The QUADRILLE is a dance that was fashionable in late 18th- and
19th-century Europe and its colonies. Performed by four couples in a
rectangular formation, it is related to American square dancing . The
Lancers , a variant of the quadrille, became popular in the late 19th
century and was still danced in the 20th century in folk-dance clubs.
A derivative found in the Francophone
The quadrille consists of a chain of four to six contredanses ,
courtly versions of English country dances that had been taken up at
the court of
* 1 History * 2 The quadrille – musical analysis * 3 References * 4 See also
the term quadrille originated in 17th-century military parades in which four mounted horsemen executed square formations. The word probably derived from the Italian quadriglia (diminutive of quadra, hence a small square).
The dance was introduced in France around 1760: originally it was a form of cotillion in which only two couples were used, but two more couples were eventually added to form the sides of a square. The couples in each corner of the square took turns, in performing the dance, where one couple danced, and the other couples rested. The "quadrille des contredanses" was now a lively dance with four couples, arranged in the shape of a square, each couple facing the center. One pair was called the "head" couple, the adjacent pairs the "side" couples. A dance figure was often performed first by the head couple and then repeated by the side couples. Terms used in the dance are mostly the same as those in ballet , such as jeté , chassé , croisé , plié and arabesque .
Reaching English high society in 1816 through Lady Jersey , the
quadrille became a craze. As it became ever more popular in the 19th
century it evolved into forms that used elements of the waltz ,
including The Caledonians and The Lancers . In Germany and Austria
dance composers (
Josef Lanner and the Strauss family) composed for the
quadrille. Its popularity made it a metaphor, the "stately quadrille
", of the constant formation of fresh political alliances with
different partners in order to maintain the balance of power in
Though new music was composed, the names of the five parts (or figures) remained the same, as did the steps and the figures themselves. The parts were called:
* Le Pantalon ("Trousers") * L’été ("Summer") * La Poule (The Hen") * La Pastourelle ("The Shepherd Girl") * Finale
"Accidents in Quadrille