THE Courant was formerly very much in Fashion, and as it is a very solemn Dance, and gives a more grand and noble Air than other Dances, which have one more brisk and lively, and are much more diversified in their Figures, Lewis the Fourteeth was pleased to prefer it ; for after the Brawls, which then were and are still danced in the Court Balls, he always danced a Courant : Indeed he danced it better than any of his Court, and with an extraordinary Grace. But what gives a greater Proof of his Attachment and Delight in this Dance, is, that notwithstanding the weighty Affairs he had upon his Hands, he set apart some Hours for this Diversion for upwards of two and twenty Years that Monsieur Beauchamp had the Honour to instruct him in this noble Exercise.
IN short, this Dance, by the Confession of the most able Masters, has always been look'd upon as a very necessary one to learn to dance, which has engaged me to give a slight Description of it ; all its Movements being so essential, that they make it easy to dance other Dances well, which will be proved by the Manner in which it is danced.
AFTER the Honours, which are usually made before Dancing, such as I have represented before, in rising from your second Honour, you leave the Weight of the Body on the right Foot, and bring the Left into the fourth Position, and rest the Body, presenting your Hand to your Woman, and making a March : Afterwards you begin the Step with a half Bound of the left Foot, and then a Coupee of the Right, which finishes the Courant Step and shews the Distinction, and you begin another with the right Foot, with making a half Bound with that Foot, and a Coupee of the Left : But as all these different Steps lead you into a regular Figure, which forms a kind of long Oval, at this last Coupee, you begin again to make a Step with the left Foot, and a Courant Step or March with the Right, and pursue again the half Bounds and Coupees, which are to be repeated during the whole Dance : But as I don't undertake to describe the Figures of Dances, I shall leave them to Masters to teach them their Scholars ; though this Dance is no more in Vogue than the Dauphine, the Dutchess, and the Bocanne, which were all very fine Dances. Those who are curious, and want to know them, may have recourse to the Characters.
AS for the Dances now danced, their Figures and Steps are so diversified, that they deserve some Application, which has engaged me to lay down the most easy Methods to perform every one of these different Steps in particular, that the Masters may have the Pleasure, and that young People may be more able to improve by their Lessons ; which is one of the greatest Pleasures we have, and is all I proposed in this Treatise, and dare flatter my self with Success.
AS they formerly began to teach to dance by the Courant, and as I have promised to go Step by Step, to be regular I shall begin with the Courant Step or March, being one of the first Steps, and the most graceful.
YOU must note, that this Step consists but of one single Step and Movement, and is of the most Consequence, because made use of to form another Step composed of many Movements and Steps, as a Courant or Boree Step : Now this is the Distinction I make of a Courant Step ; this Step is not only used in the Courant, but in other Dances where it produces a good Effect, and gives a Gracefulness to the Body, by the free and easy Movement which should be observed to do it well.
SUPPOSING it then to be made with the right Foot ; having therefore the left Leg foremost, and the Body upon it, with the right Foot in the fourth Position, the Heel up ready to move ; from thence you sink, opening the right Foot ; and when you rise again with the Knees extended, you slide the right Foot forwards to the fourth Position, and the Body goes intirely on it : But as the right Foot slides forwards, the left Knee gives way and its Heel rises, which throws the Body easily on the right Foot, and at the same Time you rise on the Toes : Afterwards you set down the Heel, which finishes the March, the Body resting easily by the whole Foot's being on the Ground ; from thence you may make another with the left Foot, taking the same Precautions ; and to use your self to them, practise often with both Feet.
I have seen many Persons take them from the first Position and make them very well ; but they seemed to me more difficult, because when the Body rests on one Foot the hinder Leg follows, and comes up to the other in the first Position, and from thence you sink and rise at the same Time, without moving the Foot till the Legs are well extended : Then you set down the Heel of the Foot on which you rose, and its Knee gives way, as you slide the Foot that was off the Ground to the fourth Position, which is the Extent or Proportion of your Step ; for as you set the Foot down full, the Heel on the Ground, the Body rests easily on it ; for you rise on the Toes, and afterwards let the Foot rest on the Ground, which makes an End of this Step, which is also made sideways ; but then it is begun in a different Position, because it is commonly made after a Boree Step before and behind, which finishes its last Step in the third Position.
THEREFORE 'tis from this Position that you move in sinking on both Legs, without changing your Situation till you have risen again, when you slide with the foremost Foot : For Example, when you make a Boree Step before and behind, with the left Foot going to the Right, the right Foot becomes foremost ; from thence you sink on both Legs equally, and rising from thence with both Legs well extended, slide the right Foot aside in the second Position, which is the End of your Step ; but if you would make this Step with the other Foot, you must rest the Body on the Left, and after the Boree, sink equally on both Legs, and rise on the Right, sliding the Left Foot aside in the second Position. The Body being thus left erect in its perpendicular Situation, you may make what Steps you please with either Leg.
THERE are Steps which we call Pointings, but which ought not to be confounded with these, though their first Movements are taken in the same Manner, but they do not end as these others ; because this Step is a Sink and a Rise, and a Motion of the Foot sideways without a Slide, which is the Difference between them : You will meet with many of them in the Louvre, and I will endeavour to give a clear Demonstration of them.
FOR Example ; having the Body on the left Foot in the fourth Position, you sink and rise upon it, carrying the right Foot sideways in the second Position, setting the Toes only down and resting a Barr, which makes it a becoming Grace : For this Step being taken properly and the Body in an easy and advantageous Situation is very graceful, after another Step more lively, by opposing a slow one to another of a quicker Motion, which is the Beauty of Dancing.
THE Boree is composed of two Movements, viz. a half Coupee, a Walk on the Toes, and a half Bound, which makes the second Movement and is the Extent of the Step. I call it a half Bound, because it is but half made ; and as it is not a sliding Step, for this Reason its last Step should not be shewn so strong : And as it requires a great deal of Motion in the Instep to make this Step easily, especially for Women, upon that Account the Use of it has been moderated by making a Fleuret, which comes very near the same Step, containing three Steps and but one Movement, which makes it an easy Step and soon learnt : It consists of a half Coupee, and two Walks on the Toes.
THOUGH I have already laid down the Manner of making half Coupees in the Composition of the Menuet Step, yet to make you understand them better, when you would make a Fleuret, being in the fourth Position the left Leg foremost, you must leave the Weight of the Body intirely on it, bringing the right Foot up in the first Position without touching the Ground ; then sink equally on both Legs, but take care not to move the right Leg before you to the fourth Position till you have sunk, and at the same Time that is moved rise on the Toes ; then make two Walks on the Toes of each Foot, setting down the Heel of the Last, that the Body may be more firm either to begin another, or make any other Step that your Dance requires, and practise often to make them with both Feet.
THIS Step is made the same backwards and sideways, only that the Positions are different according to the Figure of the Dances, whether it be in turning or going aside.
FOR Example ; if you would make a Boree or Fleuret before and behind in returning from the Left, the right Leg being in the first Position, you sink on the left Foot opening the Knees, and in the Sink cross the right Foot before in the fifth Position and rise upon it ; afterwards you set the left Foot sideways in the second Position, and the Right crosses behind in the Fifth, which concludes the Step.
THERE are some made behind and before, which is the same Thing, only that the half Coupee is crossed behind, and the third Step is crossed before, which is all the Difference.
THERE are others made sideways shading the Shoulder, which are performed in the following Manner ; viz. the Body being upon the left Foot, sink upon it having the Right off the Ground close to the Left, which you set aside rising on the Toes, drawing the right Shoulder back, the left Leg immediately following the Right, with which step behind in the third Position the Knees extended and on the Toes ; and for the third Step, slide the right Foot forwards in the fourth Position and set down the Heel, which compleats the Boree : The Body resting thus on the Right, you may sink on that and make another Boree with the left Foot, observing the same Rules. These Borees are used at the End of the Bretagne and other genteel Dances, and when well made are very graceful.
THIS Step is also made after another Manner, which is called the open Boree and is thus performed : Being in the first Position with the right Foot off the Ground, sink on the Left and step with the Right in the second Position, and rise upon it : In rising on the Right, the Left follows in the first Position while the right Foot rests intirely on the Ground ; then step with the left Foot in the second Position setting the Heel first down, and when the Body rests on this Foot, rise on the Toes, which brings up the Right, which slides behind the Left in the third Position and makes an End of the Step : But when you make another with the left Foot, you must set down the right Heel and sink upon it, and step aside with the left Foot after the same Manner, and practise it with one Foot as well as the other.
THIS Step is also made another Way, the Difference consisting in a Beat made by the Instep in the half Coupee, thus : The Body resting on the left Leg you sink upon it, and in the Movement the right Leg which is off the Ground makes a Beat on the Instep, and at the same Time steps aside in the second Position rising upon it, and so you pursue the Boree as before.
BESIDES there is still another which is called the close Boree, in which a Rest is made at the second Step, which I will explain. The half Coupee must be made backwards in the fourth Position, the second Step quickly follows in the Third, and you remain a little in this Position on the Toes of both Feet with the Knees extended ; then let the foremost Foot slide to the fourth Position, which Movement is made by letting the Knee of the Hinder give way, which by its Flexion throws the Body on the foremost Foot, and is the Extent of this Step.
THIS Step is used in all sorts of Time and all Figures because it is easy and fluent, and is made after the same Manner in turning about as otherwise : But it is the Masters Business to instruct their Scholars in the Regularity of the Dances they teach them, since I shall only explain the Method of making all these different Steps.
THERE is another Step of the same Kind, which has the Name given it of the quick Boree or the Boree of four Steps ; but as I have consulted very able Masters not only on the Manner of forming the Steps, but also on the proper Names to be given them, and as I have found them divided in their Opinions, I will not take upon me to make any Decision, but leave them at their Liberty of calling them by what Names they think proper : But shall only say, that the true Boree is what I described first, and the Second is a Fleuret ; therefore as the true Boree has two Movements, and the Fleuret but one, in my Opinion I may give this the Name of the Double Boree, since it begins by a half Coupee, then two Walks upon the Toes, and a half Bound, which ends this Step ; therefore one may say that it is composed of a Fleuret and a half Bound.
BUT as I only proposed to shew the Manner of making all these different Steps, I shall not insist on the Etymology of their Names, because most of these Steps are taken from several Dances in vogue in our Provinces, and which have all the Propriety of Names bestowed on them that the Art will permit.
FOR Example ; the Rigaudon Step is taken from the Rigoudon, a Dance very much used in Provence, and which the Natives dance naturally, and every District different from another, which I observed while I was in that Country.
THE Gavotte comes originally from the Lyonnois and Dauphiny, and 'tis from thence we borrowed that Number of Contretems we have in Dancing, introduced by the Pains and Care of the many great Masters we have had, to whom we are obliged for having embellished these Steps with all the Graces they appear at this Time.
THE Boree comes from Auvergne, the Menuet from Poitou and Anjou, the Passpied, which is the most light and active, is most in fashion in Bretagne, though several Historians mention it as a very old Dance : Besides, there are many more, the Original of which I don't pretend to give.
THERE is another Step called more distinctly a Fleuret, and is made two Ways ; but as I have not met with it in any Ball Dance, I shall take no Notice of it, having mentioned it only so far as it relates to a Boree of one Movement, and is called a Fleuret : Therefore I shall leave the Explanation of it to another Volume, which will treat of the Manner of making all the several Steps in Theatrical Performances.
THE common Coupee is composed of two Steps, a half Coupee and a Slide : But for fear the Term Slide should not be understood by all that learn to dance, especially those young People whose over Sprightliness makes them forget the Lessons taught them by their Masters, I shall make the following Observation : A Slide is the Movement of the Foot before a Person, touching the Floor very lightly ; by which it is to be understood that this Step is moved more slow than if it did not touch the Ground at all ; therefore a Slide signifies a very slow Step, which in some measure is the Persection of the Coupee : The Sink ought to be made properly, the Rise in Cadence and supported with a Grace. When I say that the Sink must be made properly, I mean that a Person should sink at the End of the Time, to rise again as the Time is beat, which in Terms of Dancing is called Cadence.
THEREFORE to begin this Step with the right Foot, the Body must rest on the Left, and the Right be brought in the first Position ; then bend both the Knees equally, and being bent, move the right Foot forwards in the fourth Position and rise on the Toes, extending the Knees ; at the same Time the right Heel is set down, and the Knee bends, and the left Leg slides forward in the fourth Position, with the Weight of the Body resting on it, which finishes the Coupee.
OTHERS take it differently, that is after the half Coupee, being risen on the Toes, they slide the Foot into the fourth Position as they rise, the Toes pointing to the Ground, and the Leg well extended, and as the Leg moves forwards the other Knee gives way, and by this Movement carries the Body on the left Foot, which compleats this Step. These two Manners are both good, but I think the First the most easy, because the Body is more firm by resting on the right Heel : It is made backwards and sideways in the most agreeable Positions, according to the Figure that is to be followed.
AS it is made several Ways, and the only Alteration consists in the second Step, since the First is always a half Coupee, and having often explained the Manner of making these half Coupees, I shall repeat it no more in the following Steps, but only say, a half Coupee with such a Foot. There are also Coupees with a Beat often used in Ball Dancing : For Example ; you make your half Coupee forwards with the right Leg, and the Left comes up striking the Calf of the Right and retires back to the fourth Position. This Beat makes the Equivalent of Time which should be reserved for moving forwards.
THERE are others where the half Coupee is made forwards : For Example ; if you make the half Coupee with the right Foot forwards, at that very time when you have risen upon it the left Leg makes a Beat behind and before, and moves aside or remains off the Ground, according to the Connexion of the Step.
AND others which end by the Opening of the Leg, or a Turn of the Leg, with the Foot off the Ground to make another Step according as the Dance requires.
THEN there is another sort of Coupee called a Slip, used only to move sideways on a Line either to the Right or Left : For Fxample ; if you would make these Slips to the Right, sink on the left Leg to make your half Coupee with the Right stepping aside in the second Position ; and in rising you draw the Left behind in the third Position, leaving the Weight of the Body on it to make another with the Right ; because there are commonly three made together, though but two in a Barr, for which Reason they ought to be made together, that by that Connexion the Movements should follow one another.
THEY are also made after another Manner, though they pursue the same Course ; where a half Bound is made instead of a half Coupee, and the hinder Foot is brought into the third Position : But as three are made together as in the former, at the First the Foot is drawn behind, at the Second brought before, and at the Third it ends sometimes before, or the Heels close together in the first Position, and sometimes before in the fourth Position according to the Steps that follow. These last are the most lively, for their first Motion is a half Bound ; but a Scholar must learn to do the first well, and the others will follow of themselves.
THIS Step is one of the most graceful and gay of all the different Steps that have been invented, for the Variety of its Movements, which are easy and give a great Grace when understood.
FOR this Reason I will lay down the Manner of performing it with all the Propriety that attends it ; therefore when you take your half Coupee, if forwards, you sink very easily and rise on the Foot you move forwards, the Legs well extended ; the Body resting on the foremost Foot draws to it the Hinder, which is equally extended ; but at the same Instant the Heel of the foremost Foot is set down, and its Knee bends and the other Leg which is off the Ground opens a little aside, and the Knee which is bent extending it self throws that Leg forwards, letting the Person fall upon it with a half Bound, which makes an End of this Step.
I say it is diversified by these Movements, because it is composed but of two Steps, and those two Steps contain two different Movements. The First is sinking on one Foot, and making a Step with the other and rising on it, which obliges you to do it gracefully. The Second is sinking on that Foot, and rising with more Life to fall on the other with a half Bound, which makes this Step gay and airy.
FOR those that make it going sideways 'tis the same Thing, only that they carry the Foot in the fifth Position in the half Coupee, and in the Second for the half Bound : And others who take it from the first, they move the Foot aside in the second Position, rising upon it, and at the same Time set the Heel to the Ground to sink upon it ; then the half Bound is made a-cross to the fifth Position, which finishes the Srep. There are Examples of this Kind in the Louvre, which is one of the finest Ball Dances, wherein different Manners are so properly introduced, that the Legs seem to express the Notes ; which proves that Harmony, or rather that Imitation of Musick with Dancing, since the Sweetness of its Sounds ought to be imitated by the most easy and becoming Steps : And as this is one of the most agreeable, there is a Manner of moving the Arms gracefully with it, that shall be explained in the tenth Chapter, Part the Second.
THIS Step is very singular in the Manner of making it, and I believe has its Name only from its Formation, whereas for the most Part all others are composed of other Steps but this is different from its first Movement ; for you must first rise on the Toes and sink after the Step, as will appear by this Description of it : For Example ; to make the falling Step with the right Foot, having the Body rested on the Left, and the Legs asunder in the second Position, in rising on the left Foot the right Leg follows ; for the Body inclining to the Left, draws the right Leg, which falls behind in the fifth Position, resting intirely on the Ground, and its Knee bends which raises the left Foot, and the right Knee extending again obliges you to fall on the left Foot in the second Position, which is a half Bound. This Step is not difficult to perform when a Person knows how to take the proper Movements ; for 'tis the Strength of the Instep and Inclination of the Body that draws the Legs, and the Knees bend as if their Strength failed them, which forces the Heel of the right Foot drawn behind to rest on the Ground, and its Knee bending by the Weight of the Body upon it, like a Spring press'd strives to extend it self ; therefore the Knee by its Extension throws the Body on the left Foot, which compleats the Step.
THE Description I have given of this Step is only to shew the Singularity of it, and to give a clearer Idea of it to be the better able to perform it, because another Step goes before this and by their Union obliges it to change its Name.
FOR Example ; it may be preceded by a Coupee or March, and very often by a joined Step which makes it change its Name to that of the Gaillard Step ; for the Gaillard is composed of a joined Step, a Walk, or a falling Step, which is all the Composition and is often repeated in a Dance which bears its Name, which makes me believe that to be the Reason of its acquiring the Name of the Gaillard Step.
HOWEVER it may be, this Step is very graceful and justly preserved in Use, and is introduced in several Ball Dances : It is made both before and aside bringing up the Feet in the same Manner.
I shall begin first with that made forwards : Having then the left Foot before in the fourth Position and the Body on it, the Heel of the right Foot off the Ground ready to move, from thence you sink on the left Foot, and at the same Instant the right Leg rises ; and in rising to make a Bound the right crosses before in the third Position ; falling from this Rise on both Feet with the Knees extended, and the right Leg which had crossed before, steps forwards in the fourth Position with the Weight of the Body upon it, and rises at the same Time, which brings the left Leg behind up to the Right ; but it no sooner touches it than the Foot is set down to the Ground, and the Body resting upon it makes the left Knee bend by its Weight, which obliges the right Leg to rise ; but at that very Moment the left Knee that is bent endeavouring to extend its self, throws the Body on the right Leg which rests on the Ground in making a Bound, called Jetté chassé ; but in falling on the right Leg the Left rises and the Body being in its Equilibrium or Balance, intirely rested on the right Foot : You may from that Situation do as much with the left Foot. I think this Step very graceful when well executed, and deserves Attention : It is also made sideways on a Line but different from that forwards.
FOR Example ; having the Body rested on the left Foot, you sink and rise with a Bound, and bringing the right Foot up to the Left in the first Position falling on the Toes of both Feet ; but the Body rests on the Left, because at the same Time you move the Right aside in the second Position, rising upon it to make your falling Step, which is the second Part of the Composition of the Gaillard Step : But as I have given already a Description large enough of the falling Step, it seems useless to repeat it a second Time, this Step being always preceded by a Coupee and produces a good Effect by the reserved Time that ought to be observed in the Performance.
THE Pirouett is a Step which is made in one Place, that is to say, it neither moves backwards or forwards, but its Propriety consists in the Body's turning about either on one Foot or both as on a Pivot, either in a quarter or half Turn, according as the Foot is crossed or the Figure of the Dance requires.
SUPPOSING it then to be made with the right Foot in a quarter Turn to the Right, sink on the left Foot the Right being off the Ground, and as the left Knee bends the right Foot that is off the Ground forms a half Circle ; then setting down its Toe behind the left Leg in the third Position to rise on the Toes, you make a quarter Turn ; whereas if you would make a half One, you must set down the Toes of the crossing Foot even in the fifth Position which in your rising will make it a half Turn.
IT is also to be observed that when you rise, the Foot which made the half Circle, and was set down behind in the third or fifth Position, by the Body's turning, changes its Situation though not its Position, the Foot behind becoming foremost : But when you have risen and made the quarter or half Turn, the Heel of the Foot on which the Body rested must be set down to be the more firm to take another.
THIS Step is very agreeable when made carefully, and ought to be attended with a Movement of the Arms, and a graceful Inclination of the Head to make it perfect ; which shall be explained more at large in the second Part, this treating only of the Formation of the Steps, and the other of the Movement of the Arms, according to the Rules of Art.
BUT as this Step is very becoming and requires some Thought to make it well, it has engaged me to make the following Remarks for the better Instruction to perform it is all its Proprieties.
FIRST in the Pirouett, in which the Body rests only on one Leg, the Sink ought to be taken very easily, the Body resting intirely on the Leg that bends, because the other that forms the Circle has nothing but the Toes on the Ground, and is only used as a Guide for the Body, if I may be allowed to say so, to turn so far as it points ; and when you rise again it should be with the same Ease that you sunk, for easy Movements are always the most graceful and agreeable.
IT is made after another Manner, which is sinking on both Legs, and is a very easy Step, it being nothing more than sinking equally on both Knees, and rising again : For Example ; the right Foot being before in the fourth Position, the Body rested on both Legs, you sink on both Knees and rise again, turning the Body a quarter Turn to the Left, and the contrary Way when the left Foot is foremost.
THERE is also another in a different Kind from the former, after this manner : Being in the second or fourth Position, for it is taken equally from either, and the Body on one Foot, the Toes of the other on the Ground, you sink with both Knees and rise with a Hop on the Foot whereon the Body rested ; but in making the Hop, the Leg of that Foot which was but pointed on the Ground, extends, following the Body in the Turn it makes either to the Right or Left. If you are to turn to the Right you sink and hop on the left Foot, and the right Leg and Arm are extended and the same with the other Leg and Arm if you turn to the Left.
A BALLANCE is a Step made on the Spot, as a Pirouett, but is commonly made to the Presence, though it may be made turning ; but as it is only the Body that turns, and no different Motion is made in the Step, for this Reason I will describe the Manner of making it to the Presence : First I shall tell you that it is composed of two half Coupees, the one made before, and the other behind ; viz. you sink from the first Position, and make a Step in the Fourth, rising upon the Toes ; then you set the Heel on the Ground, and the other Leg that is off comes up to that before which you rose upon, then you sink on that Foot with which you made the first Step, and the other being bent, steps again backwards in the fourth Position and you rise upon it, which finishes the Step : But at the first half Coupee the Shoulder is shaded and the Head makes a small Motion, which gives a Grace to this Step, and which I shall explain with the Manner of moving the Arms in the second Part.
I have seen many make them sideways in the second Position, but they do not appear to me so graceful, because the Body seems to waver ; besides, the Motions of the Head and Arms are not so advantageous : For those that are made in turning, they all depend on the Sink and Rise, and the Preservation of the Proportion of the Step, and the Position of the Feet that the Body may keep its Poize, since all Steps made in turning are more difficult in their Execution than those made forwards.
THE Ballance is a very becoming Step, and is used in all sorts of Time ; though the two Steps of which it is composed are raised equally with one another, and for this Reason it is that it is so agreeable to all sorts of Time, because it is the Ear that is the Guide, and quickens or slackens the Movement.
IT is very much used in figured and common Menuets, as well as the Passpied : It is made instead of a Menuet Step, and therefore ought to be more slow, since the two Steps are to take up the Time of four.
HAVING taught the Manner of performing all the different Steps consisting in only sinking and rising, I now come to those the Movements of which require more Strength, which are the springing or hopping Steps ; and as the Sissonne Step seemed to me to be the most easy, I shall begin with it to teach the Manner of making them.
THE Composition of this Step consists of two Manners of springing or hopping different from one another ; viz. to sink to rise and to fall again to sink, and the other being sunk is to rise again with a Hop : Therefore if you would make this Step with the right Foot, having the Body rested on the Left you must sink upon it, and the right Leg which is free from the Floor, opens at the same Time aside ; but when you rise again with a Spring or Hop, it crosses before the Left in the third Position, falling on both Feet, and remains bent to rise again with a Hop at the same Time on the right Foot, which finishes the Step.
IT is made after the same Manner backward, except that instead of taking the Movement from behind to make it forwards, it should be taken from the Leg before to make it behind, falling on both Feet in rising on the Leg that moved backwards.
THERE are others that are made on the Spot, but at the second Hop you rise on the hinder Foot, that is, you sink on the left Foot in hopping, and in falling on both Feet, and at the second Hop you rise on the left Foot, and the right is off the Floor ready to make another Step.
THEY are made also turning, the Manner is the same of falling on the Feet and rising on one Foot ; there is only the Turn of the Body that makes the Difference, because the Legs being to support the Body, they follow it in all its Motions : Besides, the Master in leading his Scholar by the Hand will confirm him in what this Discourse has hinted.
STEPS in turning are more difficult than those made forwards : There are others besides that are almost the same as before-mentioned, except that the first Hop you fall on both Feet, without bending the Knees ; but then you sink afterwards to make the second Hop, which may be called the Sissonne Coupee, because there is a Rest made to sink at the second Hop. This Step is placed in different Strains in the Dance called the Louvre ; and as it is a Measure of slow triple Time, this Step ought to be made in that Manner, because it compleats the Time and expresses the Cadence better.
THIS Step is very singular in its Composition, and is made in the same Place without advancing or retiring back, or going sideways ; and if the Legs make several different Motions it is very lively in its Manner, therefore it is set to a light double Time, as Borees, Rigaudons, &c.
IT begins from the first Position, you sink equally on both Knees and rise with a Spring or Hop ; and in rising the right Leg opens at the same Time sideways, and the Knee extends and returns at the same Time to the first Position ; but it is no sooner set down than the Left rises opening aside without any Motion of the Knee, the Movement being taken only from the Hip, and falls down at once ; both the Feet being upon the Ground you sink and rise with a Hop, Bound, or Spring, falling on both Feet, which makes an End of this Step. Afterwards you make another Step either forwards or sideways, according to the Step you design to make, but independant of the Rigaudon Step, only to unite that Step with another, and to render the Movement of the following Step more easy.
ALL these different Movements should be made together, forming but one Step to a Barr of double Time, as I have already said ; therefore all the Care that is to be taken in making this Step is to extend the Knees well when you rise, and when you make a Bound or Spring to fall on the Toes with strait Knees, which makes you appear more light and active.
AS this Step is very much used in Provence, I have seen it made somewhat different in that Country, where instead of opening their Legs sideways they cross them a little forwards : But the Step has not the same Grace ; and besides when you make them with one Leg before another, it looks as if you were going to kick the Person with whom you dance.
AS these Bounds have been mentioned in several Places without any Instruction given how to make them, they shall the Subject of this Chapter, to pursue the Order of Steps, that is to proceed from the most easy to the most difficult.
THIS Step makes but part of another Step, as has been already observed ; therefore a single Bound cannot compleat a Barr of Time in Musick, but two must be made together to be equal with another Step ; but it is easily joined in the forming of other Steps, as we see at the End of the Menuet Hop in the Coupees of Motion, the falling Step, the quick Boree, &c, which gives them more Life..
AS Rising consists in the greater or less Strength of the Instep, so this Step depends on it to be performed with Activity. To make one forwards, I suppose the left Leg before and the Body upon it, the Right close to it and ready to move the Moment you sink on the left Leg ; and when you rise, which is by the Force of Extension of the left Leg, you fall on the Toes of the Right, which had compleated its Motion forwards in the Sink, and set down the Heel afterwards, which is all the Step : Therefore you may make several together with one Foot as well as the other, observing this Rule.
THEY are also made backwards and sideways, by sinking on one Leg and falling on the Toes of the other.
THEY are yet made after another Manner which requires more Strength in the Spring, Quickness in the Rise, and Extension of the Legs, striking them one against the other, falling on the contrary Foot to that sunk upon, and then change their Names and are called half Capers : But as these are Steps for the Stage, and in this Treatise I undertook to teach the Manner of making Steps used in Ball Dancing, I shall not trouble my Reader with these latter, which are only for those whose Form is exquisitely nice, and who make Dancing their Business.
AS for Women they ought not to spring so much, it is sufficient that they keep time in sinking and rising easy on the other Foot ; therefore in a Dance with a Woman, wherein there are Bounds and other springing Steps, a Man should moderate them to preserve that Harmony between the Sexes so essential in Dancing.
THE Contretems are those springing Steps which give a Life to Dancing by the different Manners of their Performance ; for this Reason I shall shew how to make them forwards as the easiest Way.
TO make one with the right Foot, the Body must be on the Left in the fourth Position, the Heel of the right behind up ; then sink upon the Left, and rise upon it with a Spring ; but at the same Time the right Leg, which was ready to go, moves forwards in the fourth Position and on the Toes, both Legs well extended ; afterwards make another Step forwards in the fourth Position with the left Foot, which makes the Contretems compleat.
AFTER the same Manner it is made behind : For Example ; the left Foot being behind in the fourth Position with the Body upon it, sink on that Foot and at the same Time let the right Leg rise extended, and fall behind in the fourth Position ; afterwards make another Step behind with the left Foot and on the Toes ; but at this last Step the Heel must be set down, which makes the Body rest easy and finishes the Step. This Step is made in a Barr of quick, common, or triple Time, and in the Time of a common Boree.
THE Contretems sideways is made different from that forwards, especially that with the Legs crossed ; the Difference is, that in that forwards you sink but upon one Foot, and in this on both : For Example ; if you are to make a Contretems coming from the Left, it must be with the right Foot having both Feet in the second Position and the Body perpendicularly upright ; then sink as this Figure represents, and rise with a Spring.
BUT as the Movement of springing requires more Strength than that of rising upon a half Coupee, in rising again the right Leg throws the Body on the left Foot, and remains off the Ground extended by it, as represented by this second Figure ; afterwards you make a Step with this same Leg crossing before in the fifth Position, resting the Body on it, and then make another Step with the left Foot aside in the second Position, which makes an End of this Step.
MANY People make this the same Way as that forwards, that is to say, the Body being on the left Leg they sink upon it, the right off the Ground, but to me the Body does not seem so firm, and the Leg moves too quick ; besides, it has not so good a Grace, which I have often observed, and for this Reason I have given this Attitude that it may be the better apprehended.
THESE Contretems are also made in turning, and are taken after the same Manner ; therefore in making this Step, you may make a half or three quarter Turn according to the Composition of the Dance.
IT is made also after another Manner, which is called the Chaconne or open Contretems, and which is different, yet is made by bringing up the contrary Leg as well as that forwards, viz. the left Leg being before and the Body upon it, the right Leg comes up behind, and you sink and rise on the left Leg with a Hop, and the right Leg which is off the Floor moves aside in the second Position, and the Left behind or before in the fifth Position, which is the Extent of this Step, which is generally made use of to go sideways, and is composed of one Movement with a Spring and two Walks on the Toes ; but at the Last the Heel must be set down to make the Body firm to be able to take another Step. But this Way of making this Step is to go to the Right, whereas the Hop or Spring contrariwise must be made on the right Foot to return to the Left.
IT is also to be observed after a Sink and Spring, or Hop, to fall again on the same Spot, especially in genteel Dances, in which the Steps ought to be performed with all Regularity and Proportion.
THERE is yet another sort of Contretems called the Contretems or Composed Hop of two Movements, which Manner is the most becoming and gay, especially for those that are light and active, and also makes those so who are not so naturally, would they but make a close Application ; but for the better Apprehension I will explain it in all its Circumstances.
THIS Step is made forwards, backwards, or sideways, as well one way as another ; but I shall begin with that made forwards : To make one with the right Foot, the Left must be before in the fourth Position with the Body upon it, then sink and rise with a Hop on the same Foot, the right Leg behind moving forwards at the Time of the Sink, and remaining extended off the Floor during this first Movement ; afterwards another Movement is made by a Sink on the left Foot, which throws the Body on the right forming a Bound ; therefore this Step is composed of two different Movements, to wit, to sink and hop on one Foot, and then to sink on the same Foot and throw the Body on the other.
I have already said that all these different Steps are equally the same for Women as well as Men, only that they should not spring so high : But as to the Sinks they should always be made full, especially at first learning, because they render a Dance more agreeable ; whereas when they are not, the Steps are hardly to be distinguished, and the Dance seems stiff and dry.
I have told you that these Steps are the same back wards, observing the same Circumstances ; that is to sink and hop on the Foot placed behind, while at the same Movement the Foot before rises, remaining off the Ground and is set down behind when the second Movement is made, which is a half Bound, and ends this Step.
THOSE sideways are commonly taken after a Boree Step before and behind ; therefore you sink and hop on the Foot that makes an End of the Boree, and that which is before rises ; and at the second Movement you fall on that Foot, placing it in the second Position.
AS there are several Chasses different from one another, I shall begin with the most easy, or those most used in Ball Dances, such as l' Mariée, l' Allemande, la Babet, and several others.
THIS Step is commonly preceded by a Coupee, or other Step that leads to the second Position, because this Step is taken from that Position, and is made sideways either to the Right or the Left ; but to explain it more clearly I shall fix the Side : For Example ; if to the Left you sink on both Legs and rise with a half Spring or Hop, that is to say, slipping on the Ground ; and in taking this Movement on both Feet, the right Leg approaches the Left to fall in its Place ; therefore by consequence the Chassée drives it farther off in the second Position, which ought to be performed very quick ; because you fall again on the Right first, and the left Leg is placed quickly in the second Position, which makes it appear as if a Person lighted on both Feet, as two are commonly made together ; for this Reason at the first Spring you fall again, sink, and at the same Time spring a second Time, carrying the Body either on the right or left Leg, according as the next Step requires : But when you have made several together, as in the Allemande, you make your Springs or Hops together without rising on one single Foot, and without rising as practised when there are but two, as I have already said.
THIS Step is fluent, because in springing you gain Ground to perform the Figure which the Dance requires ; it is gay when several are made together, for one appears to be always off the Ground, and yet with only a half Spring.
IT is made the same backwards, changing only the Positions, viz. being in the fourth Position, the right Leg before, you sink and rise with a Spring returning back, and the right Leg in falling comes into the Left's Place, which drives the hinder back in the fourth Position ; but as you fall with a bent Knee after the first Spring, so after the Second you rise with a strait one, either on the right or left Leg, according to the Step that follows ; observing always that at the first Spring that it is the foremost Leg that drives the other, and is always set down first, as I have said of those sideways.
THERE is also another Sort which properly may be called Bounds en Chasez, as will appear by the Manner of making them, which is thus : The Body being on the left Leg you sink on it, and the Right which is off the Floor moves forwards extending it self, and when you have risen it crosses with a Bound in the third Position, which forms this Bound Chassée ; this right Foot falling before the Left takes its Place, and by consequence obliges it to rise behind and the right Knee to bend afterwards ; but in rising you throw your self on the Left, which falls behind in the third Position driving the Right and making it rise ; then you sink on the left Leg and throw your self again on the Right, as at the first. These three Movements ought to follow one another without any Interruption, as well as the Ballance of a Pendulum : For the Moment that you sink on one Leg, its Movement raises the other, and in rising you throw the Body on the right Foot before, and at the second Movement you fall again on the Left ; by which you see the Equilibrium or Balance to be observed in this Step, and which is the Beauty of it.
THERE is also another, which comes up very near to this last, but is different in this, that it hath two Steps in its Composition ; the First is a Bound, and the Second a Walk after this Manner : For Example ; if you return to the Left, having the Body on the left Foot, and the Right off the Floor as this first Figure represents, from that Situation you sink easily, and in rising the right Leg which is off the Ground is brought up to the Left, making a Bound en Chassez, letting the right Foot fall behind the Left in the third or fifth Position ; this bounded Movement, by the Weight of the Body, which falls with the Foot, raises the left Leg, which afterwards moves sideways making a Walk on the Toes ; but it is no sooner set down than the Body comes upon it, which raises the right Foot, and the left Heel is set down to be the more firm to make another, because these Steps are made very light, being no more than half Movements of the Instep, Knee, and Hip. This Step has two different Times, the right Leg rises at the Beginning, as demonstrated by the first Figure, and in falling on the right Foot the left Leg rises extended, as you see by this second Figure ; and from thence you move into the second Position, which ends this Step. They should be made together, and very quick, because they fall between two Barrs of quick common Time, and are very gay and lively. There are other Sorts, but not used in Ball Dancing, therefore, I pass them by.
THIS Step having appeared singular to me in its kind, and as it is introduced in a Dance called the Babette, I think my self indispensably obliged to give a Description of it.
IN its Manner it seems to me to partake of the falling Step, for a Person must be raised on his Toes to begin it.
BEING raised on the Toes, as I have said, the Feet in the fourth Position, and the Weight of the Body equally on both, supposing the right Foot foremost, you from thence let your two Legs start or slip, as if your Strength failed you, letting the right Foot slip behind and the Left come forwards, separating both at the same Time, and in falling the Knees bend and at the same Instant you rise again, re-placing the right Foot before and the Left behind, which brings you to the same Position from whence you began : But still your Knees are bent, and you rise at the same Time throwing the Body on the left Foot, and bringing by this springing Movement the right Foot up to the Left, resting the Body in the first Position you then make a Step with the left Foot, which is called disengaging the Foot, and give your self Liberty to pursue other Steps ; but this Connexion of Steps is made in the Extent of two Barrs of quick common Time, and I have endeavoured to describe the Particulars as full as possible for the more easy Performance of it.
THIS Step is also made in turning ; and there are befides starting Steps after this Manner, viz. having both Feet in the first Position and raised on the Toes, you let them start asunder the Distance of the second Position, the Knees bent in falling, and in rising you bring both the Feet close together again in the first Position, and afterwards disengage one or the other to make what other Step you design.
BUT that you may understand this Step better in all its Movements, I have put these three Figures together to shew the different Actions, viz. The First is when you are raised on your Toes the right Foot before and you let both Feet start asunder, the right Foot which was before falling behind with the Knees bent as this first Figure represents ; the Second shews the Change at the second Movement, when the right Foot comes again before, the Knees bent as before ; and the Third represents the last Movement, which ends in a closed Step and compleats the Whole.
THE Opening of the Leg is an Action which the Leg performs to shew the Agility requisite to keep the Body in its Equilibrium or Poize while one stands on the other Leg, and also to make it appear that one knows how to move with Grace and Ease without disordering the Body, which is one of the Perfections of Dancing, to know how to move the Legs in different Steps and keep the Body upright and in an agreeable Situation : Besides, this Step or Action being made very slow after another Step which has been performed quick, affords a Variety that denotes a good Taste of Dancing, by preserving a Gravity in the slow Steps and Activity in the quick.
THEREFORE if you are to make an Opening of the Leg with the left Foot, the Body must rest on the Right in the fourth Position, that the hinder Leg may rise from its Position and move slowly by the Right, crossing before in a half Circle which ends sideways, the Leg remaining still off the Floor to make any other Step the Dance requires : But to give a fuller Demonstration, when the left Leg moves forwards to the Right its Knee is extended, and when it crosses it bends extending again in finishing the half Circle, as expressed by this Figure, where the Words are thus written ; The half Circle made by the Leg.
BEATS are also Movements off the Floor, made by one Leg while the Body rests upon the other, and embellish Dancing, especially when made free and easy : And as they are made several Ways and are often intermixed in Ball Dancing, I shall shew how to perform them.
FIRST it must be understood that the Hip and Knee form and dispose this Movement, the Hip guiding the Thigh in opening or closing, and the Knee by its Flexion making the Beat by crossing the other Leg either before or behind.
SUPPOSING then the Body on the left Foot, and the Right off the Ground well extended, you must cross it before the Left, bringing the Thigh close and bending the Knee, and extend it opening sideways, the Knee bending again in crossing behind ; then extend it again and make several together, as well with one Leg as the other, till by practice you'll come to make them quick, observing at each Beat to extend the Knee after you have bent it.
THEY are taken sometimes hopping, and begin with a sort of Contretems in hopping on one Leg, afterwards the Leg which is off the Ground makes two Beats, one before and the other behind, and falls in the fourth Position behind with the Weight of the Body upon it, to be able to do as much with the other Leg.
THE Body upon making these Beats ought to be shaded on the same Side ; that is to say, if the Beat is made with the right Leg the right Shoulder ought to be drawn back.
IT sometimes happens that single Beats are intermixed with other Steps : For Example ; you make a Coupee forwards with the left Foot, and the right Leg which is behind makes a Beat, striking against the Left, and falling back in the fourth Position ; but this beat is made with the Legs straight, because upon the half Coupees made forwards, one should be raised on the Toes and the Legs extended, and this is the Time in which you make this Beat, the right Leg falling back, the left Heel is set down to the Ground, which makes it very easy for the right Foot to fall in the fourth Position, as I have already said in the Chapter of Coupees.
THERE are also other Beats differently made, wherein the Hips are only employed, as in Capers and other Steps made use of in Stage Dancing, which would engage me in oo long a Description ; therefore I shall make an End of this first Part to come to the Second, which teaches the Manner of moving the Arms agreeable to every different Step.
The End of the First Part.