the Conibo warrior mountains of food and rivers of 

" When the women have wrapped the corpse of a Conibo in his tari, 
when they have placed his bow and arrows in his hand, smeared him with 
rocou and genipa, and tied him up carefully, they chant a requiem dirge, the 
chiringui, and perform dances," 


From an Engraving by Heath after Webber 



During his journey to the Albert Nyanza, Batier was present by chance 
at a funeral dance. 

"One day," he says, "I heard the nogaras, or drums, beating, the 
trumpets sounding. I mingled with the crowd, and soon found myself a 
spectator of a funeral 

" The performers wore 
a curious costume. Their 
helmets were adorned 
with about a dozen large 
ostrich feathers. Leopard- 
skins and black and 
white monkey-skins hung 
from their shoulders. 
Iron bells attached to a 
leather girdle hung 
round their hips, which 
they twisted about with 
the most absurd contor- 
tions; an antelope's horn, 
slung round the neck, 
was used to give utterance 
to piercing sounds, a 
cross between the cries of 
the ass and the owl, 
when their excitement 

reached its highest pitch. Every one howled in chorus, and seven nogaras 
of varying sizes formed the bass of this infernal chorus. 

"The men, who had mustered in large numbers, executed a kind of 
galop, brandishing their clubs and spears, and following their chieftain, who 
danced backwards before them, in a column some five or six deep. The 
women accompanied the dancers, but did not mingle with them. They 
swayed slowly to and fro, uttering plaintive and discordant cries. At some 
little distance came a long line of children and young girls, their heads and 
necks smeared with red ochre and grease, wearing necklaces and girdles of 


From an Engraving by Grignion after Webber 


coloured beads, stamping out the measure with their feet, and clanking their 
iron anklets in time to the beating of the nogaras. A woman ran in and 
out among the dancers, sprinkling their heads with charcoal ashes which she 
carried in a gourd. 

" This ceremony was to continue for some weeks in honour of a 
number of warriors who had lately fallen in battle." 


- ",■""* 

Bk ~ < Mini T 

-J£j& r fl| 


4J ■ 


After an Engi- iving by Jaz;t in the Bibliotheque Nationale 


After a Lithograph by Gavaroi in the Bibliothcque Naiionale 


Cntemftrarj Danees—Tt* Wtllx—The galop—The Tolka— Cellaring Merkow ski, 

and Labtrde—Tbt Jardin (Mabille—Tritchard, Chicard, and 

'Brididi — Queen Tomare. 

[E Waltz was in high favour in 1830. The Volte, first 
danced by Henry III., was simply the Valse a Irois temps. 
The description of it given by Thoinot Arbeau in 1589 
identifies it with the saltatio duorum in gyrum, to quote the 
definition of the Waltz in Trevoux's dictionary. The worthy canon of 
Langres not only reveals the analogy between Volte and Waltz, but shows 
that the Volte was, in fact, the Valse a irois temps. 

•'The Waltz we took from the Germans again in 1795 had been a French 
dance for four hundred years," says Castil-Blaze. It may indeed be 
looked upon as one of our most ancient dances. Provence was its 
birthplace. It was fashionable throughout the whole of the sixteenth 

2 o 


century, and was the delight of the Valois Court. It is certainly the most 
graceful and seductive of all known dances. 

" A technical examination of the Waltz would be out of place in this 
work. Desrat, in his Dictionnaire, describes the movements and gives the 
history of this, as of all other dances. 

It may be of interest, however, to recall Saint-Ibald's recommendations 
to waltzers : 

" En dehors tes pieds tourneras, 

Et tes jambes egalement. 
Haute toujours la tete sera, 

Et portee gracieusement. 
Au bras droit ta dame enlaceras, 

La conduisant solidemcnt. 
Ta main gauche legere auras, 

Et ton bras gauche memement. 
Toujours dans ton pas glisseras, 

Tes deux pieds aussi souplement. 
Joyeux et gai tu valseras, 

Sans jamais sauter follement. 
Trois pas egaux, rythmes, feras 

En l'antique valse a trois temps. 
Du pied gauche tu commenceras, 

Et du droit suivras lentement. 
En avant, en arriere, iras, 

Et ta dame reciproquement. 
De la mesure esclave seras, 

Et ta valseuse egalement. 
Quand la valse tu finiras, 

Dame remercieras poliment. 
Au buffet tu Pameneras, 

Et du punch boiras seulement. 

As to the Waltz, "incorrectly called the Valse a deux temps (two beats), 
instead of a deux pas (two steps')"^ as Professor Desrat says, it is of 
Russian origin. 

" It should be called the ' two-step ' waltz," he adds, " because it 
consists of two steps, danced to a bar of three beats, the time proper to all 
waltzes." * 

* "I can speak with authority of the introduction of the Valse a deux pas into France, 
for it was first taught to my father under the following circumstances : in 1839 the 
Baron de Nieuken, an attache at the Russian Legation, was taking dancing lessons 

■-...• / / . J/lf I I II in/. 



The Galop was another favourite diversion of Parisian society in 1830. 

Hungary is said to have been the birthplace of the Galop. But this, 
again, was an old dance often introduced after Voltes and Country Dances 
as a variation on their slow and somewhat solemn steps. It was about 1 8 1 5 
that the Galop began to be a recognised dance, as in former times. For a 


After an Engraving by Lacoott 

long time the fifth figure of the French Quadrille went by the name of the 
Sainf-Simonitnne, because it introduced the Galop. 

from my father. These lessons were given after the fashion then usual, and comprised 
all the rudimentary exercises, batttmtnts, plih. Sec. One evening the Baron was going 
to a grand ball given by the Comte de Mole, then Foreign Minister, and expected to 
dance with some charming Russian ladies. He accordingly asked his teacher to practise 
the steps with him. Great was my father's wrath at hearing him talk of a waltz with two 
iteps, for this seemed to him a manifest contradiction to the three beats of the accepted 
Waltz measure. But he was soon appeased when he saw that his pupil made his (hani by 
taking the first step to the first ttot beat*, and the second step to the third beat. My father 
at once understood that the (tassi was composed of one long slow step, and one short quick 
one. Master and pupil waltzed together amicably, and M. de Nieuken'i success was so 
complete that from that night the aristocracy in a body forsook the V*kt a trtis tempt for 
that a dttx t*'"— (Dcsrat, Diitiiuntire it U Danit.) 



During the reign of Louis Philippe, four grand balls were given at the 

Tuileries in the winter, 
and two smaller balls in 
the Queen's apartments. 
After the marriage of the 
Due d'Orleans, one ball 
was given in his apart- 
ments during the season. 
At the Queen's balls, the 
guests were not expected 
to wear full Court dress. 
The men, with the excep- 
tion of those who had to 
appear in some special 
uniform, wore blue coats, 
and were free to indulge 
individual fancies in the 
embroideries on collars and 
facings. White kerseymere 
trousers with wide gold 

stripes down the sides were worn with these coats. The ladies were 

always in full dress. At the small 

dances given by the Queen, the 

Due d'Orleans, or the Due de 

Nemours, the gold-striped trousers 

were replaced by white kerseymere 

breeches and buckled shoes. 

It was customary to give a 

grand ball at the English Embassy 

in honour of Queen Victoria's 


" The supper," says M. de 

Beaumont, " was laid in the con- 
servatory, and it was an understood 

thing that Lady Granville's fair 


After a Lithograph 


After a Lithograph by Pigal 



guests should all appear in pink and white, the Queen's colours. All the 
men wore " button-holes," made of a rose, and two or three sprays of 
lily-of-the-valley ; the politician and the serious man displayed the pink 
and white badge no less punctiliously than the greatest dandy of the 


After a Print of the Restoration Period in the Bibliotheque Nationale 

It was at the Austrian Embassy that the famous dejeuners dansants were 

"The guests arrived in broad daylight, about half-past two in the 
afternoon. Each lady as she entered received a bouquet before passing into 
the magnificent rooms, the honours of which Countess Appony did so 
gracefully. She was indeed a literal embodiment of the old aristocratic 
social tradition. The Count, with the Golden Fleece hanging from his 
neck, and the Order of St. Stephen on his breast, was a perfect type of the 
great noble, affable, but full of dignity. Dancing began at once. There 
was a positive craze for the Valse « deux temps. . . . All the couples 



followed in the wake of the two Rodolphes and Julio Appony. . . . The 
Dukes d'Ossuna, de Valency, and de Dino ; Counts Esterhazy, Zichy, 
de Morny, de ChAteauvillars, de Jumillac, de la Tour-du-Pin, and Guillaume 
de Kniff were supported by all the great financial luminaries, the Roths- 
childs, Hopes, Barings, and Thorns. The women represented the supreme 
elegance of Paris ; among them were Miles. Fitzwilliam, de Terzzi, 


After a Print of the Restoration Period 

de Stackelberg, de Chanterac, de Ganay, de Nicola'i, de Virieu, Lady 
Canterbury, the Duchess of Sutherland, the Princesse de la Tremouille, the 
Marquise de Contades, the Duchesses d'lstrie, d'Otrante, de Plaisance, 
Mmes. de Vernant, de Magnoncourt, d'Haussonville. ... At about five 
o'clock, there was a pause in the dancing, and the company descended the 
flight of steps leading to the gardens. There, under the shade of the trees 
and among the shrubberies, were set charmingly appointed little tables, at 
which the guests seated themselves haphazard, or in select little parties, and 



prolonged the delightful emotions of Waltz and Galop in conversations 
animated by champagne. . . ." 

Towards 1 844, the furore for waltzing began to show signs of abatement. 
It had long reigned supreme in society, the Galop being no longer danced, 
save in the carnival balls. The introduction of the Polka brought about an 
extraordinary revolution in dancing. It created a veritable mania among 


After • Print of the Restoration Period 

the middle and the lower classes, a terpsichorean epidemic which no one 
escaped. All did not die of it, but all alike took the disease. Society 
resisted for a time ; hitherto it had given the tone to fashion, and it was 
not inclined to follow a movement. But the fame of this dance became so 
widespread, and its popularity so immense, that at last a duchess opened the 
doors of her reception-rooms to admit it, and thereupon the Polka reigned 
supreme in the high places of the earth.* 

• ■ The first time it was formally introduced into society was at a ball given by 
M. G ... ., the Lucullut of our age. The smartest gentlemen rider* and a host of pretty 



The Polka came from Bohemia. It appeared first at Vienna, and 

afterwards with brilliant 
success at Baden. It was 
introduced into Paris by 
Cellarius, the famous 
dancing - master, among 
whose pupils were Hun- 
garians, Poles and Wal- 
lachians, who played their 
national dances on the 
piano for the others to 
dance. Cellarius' school at 
the end of the courtyard, 
at No. 41 Rue Vivienne, 
became the sanctuary of 
the new dance, which owed 
something of its success to 
the gold spurs which were 
looked upon as indispens- 
able for a brilliant polkaist 
of the male gender. The 
young professor became the man of the hour. Dancing took place every 
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evening, from eight to eleven, 


After Gavarni 

women were present at this solemnity, at which M. Cellarius and M. Eugene Coralli were 
to meet face to face and polka to polka. All the votaries of the Polka were on the tiptoe 
of expectation. Chledowski himself had composed the music for the occasion. Cellarius 
appeared, with carefully dressed hair and glossy beard, triumphing in advance ; he was 
surrounded by four or five experts carefully chosen from among his best pupils. A certain 
anxiety was nevertheless visible in the master's face ; every now and then he sprang nimbly 
upon the platform where the musicians were installed, and made them play over the new 
composition, the third polka that had been written. Then he returned in haste to his 
disciples, passing along the ranks, haranguing them in brief, decisive phrases, animating them 
both by words and gestures. The great Germanicus could have done no more, pace Tacitus. 

"While the master was thus engaged, Eugene Coralli, Lucien Petipa, and two or three 
other accomplished Labordians of the opposition preserved a scornful silence and a redoubt- 
able calm. 

"At last the orchestra gave the signal of battle. The spectators made way respectfully, 
Cellarius led out one of his sisters, dressed in pure white like a vestal virgin, and started in 
full career, followed by his faithful cohort. 



under his auspices, and during the winter he gave a nocturnal fete every 
Wednesday. He further gave balls every year, to which ladies were admitted 

Prom a Print of the Restoration Period 

on the sole condition that they should appear in very elegant toilettes. I [c 
afterwards carried out what may be described as a social coup d'etat by 

" It wis like Achill»s rushing under the walls of Troy to defy Hector, and avenge the 
death of Patroclus ; but 

'O rage ! O descspoir ! O fortune enncmic, 
N'avait-il tant polkc que pour ccttc infamic ! ' 

"Oh, agony ! No one could dance to the new tunc ; they required the old routine 
with which they had sucked the milk of Mother Polka ! The performers stopped and 
gazed at each other in astonishment. The master in vain endeavoured to revive their 
courage in this extremity. 'At least give us enemies we can cope with ! ' they exclaimed. 
These words were an inspiration for the master. Rushing to the orchestra, he threw down 
the traditional score before them, and the complaisant musicians once more struck up the 
old wearisome tunc, the most wearisome ever written, perhaps, with the exception of the 
Tklir* Ji "Dt»j L'M CSUnttz.. As the familiar strains fell on their cars, the Ccllarians took 

2 P 


inaugurating artists' balls, to which admission could only be obtained by 

means of a letter of 
invitation, signed in most 
cases by some famous 

For the struggle had 
become deadly ; rival 
professors had arisen, 
Markowski andLaborde. 
The latter disputed the 
honour of having intro- 
duced the Polka into 
France with him. 

Did the King dance 
the Polka ? An irreve- 
rent couplet of the day 
declares that he did : 

" C'est le. grand Louis 
Qui s'est fichu par tcrrc, 
En dansant la polka 
Avcc la reinc Victoria." 


After Gavarni 

Books, feuilletons, novels, poems, plays, music, all dealt with the 
Polka. There was even a Polka Almanack, published in 1845, an ^ tne 

courage ; they advanced with great spirit, bringing their heels up among their coat-tails in 
the most daring fashion, and remained masters of the field. 

" But their triumph was not of long duration. The crowd presently parted to make 
way for their terrible rivals, whose very first steps ensured the discomfiture of the Cellarians. 
The whole cohort dispersed, and the unhappy chief, his eyes darting flames, his heart full of 
fury, withdrew to swallow the affront as best he might. 

"Such was this memorable day, the events of which are so suggestive of a mock heroic 
poem that our very prose has been affected. Thenceforth an unquenchable hatred, direr 
than that of Capulets and Montagues, reigned between the rival schools. Immediately 
after their defeat the Cellarians are said to have assembled in the little Pink Boudoir and, 
before the statue of the Hermaphrodite, to have vowed an enmity to their foes, which might 
very well have found expression in something more than words." — {La Polka enseignie sans 



dance was made a pretext for political satire, the diva polka being thus 
apostrophised : 

"Dansc dc libertc, d'amour, de pocsic, 
Ouc vicns-tu done cherchcr, 6 polka, parmi nous ? . . " 

The Country Dance, it was said, suits the sanguine, the Galop the 
bilious, the Waltz the lymphatic, the Polka the nervous and passionate. 


After a Print of the Kestoraik n Period 

An amusing little treatise of the time contains the following 
reflections : 

" The entry of the Polka into Paris took place without pomp of any 
sort, without any public rejoicings, without the ghost of a sergent-de- 

" No miracles heralded its advent, no dogs barked as at the birth of 
Csesar, no chimneys were blown down as at the death of Macbeth." 

The rivalry between Laborde and Ccllarius became more and more 
acute; the brilliant star of Markowski appeared on the horizon; the 
newspapers engaged in fierce polemics concerning these professors. 



According to Delvau, Mme. de Girardin and Eugene Vitu took the 
trouble to discuss this Polish Cancan. 

"The Labordian," said one of the two, "turns his foot inwards, 
which gives the true foreign stamp to his step ; he raises his heel 
but very slightly behind him, and rests much more on the point of 
the foot, which gives greater elegance as well as greater lightness to his 

" The Cellarian, on the other hand, twirls round with great delight, 

stamps with alarming 
vigour, and lifts his heels 
as if he intended to put 
them into the tail-pockets 
of his coat ; we purposely 
exaggerate the Cellarian 
faults a little the better to 
show their absurdity. All 
this would be well enough 
it the Polka were simply 
a stagc-iance ; then, the 
more choregraphic prob 
lems, Cyclopean strides, 
and tours- deforce it could 
introduce, the better. But, 
as the Polka is destined to 
be danced in ball-rooms, I 
cannot see why, instead of retaining its national simplicity and original 
grace, we should rack our brains to transform it into a kind of convulsion, 
no less dangerous to the joints of the performer, than to the sensitive 
parts of the spectator." 

Meanwhile the Polka, its invasion of the capital completed, slipped 
through the city barriers, and took possession of the provinces. 

We are told that the Northern districts, with the exception of Rouen 
and Verdun, remained fairly calm, but from Orleans downwards and 
throughout the South, a frenzy of enthusiasm reigned. Every town was 
attacked by Polkamania. Lyons, Marseilles, and Toulon were the most 


Afler a Lithograph by H. Bellang£ 



impassioned ; at Bordeaux the Polka was danced in the theatres, the 
streets, and even in the shops, &c. 

I'tim'i cinmiiiii i 

But, as I have said, the star of Marlcowski had risen in the choregraphic 
firmament. The professor introduced certain Polish dances. Cellarius' 



Polka began to wane. It shone with a last furtive splendour for a time, 
like a flame on the point of expiring, and then the general enthusiasm died 
out completely. 

Markowski's origin was shrouded in mystery. It had its legend, too. 
At his birth his father dreamt that he saw gnomes dancing round a cradle. 


From a Print of the Restoration Period 

All that was known about him when he started a dancing-class in the Rue 
Saint-Lazare was, that he had arrived from Poland at the age of eighteen, 
very poor, and had gone about giving lessons in schools, his pocket-fiddle 
under his arm. 

In 1848, after many vicissitudes, he opened a dancing-school at the 
Hotel de Normandie, which suddenly had a great success. The aristocracy 
and society generally thronged to his rooms. He very soon made a 
fortune, which soon melted away in his hands. It was at this stage of his 



career that, as director of the Enghien balls, he gave a brilliant fete, which 
was long remembered, in the establishment he managed. 

A BALL IN 1830 
From a Print of ibc Period 

The entertainment in question was a pantomime of Robert the Devil, 
performed by the light of Bengal fire. The effect was extraordinary, the 
crowd immense, so much so 
that certain journalists, who had 
been unable to get in, mounted 
a poplar-tree in order to give 
an account of the spectacle. 
The receipts amounted to 
37,000 francs. 

Markowski afterwards 
created the magnificent El 
Dorado of the Rue Duphot, and 
lived in great luxury, but his 
career was full of ups and 
downs, of lights and shadows. 
Shortly afterwards, his effects 
were seized, and his furniture 
and carriages sold by auction. 

From 1851 to 1857 he was 
sunk in the deepest poverty, 
and he who had known wealth, 

who had been seen in the Hois daily with a carriage and servants in livery, 
was neglected aiui lor^ken. 

After A lithograph try Vcrrccr 



He lodged in a cold and wretched garret, and slept on a heap of 
shavings ; no landlord would let him a flat, for he had nothing to 
offer as security for his rent ; he was insolvent. And each time he 
appeared on the stage he was virulently attacked in the press. One evening 
he danced at a charity ball at Ranelagh, poorer himself than those for 

whom the fete was 
given, for he had eaten 
nothing since the day 
before. Returning to 
his miserable den, 
some four kilometres 
distant, through the 
darkness, shivering 
under an icy wind, 
the soles of his boots 
came off" as he waded 
through the mud. 
Poor Markowski 
thought it lucky that 
this accident had not 
befallen him at Rane- 
lagh in the middle of 
his brilliant perform- 

And it was during 
this time uf loneliness 
and poverty that he 
composed his finest dances. Shivering with fever on his pallet, and racked 
with the cough he never lost after the memorable night at Ranelagh, he 
created the Schottische, the Sicilienne. the Friska, the Lisbonienne, and, 
above all, the Mazurka, the success of which was nearly equal to that of the 

Markowski at last found his capitalist, M. Covary, who placed all his 
fortune, three thousand francs, at his disposal for the decoration and 
arrangement of the saloons of the Rue Buffault, a place of entertainment 


A RALL IN 1830 
After a Lithograph of the Period 



organised for the demi-monde and Bohemia, but where the flower of the 
aristocracy and of the arts was often to be encountered. Marlcowski, 
with three thousand francs in hand for the preparation of his rooms, 
promptly" spent sixty thousand. His creditors — numerous enough in all 
conscience ! — were alarmed, and began to dun him. One fine day a 
policeman arrived to carry him off to Clichy. Markowslci fled through 


After a Lithograph by Eugene Limy 

his dwelling, the policeman after him, and, the better to escape, made for a 
dark narrow staircase leading to the offices. The policeman stumbled, and 
rolled to the bottom of the staircase. He declared in court that he had 
been enticed into an ambush, and an inquiry was held, which proved the 
professor's innocence. 

Throughout all his misfortunes the kindliness of this man, who had 
suffered so bitterly, and whose friends had deserted him in adversity, 
remained unchanged. His warmth of heart is attested by innumerable 




Markowski's public consisted in a great measure of foreigners, English- 
men, Wallachians, &c, with a few artists and men of letters. Among the 
writers occasionally to be seen in his rooms were Villemessant, Gustave 
Claudin, Roger de Beauvoir, Murger, Lambert Thiboust, &c. 

Markowski gave his farewell entertainment in the Rue BufFault in 1863. 

The hall had been requisi- 
tioned in view of the exten- 
sion of the Rue de Lafayette. 
Markowski's star had set. 

Catherine de' Medici 
created Cours-la-Reine, be- 
tween the road to Versailles 
along the Seine, and certain 
waste lands. In 1660 Louis 
XIV. transformed those 
waste-lands into the Champs 
Elysees, and laid out a vast 
quincunx on Lenotre's plans, 
which crossed the high road 
to Saint-Germain. Between 
the Versailles and Saint-Germain roads a shady avenue was planted, to which 
the name of Allee des Veuves was given. 

pg By a curious irony of fate it was here that the Bal Mabille was established 
about 1840, to become in time the rendezvous of fashionable women and 

At first it was nothing but a little rustic dancing-room, frequented by 
ladies' maids and lackeys from the Faubourg Saint-Honore. It was lighted 
by oil-lamps, and the visitors danced to the music of a clarionet. 

This upper-servants' ball-room, which was only open in the summer 
months, was managed by Mabille the elder. He was a dancing master, who 
also held dances at the Hotel d'Aligre, Rue Saint-Honore, which had a 
certain vogue. Mabille's son transformed the establishment, replacing the 
smoky lamps by gas, introducing a lively orchestra, suppressing the ticket- 
collectors, who took payment for each Quadrille before it began, and closing 
the establishment on Mondays, the popular day, to open it on Saturdays. 




/^^■l <l ^Br^K v . 

■BHBL.jH^r^' . 


- 11L ^f^^W 

i I 


■ •- MM [ 

After a Lithograph by Henri Monnier 



All the feminine public of the Quartier des Martyrs and the Chaussee 
d'Antin flocked to it, and the footmen and ladies' maids disappeared. 

The Bal Mabille had become fashionable. 

Everybody knows Mabille ; the memory of its merry balls has not yet 


After a Lithocraph by J. Dirid 

died out ; it remains a legend of careless gaiety, full of the songs and 
laughter of its whilom poets, its ephemeral kings and queens : 

" Pomarc, Maria, 
Mogador et Clara, 
A mc* ycux enchantes 
Apparaiucz, chutes divinitcs! 
C'ctt tamedi dam le jardin Mabille ; 
Vous vous livrcz a de joycux (5bat». 
Cot la qu'on trouve unc gahc tranquillc, 
Et dc» vertui qui nc tc donncnt pat." 

Such was its popularity that Charles de Boignc devoted an article to it 



in the serious Constitutionnel, glorifying the kings of the ball, Chicard, 

Pritchard and Brididi. 

The following passage occurs in a little book of the period : 

" In the steppes of Russia, in the green and trackless prairies of America, on the heights 
of Chimborazo, or by the waters of the Araoor, in the lands ot the dawn and the sunset, in 

strange unknown regions, let 
but some being with a human 
face and voice pronounce this 
word, ' Mabille ! ' and he will 
perhaps see a Laplander or a 
Yankee, a Red Indian, a 
Chinese, or a Caracan spring 
to his feet and dance a few 
steps of a pas seul ; the whole 
world knows something of the 

"This corner of Parisian 
soil, where the flowers die, 
poisoned by the emanations of 
gas-jets, where no blossom is 
born, where the air fades all it 
fans, where the turf is yellow 
and the foliage blue, has greater 
fascinations for misguided man 
than the perfumed gardens of 
Asia, where roses bloom perennially, than the snowy peaks, whose pure air gives new life to 
the exhausted, than fertile meadows, than dense forests. . . . He is drawn to it from every 
quarter of the globe, a smile on his lips if he be rich and disdainful, a pang at heart if he be 
poor; but, in either case, he comes. 

"There the prince elbows the hairdresser, the ambassador the cook ; there you and I 
jostle somebodies and nobodies, and worse than nobodies. ... So that, later in life, when 
we are advocates or notaries in France, generals in Bolivia, princes in Brazil, consuls in 
America, merchants in China, or free lances at large, we shiver when we read the word 
' Mabille ' on the newspaper in which some old boots are wrapped, recalling those nights 
of noise and fever." 

Pritchard, one of the kings of Mabille, an inimitable dancer, was 
eccentricity incarnate, enigma made man. He was a muscular fellow of 
about five feet six, taciturn and sepulchral, always dressed in black, which 
gave an added comicality to his extravagant dancing. Once he spoke, once 
only, relapsing into a silence as of the tomb. It was at the Opera Ball, 
when he was expelled by the police for an over-suggestive dance. He 
opened his lips to claim damages ! 


After a Lithograph by Raffet (1833) 



Some said he was a doctor, some that he was an apothecary or a writing- 
master, others that he was a Protestant minister, and others again that he 
was an undertaker's coachman. As a fact, no one was able to clear up the 
mystery that hung about the saturnine Pritchard. 

" Take Pritchard by any end you please," said E. de Champeaux, " run 
your eye over his Briarean arms from the shoulder to the tips of his dirty 
nails, take the carelessly knotted 
cravat from off his neck, ex- 
plore the depths of a mouth 
defended by two formidable 
rows of false teeth, follow the 
irregular lines of his bony 
profile, look into the wide 
nostrils of his enormous nose, 
peep under the glasses of his 
spectacles, and try to seize in 
their passage one of those 
sardonic gleams that flash 
beneath his heavy eyebrows ; 
examine even the soles of his 
boots, which it is his habit to 
raise to the level of his vis-a- 
vis' face in the Quadrille, and 
you will know no more of him 
than before. Champollion may 
decipher hieroglyphs, but he 
could not tell us who is this 
man whose manners resemble 

no one's, whose dancing is his own, who never speaks to a living soul, whom 
every one wishes to see, and who seems to be wrapped up in himself, to smile 
at his mental asides, and to enjoy his triumphs without betraying a trace of 
emotion. Further, in spite of the name that has been given him, and which 
does not seem to displease him at all, there is reason to believe him a very 
good fellow; his kind heart reveals itself constantly, for he is the providence 
of the two or three ugly girls who take it into their heads to appear 


After a Lithograph by Adolphc 



occasionally at Mabille, as if to give shade to the picture ; no one dreams 
of asking them to dance ; but Pritchard appears ; he circles for some time 
round the ugliest among them, like a vulture about to seize his prey : 
finally, having singled out the smallest and plainest of the lot, he advances 
with a little conquering air, and utters his formula in the tone peculiar to 

himself : ' Will you dance ? ' 
The lady does not keep him 
long expectant, he hooks his 
partner on to his arm, as 
Mere Michel hooks her bas- 
ket, and leads her rapidly 
from one Quadrille to 
another, until he finds space 
enough to give himself up to 
all the delirium of a pedes- 
trian improvisation, a series 
of gymnastics which have 
something in common both 
with the danees of the Iowan 
Indians and the Bourree of 
Saint Flour." 

Chicard, another famous 
Mabille dancer, was the very 
antithesis of Pritchard. His 
rubicund, open face was always 
beaming with smiles. He danced in a very unceremonious fashion, displaying 
a portly paunch, his coat-tails flying, his hat at the back of his head. He was 
the type of the good fellow, the jovial boon companion, shouting to Pilodo 
from the middle of the room in stentorian tones : " Mais allons, done, 
V amour ! " and following up his speech with sonorous peals of laughter. He 
was a child of Romanticism, a creature of plumes, red waistcoats, and high- 
sounding phrases. It was he who always gave the signal for the most 
delirious waltzes at the Opera Balls. It was he who invented the Cancan. 

Brididi, like Pritchard, was a king at Mabille. He was the best dancer 
of all, the most elegant, the most graceful, the most indefatigable. It is 


After a Lithograph by Vernier 



supposed that Eugene Sue, who had so much reason to love Mabille, had 
Brididi in his mind when he created the poetic character of Rodolphe. 

" Indeed," says E. de Champeaux, " if all the current rumours are to be 
believed, Brididi is nothing less than a sovereign prince, who has come to 
Paris on purpose to analyse the Polka, and form an opinion upon the 
Mazurka, and high kicking in 
general ! " 

After the kings, we turn to 
the queens. The most famous 
of these was the so-called Queen 
Pomare, whose real name was 
Elise Sergent. She belonged 
to a family employed at the 
Olympic Circus. She started 
in life as a circus-rider, it 
seems, but that was not her 

"One evening in May, 
1844," says Delvau, in his 
Cytheres Paris'ienties, " a young 
woman, whose beauty and cos- 
tume had both a strange, exotic 
cast, appeared in one of the 
Quadrilles at Mabille. She had 

abundant black hair, the olive complexion of the Creole, a white dress, less 
decolltiet than those affected by honest women, tasteful beads and bracelets. 
She began to dance the Polka, then the fashionable novelty, with a supple- 
ness, a grace, and a fire that at once attracted a crowd of admirers, as the 
light attracts the moths. It was evident that she was entirely untaught, 
and that she was improvising the attitudes and steps of the supposed Polka 
she was dancing ; but it was this very ignorance, combined with her dazzling 
beauty, which made her so original, and ensured her fame. That evening 
she was greeted with thunders of applause from voices, hands, feet and 
chairs, everything that could express enthusiasm ; the feminine glories of 
the place paled before her ; a rival star had risen. 


After a Lithograph by Vernier 



" Whence did she come, this stranger, who was thus acclaimed ? No 

one knows, no one ever knew. 
' Her mother was a princess, 
her father a Roman prince,' 
said those who want no 
credentials from a beautiful 

" The new-comer, who pre- 
sented herself at Mabille that 
evening under the modest name 
of Elise Sergent, left it with 
the title of Queen Pomare. 
. . . Thus do we improvise 
royalties in our pleasant land 
of France." 

This name made her for- 
tune, her reputation became 


After a Lithograph by Vernier 

European : 


" Mais toujours, chose ctrangc, au milieu de la joie, 
Elle garde un sinistre aspect d'oiseau de proic, 
Elle mele au plaisir un funcbre flambeau, 
Aux suaves parfums un odeur de tombeau." 

The charming poet, Theodore de Bauville, addressed these verses to 

" Elssler, Taglioni, Carlotta, soeurs divines. 
# # # # 

O reines du ballet, toutes les trois si belles, 

Qu'un Homcre ebloui fcra nymphes un jour, 
Ce n'est plus vous la danse : allons, coupez vos ailes, 
Eteignez vos regards ; ce n'est plus vous l'amour. 

" C'est notre Pomare dont la danse fantasque, 
Avec ses tordions frissonnants et penches, 
Aiguillonne a present comme un tambour de basque, 
Les rapides lutteurs a sa robe attaches." 


The ambition which devoured her cast a shadow on her brow. It was 
her ruin. She made her debut at the Palais-Royal, where she danced the 
Polka, and was outrageously hissed. For a time after this she lived 
obscurely in Paris, and this queen of a day died poor and forsaken in a 
house of the Rue d* Amsterdam. 


After a Lithograph by Vernier 

2 R 


After a Lithograph of 1840 


'Public "Balls— Ranelagh— The Chaumiere—The Sceaux 'Ball— The Trado — The 
Delta — The Chateau-Rouge — The lie a" dmour — L'Ortie and Les dcacias 
— The Mars— The Victoire—The Bourdon— The 'Bal des Chiens—The 
Montesquieu — The Valentino — The Jardin d'Hiver — The Lac Saint-Fargeau — 
The Grand Saint-Martin and the T)escente de la Courtille — The Closerie des 
Lilas — Bullier 

IE have seen the dances of the nobility, dances of decorative 
steps and statuesque attitudes rather than of movement, dis- 
appear one by one during the latter half of the eighteenth 
century. But the Revolution popularised and thus com- 
pletely metamorphosed dancing. The proud Minuet and the chilly Country 
Dance were replaced by the graceful and charming Waltz, soon to be 
followed by eccentric dances such as the dishevelled Cancan. Hitherto the 



only dancing, save that of the Court and the theatre, had been the jigging 
and stamping of the country tavern, the leafy arcade, the village green, 
where noble and burgher appeared but rarely. In certain rustic fetes (such 
as the Flemish Kermess, immortalised by Teniers) a tradition of the 
Bacchanalia seemed to survive. 

About 1793, certain speculators, shrewdly appreciative of new chore- 


graphic tendencies, conceived the idea of providing Paris with public 
gardens. Successively there sprang into existence the Jardin Boutin (the 
old Tivoli),* the Champs Elysees, the Elysee Bourbon, Marbceuf, the Pare 

This occupied a great space at the foot of the Rue de Clichy, on the present site 
of the Rue de Londrcs and the Passage Tivoli. Here all that 'fun of the fair' which is 
even to this day the delight of the patrons of the Kermess, was to be had in abundance. 
Hither resorted the gilded youth of the Directory with their tadtntttts, or long plaited love- 
locks. Here Madame Tallien led her train of litcrtjablei and (Mtrvtilltux. Which of us 
has not heard some ancestral relative dilate upon the joys of this earthly paradise, and 
especially upon the emotions inspired in our grandmothers by the then novel delights of 
the CWtntsgsus runts." — 'Paris qui dan it.) 

"All the boudoirs of Flora are open, and the vast and beautiful Tivoli invites an 
eager crowd of Parisian sweethearts to the shades of its groves. Long has this delightful place 
been a favourite haunt of the most charming society. Trumpets and fireworks announce 
the prelude of the Jilt. Already the merriment has begun — under the trees, on the green 



Monceaux, the Hameau de Chantilly, Frascati, the Jardin d'Isis, the Salon 
de Mars, the Salon de Flore, and many others. 

So numerous were they that a song of the day ran as follows : 

"A Paphos on s'ennuic, 
On deserte Monceau, 
Le Jardin d'Idalie, 

Voit s'enfuir ses oiseaux ; 

From a Print of the Restoration Period 

Dc la foule abusce, 
J'ai vu les curieux, 

Bailler dans l'Elysce 

Comme dcs bienhcurcux." 

lawn, beside the brook, in the paths of the great flower-garden. Some linger under the 
lindens to applaud Oliver and his tricks, the magician and his oracles, the big elephant and 
his driver, the parroquet and her old master. Nimble and volatile youth tosses the shuttle- 
cock, or flies through the air on the see-saw, the wooden horse, and the merry-go-round. 

"But the signal is given ; the orchestra is ready ; it strikes up a dance beloved of the 
fair ; and shrubbery and grove, and all else are deserted. Hands join and hearts beat ; 
happy pairs set to each other and are off. Pleasure animates the lady and love the gallant, 
and the Graces inspire attitude and step. The Waltz quickens, becomes more 
absorbing. . . . And overhead young Saqui walks the air on his tight-rope, and Ruggieri, 
the dexterous pyrotechnist, illuminates all with his marvels." — (Anonymous author, quoted 
by Alfred Delvau in his Cytheres Parisiennes.) 



The Ranelagh was among the first public balls of the close of the 
eighteenth century. A gatekeeper of the Bois de Boulogne, doubtless aware 
of the success of a similar 

entertainment in London, 
opened a public dancing- 
place on the lawns of Passy 
in 1774, and gave it the 
name of Ranelagh. The 
Controller of Lakes and 
Forests was strongly opposed 
to the opening of the estab- 
lishment. It caused a great 
commotion in high places, 
and Parliament annulled the 
concession made to the gate- 
keeper by the Prince de 
Soubise, governor of La 
Muette. But Marie-Antoin- 
ette was on the side of the 
dancers, and the licence was 
finally ratified. 

Ranelagh was aristocratic 
and fashionable. Madame 

Rccamier and Madame Tallien (" Our Lady of Thermidor ") paraded 
there, clothed in "the Athenian fashion," that is to say, in gowns of 
gauze slit down the sides from hip to ankle, so as to show a good deal 
of the person, and two gold rings encircling the thighs. 

" D'un tissu trop clair, trop lcgcr, 

Cct belles Grccqucs sont vctucs ; 
Un souffle pcut le dcrangcr, 

Et nous les montrcr toutes nucs. 
Aux ycux, souvent, un voile adroit 

Promct unc bcautl divine ; 
Rarement la forme qu'on voir, 

Vaut celle que Ton devinc." 

After a Lithograph by Vernier 

Ranelagh was closed during the Revolution, and did not reopen till 


1796. It renewed its earlier successes, but declined again in 18 14, only, 
however, to attain unequalled prosperity under the Restoration, under 
Louis Philippe, under the Second Republic, and under the Second Empire. 
In 1849, ^ e mana g er celebrated the seventy-fourth anniversary of its 
opening by a grand evening fete for its frequenters. He also gave a great 
annual ball for the benefit of the poor of Passy. This was preceded by a 
concert, in which appeared distinguished artists such as M. and Madame 

Being a good way from the centre of Paris, Ranelagh was available only 
to such dancers as were rich enough to keep on hire a carriage. All this 
was changed by the opening of the railway to Auteuil. Then a new public 
poured in — tradespeople, grisettes, clerks, students — and society turned 
its back on the place ; its palmy days were over. Nicholas II. alighted at 
Ranelagh station when he visited Paris in 1896. 

A little book, very rare nowadays, describes how, about 1788, an 
Englishman called Tinkson raised certain thatched sheds near the Observa- 
tory, where he organised a ball. The originality of this rustic creation 
drew the crowd. At a later date Tinkson, now in partnership with a 
neighbouring restaurant-keeper, replaced these sheds by a large and 
ostentatious hall — the Grande Chaumiere. 

Tinkson, denounced in 1793 to the revolutionary tribunal as a suspect, 
was forced to flee the country. The fate of his partner is unknown ; but 
eventually we find the great-granddaughter of this restaurant-keeper married 
to the famous Lahire, who won for the Chaumiere the great popularity it 
enjoyed so long. The management of M. Lahire dates from 1840. 

"A three-headed dog," says our brochure, "kept watch at the gates of hell ; a monster 
of seven heads forbade approach to the Golden Fleece ; but the Chaumiere possesses in 
Pere Lahire a guardian who, without being dog or dragon, has much in common with 
these famous classical warders. Pere Lahire has an eagle's eye, in itself worth all the eyes 
of Argus. At his post when the ball begins, majestic of stature, an imposing presence, he 
nips every tendency to disorder in the bud. Would you steal a kiss in the 'first figure,' 
would you be skittish in the 'set to partners,' would you 'galop' like a lunatic? 
Beware, Lahire ! His voice thunders. You must restrain your ardour : quick of foot as of 
eye, he wiil kick you out in a trice. He is wine-merchant as well as proprietor of the 
Chaumiere. Bacchus and Terpsichore join hands: this double business has brought him a 
large fortune and a notable portliness. 



" He loves peace and order ; he reigns without pomp, and even with a certain grace of 
voice and gesture, which inspires respect and goodwill." 

Gavarni, the great artist and humorist, has said : " The Chaumiere 
is a big garden, where young 
folks go of a Sunday to 
enjoy sacred music after 
vespers. You hear your 
music as you stroll through 
bower and thicket, or be- 
tween flower-beds, or on 
green grass among daisies 
and wild roses, with some 
fair piece of frivolity leaning 
against your shoulder. Under 
starry gas-jets this sacred 
music will presently excite 
the wild Cancan, that is 
continually setting the 
authorities and the dancers 
at odds." 

Our little book tells us more of this Cancan, which it calls the French 
Cachucha : 


After a lithograph by Vernier 

** The invasion of France by the Castilian Cachucha will prove a no less momentous 
historical fact than the first importation of the potato. . . . Some day folks will say : A 
Duke of Orleans succeeded to the throne during the reign of the Cachucha. I am not 
here to chronicle Pctitpa or Mabillc, nor any of those ballet-dancers who follow mechani- 
cally geometrical figures chalked on a stage ; nor am I here to eulogise the Taglionis, the 
Fanny Elsslcrs, the Crisis, who obey cast-iron regulations, who permit themselves no 
pirouette, no gesture, no step, which is not measured and calculated beforehand : I 
celebrate the free and buoyant student, who follows his own inspiration, and the griitttt 
whose unstudied movements speak frankly of pleasure and love. 

" As the music strikes up, the student falls academically into position — left foot forward, 
head on one side, back curved, right arm round his partner. She, her left hand on his 
shoulder, clings to him like an amaranth to a palm-tree. With the right hand she pulls 
forward a fold of her dress, while her scarf, drawn tightly round her figure, defines its 
contours with provocative exactness. 

"They are off! It is a helter-skelter of bewildering dash, of electrifying enthusiasm. 


One dancer leans languidly over, straightening himself again with vivacity ; another races 
the length of the ball-room, stamping with pleasure. This girl darts by as if inviting a fall, 
winding up with a saucy, coquettish skip ; that other passes and repasses languidly, as if 
melancholy and exhausted ; but a cunning bound now and then, and a febrile quiver, 
testify to the keenness of her sensations and the voluptuousness of her movements. They 
mingle, cross, part, meet again, with a swiftness and fire that must have been felt to be 

"Plutarch defined the dancing of his time as a silent assembly, a speaking picture; 
what then shall we call the Cancan ? It is a total dislocation of the human body, by which 
the soul expresses an extreme energy of sensation. The French Cachucha is a super- 
human language,' not of this world, learnt assuredly from angels or from demons." 

How many elderly magistrates, notaries, ministers even — for there have 
been so many ! — who have retired to the safe obscurity of the provinces, 
still remember the stupendous nights of the Chaumiere ! The memory of 
that joyous Bohemian time haunts them like a dream ; it warms them more 
than the sunshine that plays about their white hair. They have all been 
there, those makers and administrators of the law, barristers, physicians, 
surgeons ! That bizarre haunt has been frequented by the elect and by the 
outcast ; it has seen both the future and the past. 

The Sceaux Ball was opened in 1795, under the chestnuts of the park 
that had sheltered the castle of the Duchesse du Maine. Generations have 
danced under those venerable trees. Muscadins, Incroyables, Merveilleux, 
men and women of the Directory, of the Empire, of the Restoration, h|ve 
vied with each other there in the extravagance of their costumes. Towards 
the end of the Second Empire, this ball, its splendour finally eclipsed, had 
become the haun't of the grocer and the market-gardener. 

The Prado, one of the most fashionable of pleasure resorts early in the 
century, had once re-echoed to sacred songs. It occupied the site of the 
church of Saint Barthelemy, a royal parish. A theatre replaced the church, 
a masonic lodge succeeded the theatre, and a dancing-room the masonic 

Dating from 1810, the Prado dancing-saloon prospered for about fifty 
years, and then made way for the long robe, that is to say, for the Tribunal 
de Commence. \ 

The Prado was hidden away in one of the most picturesque corners of 
old Paris, in the malodorous Passage de Flore, between the Marche aux 



Fleurs and the site of the pillory, near the Conciergerie and Notre Dame, 

and the Morgue — among convicts and judges, death and flowers ! One got 

to the Prado by following a long covered passage, terminating in a wide 

stone staircase that led to the hall. This hall was divided into two separate 

parts, the Rotonde and the 

Grand Salon. The rotunda 

was reserved for students 

and grisettes; in the great 

saloon were to be seen, 

every Monday and Thursday, 

the choregraphic celebrities 

of the time — Clara Fontaine, 

Mogador, Louise la Baloch- 

euse, Rose Pompon, Mala- 

koff", Jeanne la Juive, &c. — 

who performed eccentric 

dances to the music of an 

orchestra conducted by 


Who now remembers the 
Delta, popular from 1815 
till the Restoration ? And 
many others, the very names 

of which are forgotten. Lugele Veneres Cupidinesque ! The Hermitage 
dancing saloon, founded in old bal de barriere, the delight of clerks 
and grisettes until 1862, is already a memory of the past. " The garden," 
says Dclvau, " with its trees, that gave such a cheerful air to the Boulevard 
des Martyrs, had shady nooks in which to drink the traditional March beer 
and munch the famous crumbly three-cornered puff. The orchestra was not 
numerous, but big enough for the frequenters of the place, who were not 
exacting. Male and female, they came there to frolic ; and frolic they did, 
with merry hearts and legs, to the sound of a fiddle, a clarionet, and perhaps 
a cornet a piston. Later on, not to be behind the times, the orchestra was 
reinforced by a few other wind and string instruments, which did no 



After a Lithograph by Vernier 



" Having shone under the Restoration, under Louis Philippe, under the 
Republic, and under the Empire, with varying fortunes and a changing 
public, the Hermitage disappeared in 1862. Its trees were cut down, its 
groves delivered over to the spoiler, its orchestra demolished ; solid six- 
storeyed houses, like those of 
the Rue de Rivoli, arose where 
the garden had been. 

" ' La-bas, la-bas, tout au bout de la 

II existait dans la rue Clignan- 

Un gai chateau ou s'amusaicnt 

nos peres. 
Ah ! mes amis, regrettons-le 

toujours.' " 

The Chateau-Rouge occupied 
the site of a former residence of 
the beautiful Gabrielle d'Estrees, 
on the summit of the Butte 
Clignancourt. In 18 14 its 
orchestra was silenced by 
artillery and musketry ; it 
became the headquarters of 
King Joseph, Napoleon's brother, when he was President of the Council of 
Defence. From one of its upper windows, the Brigade-major of the 
National Guard and Director of the Depot of Fortification of Paris studied 
the movements of the besieging Allies. When, after some time, its balls 
again re-opened, they were continued till 1848, the date of the first reform 
banquet. The establishment disappeared upon the opening up of the 
Boulevard Ornano. 

About 1830, the Chateau-Rouge was in its glory. Every Saturday, 
fireworks illuminated the gloomy Butte, and the neighbouring citizens with 
their families enjoyed the gratuitous show — from the outside. And three 
times a week, fashionable Paris climbed the hill to amuse itself. 


After a Lithograph by Vernier 



Many another dancing saloon prospered between 1830 and 1850. 
There was the He 
d' Amour : 

"L'lle d'Amour 
Est un amour d'ile, 
L'lle d'Amour, 
C'est un chouette sejour. 
Flaneurs du faubourg, 
Flaneurs de la villc, 
Venez a l'lle d'Amour, 
C'est un chouette sejour ! " 

So ran a song of the 
day. To the He went 
dandies in Bolivar hats 
and Souvaroff boots, to 
meet elegant ladies in 
spencers, their powdered 
hair brushed back and tied 
in bobs on the napes of 
their neck, a lenfant, or 
crowned perhaps by the 

high poke-bonnet and plumes of the chapeau a la girafe. The He 
d'Amour was installed beyond the old barrier of Belleville, near the Rue 
Rigolo, in an odd-looking house since displaced by the town-hall of 

The ball variously named the Astic, the Acacias, or the Reine-Blanche 
was frequented, between 1830 and 1850, by some great artists and their 
models. Meissonier, Daubigny, Daumier, Cham, Staal, and Bertall were 
often seen here. Another habituie of the place was the beautiful Jewess 
who sat for Fame in Paul Delaroche's fresco, Fame distributing Crowns, 
which decorates the hemicycle of the Ecole des Beaux Arts. At this time 
each public ball (and Delvau counts sixty-three) had its special features and 
its special public. 

At the Mars, and at the Victoire, near the Military School, soldiers 


After a Lithograph by Vernier 



danced disorderly Cancans with partners of a non-vestal type. The 
Bourdon, installed in a tavern called the Elysee des Arts, had, prior to 
1848, a short popularity with the artistic frequenters of the Astic. Later, 
it was the resort of the youth of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, and of Jews. 
The Bal des Chiens was a Cythera of the populace which flourished about 

1840 in the Rue St. Honore. 
This is how Gerard de Nerval 
describes it : 

" The old hand exclaims, ' Are 
you coming in ? it's a lively 
place ! ' And so indeed it is ! 
The house, which is approached 
by a long alley, is like an antique 
gymnasium. Here youth finds all 
that is needed to develop its muscles 
— and its wits : on the ground- 
floor a cafe and billiard-room, on 
the first floor our ball-room, on 
the second a fencing and boxing 
saloon, on the third a daguerreo- 
type studio. 

" But at night there is no 
question of the gloves or of 
portraits. A deafening brass 
band, led by M. Hesse, nicknamed Decati, draws us irresistibly towards 
the ball-room. We fight our way through hawkers of biscuits and 
cakes to a sort of vestibule, where are tables at which we are privileged 
to demand a glass of something in exchange for our twenty-five centime 

" And now we perceive pillars among which flit merry parties of dancers. 
And we must not smoke, for smoking is forbidden save in the vestibule. 
So we throw away our cigars, which are promptly picked up by young men 
less fortunate than we. Yet things might be worse : there are certain 
deficiencies of costume no doubt ! — but then this is what they call in Vienna 
an undress ball. Let us not be too proud : the women here are as good 


After a Lithograph of 1830 



as lots of others ; and, as to the men, we may parody Alfred de Musset in 
Les Derviches Turcs, and say of them : 

"'Ne lcs derange pas, ils t'appellcraient chitn : 
Ne lcs insulte pas, car ils te valcnt bien." 

"Good society is dull compared with this. The large hall is- painted 
yellow. Respectable visi- 
tors lean against the 
pillars, under the 'No 
smoking ' placards, and 
only expose their chests 
to the elbows, their toes 
to the tramplings of 
waltzers and galopists. 
When dancing intermits 
there is a rush to the 
tables. About eleven 
o'clock the work - girls 
go home, making way 
for women from the 
theatres, the music-halls, 
and such like. The 
orchestra strikes up with 
renewed vigour for this 
new audience, and does 
not give over till mid- 

We have seen a dancing-hall replace a church ; we may now note 
the Montesquieu dancing-rooms transformed into a restaurant, a Bouillon 
Duval, the first of its kind, in 1854. This hall was one of the largest and 
finest in Paris, but frequented only by the dregs of the populace. 

The Valentino was somewhat better ordered, but nothing to boast of ; 
it prospered exceedingly during the concerts and masquerades got up by 

"The Barthclemy," says Delvau, " was known originally as the Ball of 


After a Lithograph of 1830 



the Turnip-fields. It was probably so called because its promoter had 
chosen for the dancing of the youth of the Temple quarter a waste, sandy, 
uncultivated bit of ground where nothing would grow but weeds or turnips. 
Here, in a rickety wooden shed, waltzing went on as merrily in fine 
weather as on a polished floor ; but when it rained, the roof leaked, and 

there was mud underfoot, 
and the provident dancer 
protected his partner's 
dress with an umbrella. 
It was a very primitive 
affair — just the thing for 
its patrons. 

" Despite, or because 
of its imperfections, it was 
much resorted to by the 
grisettes of the Boulevard 
du Temple and the quar- 
ters adjacent. New build- 
ings, however, including 
the barracks, ousted the 
old dancing - shed ; the 
owner of which, not to 
be too far away from his 
patrons, built a hall more 
adapted to modern needs 
in the Rue du Chateau d'Eau : thus the Salle Barthelemy succeeded the 
Champs des Navets. 

" The new establishment tried hard for a while to be at once a ball- 
room, a concert-hall, a theatre, and an opera-house, but at last made up its 
mind to be merely a dancing-saloon — pretty well frequented on Sundays, 
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Its winter balls have a special vogue 
with certain classes of masqueraders : here are to be seen not only perrots 
and pierrettes as at other balls, but also titis, chicards, and even balochards— 
three types almost as extinct elsewhere as the mastodon and the mega- 



After a Lithograph by 



" You, who have only a hearsay knowledge of the eccentricities of your 
father's time, and who have not seen -xchicard of 1838 except in Gavarni's 
sketches, go to a Barthelemy masquerade. There you will meet this modern 
harlequin who has gone so far afield for his costume : his gauntlets belong 
to Jean de Paris, his 
breeches to the reign 
of Louis XIII., his 
waistcoat to Le Sage's 
Turcaret, his epaulettes 
to the National Guard, 
his helmet to antiquity. 
There, too, you will 
find the balochard with 
his blue smock-frock, 
his red heavy- cavalry 
trousers, and his grey 
felt hat." 

In 1856 there died 
at Batignolles a man 
who had enjoyed a 
fleeting success — Victor 
Bohan. To his in- 
genious initiative we 
owe the Winter Gar- 
den. Fond of flowers, 
and especially of the 

dahlia, it occurred to him to build a great glass conservatory, duly 
heated, in which exotic flowers should bloom despite of snow or storm 
outside. He carried out his idea, but no permanent success attended 
the concerts and masquerades of his fairy palace. His Castle of Flowers 
had a prosperity almost as ephemeral as the bloom of its roses, and this 
notwithstanding that Cellarius appeared here (during the Exhibition of 
1855) with his troupe of dancing -girls, that Musard shook the glass 
roof with an orchestra a hundred and twenty strong, that Olivier 
Mctra conducted, and the brothers Lionnet and Darcier appeared for 


After a Lithograph by Boucbot 



the first time at a concert. But this will suffice to keep its memory 

The Bal du Vieux Chene was long-lived ; doubtless its name was lucky. 
Its roses could not wither, for no rose bloomed in the shadow of the Old 
Oak. A special society exercised its muscles here nightly, in the stagnant 

and nauseating atmosphere of 
the back-room of a wine-shop 
of the Rue Mouffetard. 

"The frequenters of the 
Vieux Chene," says Delvau, 
the great authority on popular 
dancing-saloons, " are of that 
truly sinister Parisian breed 
which shoots up from the 
paving-stones and the gutter 
— the breed that Victor Hugo 
has personified, and striven to 
idealise, in Gavroche. Here 
swarm Gavroches, Montpar- 
nasses, and Claquesous, with 
their Eponines and Fantines — 
blackguards of fourteen and 
trulls of twelve — boys who 
have never known childhood 
and girls who have never known innocence — every one of them on the 
straight road to transportation or the House of Correction, food for 
Cayenne and Saint-Lazare. The Faubourg Saint-Marceau does not set 
itself up to furnish Paris with Joans of Arc or winners of the Montyon 
prize, with models of conduct, or angels of virtue ! " 

It was not safe to enter in a coat. The blouse was the thing, and the 
characteristic black silk cap. Nor was this enough. The famous casquette 
had to be worn just right, flattened to a nicety, not tilted too much back- 
wards, or forwards, or to one side. Then, too, the visitor had to make up 
his face a little, to affect a horny hand and dirty nails, to be master of the 
catchwords of his company. If, in spite of all this, he betrayed himseif, it 


After a Lithograph by Gavarni 


i 29 

behoved him to make himself scarce as quickly as possible, for there was an 
open clasp-knife in every pocket. 

We turn now to the Lac Saint-Fargeau. On the plateau of Belleville, on 
the site of a former Pare Saint-Fargeau, an old carpenter, the father of 
fourteen lusty sons, owned a workshop and a piece of ground. In the 
midst of his territory was a 
limpid lake, fed by an in- 
visible spring. The depth 
was unknown, no sounding 
had reached to the bottom. 
According to popular tra- 
dition, a woman, given over 
to a hopeless passion, had 
wept so abundantly here that 
her tears had filled a yawning 
chasm, into which she finally 
threw herself. About 1850, 
the carpenter's shop was 
turned into a dancing-saloon, 
which took its name from 
the lake. The owner con- 
structed merry-go-rounds and 
a switch-back railway, and an 
artificial island. The clerks, 

mechanics, and market-gardeners or the neighbourhood rowed on the lake, 
mounted the wooden horses, or danced frantically in the saloon. 

Not far off" was the hamlet of La Courtille — an ill-famed place. 
Visitors, it was said, were murdered there nightly, while those who escaped 
with life were robbed. There was much exaggeration in all this. Probably 
the workmen of the neighbourhood discouraged the attentions of well- 
dressed strangers to the workwomen of La Courtille rather roughly. 

It was from the dancing-saloon and tavern called the Grand Saint-Martin, 
situated on the slope below the Lac Saint-Fargeau, that a famous carnival 
procession, called the Dcscente de la Courtille, set out every year for Paris. 

The Grand Saint-Martin belonged at that time to Desnoycz, one of 



After a Lithograph by Gavarai 



the celebrities of Paris. Around his establishment stood seven others of 
various sorts, each of which contributed its quota of revellers to the pro- 
cession. Of these seven, the most important was the Salle Favie, now used 
for public meetings of a more decorous kind. The Grand Saint-Martin 
faced the Salle Favie ; it was kept open night and day from Shrove Sunday 


After a Lithograph by Guerard 

till Ash Wednesday. During the Descente, which began at six on Ash 
Wednesday morning, every window commanding the Rue de Paris was let at 
a fabulous price. 

It was the custom for masquers from all the public balls of Paris to 
spend the last night of the Carnival at La Courtille, winding up by a 
banquet of oysters and white wine at the Favie and the Grand Saint-Martin. 
After the orgy, began the famous Descente, one of the most curious sights of 
eccentric Paris, recalling the ancient Bacchanalia. 

Lord Seymour, nicknamed Milord I' ' Arsouille (Lord Blackguard), 



and a rake if ever there was one, always attended this procession. 
Standing up in a carriage, he used to scatter gold pieces right and left, done 
up in paper like sugar-plums. When the procession made its usual halt at 
the well-known restaurant Les Vendanges de Bourgogne, this God of the 
Orgy, as Louis Bloch calls him, was to be found at an upper window, 



After a Lithograph by Guerard 

ladling red-hot guineas down upon the crowd. It was his delight to 
hear the screams and maledictions of the women and starveling children 
who flung themselves on this infernal manna, and were trodden under- 
foot and wounded by the mob. It is impossible to describe certain 
further excesses, which would revolt the reader ; they eventually forced the 
authorities to suppress this survival of a barbarous age. 

But long ere this was done, the proprietors of the two principal 
establishments from which issued this stormy torrent of mud and tinsel 
must have made large fortunes. It is related of Desnoyez that he had no 


time to count his takings at the Grand Saint-Martin. The money as it 
came in was dropped into a funnel on the counter, terminating over a cask in 
the cellar. When this funnel became choked, Desnoyez knew that his cask 
was full. Then he went down and replaced it by another, leaving Madame 
Desnoyez with a salad bowl into which, during the interval, each customer 
paid his reckoning as he passed. The provisioning of this house was on a 
correspondingly extensive scale. Five hundred hogsheads of wine stood 
at one time in the cellar. Living oxen were bought for meat, every- 
thing was made on the premises. Thirty-two wedding-parties were counted 
in one day, all feasting at once in the Grand Saint-Martin. Desnoyez had 
a brother who fell in Egypt, at the Battle of the Pyramids ; his name is 
engraved on the Arc de Triomphe. " When a hero like Desnoyez falls," 
cried Kleber, " what must we do ? We must avenge him ! " 

The Pre Catalan, opened in 1856, was short-lived, despite its Spanish 
dances, its children's balls, its marionettes, its kiosks, and its aquariums. 
It was admirably managed, and charmingly situated in the Bois de Boulogne, 
but too far from the centre of Paris. 

Contemporary with the Pre Catalan was the Folies-Robert, a ball with 
distinctive and well-marked features. It consisted of- a large saloon, 
regular in shape, and surrounded from floor to ceiling by Oriental or 
Italian galleries. At the end of this was an unroofed hall, where dancing 
went on in summer. The galleried hall was capable of holding some 1800 
to 2000 guests, and here various foreign national dances, taught by the 
manager to his pupils, were nightly performed with extraordinary energy. 
The names of these dances were set forth on placards, displayed in pro- 
minent parts of the building — the Fricassee, the Roberka, the Polichinelle, 
the Gavotte, the Mariniere, the Russe, the Ecossaise, the Valse, the Polka, 
the Redowa, the Schottische, the Mazurka, the Varsoviana, the Hongroise, 
the Sicilienne, and various Oriental dances. 

A whirlpool of dancers, and an incessant stream of dazzled visitors, 
moved under the chandeliers of this imposing hall. Olivier Metra con- 
ducted its orchestra for some time, and his waltz, Le 'Tour du <!Monde, was 
first performed here. 

About this time, that is to say in 1859, tne Casino Cadet was 
founded on the site of the mansion successively occupied by Marshal 



Clausel and by the Danish Minister. Arban conducted its orchestra, and 
crowds were drawn to the place by the feminine celebrities whose resort it 
was. Here were to be seen Rigolboche, Rosalba, Alice la Proven^ale, 







Bl^k ^P^^- 



THE »A«1>L OX. AN 

After G. Dor* 

Finette, Nini Belles Dents — in short, all the satellites of Markowski and 
Mabille. Along the walls of the Promenade hung full-length portraits of 
Jenny Colas, Madame de Stael, Marie Dorval, the Duchesse d'Abrantes, 
Rachel, Madame dc Girardin, Fanny Elsslcr, Madame de Genlis, Jenny 
Vcrtprc, Madame Campan, Mademoiselle Mars, Madame Recamicr, 



Malibran, Mademoiselle Georges, Mademoiselle Duchesnois, and Madame 

" This Promenade," says Delvau, " is frequented by the higher heiairi 
of Paris — by courtesans of every grade and variety. It is their Bourse : 
they do business here." 

The Casino Cadet had a branch establishment — the Casino dAsnieres — 

established in a charm- 
ing country house, in 
a park of fine old full 

"The midnight 
departure for home of 
all these dancers," con- 
tinues Delvau, " is a 
curious sight. Three 
or four times a week, 
at the same hour, they 
crowd the Rue Cadet 
and the adjacent streets, 
and swarm into the 
little railway - station, 
imitating the cries of every zoological genus — the yelping of foxes, the 
cheeping of chickens, the lowing of cattle," &c. 

We will only mention the Bal du Grand Turc ; it was frequented 
chiefly by Alsatians. It used to be in the Boulevard Barbes, and was a 
merry place, despite the black clothes of the men, and the big bows of black 
ribbon on their partners' heads. 

The Bal de l'Elysee-Montmartre disappeared in 1894, after a career of 
half a century. It was much patronised in its day, especially by artists and 
literary people. La Goulue and Grille d'Egout were stars here. It is 
mentioned in the Assommoir, for the great Zola did not overlook Bohemian 
balls in his portraiture of the shady side of Parisian life. 

" We remarked in this establishment," says M. Louis Bloch, " a fair- 
haired girl of barely eighteen, emaciated and pale as death ; La Palotte 
(Pale-Face) they called her. Apparently too weak to stand alone, she 


From a Lithograph in the Conservatoire de la Danse Modcrne 



leaned on the arm of a young man, while the music of a stormy orchestra, 

with an ear-splitting cornet a piston, shook the room. Suddenly, at a sign 

from her companion, this corpse-like girl flung herself among the dancers. 

She danced madly, indefatigably, with all the ardour of an enthusiastic 

debutante, with a chance 

cavalier whom she 

picked up. Then she 

drank five glasses of 

chartreuse. After the 

next dance — for she 

danced every one, and 

each with a new partner 

— she drank a bowl of 

mulled wine. And soon 

after that, a glass of 

American punch. All 

this was quietly and 

unobtrusively watched 

from a corner by her 

' friend,' the young man 

who had sent her to 

dance : his piercing dark eyes seemed to magnetise the girl. At last La 

Palottc took her departure with an elderly man, whereupon the ' friend ' 

rose and followed the two." 

The opening of the Moulin Rouge caused the Elysee-Montmartre to be 

But the public balls of the past are too many to mention ; we can 
speak here only of the most remarkable. There was a second Reine 
Blanche, installed, with grim originality, at the gate of the Montmartre 
cemetery ; and there was the Boule Noire, a regular tavern ball in the 
Rue des Martyrs. The Boule Noire was respectable only on Saturdays, 
when the small shopkeepers of the neighbourhood resorted to it. As to the 
Bal de la Cave, we will let Delvau describe it : 

" The door opens and a descent yawns before us, dark as the pit. 
Taking our courage in both hands in default of a banister, we stumble 


From a Lithograph in the Cotutrvatoirt de la Danst Modcrme 



down a black and slippery stair. At the bottom we encounter strange 
sounds and a still stranger odour. The sounds are those of a melancholy 
fife and a strident violin, dominated by the sinister drone of a double-bass. 
The odour is due to the smoke of a solitary oil-lamp and the fcetid 
emanations of a crowded cellar. You are at the ball — which takes place 
every Sunday and Monday from six in the evening till eleven. 

" There is no conversation : dancing is done silently, like a task. And 

they who dance are not 
men and women but 
shadows — shadows with 
only the crowns of their 
heads touched by the 
light of the solitary lamp 
that swings from the 
ceiling. When these 
shadows weary of their 
silent Cordax — when their 
task is done — they seat 
themselves round the 
cellar on a divan of 
empty kegs and drink brandy. Do not be too much horrified ; the brandy- 
drinkers are the inhabitants of the quarter, and the quarter is a proletarian 
one ; they leave you your barley-water, leave them their vitriol : rag-pickers 
are not squeamish. ... It is like a canvas by Van Ostade." 

We must not forget the Bal du Mont-Blanc, the mustering-place of 
ladies' maids and cooks ; the Rosiere in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, which 
was not frequented by Nanterre's maidens, and Waux Hall, where the 
famous Pilodo flourished his bow ; but we must pass on to the Closerie 
des Lilas, now known as the Bal Bullier. 

This spot did not always harbour the Cancan. Here, in former days, 
austere Carthusian friars meditated in their lonely gardens. The Revolution 
scattered them ; and the sacred ground trodden by their noiseless sandals 
was transformed into a resort of pleasure — the Closerie des Lilas. Yet no 
avenging bolt has fallen from on high ; the site bought for forty thousand 
francs fifty years ago is said to be worth one million four hundred thousand 


After a Lithograph by Gavartu 



The old Closerie des Li las was frequented by the student-loving grisettes, 
immortalised by Beranger. When Beranger was living close by in the Rue 
d'Enfer, he strolled out aimlessly one night and entered the Closerie. 
Somebody recognised him ; his name ran round the room. There was a 
rush ; there were cries of enthusiasm ; the old man was surrounded and 
almost suffocated by embraces and flowers. "Jeanne la Belle," says Delvau, 
" pressed her bouquet 
upon him. He accepted 
it with emotion. Then 
Delphine begged to be 
allowed to press her 
young lips on the 
wrinkled brow, where 
the laurels should have 
been. Stupefied by this 
frenzy of admiration, 
•the astounded poet 
submitted to every- 
thing. ' I shall die 

happy now that I have kissed Beranger ! ' exclaimed Delphine ; whereupon 
all her companions, jealous of this distinction, imitated her example with 
such zeal as almost to smother the kindly old man who had loved them 
so well. Many of their sins must have been forgiven them that night, in 
virtue of the sincere and passionate enthusiasm they lavished on their dear 
poet, whom they sent home half dead ! For the time being they were all 
grisettes again, and made good resolutions — ebtu fugaces ! " 

The griselle has disappeared, the student's mate is dead ; she has been 
succeeded by the woman of the Quartier Latin. She used to be content 
with a modest cap and a modest name. To-day she wears a fine hat with 
feathers and calls herself Georgette or Bebe, or Yvonne Vadrouille, for 
the highest professional celebrities of the Chahut and the Grand Ecart, 
such as Grille d'Egout, Rayon d'Or, La Goulue, and La Mome Fromage, 
rarely appear at Bullier ; and the distinction of this ball is that its 
dancing is not professional. The real public dances here, and gets good 
sport for its money — sport which is, perhaps, not very elegant nor very 

2 u 




" correct," but which is at least youthful and animated, without being 

Those who dance at Bullier are grouped in different categories, 
according to the measure of their skill. They begin in the " kitchen," 
they pass on to the " ante-room," from that to the " drawing-room," and 
thence to the " Prefecture " — where there are no more worlds to conquer. 
Ah ! how many memories the very name of Bullier recalls to those who 
have spent their twentieth year in Paris ! 


After Daumier 


After Eugene I .ami 


Modern Dancing — From the Stand Empire to the present Time — Society Walls — The 
Revival of Old Dances in France and in Foreign Countries 

)R some years only two dances were danced in private ball- 
rooms, viz., the Quadrille and the Valse. Under the latter 
name we include all round dances, whether they are called 
Polka, Berline, Pas de Quatre, &c, for in all these, the dancer 
" voltes " or turns ; in short, he waltzes. 

The Quadrille was already danced towards the end of the eighteenth 
century, under the name of the Country Dance — Contredanse. There were a 
considerable number of Contredanses, for at this period every dancing 
master arranged new ones for himself. Every little event served as a 
pretext for a new arrangement. But the invention in 1859 of the Imperial 
Quadrille by the ephemeral academic society of dancing-masters in Paris 
was the final creation. The fire of inspiration has since died out. 

To tell the truth, the Quadrille seems daily to lose in popularity. The 



fascinating American Quadrille, which had so much success at first, is now 
more neglected than our national one. The same may be said of the 
Galop, which at one time was intoxicating, and with Musard at the Opera 
masked balls, even " infernal." It was danced, gesticulated, yelled, by four 
thousand dancers, accompanied by the report of firearms, the wild ringing 
of bells, and the breaking of chairs. 

These times are long past : in society there is less dancing, and all 
gaiety has vanished from public balls, and even from the balls at the Opera. 
It has often been remarked recently : but it was thirty years ago that the 
De Goncourts pronounced the funeral oration of these brilliant fetes. Their 
exclamation to the dancers is well known. " For heaven's sake, pretend to 
be enjoying yourselves ! " (" Mais, saperlotte I ayez au moins Pair de vous 
amuser ! ") 

The false nose disappeared : as part of the old-world humour, it had 
had its day. Towards the end of Louis Philippe's reign, two millions 
of false noses were manufactured in a year ; two hundred and fifty thousand 
were sold in Paris, and the remainder were for the provinces and for 
exportation. It was even said that M. Guizot once thought of putting up 
the monopoly of false noses to auction ! Nowadays,, poets, wits and 
draughtsmen have ceased to concern themselves with the Opera Balls ; 
Gavarni has had no successor. 

From the early days of the Second Empire, the decay of the Opera Balls 
was very apparent. 

They took place, however, every Saturday during the Carnival, and 
they were very brilliant, as compared with those of our own day. Gentle- 
men appeared at them in black coats, instead of being dressed as Polish 
lancers or fishermen, as in the time of Louis Philippe. But the 
masqueraders (who were fairly numerous) were dressed in the most 
picturesque fashion, and gave themselves up to the dance in the maddest 
and most riotous spirit. These were the days of Clodoche, the great, the 
hilarious Clodoche, a name adapted from his true one, Clodomir 

He made his first appearances in 1859 at the Casino Cadet, at the 
Chateau des Fleurs, the Casino of Asnieres, and the Opera Ball. He 
attracted some attention at first by the originality of his dancing, but his 


invention of the famous Quadrille des Clodoches was a triumph. There 
were four dancers : himself (Clodoche), Flageolet, la Cornete and la 
Normandie. The two last were dressed as women, while Flageolet and 
himself retained their masculine garments. The names of their dances became 
famous : Les Pompiers de Nanterre, les 
Gendarmes de Landerneau, les Gommeux, 
&c. &c. : the wildest stories got about. 
It was said that the members of this 
troupe were undertaker's mutes. 

Clodoche had the honour of dancing 
at the Jockey" Club, and was even ad- 
mitted among the members sometimes, 
when he received the compliments 
showered on him with great respect. 

The Emperor, who had often heard 
of Clodoche, wished to see him, and he 
was presented at the Tuileries. The 
same evening there was a ball at the 
Opera ; the Emperor was present in a 
box, wrapped in a double domino, in 
order to preserve the strictest incognito. 
Clodoche knew of the Emperor's pre- 
sence, and his dancing was more delirious 
than ever. Before he left, the Emperor 

called him to the ante-room, and gave him a sealed letter containing four 
hundred francs. 

In the autumn of his life, after having whirled and eddied like the 
leaves, he disappeared like them. He retired to Chennevieres, to an 
eccentric chalet painted black, under some poplars, where he kept an inn. 
The mirth-provoking dancer, a fine old man, spent his last days here philo- 
sophically amusing himself by making quaint furniture, for he had not 
forgotten his old calling of cabinet-maker. He was surrounded by trophies 
of his triumphs, crowns of gold and silver, drawings and photographs of 
the famous Quadrille. Over the door was the simple sign : " Au vicux 


After a Statue by Laporte-Blaizy 



The public fetes of the Second Empire differed very little from their 
forerunners. They had neither a specially civil nor a specially military 
character, and were simply popular rejoicings, quite devoid of originality. 
A curious custom must, however, be mentioned. It was the fashion 
for the dandies and all the gilded youth of the day to invade the Morel 
ball at midnight of August 15, and turn out every one there. The men 


After a Drawing by Janet, published in Le Monde Illustre 

were dressed in stable-jackets, with caps on their heads, the women in calico 
dresses and linen caps — hence the name of the bal de bonnets blancs. They 
all behaved like the dregs of the people : fought, drank the commonest 
wine, and used the vilest language. 

Society in the Second Empire was never so gay as during the period 
between the Exhibition and the "Terrible Year." The winter of 1868 
was distinguished above all by its brilliant gaieties ; there were continual 
soirees, balls, receptions. Costume balls, which seemed to be reserved to 
Government circles, became a great attraction, and many of them were 
exceptionally splendid. The Duchesse de Bisaccia arranged one to represent 



a village wedding, which roused enormous enthusiasm. The beautiful Madame 
de Beaumont appeared as the bride ; Madame de Montgomery as a canteen- 
keeper, in the primrose uniform of the hussars of the First Republic ; 
Madame de Galiffet wore a magnificent Renaissance costume. The cream of 


Alto a Uranw by G. Dor*, published in U MmJt llliutn 

Parisian society met at this ball. It was unique of its kind, vying with the 
great costume balls given by the Marquis de Chasseloup-Laubat, the naval 
minister. The Comtesse de Montgomery organised a burlesque ball the 
same winter, in which a Quadrille was danced by market-porters {forts de 
la halle), with their partners in the dress of the Marche des Innocents, a 
revival of one of the best ballets of the old Opera. This was a great 

The Comtc de Mauguy says that at this ball a commissionnaire and a 


mysterious gamekeeper puzzled all the guests. " But the most striking 
character, and the one who attracted most attention, was a pastry-cook 
(unless I am mistaken, the Marquis de Galiffet), who sat on the staircase 
leading to the second storey, addressing lively sallies to all the guests with 
a freedom of language often very embarrassing." 

The season of 1869 had neither the gaiety nor the spirit of the preced- 
ing year. There was one splendid entertainment, however, at the Austrian 
Embassy. The Princesse de Metternich, in a black domino, and Madame 
de Pourtales as an Almee, carried off" the honours of the evening. 

The same year there was a magnificent ball at the Hotel de Ville in 
honour of Prince and Princess Frederick Charles of Prussia, who were 
staying in Paris. On January 18, 1870, the Prefect of the Seine and 
Madame Henri Chevreau gave a beautiful fete, at which every one of 
distinction in politics, diplomacy, or letters, and all the leading repre- 
sentatives of the army and the law, were present. The Archduke Albert 
of Austria and the Archduchess were present for an hour, and went away 
dazzled. What gloomy morrows were to follow on this /<?/*/ 

An old dancing-room, the Assommoir du Temple, which deserves men- 
tioning, disappeared in 1870. It was founded in 1846. It was a large 
room, lighted from the top, divided into three parallel aisles by stone 
pillars. Billiards were played in the galleries over the two sides. A thick 
layer of straw covered the floor, which was generally strewn with sleepers. 

" On va par ribambelles, 

Dcposant les mann'quins, 
Boir' des polichinelles, 
Manger des arlequins." 

" Every week," says Adolphe Racot, " the human dunghill of the 
Assommoir was raked aside, and a ball was given, at which the rag-pickers 
were the most vigorous dancers." 

In 1870 the General Committee of the National Guard took possession 
of the Assommoir, and it was there that the Commune of Paris was pro- 
claimed, and all the revolutionary measures decided on which laid Paris 
waste from September 4 to the terrible days of May. 

The great chief of orchestral dance music during the eighteen years of 
the Empire, the successor of Musard, was Strauss, the man of the famous 



cravat, who only laid down his baton at the advent of the Republic. He 
came to England in 1873, in spite of his great age, to follow the Emperor's 
coffin to the grave. 

" I remember," says Parisis, " a pathetic incident at the official reception 
after the funeral. When the Empress caught sight of the old impresario, 
the brilliant spectacle of all the past r itts at which he had presided 


After a Picture by Madrazo 

suddenly rose before her. She clasped her hands together piteously, her 
eyes filled with tears, and sobs rose in her throat. Strauss said to me as we 
retired, ' I am not like any ordinary person to the Empress, my life and 
hers have been intimately connected, and from her earliest years my name 
has been associated with all her happiest memories. I called the first Polka 
I ever composed the Eugenie Polka, and dedicated it to Mademoiselle de 
Montijo in 1846. The Polka was in its infancy, as it were, and was not 
then danced in official drawing-rooms ; it was first introduced to the 
Spanish Court by the Empress, where she danced it with M. de Courpon, 
the son of the rich stockbroker, and a famous Cotillion-leader at the 
Tuilerics. Later I saw her in Paris, first in that aristocratic drawing-room 

2 x 


where everything artistic was welcomed with so much hospitality, then in 
that gorgeous saloon, where the woman took precedence of the sovereign, 
and where her irresistible grace and charm tempered the stiffness of Court 
ceremonial. Is it not natural that on seeing me again the contrast between 
those happy days and her present situation should call forth an outburst 
of grief ? " 

And while he spoke the old refrain came back to me with an inde- 
scribable melancholy : 

" As-tu vu, 
La cravate du pore Strauss ? " 

In former times balls were generally given between Christmas and the 
Carnival. Now the dancing season begins' after society returns from Nice, 
and closes when it leaves for the seaside ; it lasts, that is to say, from the 
Carnival to the Grand Prix. 

During the last few years society has inclined very much to those 
costume files I mentioned as taking place under the Empire, where each 
guest vied with his neighbour in ingenuity and invention. The fur and 
feathers ball, and the animal ball, given by the Princesse de Sagan, are not 
yet forgotten. The Princess revived Versailles in 1881, and Trianon in 
1 884. The following year she illustrated Lafontaine's fables. The Quadrille 
of Hornets and Bees was a repetition of one under the Empire, carried out 
by Madame Tascher de la Pagerie. It was the triumph of the evening. 

Baron Seilliere, in the costume of M. de Buffon, presided over the 
fete. The ladies appeared as crickets, swans, swallows, owls, cats, parrots, 
grasshoppers, butterflies, bats, scarlet ibises, serpents, and even as tigresses. 
The men were made up as ravens, crabs, cocks, eagles, owls, herons, basset 
hounds, ducks, turkeys, giraffes, monkeys, &c. The Princess appeared as 
a peacock, and her costume was magnificent. Her blue satin petticoat was 
covered with gold and silver Venetian point, fastened at the sides with 
peacock's feathers, also in gold and silver. The bodice was the body of 
the bird, and the tail, spread out like a fan, formed an aureole round the 
shoulders. The Medici coiffure was crowned by a" diamond diadem, on 
the top of which quivered the peacock's aigrette. The bird's beak was 
placed over her forehead. 



The electric light shed a strange violet glow over -this charming, fan- 
tastic assembly. 

Madame la Comtesse de la Martiniere had previously given a "Swallow " 
ball in 1883. The great room, transformed for the occasion into a Japanese 


A'tci ■ Picture by Carri lo 

garden, shimmered with the plumage of humming-birds, cardinals, bengalis, 
love-birds, thrushes, sparrows, nightingales and tits. The graceful origin- 
ality of a ballet of swallows was much admired. 

The same year the Society of Retired Officers gave a costume ball at the 
Continental Hotel, in which all the military uniforms worn from the middle 
ages to the middle of the nineteenth century figured. It was a curious 

3 4 8 


sight to see archers, reiters, and musketeers elbowing the soldiers of the 
First Empire and the Restoration. 

In some foreign countries costume balls are immensely popular. During 


After a Picture by Garrido 

the Carnival at Vienna, the various corporations meet at dances, and it is a 
point of honour with the dancers to hit upon original ideas. 

The most extraordinary of all these balls was the bal des gueux, or riff-raff 
ball, organised in 1883. Everyone went in rags, with torn clothes, the 
dress-coat being severely banished. The riff-rafF ball attracted seven 
thousand people in rags ; a sombre gaiety indeed prevailed among these 
grimy faces, purposely bedaubed to appear like the faces of beggars> 



thieves, assassins, rag-pickers, pickpockets. One might have imagined 
oneself in some annexe to the galleys. 


After a Picture bjr GanUo 

In Belgium, all the gaiety of the old Carnival seems to have centred in 
the little town of Him he. There wc may still sec Gilles with two hump, in 


their variegated costumes, hats turned up and decorated with feathers, and 
waistbands hung with bells. They patrol the streets in bands of thirty 
or forty at a time, each one accompanied by a man selling oranges, jumping 
and dancing to the tune of a band which goes before them. All the local 
societies receive them, as indeed does the burgomaster at the Hotel de 
Ville, offering them the best wine. 

Writing of curious balls, I must not forget one given beyond the seas 
by the Mormons of Salt Lake City. The dominant element was European — 
English, Scotch, Irish, Scandinavian, and German. Before proceedings 
began, Brother Brown appeared, invoking the blessing of God on the 
choregraphic exercises of the Latter-day Saints. Then, the ball commenced 
solemnly to the music of an organ, assisted by two violins. A number of 
Minuets, Quadrilles, Cotillions were danced, and even a Waltz — the last 
generally prohibited as dangerous. As midnight struck, Brother Brown 
reappeared, and closed the ball with a prayer. 

Along with eccentric or original balls, Parisian society has organised 
many charming entertainments in the most exquisite taste. 

The Japanese charity fete, given at the Hotel de la Rochefoucauld, was 
admirable. It consisted of a dramatic representation, a. ball, and a series 
of Japanese amusements. When the Japanese Ambassador arrived, he 
exclaimed with a movement of surprise : "I feel as if I were back in my 
own country ! " 

The walls were entirely covered with fine matting, on which were hung 
kakemonos painted on silk or rice paper, representing fierce warriors, or 
smiling ladies with delicate eyebrows, dressed in blue or pink silk. Dragon- 
flies flitted about among strange flowering shrubs. Certain rooms were 
veritable ethnographical museums, where noble ladies sat upon mats, in 
white dresses flowered with wistaria or lotus, or where poets wrote, 
surrounded by flying birds. Next came a pagoda with its golden door, 
where idols slumbered, squatting on the ground, between rare vases and 
the mystic lotus. Under the moonlike beams of the electric light an 
astonished crowd wandered through the fairy sanctuaries of Buddhism 
under hot-house palms, and canopies of leaves and flowers, towards the 
theatre, where the sound of a gong announced the drawing up of the 
curtain. The young Comte de la Rochefoucauld was dressed as the Japanese 



Prince Imperial, in dark blue satin, embroidered with arabesques and birds. 
Madame de Munkacsy appeared as a Japanese, wearing long pins in her 
hair with diamond heads, and a dress of white crape trimmed with a coloured 
border. Other ladies had Court dresses of satin or crepe de Chine, wreaths 
of lotus flowers, royal stuffs with heraldic ornaments. It was like fairy- 


After a Picture by Bridginan 
Photographed by Braun *■ d Q .) 

land. The men wore trousers of various colours, emerald, bright blue, 
violet, red — harmonising with the bold and delicate tints about them. 

Mention might also be made of the balls given by the Princessede I .con, 
the Comtesse de Montigny, General de Charette, the Vicomtesse de Gilly, 
the Marquise de Castcllane, the Comtesse Branika, Madame de Heredia, 
and Madame de Pourtalcs. Amongst others, the fete which M. Gailhird 
gave his friends in his beautiful chateau in the Place Malesherbcs was a true 
fairy pageant, for a repetition of which many of those present have sighed 
in vain. 

We have seen that the Quadrille, at one time so popular, has almost 



disappeared from our ball-rooms. On the other hand, the old Court dances 
seem to be coming back into favour, bringing with them traditions of the 
grace and elegance of the last century. The Minuet and the Pavane have 
made their appearance again in great houses during the last few years. 

Our dramatic authors have often revived the Pavane in their pieces. It 
is danced in La Jeunesse du Roi He.iri, and in the ballets of Patrie 
and Egmont. The balls in aid of the Hospitalite de Nuit have always been 
marked by their beauty and originality. They have resuscitated the elegant 

WM ' 


After a Water-Colour Drawing Ly H. Tern* 

refinements of the eighteenth century. Thus, in 1880, one of the Woodland 
Balls was reproduced, those balls which drew all Paris in 1745, when the 
Dauphin was married to Marie Therese of Spain. On that occasion, to 
avoid the immense crowding of the populace at the marriage fetes, the 
sheriffs arranged open-air balls in different places. One of the prettiest 
was on the Place des Conqiietes (now the Place Vendome), and it was 
this bal de bois which the Hospitalite de Nuit revived. The copy was a 
faithful one, and, to make the illusion more complete, Mesdemoiselles 
Reichemberg, Baretta, Broisat, Bartet, Martin, Tholer, Durand, and 
Feyghine, of the Comedie Franchise, appeared as Court ladies of the 
time of Louis XV. Pages walked about the rooms, and Scotch guards, in 
the white livery of the House of France, were ranged all down the stair- 



case. It was an exact reproduction of the engravings of Moreau the 

At the Palace of Fontainebleau, a sixteenth century costume ball was 
given for a charity in the Henri II. Gallery and in the Salle des Gardes. 
It seemed to the spectator as if he had strayed into some fete of the 
Renaissance. The Pavane and the Volte, the graceful dances of the Valois 
Court, were revived. 


After a Picture by II. Tenre 
.Photographed by Braun and Co.) 

As prescribed by the good canon of Langres, in his Orc/iesogra/iie, the 
Pavane was accompanied by a song on the ancient model (see p. 97) of 
which we give the first couplet : 

" Belle, qui ticns ma vie 

Captive en tcs doux ycux, 
Qui m'as l'.'imc ra\ic 

D'un tourit gncicui, 
Vicns i6t me tecourir, 
Ou me faudra mourir ! 

I. The air, which is more solemn than cheerful, was transcribed by 

2 Y 


Wekerlin in his Echos du temps passe, from the text of the Orcheso- 

These attempts delighted the great world, and inspired them with the 
idea of dancing the old dances in their ball-rooms. The Marquise de 
Castellane, and M. Gustave DrOz, each gave brilliant fetes, where powdered 
ladies and gentlemen in knee-breeches danced the Menuet de la Cour, and 
the Pas des Archers. Then the Cotillion admitted the Salut de la Cour. 
The graceful Minuet found favour with the Vicomtesse de Gilly, Madame 
de St. Aignan and the Comtesse d'Enval. The Minuets of the great 
masters were heard again, the works of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and the 
masterpiece of such compositions, the Menuet d' Exaudet. Also Gavottes, 
which were the rage under the Directory, Glvick's slow Gavottes in Armide 
and Orphee, Gretry's in Cephale et Procris and Panurge. 

Elsewhere, at Madame de Marinval's house amongst others, the soirees 
of Louis XV. were repeated ; couples danced the Minuet or Gavotte to 
Leon Guyot's orchestra, and the Cotillion ended with the Indian March. 
At the Comtesse de Montbazon's, and at the Comtesse de Villiers', ladies in 
hoops and paniers danced the Minuet under an immense triumphal arch of 

At other houses, attempts were made to substitute the Branle for the 
Cotillion. The Branles of Brittany and Poitou were studied, the Branles of 
the Washerwomen, of the Wooden Shoes, Horses, the Torch, Mustard. 
At an entertainment given at a sumptuous house in the Rue Sainte- 
Apolline, where all the ladies were in Louis XV. costume, the Cotillion 
was concluded by a procession in sedan-chairs. The house, in the purest 
Louis XV. style, with its carved woodwork and correct ceilings, was a 
marvellous setting for this revival of the last century. 

Elsewhere, a costume ball reproduced a famous///* given by MM. de 
Duras and de la Ferte, during the Carnival of 1783. At the Comtesse de 
Courval's, there was a medley of all periods : the hostess wore a gorgeous 
Henri II. costume, the guests were magicians, Pierettes, Incroyables ; some 
wore the costumes of Jacquet's pictures. The Minuet was danced by twenty 
ladies as Watteau shepherdesses, reproducing an episode in the bal du May. 
The men wore the village dress of the end of Louis XV.'s reign, pale green 
breeches and lilac coats. 



The old Saraband was next revived in a house in the Rue de Lisbonne ; 
and an attempt was made to Parisianise the Festa de las F/orts, so dear to 
the Spanish South Americans. 

Thus, one after the other, the old dances reappear : they form 


After Booutdt Moml 

picturesque artistic interludes in modern entertainments, jo that nowadays a 
ball is hardly complete without one. Nothing can be more effective than 
superbly dressed couples dancing a Courante, a Gaillarde, or a Passe-pied ! 

This last dance, one of the most graceful of all, is often performed by 
dancers in modern dress ; but in that case the gentlemen wear coloured 
coats and knee-breeches, and the ladies, white dresses. 


As in the days when the Branle was danced all round the great baronial 
hall, so now there is a beautiful dance in which each couple follows the 
other all round the room, stepping in time, and carrying a lighted torch or 

The Sword Dance is sometimes performed after a Gaillarde. The 
gentlemen stand facing each other, draw their swords, then raise them, 
inclining them a little till the points touch. The ladies then walk under the 

At the Comtesse des Allains', young girls danced old Caroles on the 
grass. These are Rounds accompanied by songs. They were danced after 
the ancient fashion by ladies alone, and in the costume of the twelfth 
century : a quaint idea, giving variety to the pretty bals blancs which are 
now so popular in society. 

The same taste for reviving ancient dances is found in foreign countries. 
In aristocratic houses in Russia, the old Horovod is danced. The Horovod 
was even arranged as a French Quadrille at St. Petersburg, by the ballet- 
master BogdanofF. 

In Germany, the Faclceltanz or Torch Dance is still danced. It is of 
very great antiquity. It was performed at the marriage of the Princess 
Margaret, sister of William II., with Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse. 
The Figaro gives a description of the scene : 

" After dinner, which began at six o'clock in the Hall of the Knights, 
the Court and the guests met in the White Saloon, the largest room in the 
castle, which will hold two thousand persons. The Emperor, the Empress, 
and all the princes and princesses of both families ranged themselves on a 
platform at one end of the room, while Count von Eulenburg, the Grand 
Marshal of the Court, and numerous chamberlains in brilliant uniforms, 
gathered round them." 

" The view of the room, and of the gallery reserved for several hundred 
favoured spectators, was magnificent. The marble columns, the statues of 
the twelve Electors of Brandenburg, the pictures and decorations of the 
room, formed a fitting frame for the brilliant assemblage. 

" Towards nine o'clock the Emperor gave orders to the Marshal to 
begin the Torch Dance. Count von Eulenburg, his marshal's baton in 
his hand, placed himself in the middle of the room, Behind him, two 


3 57 

and two, in order of seniority, stood the twelve following ministers : 
M. Bosse (Worship and Education) and M. Thielen (Railways), M. von 
Heyden (Agriculture) and M. von Kaltenborn (War), M. Miguel 
(Finance) and Baron von Berlepsch (Interior), M. Schelling (Justice) and 
M. von Wedel (Imperial Houfehold), M. Achenbach and M. Delbriick, ex- 
ministers ; M. Boetticher and Count von Eulenburg, Vice-President and 
President of the Ministry 
of Prussia. #fl % ■Mflfi tJ^Jk 

"The Chancellor, ^ 

Count von Caprivi, the 
Minister of Marine, and 
the other ministers of the 
Empire, took no part in 
the ceremony, which was 
exclusively Prussian. 
They were present, how- 
ever, their splendid uni- 
forms adding to the lustre 
of the scene. Twelve 

youthful pages, pretty and dainty as the pages of opera, entered slowly by 
a side door under the direction of the chamberlains. They carried torch- 
holders in wrought silver, containing thick white wax candles, which they 
handed to the twelve ministers. The Marshal raised his baton, the 
orchestra from the gallery opposite the Emperor slowly began a tuneful 
Polonaise. The bride and bridegroom placed themselves after the twelve 
ministers, who made the tour of the room ; the chamberlains closed the 
cortege, which stopped before the Emperor. The bride made a slight 
curtsey, the Emperor rose and offered her his arm, the cortege again passed 
in procession round the room. On returning, the bridegroom invited the 
Empress, and made the tour with her. Then the twelve pages approached, 
took the torches again, and replaced the ministers. The dance continued. 

" This time the young bridegroom invited the Landgravine of Hesse, 
and the Duchess of Connaught. The bride also made the tour with 
two princes. And so on in order, until all the princes had marched round 
with the bride, and all the princesses with the bridegroom. The ceremony 


After a Lithograph by Coiodrc 



might have become monotonous, but for the infinite variety and richness of 
the costumes and uniforms, and the liveliness of the music. The twelve 
pages were quite delicious, and marched with all the enthusiasm of youth. 
They were very much admired. Their success was complete. 

" At ten o'clock the dance came to an end. The torch-bearers stopped 
for the last time before the Emperor, who rose. The imperial couple, with 


After a Picture by Jean Bcraud 

all the princes and princesses, placed themselves behind the pages to conduct 
the bride and bridegroom to their apartments. In the great ante-room, the 
twelve pages ranged themselves at the door of the bridal chamber. The 
Emperor, the Empress, the princes and princesses, formed in two lines, 
leaving a passage for the young couple, who disappeared through the 

" The Court then returned to the "White Saloon, where the chief brides- 
maid distributed bits of the bride's garter among the company. Of these 
there were several basketsful — little bows of red and white silk, with the 
bride's initials in gold and silver." 

We may just mention, in passing, certain dancing devices, rather curious 


than delightful. The Americans have inaugurated dancing-cars on their 
railways, to beguile the tedium of the long journey between San Francisco 
and New York. As the train rushes along, a ball is in full swing in a 
gaily decorated and brilliantly lighted car. The women wear exquisite 
dresses, which they don in dressing-rooms set apart for the purpose. 

The Incoherent Ball was a Parisian invention. Placards forbade the 


Alia Clairin 

company to bore or be bored, and warned those who transgressed that they 
would be fined. Incoherence reigned supreme. Metra, the leader of the 
orchestra, appeared in a white blouse, with all the paraphernalia of a suburban 
Adonis. A whirlpool of wild, fantastic, gruesome maskers swirled and 
eddied round him. Everything that a delirious fancy could conceive was 
represented at this strange ball, from bearded nurses, clowns, Punches, pre- 
historic firemen, grotesque policemen, and astounding Englishmen, to 
General Bonaparte in his famous grey coat and cocked hat, escorted by a 
bond of bizarre lnvalidts. 

Of the official balls at the Elysee and the Hotel de Ville we will say 



nothing. The picturesque element has no place in these functions. 
Grumblers complain of the overcrowding, and of the somewhat slipshod 
etiquette that prevails. Is it true, as an acrimonious contemporary declares, 
that a democracy has neither the right nor the faculty to demand certificates 
of distinction from its guests ? 

But such considerations lie outside our province. We gladly leave them 
to others. 


After Kenouard 


A 'Brief Survey tf the "Ballets if this Century— (Modern Theatrical Dancing — The 
Operatic Corps de "Ballet— The Serpentine Dance — The Tublic 
'Balls »f To-day. 

[K have seen the birth of the ballet, and have followed it from its 
infancy to its adolescence at Rome under the influence of 
Pylades and Bathyllus. In France, during the Middle Ages, 
ballet-dancing was included among the pastimes known as 
masques or mumming, and did not partake in any way of the character 
of the present ballet till the time of Catherine de' Medici. From the 
seventeenth century it became the rage at Court, and began to have 
recourse to mechanical contrivances. 

m that time forward wonderful scenic effects were produced. The 
music became more coherent, and harmonised better with the plot. Still, 

2 z 


there was no real pantomime-ballet, or dancing-ballet, as we understand 
it ; the poetry and the music were far more important than the actual 
dancing. The French ballet did not develop its peculiar ingenuity, grace, 
and distinction till some time later, when masks and padded skirts were 

Under the sway of Rossini and Meyerbeer, the music of the ballet, while 
losing nothing of its rhythmic character, became more expressive and poetic. 

In the space at our disposal it would not be possible to enumerate all 
the new ballets, or to dilate on every scenic innovation. It will be enough 
to mention the most important creations, and to point out the principal 
" stars" whose brilliant performances have given distinction to the stage. 

" It is only in France," says Theodore de Banville, " that the real classic 
school exists, where severity and correctness do not exclude originality, 
where grace and rhythm are valued, and where one is always conscious that 
every step is equivalent to an image in a poem. . . ." 

In 1 84 1, Carlotta Grisi, then a new "star," distinguished herself in the 
superb ballet La Peri, and in Giselle ou les Willis, for which Theophile 
Gautier wrote the libretto, and Adolphe Adam the music ; Coralli arranged 
the dances. 

A good many of our readers will probably remember Saint-Leon, the 
distinguished and popular ballet-master. Originally an eminent violinist, 
it was out of love for the fairy-like Cerito, whom he married, that he first 
gave himself up to the enthusiastic study of dancing. La Cerito bewitched 
the public with her exquisite dancing, while Saint-Leon delighted them with 
his skill upon the violin, and the dignity and distinction of his compositions. 
Fanny Elssler, the famous German dancer, was her contemporary and 

The great success at the beginning of the Empire was Adam's Corsaire, 
with its dramatic mounting, in which Mazillier exercised his double 
talent as choregrapher and composer. Les Elfes, and Auber's Marco Spada, 
followed, in which Mazillier executed a series of amazingly complicated 
movements, and in which Laure Fonta and Rosati outvied each other in 
skill and grace. 

In Theophile Gautier's ballet Sakuntala, the dancer Lina, who had just made 
her first appearance in Le Trouvere, and who subsequently became Madame 



Merante, proved herself a formidable rival of La Ferraris. She figured 
in the ballet, Le Tapillon, by Emma Livry. Finally, however, this ill-fated 
dancer caught fire at a rehearsal of La Muette, and died of her injuries after 
the most fearful and prolonged agony. 

In 1 860, Leontine Beaugrand, after having graduated in all the classes 
of the Opera, made her first 
appearance in the trio of the 
third act of Guillaume Tell, and 
at once became famous. " Before 
long," wrote Gustave Bertrand, 
" the public will learn to love 
this strange profile — so like a 
frightened bird's — and criticism 
will have to reckon with this 
aspiring talent." She had not 
as yet put forth all her strength. 
It was not until she appeared in 
the part of Coppelia that she 
wholly revealed what was in her, 
and that the full extent of her 
grace and poetic feeling was un- 
folded to the public. 

" Her movements," said Paul 
de St. Victor, " might inspire a 

designer of fine and dainty ornament. All she does is exquisite, minute 
and delicate as a piece of fine lace-work." 

About 1865, new stars arose in the theatrical firmament. I refer to 
Mesdames Fioretti and Fiocre, both brilliantly successful public favourites. 

At the end of the following year M. Charles Nuitter — now librarian of 
the Opera — composed the charming ballet Im Source, arranged by Saint- Leon, 
and set to music by Delibes and Minkous. Salvioni appeared in it and 
received a perfect ovation. "She is," says Paul de St. Victor, " the typical 
Italian dancer, strong and daring as an Amazon, shaking out her steps like 
a flight of arrows. She excels above all in suggestive steps, and in those 
intrepid attitudes that recall the vehemence of Florentine painting." 


3 6 4 


M. Nuitter composed the ballet Coppelia, for which Leo Delibes wrote 
the music, but its success was cut short by the war of 1870. On 
October 16, the reproduction of this fascinating ballet was announced. 
The title-role was created by the youthful Bozacchi, a delicate little creature 
of sixteen, who died very soon afterwards. La Beaugrand played the part 
with extraordinary success. " She is the successor of Carlotta Grisi ! " 


After Renouard 

exclaimed Theophile Gautier. After the dark days of 1870, we find 
M. Nuitter composing the ballet Gretna Green, which Merante, Saint-Leon's 
successor, arranged for him. But the theatre in the Rue Lepelletier suddenly 
caught fire, and its successful run came to an abrupt end. We hear of no 
new ballets till January 5, 1 875, at the production of an opera by M. Gamier. 
M. Nuitter was again the composer. This operatic revival was a magnificent 
performance, but it had not the future that was anticipated. For a long 
time both theatrical and social dancing seemed unable to shake off the 

//#• . tjotiet of ■ J<> ■ Horrtaane 



depressing influences of the " Terrible Year." From time to time only, a 
ballet flashed across the theatrical gloom like a trail of vivid light. In 1876, 
Leo Delibes wrote the exquisite ballet Sylvia for Mile. Sangalli. In 
1877, the ballet Le Fandango, arranged by Merante, was given at the 
Opera House on a scale of great magnificence ; the music, by Gaston 
Salvayre, illustrated 
a libretto by Meilhac 
and Halevy . The 
reigning queen was still 
Lcontine Beaugrand, but 
she was supported by 
the dancers of the first 
quadrille, Sangalli, the 
beautiful Fatou, Mile. 
Piron of the superb 
legs, Mile. Monchalin, 
who, even at seventeen, 
was not only recognised 
as one of the first 
dancers of the day, but 
was enchantingly, de- 
liriously pretty. The 
corps de ballet, as a 
band of gipsies, was 
led by the fair and 
serious Mile. Subra, 
then little more than a 

child. The premier danseur, Vasquez, was also much applauded. In 
1882, Le Fandango was again put on the stage, Mile. Subra replacing 
La Beaugrand, who had retired somewhat early. Mile. Subra is still 
one of the great stars, one of the goddesses of French dancing. She 
recalls Fanny Elssler and la Beaugrand, whom she succeeded. Under 
the management of M. Vaucorbeil, M. Philippe Gillc and M. Arnold 
Morticr composed the ballet La Farandole, with music by Dubois, a 
veritable triumph for Merante. Rosita Mauri was bewitching in a pink 


After CarricT-Dcitaw 

? 66 


satin gown, embroidered with flowers, while Mile. Invernizzi appeared in all 

the seduction of her insidious grace. 

In 1879, M. Philippe Gille and M. Arnold Mortier gave us the ballet 

Yeddo, for which Metra 
wrote the brilliant score, 
and Merante arranged 
the dances. 

In the course of the 
same year, on the re- 
production of the ballet, 
the sparkling and whim- 
sical Rosita Mauri, just 
back, from Italy, was 
chosen for the principal 
part. Among those 
who led the furore of 
applause with which she 
was greeted were the 
Prince of Wales, M. de 
Metternich, and M. de 
Massa. What a pro- 
digious advance the dark 
Rosita of the Songe du 
Vizir had made ! What 

a triumphant progress has been hers throughout the capitals of Europe ! 

But henceforward our Opera was to take possession of her, for the 

Parisians adored her. 

In 1880, the Opera had given a brilliant performance of the ballet 

Sylvia, by Jules Barbier, Merante, and Leo Delibes, with Rita Sangalli, 

Sanlaville, Diane Montaubuz, and the graceful Marquet in the principal 

We come now to more recent masterpieces, which will certainly leave 
their traces in the history of dancing, though they are not all of French 
creation, and do not all belong to the Opera. 

In 1882, under M. Vaucorbeil's management, our leading theatre gave 


After Carrier-Belleuse 



the Grand Ballet of Namouna, the clever libretto of which was written by 
M. Nuitter, and the charming music by Lalo. 

Petipas' dance was intoxicating. Rita Sangalli fascinated the audience 
in the part of Namouna, and Mile. Subra was simply astounding. Merante 
played the part of Ottavio with much grace. Pluque distinguished himself 


After PaJmiroU 
of Man. Bound Vabdoa and Co. 

as a gorgeous pirate. The dresses were superb. Sangalli, as a Moldavian, 
was in pure white, spangled with gold, with a glittering veil and apron 
embroidered in silver, and fringed with pink silk. Invernizzi wore a Greek 
dalmatic of green velvet, enriched with gold. 

In 1883, the Eden Theatre opened with Manzotti's ballet Excelsior. 
The mounting was superb, and, in spite of mediocre orchestration, it was 
received with enthusiasm, thanks to the talent of Mile. Lany, from La Scala. 



Manzotti, encouraged by this success, produced a new ballet in the 
Italian style in 1884. The plot, borrowed from a Scandinavian legend of 
the year 640, takes us to the enchanted region of Thule. The success of 

Sieba was as great 
as that of Excelsior. 
La Zucchi created a 
new dance, brilliant 
and impassioned, and 
drew all Paris to see 

Of Widor's Kor- 
rigane, Messager's 
Deux "Pigeons, of La 
Maladetta, and of 
VEtoile, there is . 
little left to say. 
We can but reiterate 
the praises heaped 
on the authors and 
their brilliant inter- 

Grand ballets 
with intricate plots 
are no longer in 
favour with the 
management at the 
Opera. Neverthe- 
less, all the masters 
of our time have scored music for our charming dancers. Wagner alone, 
after an unsuccessful attempt in Rienzi, seems to have abandoned ballet 
music. For the performance of Tannhauser in Paris he wrote an interlude 
in the Venusburg scene, but this beautiful composition is not, properly 
speaking, ballet-music. 

Here is some information I owe to the kindness of M. Nuitter, the 
clever choregraphist and librarian at the Opera, on the subject of the shaping 


After Degas 


of a ballet. The librettist, he said, first writes his book of the ballet. This 
book describes the action, but contains no indications of a purely choregraphic 
nature. The choregraphist studies the story. He considers the scenes, 
which, as they are to be explained by the limited language of pantomime, 
are marked by a necessary simplicity. He then composes the steps to be 


After Krnouard 

danced. In former times this was all done before the musician composed 
a single note of music. It was the choregraphist who explained to him 
in detail what he required. He asked twenty bars of a quick movement, 
sixteen of a slow ; here a valse tune, there a gavotte. 

But this custom has been gradually modified. Composers now write as 
they please for the dancers, as well as for the merely pantomimic scenes, and 
it is for the ballet-master to do the best he can with the ideas furnished to 
him ; a task at once more difficult, and giving less scope to the choregraphist, 
than the older system. 




Once this double work is finished, the ballet-master calls together the 
staff which is to interpret it. The ballet-master indicates every gesture, and 
dances every step, at the same time giving to each its proper designation, 
after which the dancers reproduce what has been shown them. All this, 
however, is learnt much more quickly than one would imagine, and is 


After Renouard 

stamped upon the memory very rapidly. At the end of some years, a 
dancer, hearing the difFerent scores, remembers to the smallest detail the 
steps she has danced. M. Hansen, the ballet-master at the Opera, had the 
kindness to let me see a rehearsal of the ballet in the Meister singer, and I 
was surprised at the facility with which the dancers remember the variations 
of step and attitude, and grasp the meaning of the master directing them. 
Spectators of a ballet, we have all wondered at the birdlike movements of 
graceful women, sinuous, young, and impassioned, swathed in gold-spangled 
gauzes, lighter than wings. In our excitement these entrancing beings 



seemed like embodied visions. But how distant the dream is from the 
reality I only knew when the doors of the classes at the Opera were opened 
to me by MM. Bertrand and Gailhard, and I was made free of the wings. 
I arrived at the Opera for the first time one morning about nine o'clock, 


After Renouard 

and walking up and down, I waited for the pleasant guide to whose care 
M. Hansen, the ballet-master, had confided me. 

Some little girls arrived, with their baskets on their arms. These were 
the youngest pupils — future stars, perhaps — who have to be in class 
every day at nine o'clock in summer, at ten o'clock in winter. A few 
minutes later I found them dressed for their work, that is to say, in tights, 
with little calico knickerbockers and short gauze skirts, taking their places 
in a class directed by Mile. Bcrnay, formerly a very popular premiire danseuse. 
When their mistress clapped her hands, they formed in line before the railing 
fastened to the wall and running round the room. Then the lesson began 



to the chords of a violin. And while these little things were occupied with 
their first five positions, &c, I thought of their teacher, Mile. Berthe 
Bernay. What she had written about her early training recurred to me, and 

I realised that these 
children before me 
would have to un- 
dergo an initiation as 
severe as hers. 

What she says is 
this : 

"I was seven years 
old, and my mother 
used to wake me to 
go to work, winter 
and summer alike, at 
half-past seven, and 
as at this time the 
lessons were held in 
the Rue Richer 
(where they keep the 
scenery), I had to 
leave our lodgings at 
Belleville, near the 
Buttes-Chaumont, at 
an hour that would 
enable me to be 
dressed and in class 


After Clairin 

by nine o'clock, 
my small means. 

It goes without saying that an omnibus was beyond 
I had to make the journey on foot, and what a 
journey the reader can easily imagine ! The morning lesson lasted 
from nine o'clock to half-past ten. After this I changed my dress 
and returned home for my small luncheon at twelve o'clock. Not that 
I always got off after my lesson. I did not regain my native heights 
so early every day. There were days, frequent enough, on which I 
had to attend rehearsals at the Opera, where young pupils like myself 



were employed to ' walk on.' On those days I lunched in the Rue 
Richer, with my mother, off the frugal meal that we brought with us in a 
basket (that basket I have never forgotten), after which we went to the 
rehearsal at the Rue Drouot, which lasted untiL two o'clock. Then I 
was at last free to 
make the journey back 
again to Belleville. But 
on the evenings when 
I had to ' walk on ' at 
the theatre, we came 
down once again for a 
'call' at the Rue Drouot 
at eight. In short, I 
had to start at seven 
o'clock, and often the 
piece lasted until mid- 
night. On these oc- 
casions my poor mother 
literally dragged me 
along on her arm, and 
we would arrive at our 
lodgings worn out, at 
one o'clock, to find 
my father waiting up 
for us. After a brief 
sleep I had to start off 
again next morning for 
the class in the Rue 
Drouot. But I earned 

a franc for the rehearsal, and a franc for * walking on ' in the evening." 
Fran her we learn what were the salaries of a dancer of the first rank 
during more than ten years of her career. In 1869 she was engaged by 
M. Perrin in the second quadrille at 600 francs a year. After passing an 
examination, this was raised to 700 francs. Under the management of 
M. Halanzicr her salary was fixed at 900 francs. Three years afterwards, 


After Htrtier 



being in the first quadrille, she drew noo francs, and as leader of the 
corps de ballet, 1200 francs. Eight years later her salary was successively 
1 500, 1 800, 4000 and 6000 francs. Under the Vaucorbeil management it 
reached 6800 francs, but only to drop under that of Ritt and Gailhard to 
5000 and 3000 francs. And this after twenty-six years of work ! . . . 

mlle. Theodore's danxing-class 
After Laurent Desrousseaux 

Meanwhile, however, the lesson was going on, and after a series ot 
movements in the first five positions, the class passed on to different poses 
and postures, the nomenclature of which is only to be understood after a 
lengthy initiation. To become a good dancer, however well endowed a 
pupil may be, five years' preparatory study is indispensable. Every day for 
an hour and a half they all take lessons. Many even come before the time, 
to prepare themselves by taking a turn at the wooden railing. 

In her interesting study on La T>anse au Theatre, Mile. Berthe Bernay 



asks the reason of the discredit that so often falls on the dancer and her 

" Even if some deserve it," she adds, " we should bear in mind the 
fatigues, privations and 
sufferings to which they 
have been exposed 
almost from their earliest 
childhood. We should 
take into account their 
exposure to temptations, 
their inadequate remun- 
eration, the life not only 
of continual self-denial, 
but almost of indigence. 
. . . Reader, be lenient 
to the woman, always to 
a certain extent inter- 
esting and meritorious, 
who gives up her youth, 
her health, her life, to 
the art of dancing. 
Think kindly of her . . . 
for she has worked hard, 
and suffered much to 
earn your applause, or 
even your criticisms." 

We have seen how, 
i n the eighteenth 
century, 'choregraphers 
conceived the idea of 

representing dancing by illustrative signs and characters. This com- 
plicated method has since been abandoned, and the teaching of steps is 
now effected in quite another way. The professor indicates them with his 
hands, counting the beats of the time aloud. The pupils copy him, learning 
by mimicry, and then execute with their legs the movements that their 


After Carrier- Bclleu*c 

} 7 6 


hands have demonstrated ; a method that reminds one a little of the 
language used in teaching the deaf and dumb. 

After having watched the preliminary studies, 1 had a glance at the 
higher classes of the quadrille, and of the ballet-girls, in which they learn 

the intricate exercises 
which prepare them for 
variations and impro- 
visations on the stage. 
I was also allowed to see 
the boys' class, under 
the control of M. Stilb. 
I then came to the 
finishing classes, to 
which M. Vasquez wel- 
comed me with, an 
exquisite courtesy. 
Seated at his side, I 
watched several lessons 
given to premieres dans- 
euses, and even to the 
" stars." Amonof the 
students were Miles. 
Zambelli, Piodi, Otto- 
lini, Lobstein, Chabot, 
Torri, and many others, 
whose grace and bril- 
liancy I had often 
admired on the stage. 
M. Vasquez is an exceptional teacher, with true artistic insight. "One 
should be able," he said to me, " to fix a dancer at any moment, however 
fugitive and aerial her pose, and if she obeys the true principles of move- 
ment, her body, her arms, and her legs will all combine in a graceful and 
harmonious whole." 

He attaches great importance to expression, requiring soul, spontaneity, 
and suppleness in every attitude. The dancer must rise lightly on her toes, 


By ChSret 

'•'*• ^ 

^ r v 

*^P !« ^ 




^rA *'- ^l™ A 


»KBTCHE» OF ftALLKI DA !»(.«••» 

After Kvaouanl 


37 8 


bound in one step from the ground, and skim over the surface of the stage 
as if about to take flight into the air. I admired the perseverance with 
which even the " stars " went through their exercises, for Miles. Subra and 

Rosita Mauri came each 
day to the bars, working 
hard to preserve their 

A few years ago, the 
ballet was the greatest 
of delights to the play- 
goer. To-day it holds 
a very subordinate 
position. The ballet 
seems no longer in 
request, and its place in 
our principal theatre is 
becoming more and 
more restricted. Never- 
theless, the classic school 
of French dancing still 
retains its traditions for 
brilliancy, grace and 
dignity at the Opera. 
Elsewhere it has had to 
make way for the sin- 
gular, but sometimes 
charming dances introduced by artistes such as the Barrison sisters, the 
Martyns, Mile. Eglantine, and many others. We shall not easily forget 
one of them, the Serpentine Dance, undulating and luminous, full of 
weird grace and originality, a veritable revelation ! By means of a 
novel contrivance, the gauzy iridescent draperies in which Loi'e Fuller 
swathes herself are waved about her, now to form huge wings, now to 
surge in great clouds of gold, blue, or crimson, under the coloured 
rays of the electric light. And in the flood of this dazzling or pallid light 
the form of the dancer suddenly became incandescent, or moved slowly and 



spectrally in the diaphanous and ever-changing coloration cast upon it. 
The spectator never wearied of watching the transformations of these 
tissues of living light, which showed in successive visions the dreamy 
dancer, moving languidly in a chaos of figured draperies — in a rainbow of 
brilliant colours, or a sea of vivid flames. And after having roused us to a 
pitch of enthusiasm by this luminous choregraphy, she appeared triumphant 

Troupe de 


JonC . \ /r 11 


in the pantomime-ballet Salome, reproducing the gloomy episode of the 
death of John the Baptist. The stage of the Folies-Bergeres, where Loi'e 
Fuller performed this weird and graceful Serpentine Dance, is famous for 
its ballets ; as, for example, Phryni, with its brilliant and marvellous costumes. 
As for public balls, the old balls, so merry in days gone by, the 
majority have disappeared, and those that remain have sadly degenerated. 
At the Moulin de la Galette a new school has been inaugurated, the 
school of eccentric dancing, the chief features of which are the "realistic" 
quadrille and the grand ecart, which have figured in the programmes of the 
Jardin de Paris, the Moulin Rouge, and other places. I confess that the 



risky gymnastics and painful distortions of Miles. Grille d'Egout, La Goulue, 
Nini Patte-en-1'air, and Rayon d'Or, not only have no attraction for me, 
but seem to me absolutely unpleasant. I am probably too old-fashioned to 
understand them. I confess also that the present Bullier makes me regret 
what I have heard of the frank and wholesome gaiety of the students' balls 
of former days. And I dream of rustic dances amid the balm of new- 
mown hay, the natural expression of enjoyment after the toil of summer 

en Trois Tableaux 


After Thomas Slothard, R.A. 


Early Hiittrj of Dancing in great "Britain — .fnglo-Saxon Dancing — D^jrman Dances 
— {Middle Jges — Dances of Knights-Templars and Templars — Dancing under 
Tna'tr Sovereigns — James I. and Court {Masques — Charles I. and Court 
{Masques — The Commonwealth — Dancing under Charles II.— Old {May-day 
Dames — Dancing in the Days of Queen June — "Bath — "Beau {}(_ash as {Master 
if the Ceremonies — His Successors — {Masquerades at {Madame Comely 's, Carlisle 
Home— The Tantkeon—%anelagh and Vauxhall gardens— Jlmaci's Club and 
Subscription 'Balls — Famous Dancing- masters and Coryphees of the eighteenth 
Century — The Vestris Family — Stage-dancing — Opera Dancers at the KJng's 
Theatre — Her {Majesty's, from Vestris le grand to Kate Vaughan 

IT has been the custom of strangers, who have not taken the 
trouble to inform themselves on the subject, to assume that 
the inhabitants of the United Kingdom ranked low amongst 
dancing nations, while admitting that the tastes of the people 
inclined them to favour dances which are rapid, lively, and spirited ; such, 
for example, as Hornpipes, Country Dances, Irish Jigs, Highland Flings, 
Reels, and Strathspeys, severally characterised as national dances. 


Like the hardy races of antiquity, the early inhabitants of these islands, 
for the most part warriors, delighted in dances of a warlike character. 

Goths, Gauls, Danes, Picts and Scots, hardy Norsemen, and the warrior 
nations with whom the ancient inhabitants were brought into contact, had 
the same passion for these saltatory exercises. The Roman conquest added 
to the passion for gymnastic dancing, by bringing in its train the Pyrrhic 
martial dance, the great dance of war, daily practised. 

The Anglo-Saxons were undoubtedly lovers of dancing, the nation dis- 
porting itself with characteristic spirit on holidays and merry-makings. It 
is demonstrated from the graphic evidence which is procurable, that the old 
forms of gymnastic dancing were still in favour ; hopping, leaping, tumbling, 
and somersaulting are all described as popular feats, and we may gather that 
the " gleemen," like the Norman jongleurs, were professional " tumblers," 
dancing on their hands no less readily than on their feet, vaulting, throw- 
ing somersaults, flip-flaps, and in general performing those gymnastic 
tricks associated with proficient acrobats. We see in the pictures female 
jongleures performing similar feats of tumbling and dancing. Hoppesteres was 
a name given to feminine performers expert in this branch. The mimi, or 
minstrels, who travelled the country in bands, were also dancers, performing 
Jigs and Flings to the accompaniment of the musical instruments they carried, 
dancing Hornpipes amongst eggs without breaking them, and Reels amidst 
knives and daggers. 

The Normans improved English domestic dancing by adding to the 
stock of Rounds, common to the people, the variety of steps and figures 
found in the Contredanse, supposed to have been introduced here by William 
the Conqueror. Primitive dances were expanding, and professional dancing 
borrowed hints from distant lands. The first Crusaders brought back in 
their train dissolute Eastern practices ; they not only introduced suggestive 
dances from the East, but kept their troops of dancing-girls. 

The mention of the Carole, originally a singing dance, opens up the 
extensive subject of Christmas dances, carols in their surviving form, Yule- 
tide festivities, plays, pageants, disguisings, masques, mummers, mysteries, 
masquerading revels, " Christmas Princes," " Lords of Misrule," Masters 
of Revels, Courts of Father Christmas, with the Rondes, Brawls, Galliards, 
Courantes, Jigges, Flings, and the whirl of merry dances, singing measures, 


choral exercises, &c, they brought in their train, as contributory mirth to 
the festive season. 

In the Middle Ages, out-of-door dances of the peasant order were 
common. The Roundel consisted in any number of people joining hands, 
and, to the music of the roundelay, performing such evolutions as were then 
in favour, or dancing in one long procession, headed by a couple, whose 
turns and sauts, leapings and twistings, the train endeavoured to imitate. 

In the reign of Edward III. the Morris Dance was in favour, derived 
from the Morisco; the parti-coloured masquers had bells attached to their 
quaint masquing habits, and held drawn swords in their hands. This was 
a figure-dance of agility. 

In the days when Knights rode through Knightrider Street, to hold their 
"jousts," or tournaments, at Smithfield, " antic-dances, masquerades, jigs, 
sarabands, quarter-staff dances," and a " chair-dance," were performed at 
the old Elephant Ground in Smithfield. 

Dancing was from early times considered an important part of a gentle 
education. The Inns of Court, among other practices, were zealous about 
their dancing observances ; the holding of revels had been duly provided 
for, and kept within convenient bounds by an Act passed in the reign of 
Henry VI.— (Dugdale, Orig. Jurid.) 

These exercises of dancing were thought very necessary, " and much 
conducing to the making of gentlemen more fit for their books at other 
times," and " under barristers " were put out of commons for not partici- 
pating in the dancings, with a threat of fines and disbarment for contumacy. 

Under the Tudor sovereigns dancing flourished mightily, and the land 
seemed more like the " Merrie England " of the chroniclers. Henry VIII. 
was an all-accomplished prince as regards those portions of a gentle 
education, music and dancing ; he composed the music and danced to his 
own melodies. The jousts, masques, and pageants given in the earlier part 
of his reign, culminating in the extravagant splendours of the Field of the 
Cloth of Gold, arc sufficiently well known ; Shakespeare has immortalised the 
" disguisings " and " surprise visit" to Wolsey's place. These were the 
days of Kissing Dances, the kiss probably contributing to their popularity. 
So Henry VIII. is made to say: "Sweetheart, I were unmannerly to 
take you out and not to kiss you." 


In Edward VI. 's reign fanatics commenced the Reformation crusade 
against the licentiousness of dancing, and inoffensive maypoles were cut 

The reign of Queen Elizabeth was a dancing era, and the Queen herself 
set the fashion. Are not the great officers of State rumoured to have 
danced into their grave offices ? There was, among other sprightly instances, 
" Sir Christopher Hatton, who wore the green satton," dancing the Pavane 
to such dignified perfection that he tripped his way to the woolsack. 
Elizabeth prided herself upon her own skill, and ambassadors were asked to 
solve the delicate point whether her Majesty's dancing surpassed that of 
sister princesses, such as Mary Queen of Scots, that rival devotee of the 
dance. Stately measures, such as the Pavane, were a necessity, though it is 
related of a princess that she performed the lively movement of a Courante, 
the nimble Courant, wearing an embroidered train three yards in length, of 
course borne by a gentleman train-bearer, whose agility was deserving of 
equal admiration. 

Majestic measures were adapted to the requirements of the performers, 
decked in all the dignity of brave apparel ; high head-dresses with towers of 
hair ; coifs overloaded with jewels, with osprey, and other plumes, to which 
brisk movements would have brought destruction ; rigid and elongated 
stomachers ; starched ruffs of several stories ; buckramed sleeves and skirts ; 
hoops both high and inflexible ; extravagant trains and stiff shoes, also 
stiffer with jewels, and with very high heels ; all adornments necessitating 
dance-measures suitable to the constrained and stately deportment of the 
wearers ; hence the favour in which was held the " grave Pavane," other- 
wise admirably designed to harmonise with stately surroundings, evidently 
the precursor of the equally courtly Minuet. The Pavane and Paduane, pre- 
sumably the same, are supposed to have been in favour in Padua ; the more 
popular acceptation was that the name is derived from pavo, a peacock, for 
a more " peacocky " measure it is difficult to imagine. Lord Burleigh, and 
the wisest of their time, joined in the " deportment " movements. Sir John 
Hawkins, in his History of Music, has summed up the specialities of the 
Pavane : " It is a grave and majestic dance. The method of dancing it 
anciently was by gentlemen dressed with caps and swords ; by those of the 
long robe in their gowns ; by the peers in their mantles ; and by ladies in 


gowns with long trains, the motion whereof, in dancing, resembled that of 
a peacock." Her Majesty kept a Master of the Revels, whose office it was 
to superintend the dances. There was the Undumpisher, according to 
Daniel, christened from " Dump," the name of a dance. This official may 
have been a Court buffoon. Besides the chivalric Pavane, there was the 
Pazzamezzo, the Cinque-pace alluded to by Shakespeare ; Courantes, 
Galliards (both lively dances), Trenchmores^ Brawls, Jigs, Fancies, and La 
Volta, another Court favourite. The latter, as its name implies, of 
springing character ; the cavalier turning his partner in several rounds, 
and then assisting the lady to make a high spring, or cabriole, perhaps 
similar to cutting an entrechat. 

The Brawls led by Sir Christopher Hatton were of an agile nature, 
derived from both the French Branles, and the Italian ; another phase of 
the Ronde. This, like the generality of peasant measures, vivacious and 
saltatory, was popular at wedding feasts. There is an old song, 1569, in 
which some of the features of the Brawl are described : 

" Good fellowes must go learnc to daunce, 

The brydcal is full near a : 
There is a brail come out of France, 

The first ye harde this year: a, 
But I must leape and thou must hoppc, 

And we must turn all three a ; 
The fourth must bounce it like a toppe, 

And so we shall agree a. 
1 pray the minstrel! make no stop, 

For we will merry be a." 

One of the earliest dance tunes, St. Leger Round, was wedded to a 
circular Country Dance known as Sellenger's Round. This was in favour in 
Elizabeth's reign, with Rogero (suggestive of Sir Roger), 'The Hay, and 
John, come Kiss Me now. The Beginning of the World, we are told 
(Chappcll's Old English Popular Music) was another title for Sellenger's 
Round. The description of this dance is given in Playford's Dancing 

The history of dancing in the reign of James I. chiefly refers to the 
costly Masques and emblematic pageants, such as were devised by Ben 
Jonson ; many of these were on a lavish scale, full of " rare conceits " and 



high-flown panegyrics upon the prince and his belongings. The story of 
these divertissements, too lengthy for this place, is interesting, as they all 
introduced dancing in various forms. Sometimes, as in the case of a 
Masque offered to a royal visitor and brother-in-law to the King, the 
personage in whose honour the revel was designed happened to be over- 
come by previous potations ; the goddesses represented in the Masque 
staggered on in similar state and speechless ; the chief performers were put 
to bed in hopeless conditions ; and Majesty remained prostrate. 

King James I., as has been mentioned, was a lover of dancing. Young 
Henry, Prince of Wales, excelled in these exercises, and "Steenie," the 
royal favourite, delighted to exhibit his fine figure, rich attire, and graceful 
agility in the dance. Prince Charles, too, was an accomplished dancer, and 
was sent dancing through the Courts of Europe with the elegant Villiers, 
Duke of Buckingham, as his travelling tutor. 

Courtly magnificence under Charles I., with his consort, daughter of 
Henri Quatre, aspired still higher. The King's love of art raised the Masques 
to their greatest glories ; Buckingham encouraged these costly entertain- 
ments, at which he assisted. There was Ben Jonson to devise the pageant, 
generally founded on fables and myths, to furnish the lyrics and heroic 
speeches ; Lawes composed the music ; and the great architect, Inigo 
Jones, furnished the mise-en-scene, invented the " machineries " (which were 
very elaborate), and was responsible for the costumes, chariots, vehicles and 
accessories in general. Prodigious sums were lavished on these spectacles, 
which were brought to artistic perfection under Charles I. Members of the 
Court and professional classes devoted themselves to learning new measures, 
to furnish forth what would now be the ballet, and a general dance of the 
company brought these amusements to an appropriate finish. The 
expensive nature of these Masques can be gathered from the sum (£21,000) 
alleged to have been expended upon one presented at Whitehall by the Inns 
of Court in 1633. 

Offence to the decorous was given by the dancing of ballets drawn from 
heathen mythology, and the Sarabands, Courantes, Galliardes, and livelier 
measures at Court, where French fashions held the ascendency ; Queen 
Henrietta Maria enjoying the traditional gaiety of her race, and being 
surrounded by favourite attendants and courtiers of her own faith and 


nation. These degenerate amusements evoked the protest of the godly, and 
helped to precipitate the civil troubles of the reign ; hence the frivolous era 
was replaced by a stern reign of puritanical propriety, and dancing fell with 
courtly and similar levities. 

It has been mentioned that there are Jigs christened after each successive 
sovereign from Charles II. to Queen Anne. On the same authority (Grove's 
Dictionary), there is a Jig called Old Noll's Jig, possibly in derision ; for, 
though the Protector delighted in music, it is perhaps over far-fetched to 
picture Oliver Cromwell, footing a Jig. 

The Commonwealth looked askance at fripperies, and dancing came 
under the ban. With the Restoration an era of gaiety set in, the people 
seemed to wish to compensate themselves for the oppressive parliamentary 
reign of enforced sobriety by rushing to the other extreme ; and " Merrie 
England " was revived with enthusiastic zeal, which, on occasions, was 
carried to excess. All the old Mayday revels were restored, and Maypoles 
flourished abundantly ; there were dances on all occasions ; the playhouses 
were reopened, and dancing, with ballets, after the manner of Louis XIV. 's 
favourite diversions, were introduced ; actors and actresses were expected to 
excel in performing Jigs, and favourites were called back at the close of the 
pieces, when the audiences called upon them for a dance, with which invita- 
tion it was considered good taste to comply. 

Dances were the order at Court, and, judging from King, courtiers, and 
female favourites thereat, pretty lively proceedings must have been the 
order of the nights. We have space but for a passing glimpse of the school 
of dancing prevailing under the easy, roysterous, pleasure-loving auspices 
of Charles II. In the company of Secretary Pepys (1662) we are taken to 
a ball at Whitehall, shortly after the Restoration. The King and other lords 
and ladies danced the Brantle or Branle, a dance of several persons, holding 
hands, and leading one another by turns. Then Majesty led a lady a single 
Courante ; then the other lords did likewise, This was the .steadier portion 
of the dancing ; for the Country Dances which followed were boisterous ; the 
King leading the first, which he called for ; characteristically naming the 
old English measure, Cuckolds all Awry. This, as the title implies, was a 
frolic, with plenty. of wild swinging to set the dancers awry ; the company 
joining hands in a circle, and doing their best endeavour to shake each other 


as violently as possible. The steps, changing with the time, consisted of three 
pas and pied-joints, the time being given to four strokes of the bow, 
vigorously carried out. After the liberal courtly allowance of wine, and the 
difficulty of keeping on their legs, this must have been a merry romp, for 
considering the loose habits then prevailing, the dancers must have pretty 
nearly shaken each other out of their clothes, already sufficiently d'ecollet'ee. 
This eventuality may account for the Merry Monarch's preference for 
Cuckolds all Awry. 

The spirit of dancing seemed to inspire the people of England in an 
extra degree on the advent of May-day, and no better refutation could have 
been offered those prejudiced critics — who have held the theory that dancing 
was foreign to the English character — than the dancing observances 
zealously kept up in the times when our country was " Merrie England," 
and the merry month of May was ushered in with joyous dances. 

An admirable picture of May-day revels in the reign of Queen 
Elizabeth, with all the accessories of tall Maypole, an arbour of greenery 
reared for the Lady of the May, mummers, dancing on the green, Queen 
of the May, morris-dancers, hobby-horses, a dragon, &c, was painted by 
C. R. Leslie, R.A. An engraving after this happy representation of old 
English customs is here reproduced. 

Maypoles were a favourite institution both in town and country ; in fact, 
they were provided out of the common funds. The morris-dancers, already 
mentioned as in high favour under the Plantagenet sovereigns, formed 
another accessory of May-day revels ; the Lord and Lady of the May 
were identified with Robin Hood and Maid Marian, their attendant 
courtiers and followers with Little John, Friar Tuck, and the sylvan train 
of Sherwood Forest ; with these were the antics of zanies and hobby- 
horses ; with a reference to the champion legend of St. George and the 
Dragon, the " strange beast from other lands," as represented in Leslie's 
animated picture of May-day festivities. Pipe and tabor furnished the 
measures, the bagpipes were also popular, witness Browne's Pastorals : 

"I have seen the Lady of the May 
Set in an arbour (on a holiday) 
Built by the Maypole, where the jocund swains 
Dance with the maidens to the bagpipe strains," 






5 f 


A great Maypole was set up in Cornhill; the Maypole in the Strand was 
134 feet high. Says Pope : 

"Amid the area wide they took their stand, 
Where the tall Maypole once o'erlooked the Strand." 

The standing Maypole was an institution. The last of its race left in 
London, according to Hone's recollection, was near Kennington Green, and 
was mostly frequented by milkmaids : 

Misson, in his Observations on his Travels in England, has set down : 
"All the pretty young country girls that serve the town with milk, borrow 
abundance of silver plate to make a pyramid, which they adorn with ribbons 
and flowers, and carry on their heads instead of a pail. They are often 
accompanied by their fellow-milkmaids and players on the bagpipe or 

The bright shining milk-pails were garlanded too ; Pepys records meeting, 
on his way to Westminster, May 1, 1667, "many milkmaids with their 
garlands upon their pails, and dancing with a fiddler before them." 

Occasionally the model of a cow with gilt horns, begarlanded with oak 
leaves, bunches of flowers, rosettes, bows, and streamers of .ribbon, took the 
place of the plate ; which latter, as one can fancy, was less readily forth- 
coming. Tankards, salvers, bowls, porringers, cups, &c, were arranged in 
trophies of plate of pyramidal form, all bound together with gay ribbons and 
festooned with floral garlands ; naturally, when these trophies were burden- 
some, they could not be carried on the heads of the dancers, but were 
mounted on a wooden horse and borne by stout porters ; as were the 
garlands of greenery and flowers when of inconvenient dimensions. The 
custom was to stop before customers' doors and dance a Galliard ; for this 
performance a donation was expected. 

In Scotland there were May-dew dancers at Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, 
where : 

" Strathspeys and reels 
Put life and metal in their heels." 

This festival commenced with a great gathering at daybreak ; before 
five o'clock in the morning the entire hill became a moving mass of folk of 


all clans, arrayed in all the colours of the rainbow. At the summit a kilted 
company were whirling round a Maypole. 

In Ireland May-day observances were equally popular. At Finglass, 
near Dublin, the antique Maypole dancing long continued to be kept up in 
the old style. A high pole was decorated with garlands, and visitors came 
in, from different parts of the country, to dance round it, to the accompani- 
ment of whatever music the occasion had conducted there. The best 
dancers, male and female, were " chaired " as king and queen, and, when 
the Maypole festivities were wound up, carried to some adjacent inn, where 
after a feast, with libations of whisky-punch, the proceedings were continued 
with a dance indoors. 

The art of dancing, as practised by the fair sex in the palmy days of 
good Queen Anne, had indeed arrived at a point of graceful perfection 
difficult to associate with the amusements of the time. We may accept 
the evidence of Sir Richard Steele, as set down in the Taller, wherein is 
described, under his assumed character of Mr. Isaac Bickerstaff, a spirited 
contest for the pas between two charming young ladies, who had elected to 
submit their respective claims for pre-eminence to the decision of the Taller. 
Both the rival charmers being pupils of Mr. Isaac, a famous dancing-master 
of the period, a Frenchman and a Roman Catholic. 

The allusions to Monsieur Isaac, the proficiency of his system of training, 
and the all-conquering " rigadoon step," was followed up, a few papers later 
on, by a playful essay in the Taller, also by Steele, wherein the eccentricities 
of a professor of dancing, who happened to be his neighbour, formed the 
text of Mr. BickerstafFs pleasant lucubration. 

Apart from London, the normal metropolis of everything modish — the 
aristocratic centre of polite company, genteel assemblies, and, incidentally, 
of select and stately dancing, during the eighteenth century — was Bath, the 
seat of Beau Nash's Court. 

Curiously enough, the despotic ruler and the place seemed designed for 
one another. Nash had already enjoyed some experience, before, in gentle 
Anna's reign, he became famous, along with the city of which, for half a 
century, he was practically king. He had matriculated at Oxford, had 
figured in the army as an ensign, dressing the martial character.says Goldsmith, 
*' to the very edge of his finances"; but finding the duties and restrictions 


enforced by the military profession irksome, he reverted to the law, and 
entered as a student of the Inner Temple in 1693. Here he so distin- 
guished himself by his taste in dress and lavish display, leading an extrava- 
gant life without visible resources, that the Beau's most intimate friends 
suspected him of being a knight of the road. Loving display, his fine 
manners and airy gaiety pointed Nash out as the proper person to super- 
intend the masque and pageant the students of the Middle Temple exhibited 
before William III. in 1695. So skilfully did Nash comport himself in the 
office of Master of the Revels that the King proposed to knight him, an 
honour subsequently offered by Queen Anne, who had revived the reputa- 
tion of Bath by repairing thither for the waters in 1703 : fashion had 
followed the Court, and Beau Nash followed the fashion in 1705, when the 
fame of the gambling drew him there. In those primitive days dancing was 
conducted on the bowling-green, or in a booth, according to the season ; 
there was no Assembly, no codes of etiquette, nor rules regulating the niceties 
of dress. Nash found " the Bath" still in its primeval provinciality, and, 
as a person of agreeable ingenuity, with marked organising capability, he 
readily enlisted the favour of the visitors and the corporation, obtained 
subscriptions for music, kept a band of six performers, improved the booth 
into an Assembly Room, raised the Pump Room to dignified standing under 
the care of an officer called " the pumper," posted up the code of rules 
which he had drawn up for the reformation of manners, and inaugurated a 
new and polite order of things. 

The company elected Nash Master of the Ceremonies, and it must be 
acknowledged that the new monarch of the assemblies showed astonishing 
gifts for his office. A handsome Assembly House was built under Nash's 
direction, the number of musicians increased, their pay doubled, and the 
reign of social propriety began. Says the Gentleman's Magazine (for 1762, 
the year the Beau died), in an article probably written by Goldsmith, Nash's 
biographer : " Nash, in administering his government, found it absolutely 
necessary to enact such laws as would execute themselves ; he, therefore, 
very artfully contrived to make a kind of penalty the consequence of the 
breach of them by the manner of drawing them up, as appears from the 
rules, which he wrote with his own hand, and caused to be put up in the 
Pump Room." 



Nash directed that the balls should begin at six and end at eleven ; this he 
was able to effect by his authority over the music. He opened each ball by 
taking out two persons of the highest distinction present to dance a Minuet ; 
when the Minuet was ended, the lady returned to her seat, and Nash brought 
the gentleman a new partner ; this ceremony was observed with every 
succeeding couple, every gentleman being obliged to dance with two ladies. 


After Tboous Kuwlandson 

The Minuet-dancing generally lasted about two hours, and when this was 
over, the Country Dances began ; ladies of quality, according to their rank, 
standing up first. An hour later on, generally about nine o'clock, a short 
interval was allowed for rest, and for the gentlemen to help their partners to 
tea. When this was over, the dancing continued till eleven, and, as soon as 
the clock had struck, Nash came into the room and ordered the music to 
stop by holding up, his finger. The dances were, of course, discontinued, and, 
some time being allowed for the company to grow cool, the ladies were 
handed to their chairs, nor were those who walked in any danger of being 
insulted by the chairmen. 

3 d 


Thus Nash at last arrived at absolute monarchy, and this period of 
empire represented the palmy days of Bath. 

In the interval between the days of Beau Nash, and the publication of 
Anstey's New Bath Guide, that vivacious picture of Georgian manners 
and customs (before the appearance of Bunbury's Long Minuet as Danced 
at Bath, and Rowlandson's Comforts of Bath), two regents had followed 
the Beau, and yet another two were contending for the sweets of office. 
The contest for the Mastership of Ceremonies waxed so fierce that in 
1769 the subscribers were fain to beseech both candidates to withdraw, and 
be contented to forego the sway of empire in consideration of an annual ball 
or two, as a gratuity to soothe their retirement. 

Captain Wade, nephew of the celebrated General Wade, was then 
distinguished by the appointment, and, at a special ball, this son of Mars, 
very handsomely attired as Master of the Ceremonies, was presented with a 
glittering badge of office. Captain Wade shortly retired, and another 
Arbiter succeeded to the medallion of the old Rooms. Meanwhile, the 
balls of the New Assembly were swayed by that elegant and refined 
personage, William Dawson, M.C., who had his special train of admirers, 
and was made as resplendent in regalia as his rival at the Old Rooms. 

Great reputations — to say nothing of profits — have been achieved by 
those who aspired to lead the popular amusements, especially when the 
nature of the entertainments were of a lively or frisky order. The name of 
Madame Comely, the contriver of those dancing Festinos which gained an 
equivocal celebrity in the eighteenth century, is an instance of the notoriety 
which was easily made in this walk of trading on the love of pleasure, 
characterising the frivolous portion of mankind. 

Every one of fashion had heard of Madame Comely, and all those who 
loved gaiety, and disregarded expense in procuring it, had revelled in the 
" violent delights " this enterprising entrepreneuse and providore had cun- 
ningly spread to attract the gay world to her vivacious entertainments. 

It was known that she was connected with the Opera, and that she had 
commenced a career, which subsequently made a considerable noise in the 
fashionable world, as a singer under the name of " the Pompeiati." 

Taking the great Heidegger's successful administration as " Master of 
the Revels " as her exemplary model, she soon contrived to preside over the 


diversions of the ion as the Heidegger of her day. Her taste and invention 
in pleasures and decorations became proverbial. Carlisle House, in Soho 
Square, fell into her hands, and was shordy transformed into a veritable 
bower of bliss. The place was promptly enlarged, subscription-balls and 
assemblies were established ; those rationally sober-minded relaxations 
usually associated with similar entertainments were surpassed by the lengths 




Alter Thomas Rowlandson 

to which amusements were carried under Madame's giddy auspices, as the 
High-Priestess of modish innovations. She went on building, made her 
house a fairy palace, where balls and masquerades the most dazzling were 
the order of the night ; masquerades which drew all the gilded youth, and 
a large proportion of the elders too. At first the world was scandalised, 
but both righteous and ungodly were drawn to Carlisle House. Every 
one who was any one went there, and the papers were filled with lengthy 
descriptions of the humours of the Carlisle House masquerades ; the names 
and ingenious pleasantries of the high-born masquers, and the fashion- 
able celebrities there congregating, whose titles, characters, and diverting 
proceedings were duly chronicled in full. 


In those days masqued balls were the fashionable diversions of the best 
company, and they were really amusing ; it was customary for the masquers 
to sustain the characters they had assumed ; wit and invention were con- 
spicuously displayed in keeping up their parts ; the loveliest women of the 
Court, and the Phrynes who outrivalled them in splendour and profusion, 
disported themselves in the most brilliant and ingenious costumes. Royal 
personages were prominent visitors among the performers, and the peerage 
was largely represented. Queens of society and stage-queens alike found a 
congenial theatre for their graces, while the blooming younger generation, 
and the reigning beauties whose fascinations were the topic of the time, 
were there seen to the best advantage. We know that these symposia were 
popular amongst men of note besides the frivolous, for were not Garrick, 
and Sir Joshua Reynolds, Oliver Goldsmith, and Dr. Johnson's protege, 
Boswell, with men of taste and fashion like Horace Walpole, frequently 
seen at Madame Cornely's, at Ranelagh, and at Vauxhall ? 

Of all the palatial structures reared for the accommodation of the dancing 
world, the Pantheon, in Oxford Street, bore off the palm. This " wonder 
of the time" was erected in 177 1, during the fashionable craze for public 
balls and masquerades, when the coteries, clubs, assemblies, and general 
resorts of the beau-monde were most in vogue. It was a rival of Madame 
Cornely's Carlisle House on a more refined and magnificent scale ; more- 
over, it was intended to keep the Pantheon entertainments within 
respectable limits, and the first notion was to exclude all but the most select 
and reputable company from its gorgeous halls. 

This noble monument of architectural genius was reared by James 
Wyatt, R.A. ; and on all accounts was acknowledged to surpass every 
building of its kind. 

The opening of this stately palace of pleasure was fixed for January 22, 
1772, and was marked by an incident which survives in story, and has been 
frequently treated pictorially. The high-toned exclusiveness characteristic 
of Al mack's was the aim of the managers ; all ladies of light reputation were 
to be excluded, and to a committee of lady-patronesses of the highest rank 
in society was confided the exercise of these invidious responsibilities. The 
rumours of this proposed exclusiveness gave great offence, when many fair 
celebrities of the fashionable and theatrical worlds were notorious for tender 



flirtations, and their connections with gallant virtuosi in the ranks of the 
nobility and gentry, whose admiration for the arts extended to the artistes. 
Not only were the all-fascinating demi-mondaines, the Kitty Fishers, Nelly 
O'Briens, Polly Kennedys, Nancy Parsons, and recruits of the too-famous frail 
sisterhood to be excluded ; it was noised abroad that those irresistible actresses, 
whose fame on the stage was outrivalled by the publicity of their amours, 


After a Picture by W. Q. Orchardioo, R.A. 

were to be debarred the magic halls. It was known that two famous 
daughters of Thalia had secured tickets from their admirers, and, despite 
prudish overseers, intended to present themselves — pretty Sophia Baddeley, 
then under a singing engagement at Ranelagh.and the winsome Mrs. Abington, 
the accepted Queen of Comedy. The jeunesse doree had vowed that, 
whoever was excluded from the Pantheon, their favourite Sophia Baddeley 
should gain admittance on the memorable opening-night. Twenty gentlemen 
met at Almack's, and bound themselves to escort her, and stand by her 
chair. When she arrived, and was set down at the portico (which escaped 
the destructive fire in 1792, and is still standing in Oxford Street, sole 


remaining relic of Wyatt's first Pantheon), the escort had swelled to fifty 
gentlemen of the first rank. As Mrs. Baddeley attempted to enter, the posse 
of constables provided for the emergency crossed their staves, barring the 
passage, and civilly but resolutely explained, their orders were to exclude 
stage-players. Instructions had been given to convey the prohibition in the 
least offensive manner, although, had Mrs. Baddeley's profession been unex- 
ceptionable, her equivocal reputation would have been a fatal stumbling-block. 
The gallant escort of champion knights unsheathed their glittering weapons, 
and, at the sword's-point, sharply drove back the constables; then making an 
arch with their chivalrous blades, formed an avenue adown which Mrs. 
Baddeley passed proudly into the presence of all the high personages 
assembled in the brilliantly illuminated Rotunda ; thus entering triumphant 
to the fear and consternation of the obstructive managers, who found their 
stronghold carried by a coup de main, and the enemy in possession, before 
they were aware of their defeat. " But," writes Leslie, " the difficulty was 
not at end. The outraged gentlemen refused to sheathe their swords or to 
allow the music to proceed till the managers came forward and humbly 
apologised to Mrs. Baddeley and her escort." That lady's comrade and 
biographer, Mrs. Steele, also present, asserts that, when the managers had 
apologised, the Duchess of Argyle and the Duchess of Ancaster stepped 
forward and expressed the pleasure it gave them to receive such an ornament 
to their assembly as Mrs. Baddeley. A messenger was in readiness to inform 
Mrs. Abington, more timorously awaiting the denouement of this adventure, 
and discreetly attending without, in readiness to receive the signal that Mrs. 
Baddeley's charge at the head of her guards had been successful. She now 
made her entree, and, from that eventful night, the difficult feat of attempting 
to draw the line between the nice gradations in frailty were practically 
relinquished, as regarded the management of the Pantheon. 

An advertisement, by way of warning to the discomfited purists, appeared 
in the paper, that " as it was not convenient for ladies always to carry the 
certificates of their marriages about them, the subscribers were resolved, in 
opposition to the managers, to protect the ladies to whom they gave their 
tickets." Even the stern moralist Dr. Johnson was, with his friends of the 
Literary Club, found attending the Pantheon. The admission was half- 
a-guinea. Boswell ventured to suggest there was not half-a-guinea's worth 


of pleasure in seeing the place. Johnson replied : " But, sir, there is half-a- 
guinea's worth of inferiority to other people in not having seen it." 
Boswell : " I doubt whether there are many happy people here." Johnson : 
" Yes, sir, there are many happy people here ; there are many people who 
are watching hundreds, and who think hundreds are watching them." 

Reynolds and Goldsmith were there, in character, too, at a masquerade 


After Rowlandtaa «nd Pugin 

shortly after the opening. There were nearly two thousand visitors 
present ; the suite of fourteen rooms one blaze of light and decorations, the 
wines and supper in keeping with the rank of the better part of the company. 
On this particular occasion, we are told that several of the ladies who chose 
to adopt male dominoes and disguises "appeared as masculine as many of 
the delicate Macaroni things we see everywhere — the ' Billy Whiffles ' of the 
present age." Among the most distinguished of these "very pretty 
fellows " were the Duchess of Ancastcr, Lady Melbourne, and Mrs. Darner. 


There, too, were Reynolds' Devonshire friends, the Horneck family, 
probably under the escort of Sir Joshua and Goldsmith ; the poet's Jessamy 
Bride and Little Comedy, a charming group ; the two beautiful youthful 
sisters, and their smart young brother — Goldsmith's " captain in lace," as 
French dancers, all dressed in Watteau habits of the same cut and fashion ; 
looking, says the Magazine chronicler, notwithstanding the sex of one of 
the trio, like a group of the three Graces. The ball took place on the eve 
of old Mayday, and there was, appropriately to the season, a group dressed 
as the bearers and attendants of the " Milkmaids' May-day Garlands," and 
as the company trooped to their chairs and coaches in the May-day dawn, 
the veritable May-day milkmaids were already stirring in the streets. 

By one of a succession of truly deplorable casualties, the King's Theatre 
was destroyed by fire in 1789 ; the year following Drury Lane Theatre 
was found to be unsafe for want of needful repairs, and the prospects of 
the imported troupe of operatic artistes, with no field for their per- 
formances, were, early in 1791, of the most forlorn order. Rowlandson 
produced two or three graphic versions, setting forth the state of the case. 
One is entitled Chaos is come again, and shows the Opera House crumbling 
into decay, and in its fall bringing down the performers among the ruins, 
with the quotation : 

" Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast, 
To soften bricks and bend the knotted oak." 

Rowlandson playfully pictured the reduced state of the poor homeless 
dancers, with Didelot, Vestris, Theodore, and others, accompanied by the 
musicians of the Opera band, driven, all dishevelled, their already scanty 
costumes worn to tatters, to take refuge on the streets, appealing to the 
passers-by for assistance ; with a model of the King's Theatre, inscribed, 
" Pray remember the poor dancers," carried, as shipwrecked sailors bore about 
a model of their lost ship, to enlist the sympathy of the charitable. 

A placard announces : " A Dance, called The Battle of the Brickbats ; to 
conclude with a Grand Crush by all the Performers." 

This appeal on behalf of the distressed dancers was entitled : The 
Prospect before us, No. 1. Humanely inscribed to all those Trofessors of Music 
and Dancing whom the cap may fit. At this trying juncture, the 

•o fr 
S 3 
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& J-8 

S ^ O 


" - — •- 


5 .si 

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managers of the Pantheon came to the rescue, and Wyatt carried out altera- 
tions which converted the grand saloon of the Pantheon into a handsome 
and spacious theatre, to which the Opera troupe was transferred pending the 
reconstruction of Drury Lane and the completion of the new Opera House, 
Haymarket. The improved state of affairs, with the ballet installed more 
splendidly than ever, is pictorially set down by Rowlandson in a version 
here reproduced, entitled : The Prospect before us, No. 2. Respectfully 
dedicated to those Singers, Dancers, and Musical Professors who are fortu- 
nately engaged with the proprietor of the King s Theatre at the Pantheon^ 
This appeared January, 1 79 1 . Rowlandson's drawing presents a coup d ceil 
of the theatre just erected, as viewed from the stage, the Royal box in the 
centre, tenanted by Majesty, and the entire house filled with the quality. 
On the boards are represented M. Didelot and Mile. Theodore, principal 
dancers in the ballet of Amphion and Thalia, O'Reilly presiding over the 
orchestra. The opera first produced was Armida. The opening season 
was vastly successful. The unlucky ballet-dancers, however, as it seemed, 
were doomed to misfortune ; still worse, the Pantheon was involved. The 
story is brief: "January 14, 1792. This morning, between one and two 
o'clock, the painters'-room in one of the new buildings, which have been 
added to the Pantheon to enlarge it sufficiently for the performance of 
operas, was discovered to be on fire. Before any engines were brought to 
the spot, the fire had got to such a height that all attempts to save the 
building were in vain. The fire kept burning with great fury for about ten 
hours, by which time the roof and part of the walls having fallen in, it was 
so much subdued that all fears for the safety of the surrounding houses 
were quieted." 

Another Pantheon, on similar lines, was reared on the site of its 
predecessor ; and similar entertainments opened its early career. A picture 
of the interior, with a masquerade in full swing, was published at the time ; 
the architecture by Pugin, and the figures by Rowlandson. 

After various changes of fortune — from a ball-room to a bazaar, and a 
picture gallery — the later Pantheon still stands, the headquarters of Messrs. 
W. & A. Gilbey, the well-known wine merchants. Once filled with all the 
choicest spirits of the past, its present fortunes are still associated with 
convivial usages. 



At Ranelagh, in the days of its meridian glories, the nobility delighted 
to take their pleasures ; Royal Dukes and Blue Ribbons figured at its balls 
and ridottos; it was also famous for Aquatic Fetes, which attracted in crowds 
the pleasure-loving section of the Metropolis. Here, too, Masquerades 
were evidently in high favour. There is a picture of one held here in 1759, 
the masquers disporting themselves in the rustic walks, rowing on the canal, 

A View of the Rotunda and Gardens, sriih a representation ot the Jubilee Masquerade Ball 
Circa 10 celebrate the Birthday of George, Prince of Wales (Geo. III.), 1759 

and crowding the quaint Chinese buildings reared in the middle of the lake. 
This version is by Canaletto, as is the view of the interior of the vast 
Rotunda, erected as a ball-room. By the same artist is a general view of 
the gardens surrounding the Rotunda, with the masquerade represented, 
given to celebrate the Jubilee Birthday Ball, there held May 24, 1759, in 
honour of George, Prince of Wales, who succeeded to the throne the 
following year as George III. This version is reproduced ; it has a further 
interest, as representing the general features of a masquerade in the middle 
of the eighteenth century ; showing the characteristic disguises and costumes 
then in popular favour ; while a frequent incident of these bals costumes, a 
chosen train of dancers, disporting themselves round a maypole hung with 
streamers, is illustrated in one of the principal groups. 



There is an elegant " Regatta Ball Ticket, Ranelagh, 1775," an ^ another 
for the " Subscription Masquerade, June 14, 1776 "; both are designed by 
G. B. Cipriani, R.A., and engraved by F. Bartolozzi. 

Vauxhall Gardens enjoyed a prolonged spell of popularity. Frederick, 
Prince of Wales (father of George III.) honoured Vauxhall with so large a 
share of his patronage, that the management was solicitous to commemorate 
this favourable circumstance. The Gothic orchestra, erected in the grove, 

had its dome surmounted with a plume of the 
Prince of Wales' feathers, and, fronting the 
orchestra, was a large pavilion of the com- 
posite order, specially built for the accom- 
modation of his Royal Highness. Canaletto 
painted a series of pictures of Vauxhall 
Gardens, which were engraved in 1753. 

. The original Vauxhall was made glorious 
by the enterprise of Mr. Jonathan Tyers, 
who purchased the place in 1730, and opened 
it with an attractive entertainment, which 
he called a Ridotto al Fresco. We have 
reproduced the ticket of admission issued 
for the "Vauxhall Jubilee," May 1786; a 
further interest is lent to this particular voucher by the fact that it bears 
the autograph of Jonathan Tyers. As Leslie has pointed out, the Vauxhall 
of Jonathan Tyers was a vastly different affair to the place familiar some 
forty years back, then nearing its end. " Its decoration had employed the 
brushes of Hogarth and Hayman, the scenic art of Lambert and De Louther- 
bourg, and the chisel of Roubiliac. In its orchestra, Mrs. Billington did not 
disdain to sing, nor Arne to conduct. The most brilliant beauties and 
leaders of ton were not too proud to eat cold chicken and drink rack punch 
and Frontiniac in its supper-boxes"; princes and peers, and "all that was 
modish and gay " of both sexes, had, by their attendance, lent a high-bred 
air of quality to the balls and ridottos, which, in the summer season, turned 
Vauxhall Gardens into a scene of delight. 

Almack's presented a contrast to most assemblies from the strictly 
exclusive order of its management. Of all the charmed circles, Almack's 

fft't, Vfetv 




continued the most difficult of access. It has been seen that at the various 
resorts whereat fashionable society at intervals elected to disport itself for 
the amusement of dancing, the compny signally failed in retaining its aris- 
tocratic exclusive- 
ness ; duchesses and 
demireps, sooner or 
later, contested the 
palm for rival attrac- 
tions, while demi- 
mondaines were rigor- 
ously excluded from 
Almaclc's through- 
out its career. 
The touchstone of 
high - bred fashion 
in its brilliant days, 
Almack's kept its 
traditions unsullied; 
while people were 
ready to intrigue — 
or even to fight — 
for admission, the 
privilege of penetra- 
ting within the once- 
fabled portals was 
jealously guarded by 

an array of lady-patronesses, imperium in imperio, for the entree to Almack's 
was considered a passport to the highest society of the metropolis. It was 
useless to contend against the fates, and, although the husbands of these 
despotic patronesses were challenged by disappointed applicants, who 
resented their exclusion as a personal insult, the rigorously exclusive 
legislature remained unmoved. It is related that a captain in the Guards, 
to whom Lady Jersey had declined sending a ticket, sent a challenge to 
Lord Jersey, requesting he would name his second, &c. " Lord Jersey 
replied in a very dignified manner, saying that if all persons who did not 


After Rowtaadm aad Facia 


receive tickets from his wife were to call him to account for want of 
courtesy on her part, he should have to make up his mind to become a 
target for young officers, and he therefore declined the honour of the 
proposed meeting." 

When the gay doings at " White's " and " Boodle's " were attracting the 
attentions of the jeunesse doree, and monopolising the male society, and the 
dashing ladies who led le bon ton aspired to emulate the modish amusements 
of their lords, the beaux and belles found, in the person of the enterprising 
Almack, a coadjutor, caterer, and chamberlain who, in astutely administer- 
ing to the tastes of his generation for extravagance and the all-prevailing 
excitement of gambling, had discovered a ready road to fortune, pro- 
fiting by the reckless profusion of that beau monde of which he thus 
became the convenient satellite. 

" Almack's Club," the original of " Brooks'," was established in Pall 
Mall in 1 764. While the spendthrift Macaronis of the day were gaily ruining 
their fortunes under Almack's auspices at this luxurious symposium, the 
founder was causing to be erected the handsome Assembly Rooms in King 
Street, St. James's — later managed by Willis, another famous club proprietor 
(also founder of the " Thatched House " in St. James's Street), and hence 
the elegant premises erected by Almack became subsequently familiar as 
" Willis's Rooms." 

Almack's opened February 20, 1765, with a ball. It is" recorded the 
walls and ceilings were still damp, and the Duke of Cumberland inaugurated 
the festivity. 

To Almack's, as a centre, came the various aristocratic coteries then 
flourishing, and King Street became their accepted headquarters. "The 
Ladies' Club," according to Walpole. " all goddesses," transferred their 
august patronage to Almack's, bringing favour and fortune in their train. 
The subscription was ten guineas ; for this was provided a weekly ball and 
supper, the season lasting twelve weeks. Mrs. Boscawen informed Mrs. 
Delany concerning " this Institution of lords and ladies, who first met at a 
tavern, and subsequently, to satisfy Lady Pembroke's scruples, migrated to 

" The ladies nominate and choose the gentlemen, and vice versa, so that 
no lady can exclude a lady, or gentleman a gentleman," 



Blackballing, from the first, attested its exclusive pretensions. The Ladies 
Rochford, Harrington, and Holderness met this fate, as did the Duchess of 
Bedford, though subsequently admitted. The ladies retorted by black- 
balling Lord March and Brook Boothby. 

It appears that the lady-patronesses allowed concerts and balls to be given 
at Almack's for the benefit of celebrated professors of dancing, vocalists, and 
musicians, and that Bartolozzi engraved their benefit tickets ; of this order 
was the card of subscription to " M. Fierville's 
Ball, Almack's," here reproduced. Many choice 
examples, referring to benefit performances given 
at Almack's, are still in existence. 

When Willis held the post of chamberlain 
at the beginning of the century, Almack's 
continued the quintessence of aristocratic exclu- 
siveness. If the numbers of young captains who 
were ready to make targets of the lordly 
husbands of the lady-patronesses were over- 


whelmmg, the coterte more jealously guarded the M Fjavilu ., ^ Alnuck . s 

portals. "Of the three hundred officers of the 

Foot Guards, then as now famous for their ' select set,' no more than half- 
a-dozen were honoured with vouchers of admission to this temple of the 
beau monde ; the gates were defended by autocratic arbiters, whose smiles or 
frowns consigned men and women to happiness or despair." 

As Captain Gronow wrote in " the sixties" : " At the present time, one 
can hardly conceive the importance which was attached to gaining admission 
to Almack's, the seventh heaven of the fashionable world." Lady Jersey, 
at the head of the lady-patronesses, is described as a theatrical tragedy 
queen, reigning over these reunions " into whose sanctum sons of commerce 
never come." 

The lady-patronesses, leaders of fashionable ion ton in 18 14, were 
Ladies Castlcreagh, Jersey, Cowper, Sefton, Willoughby de Eresby, 
Countess Licvcn, and Princess Esterhazy. 

The government was a pure despotism. On Gronow's authority, " the 
fair ladies, who ruled supreme over this little dancing and gossiping world, 
issued a solemn proclamation that no gentleman should appear at the 



assemblies without being dressed in knee-breeches," a white cravat and a 
chapeau bras were also de rigueur ; and another rule enacted that no visitor 
was admitted after half-past eleven o'clock at night. According to the 
anecdotes, " the great captain who had never been beaten in the field " was 
on two occasions ingloriously routed at Willis's. The Duke of Wellington 

Marquis of Worcester 

Lady Jersey 

Clanronald Macdonald 

Lady Worcester 


Reproduced from Gronow's "Reminiscences" 

presenting himself a few minutes after this hour was, by the invincible 
Willis, sent down again. On another occasion, the Duke was about 
to ascend the staircase of the ball-room dressed in black trousers, when the 
vigilant Mr. Willis, the guardian Cerberus of the portals, stepped forward : 
" Your Grace cannot be admitted in trousers " ; whereon the Duke, who had 
a great respect for orders and regulations, quietly walked away. 

The quintessence of aristocracy was present, and it is said three-fourths 
of the nobility knocked in vain at the portals of Almack's. 

In 1 8 14 the programme was made up of Contredanses, with Scotch 
Reels and Jigs, said to owe their introduction to the Duchess of Gordon, 
who, in the zenith of her youth and beauty, imported these national dances 
from Scotland into London. The year 1 8 1 5 established a marked innova- 
tion. Lady Jersey introduced the Quadrille from Paris, where it was the 



mode, and its popular reception at Almack's at once conferred upon Quadrille 
dancing the cachet of fashionable approval. The occasion of its first 
introduction has been described. Lady Jersey, Lady Harriet Butler, Lady 
Susan Ryder, and Miss Montgomery, with Count St. Aldegonde, Mr. 
Montgomery, Mr. Harley, and Mr. Montague made up the first set seen in 


Count Si. Antonio 
of Rutland Princeu huirha/y 


Reproduced from Cronow'i 

Sir G. Warrendcr 

Count St. Aldcgundc 

Lo n do n . As the Hon. Mrs. Armytage has pointed out, "The figures 
were intricate ; the steps, positively essential to their correct interpretation, 
were manifold ; and it was quite as necessary to master the difficulties of 
pas dt basque, chassez-croisez, with the regulation balance and poussette, 
as it had been in the past century to grapple with the minute etiquette 
of the Menuct dc la Cour or Gavotte." In those days every step was 
marked with nice precision; walking through Quadrilles was a latter-day 

The German Waltz, we arc told, was at first coldly regarded, but, after 




the Emperor Alexander, wearing his tight-fitting uniform and numerous 
gorgeous decorations, had, at Almack's, exhibited his skill in twirling round 

the Countess Lieven, 
the opponents of 
waltzing surrendered 
at discretion. Among 
those who are men- 
tioned as accomplished 
performers in the 
mazy Viennese Waltz, 
were Lord Palmerston 
and Countess Lieven, 
Princess Esterhazy 
and Baron de Neu- 
mann, who were 
constantly partners. 

In a picture of 
the ball-room with 
portraits of the most 
conspicuous habitues 
(" Illustrations of 
Almack's "), the 
leading personages 
are the Duchess of 
Somerset and her daughters in the place of honour, Lord Liverpool, 
Duke of Devonshire, Lord Worcester, the Ladies Sefton, Lord Petersham, 
Lord Fife, Duke of Brunswick, Lord Alvanley, Lord Sefton, and others, 
among the gay throng of frequenters. Fashions, however, changed ; Almack's 
became obsolete, society preferred to entertain at home, ball-giving houses 
and hostesses increased ; the Subscription-balls, after ninety years of 
popularity, ceased to be patronised, and Willis's as "Almack's" faded our 
with "the light of other days!" By a turn of the wheel, as "Willis's 
Restaurant," the high-tide of fashion has flowed back in our day, curiously 
enough, largely under the auspices of White's Club. Thus history repeats 
itself ! 


After E. T. Parris 



Jansen, the famous Maitre de Ballet Allemand, was represented April 6, 
1782, in a skit by James 
Gillray, entitled, "The 
German Dancing Master. 
The name and fame of 
the practitioner, who is 
represented as an eccen- 
tric figure performing 
on his " kit," thus sur- 
vives in the caricaturist's 
playfully satirical pro- 

The portrait of the 
German dancing-master, 
famous in his day, was 
followed by that of 
another maitre de danse, 
whose reputation is not 
yet forgotten — M. 
Vestris, dieu de la danse. 
This quasi-historical 
personage, who made a 
great figure in his own 
times, also formed the 
subject of Gillray's 
satirical pictorial shafts. 

The artist has given to one of his caricatures the significant title, 
Regardez-moi, singularly appropriate to the Terpsichorean genius, who 
always imagined himself the focus of the eyes of Europe. 

In this satire upon Gat-tan Vestris, " Vestris I" " or " Vestris le Grand," 
as he entitled himself, the maitre de danse is giving a lesson to that 
huge personage Lord Cholmondeley, travestied as a great goose. 

Augustc Vestris occupied the place filled by his father, familiarly 
known as " old iron legs," and he, too, the second illustrious member 
of the house of Vestris, begot another famous successor in the Terpsichorean 




From * Lithograph by Edward Morton after A. E. Chalon, R.A. 



art ; his name de- 
scended to Madame 
Vestris, the beautiful 
grand-daughter of F. 
Bartolozzi, who had 
engraved portraits of 
the grand maitres de 
danse in the days of 
their vast reputation. 
George Dance — 
who seems to have 
recognised an omen 
in his name, and has 
given portraits of 
dancing worthies — 
made a picture of 
Vestris Dancing the 
Gooses tep (engraved by 
F. Bartolozzi in 1 78 1). 
We have seen the great 
master, Regardez-moi, 
represented instructing a nobleman transmogrified into a goose ; there was 
evidently some association which may explain these allusions. 

The taste for " operatical " and fantastic dancing under George III.'s 
reign seemed to run away with society. There were the endless "midnight 
masquerades " at the Pantheon, at Madame Cornely's, Carlisle House, at 
the Clubs, the " S$avoir-Vivre," " Sans-souci," " S^avoir-faire," "The Pic 
Nic Society," " The New Club," Soho, " Almack's," and many others 
alternately frequented by persons of distinction ; there were " Ranelagh," 
" Vauxhall," and similar pleasure-gardens, equally attractive to the beau- 
monde. It will be seen that at these high-toned resorts the licence of dress 
and manners ran to surprising lengths, the costumes there displayed approxi- 
mating to the primitive simplicity of our first parents. 

In spite of the reprobations of the Church, the rage for dancing still 
grew, while, under the Vestris family, the ballet increased in favour, and 


After S. M. Joy 

('ontut ■ /fA/l/t.l/. 



it commenced a career of brilliant success which reached its highest point, 
after the advent of Mile. Parisot. 

One of the most fascinating dancers of her generation was the Signora 
Giovanna Baccelli, a great favourite of Reynolds' friend and patron, the 
Duke of Dorset. She was painted by Sir Joshua as a Bacchante in 1782-3, 
and is favourably mentioned as an admirable dancer by Horace Walpole, an 
excellent judge of such matters. La Baccelli was also a friend of Gains- 
borough's, who painted two portraits of this winsome syren. The picture 
of the graceful lady (reproduced p. 191), is esteemed one of his most 
charming works. 

During Lord Fife's connection with the King's Theatre, the ballet 
became of the first importance ; the prince and the highest personages 
exhibited a strong personal interest in its success. It is related that 
when Ebers went over to Paris in 1821 to strengthen the ballet company 
at the King's Theatre, the negotiations for the engagement of operatic 
stars were made 
through the British 
ambassador, who held 
conferences for this 
purpose with the Baron 
de la Fate, Intendant 
of the Theatre-Royal 
in Paris. 

The palmy days of 
the ballet in England 
are reckoned to have 
extended to the first 
half of this century ; 
between the " twen- 
ties" and the "fifties" 
there was a royal 
revenue spent on the 
maintenance of this 
then fashionable at- 
traction, and there was Mx „ y b, 



a host of talent engaged : 
Carlotta .Grisi, whose portrait 
is reproduced from a drawing 
by J. Brandard, as figuring in 
the Ballet of the Peri, 1 844 ; 
Mile. Tagli'oni, one of the most 
familiar names in the annals of 
the ballet, who turned the heads 
of an entire generation ; Fanny 
Elssler, who, at Her Majesty's 
Theatre, was famous in La 
Sylphide. Mile. Cerito performed 
the same year in a popular ballet, 
Le Lac des Fees, invented by 
A. Guerra, whose portrait, per- 
forming a pas de deux, with the 
charming Cerito, was drawn 
in 1840 by Philip Barnard (see 
p. 446). 

Miss P. Horton was a 

bewitching sylphlike person as 

Ariel. Her portrait was painted in this spirituel part by E. T. Parris. 

Miss P. Horton became familiar to later generations as the popular 

favourite, Mrs. German Reed. 

Another famous ballerina of Her Majesty's Theatre (1845), whose 
portrait was drawn by A. E. Chalon, R.A. was Mile. Lucile Grahn, 
who in 1845 was delighting her audiences as Eoline, ou la Dryade, in 
which character she was painted by S. M. Joy. Mile. Carolina Rosati 
was winning admiration in the ballet of Corali in 1847. Nor in this 
connection must Amelie Faucet be forgotten. Her portrait was drawn in 
1850 by A. E. Chalon, R.A., as one of "The Three Graces," the sister 
Graces being appropriately Miles. Taglioni and Carlotta Grisi. This was a 
celebrated trio of artistes of the very first eminence. 

" Is the art lost ? Genius," suggested the late Sir Augustus Harris, 
' : was alone required to revive the glories of the ballet, and the revelation of 


From a Photograph by the London Stereoscopic Company 




Ffsai a Photograph by Ihe London Sumraacopic Company 

draperies plays a part quite as important 
as the actual steps. She has been suc- 
ceeded by a host of clever disciples 
and imitators, among whom may 
be mentioned the well-known favour- 
ites, Miss Sylvia Gray, Miss Letty 
Lind, Miss Alice Ix-thbridge, Miss 
St. Cyr, Miss Mabel Love, and Miss 
Topsy Sinden. 

that gift in the dancing of 
Miss Kate Vaughan had made 
the nearest approach to elevating 
the standard of the modern art 
in our own day." 

This graceful artiste may be 
said to have inaugurated the 
reign of the now all -popular 
skirt-dance, in which the manipula- 
tion of voluminous gossamer 


After m Pliotsjriph by Moan. Dowoay 

I3y W. He*th 


The Jig — Irish Jigs — The Hornpipe — "Dancing in Scotland — Under (Mary, Queen oj 
Scots — The Reformation — Scotch Reels — Highland Flings — The G hi Hie Callum — 
The Strathspey — English Country "Dances — The Cotillion of the Eighteenth 
Century — The Modern "Cotillon" — Quadrilles. — The First Set, or Tarisian 
Quadrille— The Lancers— The Caledonians— The Tolka—The Waltz— The 
Minuet— Court 'Balls — State Balls. 

iO doubt the lively Jig dates back to time immemorial ; it is a 
dance measure which must have seized the imaginations of 
peoples of all nations ; the Jig, Giga, Gigue, or German Geige, 
was in fact cosmopolitan. One of the earliest dance tunes 
of which any evidence survives dates back to 1300, and is assumed to 
have been a Jig ; a dance in the past no less popular in England than 
in Scotland and in Ireland, where it must be regarded as the national 
dance. Shakespeare has mentioned several dances of his time ; for 
instance, the Galliard, as danced at masques ; the Cinque pas (Cinqua pace 
or Cinque Pass) and the Jigge. In Much Ado about Nothing there is 
Beatrice's ingenious description of matrimony : " Wooing, wedding, and 
repenting is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace : the first suit is 
hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical ; the wedding, 
mannerly-modest, as a measure, full of state and ancientry ; and then comes 
repentance and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque T pace faster and faster 




till he sink into his grave." At the Tudor Court, Jigs, Courantes, Galliards, 
and Brawls represented the livelier dances ; it is fair to infer that Jigs 
continued in favour even in Court circles, for there are Jigs christened after 
successive sove- 
reigns from 
Charles II. to 
Queen Anne. We 
find Jigs figuring 
in the entertain- 
ments of masques 
and revels, the 
particular preroga- 
tives of the Inns of 
Court, where the 
sedentary habits 
of study were 
agreeably lightened 
by a corresponding 
attention to salta- 
tory movements, 
and the gentlemen 
learned in the law 
were no less ac- 
complished dancers. 
In the preface to 
Playford's Dancing 
Master, the writer 
pointedly com 
mends " the sweet 

and airy activity of the gentlemen of the Inns of Court, which has 
crowned their grand solemnities with admiration to all spectators." 
Again, we find (Grove's Dictionary) Jigs christened after the Inner Temple, 
the Middle Temple, Lincoln's Inn, and Gray's Inn. 

There was a comprehensive character about the Jig ; people could merrily 
foot it, play it on some musical instrument, and sing a country round at the 





same time. Barclay, in his Eclogues, makes his shepherd boast of his 

skill : 

" I can dance the Raye, I can both pipe and sing, 
If I were mcry, I can both hurle and fling." 

In Shakespeare's time the term " Jig " applied equally to a sprightly dance 

and a merry verse. 
At the playhouse the 
dancing of Jigs was 
expected from the 
performers. In early 
days, a dancing and 
singing Jig was the 
regulation wind-up of 
the piece ; often a sort 
of impromptu, or what 
passed as such, a jing- 
ling rhyming tag sung 
by the clown ; and 
audiences were accus- 
tomed to call for a 
Jig as a pleasant 
termination to the 

We give, as an 
example of the 
" Drolls " popular in 
the time of Charles II., 
the contemporary 
version of the performers at the Red Bull Playhouse, Clerkenwell, 1672, 
where one of the actors, handsomely dressed in the gallant fashion of the 
time, is executing a Jig to the sound of his own fiddle, as the " French 

It is to Ireland we must go for the Jig in all its vivacious activity ; the 
Irish race possessing a natural taste for both music and dancing, the 
national Jig has a marvellous influence over the Irish temperament. As 


After Adam IJuck 



Miss Owenson, in her Patriotic Sketches of Ireland, has illustrated, no alien 
dance could in any way replace their own lively Jigs. The outdoor 
peasant gatherings, whereat the performers seem untiring in their ardour 
for the Jig, are thus described : 

"The piper is always seated on the ground, with a hole dug near him, 


After W. Heath 

Here revel they, who come the km0wtm£ rig ; 

From toris of beggary and fcatly wiles 
Assembled are the ummfimMm. trull, and frig 

Within thy saactimoaiout pale. Sl Gibs ! 

Here St. Cecilia's art asserts her power, 
Waking the diapason of their clacks ; 

The dance and sons cajole the fleeting hour, 
And love's profuse libations flow in max. 

into which the contributions of the assembly are dropped. At the end of 
every Jig the piper is paid by the young man who dances it, and who 
endeavours to enhance the value of the gift by first bestowing it on his fair 
partner. Though a penny a Jig is esteemed very good pay, yet the 
gallantry or ostentation of the contributor, anxious at once to appear 
generous in the eyes of his mistress, and to outstep the liberality of his 
rivals, sometimes trebles the sum which the piper usually receives." 

It has been stated that, so strong a hold has dancing upon the lively 
Irish temperament, few gatherings take place in Ireland without this 
accompaniment. At the numerous fairs, groups of youths will always be 
met with, merrily footing it to the " breakdown," with many stirring 
whoops and much flourishing of blackthorn shillelaghs. 

An Irish "wake" takes prominence among these characteristic functions, 



where competition runs high in skearing dirges, in whisky-drinking, and 
the prolongation of active Jigs ; the measure of respect for the lamented 
deceased being testified by the individual energy of the mourners and their 
ardour to exert themselves in honour of the departed. 

Conspicuous among those dances which claim a distinctly native origin, 

Tkomai RvvilanitioH. 


With a jorum of diddle, 

A lass and a fiddle. 

Ne'er shall care in the heart of a tar be found. 

And, while upon the hollow deck, 
To the sprightly jig our feet shall bound, 
Take each his charmer round the neck, 
And kiss in time to the merry sound. 

the Hornpipe has been described as belonging far excellence to our clime 
and race. It is consistent with our national characteristics as a maritime 
nation, that a native dance should be a sailors' dance. Hornpipes and Jigs 
are old favourites in the service, and by no section of the community are 
they danced with more sprightly springiness, joyous activity, or keener 
enjoyment. As an argument for the health-promoting properties of dancing, 
the Hornpipe must be accepted as a practical instance to the point. Captain 
Cook, for example, proved that dancing was most useful in keeping his 
sailors in good health on their voyages. When the weather was calm, and 
there was consequently little employment for the sailors, he made them 
dance, the Hornpipe for preference, to the music of the fiddle ; and to the 


healthful exertion of this exercise the great circumnavigator attributed the 
freedom from illness on board his ship. 

Doubtless the Hornpipe, in some form, is of antique origin, and may have 
suggested itself to other nations, or have existed in past ages, as is con- 
jectured with much plausibility. It was evidently equally popular in Scot- 
land, where it was a fashionable measure in the eighteenth century, danced 
to the tune called Flowers of Edinburgh. 

Beyond the national dances which ever exert the greatest influence over 
the minds and spirits of the 
people, the history of dancing in 
Scotland naturally coincides with 
the circumstances of the country, 
and especially illustrates the in- 
fluence of their French connections 
over the Scots, from the period 
when the Scots Guards, as in the 
days of Louis XI., played a 
conspicuous part in the joint 
histories; moreover, the Scotch, 
as a nation of lovers of dancing, 
readily learned everything 
that there was to be acquired 

from their French relations, when the two Courts, as in the regency of 
Mary of Guise and the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, were thus intimately 
associated. The thoughtless Mary continued her dancing diversions in the 
face of tragedies, as when, on the news of the Protestant massacre at Vassy 
reaching Edinburgh, the volatile queen kept up the ball at Holyrood, whereon 
the righteous uprose in wrath, and bold John Knox publicly denounced the 
lightsome, and, from his pulpit, clarion-voiced, condemned frivolous Queen 
and courtiers, '* dancing, like the Philistines for the pleasure taken in the 
destruction of God's people." Merry Scotland became for the time a grim, 
earnest place, when the tide of Reformation burst as a torrent, and swept 
away even innocent amusements; "promiscuous dancing," as a violation of 
all moral and spiritual laws, was declared contrary to religion, and sup- 
pressed, with imprisonment as the penalty. 




Legislative enactments failed signally to eradicate a passion which was 
indigenous to the people, and the stringency of these measures was 
gradually relaxed. King James was a lover of dancing, and in his Book of 
Sports included dancing as a lawful recreation. Spite of princes and 
presbyters, the struggle long continued between the flesh and the spirit ; the 
Calvinists esteemed dancing a sin ; while the Scottish natural aptitude for 

dancing was un- 
conquerable. A 
century later the 
national passion 
was making way ; 
in the fashionable 
world dancing 
assemblies grew 
into favour. At 
Edinburgh danc- 
ing-masters came 
to the front ; the 
Town Council of 
Glasgow, forgetting 
its repressive zeal 
as regards penal- 
ties inflicted upon 
pipers and dancers, 
appointed a salaried 
dancing - master 
to " familiarise the 
inhabitants with the art." Dancing was elsewhere regarded as " a very 
necessary article of education," and an essential part of manners, good- 
breeding, and gentlemanly training. Bagpipe competitions and Highland 
Fling dancing became features at the national gatherings and on holidays. 
Reels continued the favourites, and had the graver signification of religious 
exercise at wakes and weddings, when sacred hymn tunes were used for 
these measures. We all remember Wilkie's picture, even more familiar 
through the engravings, of a Scotch Wedding. The Penny Wedding 


From an Engraving by F. Bartolozzi after a Drawing by Henry Bunbury 


42 i 

refers to the custom of the company severally contributing small sums 
towards the cost of the festivity, the balance to provide a small fund 
towards starting the young couple in life, an observance still kept up 
amongst the fishing population. 

At funerals similar customs prevailed, and these usages still continue 
in distant regions. 
After a death, the 
company met at 
these "Late Wakes," 
and dancing was kept 
up all night. 

At fairs, after the 
business was con- 
cluded, those attending 
gave themselves over, 
with extra exhilara- 
tion, to the national 
pastime. A favourite 
measure, in which the 
contest for superior 
agility had ample 
scope, was named The 
Salmon Dance ; the 
dancers, emulating 
the vigorous leaps of 
the fish, had unusual 
opportunities for the 
exhibition of activity, 
strength of limb, 

and lightness of spring. Vigour in an unusual degree characterises all 
the antique measures of Scotland ; in their Morris Dances of the fifteenth 
century, the masquers, by the agile movements of their bodies, produced 
tunes from the 252 bells attached to their parti-coloured silken tunics, to 
their ankles and their wrists, actively turning, frisking, leaping and shaking 
their bells in cadence, while royalty disdained not to look on, and even 


After A.lun Buck 



to disport itself in the revels. There were at Court stately Pavanes 
and gleesome Courantes, Branles, Rondes and many imported dances 
" counterfeiting France," due to the close family connection between the 
reigning houses of the respective countries ; but to the spirit of the nation 
these were but passing fashions, and base excrescences, held in little favour 
by the masses, as false to the healthy traditions of Scotland. The bard 
has voiced the national sentiment : 

" Nac cotillon brent new frae France, 
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels 
Put life and mettle in their heels." 

Highland Flings, like the {Marquis of Huntly s Fling, and Reels like 
the Reel of Tulloch, or Tullochgorum, are complicated evolutions, of 
a classical and studied order ; necessitating as " essentials," according to 
the directions of dancing professors, natural aptitude, united to activity, 
agility of finished description, and a keenly appreciative ear for niceties of 
time and metrical proportion. 

The Reel is presumably of Celtic origin ; it is the Danish no less than 
the Scottish national dance. The Sword Dance, common. to warlike nations, 
is the survival of the military dances of the Greeks and Romans in honour 
of the god of war. 

The warlike dance, with its terror-striking accompaniments, has long 
been practised by Highlanders under the name of Killie-Kallum or Ghillie 

The interesting feature, both of this Pyrrhic leaping dance and of its 
cousin, the Ghillie Callum (the Dirk Dance), was an imposing warlike 
ballet, vigorously illustrating the evolutions of attack and defence, a more 
dramatic exhibition than the modern feat of gracefully flinging and reeling 
over and around a brace of claymores crossed on the ground, without 
touching or displacing them. 

Loud exclamations, warlike howls, waving of arms, and cracking of 
fingers, are characteristic accompaniments by which the dancer stimulates 
his own exertions, to the fierce skirling of pipes. 

The Strathspey is another variety of the Reel, christened from the 
place of its adoption, the valley of the Spey. The rhythm is slower and more 



grandiose even than that of the Reel, alternating with quick motions, which 
demand spirited execution. The affinity with the Ossianic heroic metre is 
marked in its measure so distinctively that Burns, whose authority on music 
and poetry is unquestionable, compared the stately metres of heroic poetry 
to the old Strathspeys. 

The Country Dance — so called — perhaps a corruption of the French 


After George Cruiluhuk 

equivalent, Contredanse, owes its popularity to the circumstance that 
it was designed on the principle of taking in as many couples as the 
space would accommodate. As in the Sir Roger de Coverley, at the 
commencement, the gentlemen took up their positions on one side, the 
ladies ranged in a line opposite. In its figures the dancers are constantly 
changing places, leading one another back and forward, up and down, 
parting and uniting . again. There were numerous and varied figures 
which gave an interest to this dance, the several figures being designated 
by descriptive names. The music was sometimes in J -time and sometimes 
in '-time ; the step smooth, and rather easy and gliding than springy. 

Oliver Goldsmith loved dancing, and had himself merrily set peasants 




of all the nationalities figuring and curveting away to the lively strains 
of his flute, on his travels as a philosophic vagabond. According to 
Goldsmith's testimony, " The Country Dance " belied its name. Far 
from being the dance of the peasant, it was presumably an adaptation 
of the Gallic Contredanse, and was affected by the quality more exclusively, 
while its set figures were scholastic mysteries to the romping and robust 


After Thomas Rowlandson 

rustic practitioners, who revelled in the boisterous hilarity and activity of 
the Jig and the Roundabout. We reproduce Rowlandson's drawing 
of the al fresco dance given by his landlord on the grass plot in front of 
the Vicar of Wakefield's cottage, in honour of his neighbours and his 
fashionable female friends from town. 

The Contredanse was probably as antique as any measure which 
embraced set figures in its constitution, and, with an admixture of pre- 
concerted and statelier movements, admitted a corresponding indulgence 
in lively jigging, which, as in Sir Roger de Coverley, easily grew into a 
hearty romp. There was setting to partners, turning partners, changing 
partners, with a merry-go-round promenade, similar to the Flirtation Figure. 



1 ! 


u 5 





a | 

. .s 




The Contredanse is said to be derived from an early authority ■ it was 
by William the Conqueror introduced from Normandy into our isles ; it 
was generally danced all over the Continent, as well as in the United 
Kingdom, and was very popular in the days of Queen Elizabeth and her 
successors. It is related that the Contredanse was revived in fashion in 


From an Engraving by Isaac Cruikshank, after John Nixon 

France by its re-introduction, in 1745, in the fifth act of an opera-ballet 
by Rameau, and so charmed the Parisians that, from the stage, it was 
re-imported into the salons and re-instated in favour. It seems to have 
retained its popularity in England unbroken, and, with the more courtly 
Minuets and Gavottes, formed the programme of fashionable assemblies, 
when stately dances declined, filling in the century anterior to the intro- 
duction of modern dances. We find it constantly represented as the popular 
dance par excellence ; for, unlike the exclusive etiquette of the Minuet, it 
enabled every couple in the room to join its evolutions. 

The antiquated Cotillion differed somewhat from the modern innovation 



similarly christened. The "Cotillon" proper, as its name implies, was a 
favourite in France ; it really derives its title from the short skirt worn by 
the ladies who danced it. Probably, in contradistinction to the full-dress 
toilettes distinctive of the Minuet, the original title was drawn from the 
simple costume of the peasants ; at first a duet dance, it became one of the 
many lively Rondes, accompanied by the song : 

" Ma commere, quand jc danse, 
Mon cotillon va-t-il bien ? " 

In their eighteenth century Cotillions the lady dancers accordingly 
appeared in 
short skirts, 
with their over- 
dresses pictur- 
esquely looped 
up, as may be 
observed in all 
the diversified 
pictures of this 
popular Round. 
In its ancient 
form it probably 
may be grouped 
with the old 
French Branles, 

no less in request at the English Court as the Brawls, led by the sprightly 
Sir Christopher Hatton. 

Frequent references to the Cotillions danced at public entertainments in 
the eighteenth century, and attesting their popularity, are found in the 
journals and magazines of the time ; their vogue extended from country 
assemblies, such as those here represented, to Court balls. 

In the pictures of the al fresco entertainments given by George, Prince 
of Wales, at his gorgeous palace, Carlton House, in the grounds were 
represented guests of the highest fashion, who partook of this diversion. 
f\t Prince Regent, the magnificent host gave a public breakfast to six 


After Robert Crailuhank 




After G. Cruikshank 

hundred guests ; four bands were playing on his ample lawns, whereon nine 
marquees were erected. After the repast the company danced on the lawn, 

the Prince leading 
the first dance with 
Lady Waldegrave as 
his partner. We are 
informed, "All 
frequently changed 
partners, and grouped 
into Cotillions, all 
being over by six 

The Cotillion, as 
known to this gene- 
ration, with its fan- 
ciful interpellations 
and costly gifts, is a 
very different affair. The famous ball given by the Guards Brigade to 
the Prince and Princess of Wales (June 26, 1863), in the vast buildings 
erected for the 
second International 
Exhibition (1862) in 
Cromwell Road, will 
be remembered as 
having introduced 
one of the most 
noticeable Cotillions 
on record ; this 
commenced at two 
o'clock in the morn- 
ing and lasted till five. 
The earlier Cotil- 
lions consisted of 

easy figures, with such accessories as cushion, mirror, handkerchief and 
chair, all ready to hand ; the leader needed to be fertile of brain, as well 


After G. Cruikshank 

J 1 

1 1 





LES CKlcts. ITITiTTirlllH I 

Aftrr C. Ouikslunk 

VC'ADkll.I.E DANClNti 

as nimble of foot, in devising the most suitable figures. It is in the 

individual organising of the figures and ingenious suggestions — the fun 

and frolic thrown into 

their execution — that 

the success of the 

Cotillion depends. 
Curiously enough, 

the name Quadrille 

was that designating 

a game at cards played 

by four persons, a 

game with itsSpadille, 

Manille, Basto, and 

Punto, and with a 

series of terms and 

laws more involved 

than the most 

complicated set of Quadrilles. It is said the dance was in some remote 

unexplained fashion evolved from the game. Our old friends the 

Contredanse and its 
relatives the Cotil- 
lions, as danced in 
English assemblies 
during the eighteenth 
century, gradually 
merged into the 
Quadrille, a family 
likeness running 
through the group. 
As has been seen, 
the "First Set" came 
over from Paris, 
direct to Almack's, 

and was introduced by its sponsors as the " Parisian Quadrille." 

A similar interest surrounds the advent of 1'he Lancers, brought into 

uacAKCic* or vu»t»i 
Mm O. CnriWI—ti 



fashionable vogue in 1850. Madame Sacre first imparted the mysteries of 
this graceful set, at her classes in the Hanover Square Rooms. A select set 
of four couples, perhaps unconsciously emulating Lady Jersey's example in 
1815, as regards the "Parisian Quadrille," mastered the elaborate figures as 
they then were ; Lady Georgina Lygon, Lady Jane Fielding, Mile. Olga de 

Spanish Bolero 

French Quadrille 

German Waltz 

Le Menuet 


After G. Cruikshank 

Lechner (daughter of Baroness Brunnow, wife of the Russian Ambassador 
to England), and Miss Berkeley, with four enterprising gentlemen, are reported 
to have delighted society by introducing the novelty of The Lancers in 
a London ball-room. It was danced at the Turkish Embassy, at Bath House, 
and at Lady Caroline Townley's, by the expert four couples. The Lancers 
soon became popular ; the due observance of the original steps and figures 
was relaxed, and the style was changed to a more frisky measure. The periodi- 
cals of the time (1850) enlarged on " the etiquette of dancing The Lancers." 
The Caledonian Quadrille, even more animated than The Lancers, 
comes nearer to perpetual motion, leaving little time unoccupied in " the 



mazy whirl." Really a pretty and spirited set, this Quadrille seems to 
have sunk out of recognition. " Squares " are seemingly doomed, and 
but for the famous Caledonian Ball, an annual institution of " gathering 
for the clans " (formerly held at Willis's Rooms ; transferred thence to 
the New Club, Covent Garden ; and later to the Whitehall Room, 

lu.:>! Mhiai 

Iruh Jig 

Scotch Reel 

Country Da&cc 

Dancing Matter 

uk* ; oc, sketches or cmaeactieisttc dakcikc 
After G. Cnukihuk 

Hotel Metropole), the pleasant " Caledonians " would be rarely heard 
of ; their lively figures are already becoming subjects of ancient traditional 

Among dances which have enjoyed, for a season, the first vogue must be 
mentioned our old and now somewhat worn friend the Polka, which fifty years 
ago turned the heads of the world, and set crowned heads, grave statesmen, 
and great novelists practising its evolutions, unconscious of the absurdity of 
such social trifling. Assumedly introduced to the fashionable world in " the 
forties," it must have existed, as regards its measure, from early times 



among dancing people, like the Bohemians — with their Schottische and 
Volta — the nationality responsible for popularising the Polka's mazes. 

The peculiar half-step, pulka, which gave its name to the revival was 
found as a happy revelation, being practised by a Bohemian peasant-girl, 
as alleged, discovered dancing it to her own music ; song, time, and steps, 
either extemporised or borrowed from tradition. By a happy coincidence, 
on the spot was Josef Neruda, observing the dancer, and noting down the 
melody and steps. The people of Elbeleinitz were delighted with the 
dance, and it was spontaneously christened in its cradle Pulka ; it reached 
Prague in 1835, and was warmly received at Vienna ; a dancing-master of 
Prague introduced the Polka, danced in the picturesque Sclavonic costumes, 
on the stage of the Paris Odeon in 1840, and M. Cellarius carried le 
veritable Polka into the Parisian salons, when Paris had an all-pervading 
epidemic of Polka, difficult to realise in less enthusiastic times. 

The "Times wrote : " Our private letters state that politics are now for 
the moment suspended in public regard by the new and all-absorbing pursuit, 
the polka .... which embraces in its qualities the intimacy of the waltz 
with the vivacity of the Irish jig." In 1844, tne Polka was invading our 
shores ; Cellarius and other masters came over to London, expressly to teach 

Soon afterwards, The Times reported " the first Drawing-room Polka as 
danced at Almack's, and at the balls of the nobility and gentry of this country." 
Then the Polka was described with illustrations a*nd details of five figures, 
with the recommendation that those who aspired to shine should dance the 
whole. " There is no stamping of heels or toes, or kicking of legs in sharp 
angles forward. This may do very well at the threshold of a Bohemian 
auberge, but is inadmissible in the salons of London or Paris." In the 
stage versions there was an amount of emphatic stamping and high-kicking. 
The comic papers made capital out of the mania, which for a time turned 
all society polking, from the Palace to the Casino. 

The papers were full of the Polka, to the exclusion of more important 
themes. Artists and humorists turned the craze to account, pages were 
devoted to representations of grotesque experiences of would-be learners. 
Punch made capital out of the absurdities perpetrated. Leech drew many 
skits on the subject, and for a year at least it maintained the popular 



interest. A parody on Byron's Maid of Athens, ere we part, appeared in 
Punch in 1844, under the title of Pretty Polk. 

The Pas a" Allemande survives as a dancing phrase, expressing a move- 
ment where the " gentlemen turn their partners under their arms." Before 
the introduction of the Valse, as now accepted, the " poetry of motion " 

THE WALTZ, iSo*. r«OM " Til* SOaiOWS OF WKSTHE* " 

After Thomas Rowlandion 

(it is related the Waltz only reached our ball-rooms in 18 12), there is 
evidence that a German Waltzer, as it was called, was familiar in this 
country ; it was known as the Waltz Allemande, and as numerous con- 
temporary pictures illustrate, '* arm-movements " were perhaps more essential 
than the steps. There is a picture of an Allemande (see p. 132) executed 
by C. Brandoin, 1772, and a similar work by Collett about the same date ; 
the figures are represented turning to a sprightly step, the lady and 
gentleman alternately turning under their uplifted right arms ; this is well 
illustrated in the drawing of later date, 1806, furnished by Rowlandson for 
the, at that time, all-popular Sorrows of IVerlher, 



We reproduce a caricature by Gillray, dated 1 800, entitled Waltzer au 
Mouchoir, a burlesque upon the dance at that time coming into more 
prominent notice in this country; it illustrates an ingenious expedient 
towards surmounting the difficulty of spanning a waist too ample for the 
stretch of mere arms. This skit also goes to prove that the Waltzer 

was familiar long before 
the alleged date of its 
adoption in England. 

A more antique Al- 
lemande was introduced 
from mediaeval Germany, 
reaching this country late 
in Elizabeth's reign. 
Here it was christened 
Almain, and Alleman on 
the Peninsula; in France 
it went under the name 
of Allemande franfaise. 

Though in high re- 
quest, from the court to 
the cabaret, in every 
capital of Europe, there 
was a prudish opposition 
to the introduction of 
the Waltz, and its 
naturalisation, in our own country. As described in our references to 
Almack's, the "mazy Waltz" was imported there under the highest auspices; 
it was reserved for an Imperial guest to convince select society that the Waitz 
was fit for decent company, its opponents persisting in assertions to the 
contrary. The bolder spirits at Almack's followed in the steps of the 
magnificent Autocrat of All the Russias, the wives of the foreign 
ambassadors at the Court of St. James's being the most accomplished of its 
then exponents. The Countess de Lieven and Princess Esterhazy were 
recognised as the foremost waltzers of the day, and, true to the traditions 
of foreign policy, Lord Palmerston was no less expert. 


By James Gillray 



There was a running fire, kept up by satirists and aggressive moralists, 
against the "insidious Waltz," and the suggestive caricatures launched 
against " this imp of Germany brought up in France," as its detractors 
averred, pictured the sentiments of the ultra-purist section of the com- 
munity, who had persuaded themselves that the introduction of the Waltz 
into England was a conclusive step on the national downward path. 
In spite of detraction, the Waltz has 
surely become the dance par excellence. 
Performed with due grace, and inspired 
by the emotions drawn from those beautiful 
melodies of which the Waltz enjoys the 
pre-eminent monopoly, this dance is likely 
to retain its foremost place. 

The stately Minuet was seen to the 
best advantage at the Royal birthday 
balls, the bravest spectacles of the Georgian 
year, held at St. James's Palace. The 
dancing on these brilliant anniversaries was 
of the most select order : the King and 
Queen sat in State as spectators ; the 
princes, according to precedence, severally 
opening the ball with one of the 

princesses, each couple alternately, the Prince of Wales leading off" with 
the Princess Royal. Stothard has left pictures of these graceful courtly 
scenes ; there is an effective version by Daniel Dodd of Queen Charlotte's 
Birthnight Ball, and we have reproduced Stothard's picture of George HVs 
Birthday Ball, 1782. The costumes worn on these occasions were of the 
costliest description ; competition ran high to secure the most elaborate 
dresses; they were ordered months beforehand, and cost hundreds of 
pounds ; the male wearers ran a race of sumptuous emulation with their 
fair partners in wealth of embroidery. Engravings of the dresses worn 
by the principal personages appeared in the magazines. In the pictures 
referred to, the Prince of Wales is shown performing the opening Minuet 
with the eldest princess. There are columns of descriptions of these great 
social events in contemporary journals. 




The marriage of the Duke of York (George III.'s second and favourite 
son) with the Princess Royal of Prussia was a dazzling event, on which 
great hopes were raised. The wedding took place in Berlin, September 29, 
1 79 1, with great splendour ; the old courtly usages of the Continent were 
revived, and the Torch Dance, popular in France, Russia, and Germany, 

formed one of the 
interesting incidents. 
As will be seen in 
the contemporary 
engraving of this 
picturesque inter- 
lude, tall wax- 
candles had taken 
the place of flaming 
brands ; the actual 
dance was similar to 
the Allemande, and, 
in old days, it was 
the fun on the part 
of the performers 
to blow out their 
neighbours' tapers while striving to protect their own. The Taper or 
Torch Dance became a special feature at weddings, and the tapers carried 
by the nobles were parti-coloured. As in the instance illustrated, the happy 
couple, holding their waxen torches, walked the dignified measure of the 
Polonaise (as at the opening of Court balls in Imperial Russia), followed by 
princes, guests, ministers, and high officers, according to rank, promenading 
the circuit of the apartment. The princess bowed before the King and 
invited him to dance, then she danced with the princes ; and the bridegroom 
went through a similar etiquette with the Queen and princesses, as at the 
Royal dance of torches held at Berlin in 1821. 

A similar Torch Polonaise was given at the Court of Russia on the 
occasion of the Duke of Edinburgh's marriage with the daughter of the 

Much might be told of incidents which have occurred at Court balls 

fheWiKMUWET: •*»«>•» 


After James GUlray 

pf/Sfi? JVjto«&;i«f ' 


during the reign of George III., and the story of his successor, as Prince of 
Wales, Regent, and King, is enlivened by diversified accounts of balls, given 
at Carlton Palace, of gay dances, masquerades, and bah costumees at his 
Marine Palace, Brighton, and subsequently at the whimsical Pavilion, 
which seemed specially designed for the holding of ridottos, after the fashion 
of Ranelagh and Vauxhall, the architectural eccentricities of which the 
Brighton Pavilion 
seemed to emulate, 
together with not a 
few of the distin- 
guishing gaieties of 
the company there 

Nor must we 
linger over the 
sprightly doings of 
the Court of George 
IV., with the re- 

splendent balls 
given at his palaces 
when Prince Regent 
and King. 

The gracious young Princess Victoria, with her cousins, Prince George 
of Cambridge and his sister the Princess Augusta, were particularly graceful 
dancers, as was Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg, afterwards Prince Consort. 
From 1 838, two of the State Apartments of Buckingham Palace, the Throne 
and Ball Rooms respectively, were set apart for dancing ; the fine picture 
gallery connected the two rooms, in each of which was an orchestra. Her 
Majesty and the Court entered the ball-room before ten o'clock, the Queen 
chose a partner, and opened the ball with the first Quadrille. Later in the 
evening her Majesty moved to the second room, sometimes leading a 
Country Dance in the small hours. After her Majesty's marriage in 1 840, 
the Polka was introduced as an addition to the programme, and nearly 
twenty years later the Lancers was added to the State Balls. 

Of foremost interest in the annals of dancing arc the three historical 


Duke of Devonshire 




bals costumees — the Plantagenet Ball, 1 842 ; the George II. Ball (1740-50), in 
1845 ; and the Charles II. Ball, inaugurated by her Majesty ; largely, it is 
said, by way of encouraging native industries, and with the praiseworthy 
motive of giving employment, in times of grave commercial depression, to 
a vast number of deserving workpeople. 

Social dancing in England in these later days of her Majesty's reign 
has followed much the same line of development as that described in the 
history of modern French dancing, while, like many of their French 
counterparts, the " Mabilles " of London, such, for instance, as the once 
famous Argyle Rooms, have disappeared after a period of inglorious 



From a Lithograph in the Conservatoire de U Dante Modems 


Asinctok, Mas., Queen of Comedy, 397 
iEschylus dances in his own plays, 9 
Aix Festival revived, 57 
Alexander, Emperor, wa 1 tzing at Almack's, 

A Hard, Mmc., 184 
Allemande, 1 3 1 
Almack's, 404 

Almccs, Egyptian, Tunisian, Algerian, 280 
Alphiton Ekchuton, Dance of the Spilt 

Meal, 29 
Anglo-Saxons, lovers of dancing, 382 
Antiochus Epiphancs, entertainments of, 

Apis, dances in honour of. 2 
Aristidca dances at banquet, 7 
Aristodemus, a celebrated dancer, 9 
Aristophanes dances in his own plays, 9 
Arootit Dance, 263 
Assommoir du Temple, 344 
Athenian festivals dancing at, ; 

Baccelli, Giovanna, 413 

Bacchanalia, 36 

Baddcley, Sophia, entering Pantheon, 397 

Balearic Isles, dancing at religious festivals, 

Ballet composers, 167 

Ballet danced by ladies of Queen Elizabeth's 

Court, 71 
Ballet dancers, training of, 371 
Ballet des Ardcnts, 64 
Ballet du Carrousel, 112 
Ballet of Circe, 73, 76 
Ballet of Cupid and Bacchus, 11c 
Ballet of Hercules in Love, 1 1 5 
Ballet of the Gouty, 87 
Ballet of the Prosperity of the Arms of 

France, 88, in 
Ballets, composition of, 369 
Ballets in England, 413 
Ballets of the Papacy, 81 
Ballets under First Empire, 201 




Ballon, dancing of, 117 

Balls of Second Empire, 342 

Balls under Beau Nash, 394. 

Barrison Sisters, 378 

Basse Danse, 93, 99 

Bayadere Dances, 270 

Beau Nash, rule at Bath, 391 

Beauchamp, inventor of choregraphic 

writing, 119 
Beaugrand, Lcontine, 363, 365 
Beauprc, in La Dansomanie, 188 
Belle qui tiens ma vie. Pavane (music), 

Bergonzio di Botta's ballet, 65 
Bernay, Mile. Berthe, 372 
Bird Dance of Malagasies, 233 
Birth and Power of Venus, ballet, 112 
Bison Dance of the Mandans, 284 
Blache, ballets by, 201 
Blasis, ballets by, 203 
Bocane invented by Jacques Cordier, 105 
Bohan, Victor, idea of winter garden, 327 
Bolero, 241 

Bonaparte, interested in dancing, 200 
Bourbon, Cardinal de, ballet, 79 ; masque, 

Bourree of Auvergnc, 221 
Bozacchi (French dancer), 364 
Branles, 100, 354, 424 
Brawls, 382, 385 
Brididi (Mabille dancer), 310 
Bucolic Dance, 24 
Bullier (Closerie des Lilas), 336 

Cachucha, 256 

" Caledonians," 433 

Calumet, dance of Iroquois, 236 

Camargo, Mile., accounts of her dancing, 

Cancan, 310, 313, 319 
Carole, origin of the, 61, 382 
Caryatis, created by Castor and Pollux, 8, 

Casino Cadet, 332 

Castanets, use of, 45 

Catalan Bails, 224 

Catherine de' Medici's ballets, 72 

Cellarius, dancing-school in Paris, 296 

Cerito, Mile., in Le Lac des Fees, 414 

Chacone, 128 

Charitesia, 14 

Chartres, Due de, dancing Minuet and 

Saraband, 122 
Chateau des Fleurs, 327 
Chateau-Rouge, 322 
Chaumicre, 319 
Cheironomia, 20 

Chevigny, Mile., success in ballets, 202 
Chicard (Mabille dancer), 310 
Childebert proscribed religious dances, 58 
Christmas Dances, 382 
Cicero reproaches Gabinus for dancing, 42 
Clodoche (Clodomir Ricart), 340 
Closerie des Lilas. See Bullier 
Cnossia, 14 

Contrapas, Catalan dance, 227 
Contredanse, or Country Dance, 152, 425 
Coppelia, ballet, 364 
Cordax (comic dance), 23 
Comely, Mme., masquerades, 395, 412 
Corpus Christi procession, 51, 55 . 
Cotillion, 81, 354, 428 
Council of Trent, ballet danced at, 81 
Courante, 93, 126, 355, 382, 385, 417, 

Court Ball on Duke of Burgundy's marriage, 

Court Ballets, 90 
Court Dances, revival of old, 353 
Crane Dance, 26 
Cybele teaches mortals to dance, 7 

Dance of Adonis, 26 
Dance of Flowers, 24 
Dance of St. John, 60 
Dances of African tribes, 287 
Dances of Central America, 285 
Dancing at Charles II. 's Court, 387 
Dancing in churches and cemeteries, 49 
Dancing indulgences, 58 
Dancing-places in Paris, 3 I 5 
Dancing saloons of the populace, 325 
Danse Baladine, 93 
Dantzic, origin of, 59 



Dauberval, compositions of, 185 

Dejeuners dansants, 293 

Dervishes instituted by Mahomet, 49 

Dcscente de la Courtille, 329 

Desdetot, ballet of Zcphyre et Flore, 203 

Didelot in Tt* Trispect btftre ut, 402 

Diple (vocal dance), 22 

Domitian expelled Senators for dancing, 43 

Duport, dancing and composing ballets, 

Dupre, "god of dancing," 1 19 

Eglantine, Mile., 378 

Elephant dancing, 77 

Els Cosiers, 51 

Elssler, Fanny, 414 

Elyscc-Montmartre, 334 

Emmclcia, 1 1, 12 

Empress Eugenic, 345 

F.ndymatia, II, I J 

Epilcnios (dance of the winepress), 29 

Equestrian ballets 77, 78 

Excelsior, ballet, 367 

Fandango, 238 

Farandolc of Southern France, 226 

Faucet, Amclic, 414 

Festival of the Supreme Being, 190 

Fiocrc, Mme., 363 

Fioretti, Mme., 363 

Folias. 260 

Folies- Robert, 332 

France, dancing in (Middle Ages), 62 

France, religious dances in, 60 

French ballet, 362 

Fuller, Loie (Serpentine Dance), 379 

Funeral Dances, 16 

Gadttanians, 44 

Gaillardc (Romanesque), 93, 9:, 3;$, 382, 

385. 4' 7 
Galop, 291 

Game of Piquet, ballet, 1 18 
Gardel, Maximilian and Pierre, ballet*, 186, 

188, 189 
Gavarni, 319, 340 

Gavotte, 128, 152 

Gavotte du Ballet du Roi (music), 135 

Gavotte under Louis XVI., 1 76 

Goyon, dancer, 197 

Grahn, Lucile, 414 

Grand Ballet d'Action, 1 54 

Grand Ballet du Roi, 112 

Greek and Roman mimetic dances, 24 

Greek sacred dances, 1 1 

Gretna Green, ballet, 364 

Grille d'Egout (French dancer), 380 

Grisi, Carlotta, 362, 414 

Guimard, Madeleine, 171 

Gymnopaedia, 11, 13 

Hebrew religious dances, 4 

Helen dances at festival of Diana, 7 

Hermitage, dancing saloon, 321 

Highland Flings, 424 

Hippogynes, 26 

Hora, Roumanian Round, 219 

Horatii, ballet, 1 57 

Horraos, 15, 34 

Hornpipe, 382, 420 

Horovod, 356 

Horton, P. (Mrs. German Reed), 414 

Hygra (dance for women), 29 

Hylas playing (Edipus, 41 

Hymen or Hymenaios, 29 

Hyporchema (Hyporchcmc), 11, 13, 21 

Iambic Dance, 14 
Impatience, ballet, 1 17 
Incoherent Ball, 359 
Indian dances, 269 
Irish JigS4 l8 

Jalio de Jerez, 253 
Jansen, German dancing-master, 411 
Jersey, Lady, introduces Quadrille, 408 
Jigs named after sovereigns, 382, 387,416, 

Jota Aragoncsa, 250 

Jotas, t $t 

Jumpers of New England, 50 



Karpaia (pantomimic) Dance, 19 
Kollo, Dalmatian rustic dance, 216 
Komastike, 20 
Krinon, 22 

La Dansomanie, ballet-pantomime, 187 

La Farandole, ballet, 365 

La Goulue (French dancer), 380 

La Laitiere Polonaise, ballet, 201 

La Romanesca (music), 103 

La Source, ballet, 363 

La Volta, 385 

La Zucchi, dancer, 368 

Laberius forced to dance, 43 

Laborde and Cellarius, rivalry between, 

2 99 
Lady-patronesses of Almack's, 407 
Lahire at the Chaumiere, 318 
Lancer?, 43 1 

Lany, comedy-dancer, 168, 367 
Le Basque, opera-dancer, 119 
Le Carnaval. Sarabande (music), 129 
Le Fandango, ballet, 365 
Les Acacias, 323 

Les Filets de Vulcain, ballet, 201 
Lion Dance, 20 
Little Russian, dance, 266 
Lou Gue, strolling ballet by King Rene, 

Louis XIV. in ballets, 109 
Louis XV., escapade of, 146 
Ludiones, 33 

Lulli composes Minuets, 131 
Lupercalia, 36 

Mabille, pere et fils, 306 
Manzotti, ballet in Italian style, 368 
Marguerite de Valois, dancing of, 71, 102, 

Marie Antoinette at Opera Ball, 180 
Markowski, 299, 304 
Marseillaise at Opera, 189 
Martyns, dancers, 378 
Mary Queen of Scots, skill in dancing, 384, 

Masquerades at Carlisle House, 395 
Masques, 63, 385, 3S6 
Mass of the Mozarabes, 70 

Mauri, Mile. Rosita, 378 

May-day revels, 388 

Mazillier, dancer, 362 

Mazurka created by Markowski, 304 

Medieval dancing by women, 60 

Memphitic (martial) Dance, 17, 19 

Menestrier on dancing, 47 

Merante, Mme. (Lina), 362 

Milon, ballets by, 197 

Milon in La Dansomanie, 188 

Minerva dancing Pyrrhic Dance, 17 

Minuet, 131, 148, 352, 354, 393^437 

Mnasion, theatrical dancing, 21 

Modern Greek dances, 263 

Mormons' Ball, 350 

Morphasmos, 23 

Morris Dance, 383 

Moulin de la Galette, 379 

Moulin Rouge, 335 

Mountain Ballet, 87 

Namouna (grand ballet), 367 

New Hebrides, dancing in, 234 

Nini Patte-en-1'air (French dancer), 380 

Niobe (grand ballet), 22 

Notation for dancing, 166 

Noverre, Ballets, 164 

Noverre revolutionises dancing, 154 

Odo, Bishop of Paris, proscribed dancing 

in churches, 58 
Ole danced by La Nena, 260 
Orphic Dances, 16 

Pantheon, rival of Carlisle House, 396, 

402, 412 
Pantomimic ballets, 71 
Parabenai Tettara, 22 
Parisian Fancy Balls, 346 
Parisot, Mile., 413 
Passa-calle (Passacaille), 134, 259 
Passe-pied, 35; 

Passe-piid en Rondeau (music), 162 
Patagonidn Dance, 283 
Pavane, 105, 124, 259, 352, 385, 424 
Pazzamezzo (Cinque-pace), 385 



Pccour, opera-dancer, 119 

Pcla, Dance of Galicia, 50 

Pctipa's dancing, 367 

Plato, opinion of dancing, 48 

Podismos, 20 

Polka, 296, 299, 433 

Polo, of Moorish origin, 25; 

Portugal, ballet in honour of St. Ignatius 

Loyola, 82 
Prado, dancing saloon, 320 
Pre Catalan, 332 

Prevost, Mile., performing Passcpicd, 142 
Pritchard (Mabille dancer), 308 
Ptolcmxus dances in public, 9 
Pyladcios named after Pyladcs, 23 
Pyladcs and Bathyllus invent mimetic 

drama, 36 
Pyladcs, theatrical dancing of, 2 1 
Pyrrhic (martial) Dance, 10, 17,382 

QyADaiixt, 339, 408, 431, 433 
Queen Elizabeth, skill in dancing, 384 
Queen Pomarc (Elisc Scrgcnt), 3 1 1 
Queen Victoria, Court Balls under, 439 

Raxelach in Paris, 317 

Ranelagh, Masquerades at, 403 

Rayon d'Or (French dancer), 380 

Reel*, 424 

Riario, Cardinal, composing ballets, 70 

Rice Dance (Japan), 229 

Rice Dance in Madagascar, 233 

Rosati, Carolina, in Corali, 414 

Round, account of, zc8 

Round in Gascony, 214 

Round of Sardinian Peasants, 213 

Royal Academy of Dancing founded, 1 to 

Royal Birthday Balls, 437 

Sack*, Mmc., teaching Lancers, 432 
St. Basil on dancing, 49 
St. Carlo Borromco, strolling bailer, 54 
St. Ignatius Loyola, ballet in honour of, 

St. Lcger Round, tune for Sellcnger's Round, 


Saint-Leon, ballet-master, 362 

Salle, Mile., expressive dancing of, 141 

Salome dances before Herod, 39 

Sangalli, Rita, 367 

Saraband, 128, 35; 

Schottische created by Markowski, 304, 

Scotch popular dances, 422 
Seguidillas, 242 
Scguidillas Manchcgas, 248 
Seises of Seville, 51 
Scvigne", Mme. dc, dancing Passcpicd, 

Sikinnis (Satyric dance), 27 
Sieba, ballet, 368 
Socrates dances with Apasia, 7 
Sophocles dances after Salamis, 9 
Sorcerers' Masquerade, 86 
Spain, religious dances in, 50 
Spanish dances, 238, 254 
Strauss and the Empress Eugenic, 345 
Strolling ballets, 53 
Subra, Mile, 365, 367, 378 
Sword Dance, 356 
Sylvia, ballet, 160, 366 
Syrtos, 264 

Taclioni, Marie, 204, 414 

Tarantella, 265 

Tascara, 258 

The Muses, ballet, 116 

Tkt Prtsptct btftrt us (print), 400 

TModorc, Mile, in Tht Prtsprct ttfirt us, 

Thcrmagistris, 21 
Torch Dance, 438 ; (Fackcltanz) at Berlin, 

Tordion, 94 
Tricotcts, 85 
Triumph of Love, ballet, 117 

Vasquez, teacher of dancing, 365, 376 
Vaughan, Kate, and her successors, 41 5 
Vauihall Gardens, 404 
Vcstris, Auguste, 169, 183, 411 
Vestris, Caftan, pupil and successor of 
Duprc, 167, 411 



Vestris, Mme., 412 
Victim Balls, 195 
Vieux Chcnc, Bal du, 328 
Visitors at Pantheon, 398 
Volte, 99, 289 

Waltz, 188, 289 ; in England, 435 
Waltzers, famous, 410, 436 

Watteau, work inspired by theatre, 140 
Wellington, Duke of, 408 
Woodland Balls, 352 

Xiphismos (sword dance), 21 

Yeddo, ballet, 366 

Zoronco (Spanish dance), 258 


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Renewed books ara subject to immediate recall. 1 

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