TO teach well, it is the Master's Business to begin well : But as the Scholar's Vivacity, or sometimes too close a Pursuit of his Studies, makes him forget most of his Exercises, and commonly that of Dancing, which is not thought so necessary as it really is, since 'tis by that we behave our selves so gracefully in the World, and our Nation is so much distinguished : I have laid down a Plan, or Method of Teaching for the Master to lead his Scholar from one Step to another, and at the same Time instruct him in the different Motions of the Arms, to make them agreeable to the different Steps in Dancing : And as it is essential to dispose the Body in a graceful Posture, that shall be explained in this first Chapter, and also represented by this Figure.
THE Head must be upright, without being stiff ; the Shoulders falling back, which extends the Breast, and gives a greater Grace to the Body ; the Arms hanging by the Side, the Hands neither quite open nor shut, the Waste steady, the Legs extended, and the Feet turned outwards. I have endeavoured to make this Figure as expressive as possible, that at the Sight of it any one may form the Body as it ought to be.
I have given it an Attitude, or Posture ready to walk ; for which Reason the left Foot is placed foremost, and the Right ready to move, either to make a Step forwards or sideways, because the Body resting on the Left, the Right by that Means may move easily. I hope after all these Precautions, no one will be so ridiculous to be stiff or formal, which ought to be avoided as much as Affectation ; a just Carriage requiring nothing more than a natural, free, and easy Air, which is to be only gained by Dancing.
THE Body resting as before represented, it is ready to do what you would have it, either to Walk, make a Bow, or Dance : But as the Manner of Walking well is very useful, because on it depends the first Principle of Dancing [with] a good Air, I shall desire the Reader to observe the easy Method I shall prescribe, in which he will meet with no unnatural Action.
SUPPOSING then the left Foot foremost, as the Figure shews, the Body must be supported by it ; and at the same Time the right Knee bends, and the Heel rises by the Motion of the Body, on the left Leg, which by consequence raises the Right, which by extending the Knee that was bent, and moving it forwards, performs the Action of Walking ; but observe to carry it no farther than the Distance of a Foot between the two, which is the Proportion of a Step, and to set the Heel down before the Toe, which advances the Body on the Foot you rest upon ; whereas if you set the Toe down first, it throws the Body backwards, and is very tiresome. The Legs ought to be very much extended in their due Time, and the Hips turned outwards, because the lower Parts are governed by this commanding Joint, which gives a Disposition to the Knees and Feet : What I mean by the Legs being extended at their due Time, is, that the Knees be stretched out when you move either the one or the other Foot, which will prevent your crossing your Steps, a Fault several People are guilty of for want of Observation ; for having the Knees outwards, and the Legs extended, prevents their Hobling, and even gives the Pan of the Knee, or uses it to a better Situation. I said also, that one ought to extend the Legs in moving them forwards, which will prevent walking too wide, or too close ; and I am certain by following these Rules, no Person can be guilty of the Faults I have mentioned.
THERE ought also to be a Method observed in Walking, which should be neither too fast nor too slow ; the last bordering on Indolence, and the other on Folly ; therefore both Extreams ought to be avoided. I have already said that the Head ought to be upright, and the Waste steady, by which Means the Body will preserve an advantageous Situation. As to the Management of the Arms, let them hang easy by the Side of the Body, observing only, that when you advance with the right Foot, you make a small Motion with the left Arm forwards, which makes a small Contrast and Balance, and follows naturally : But as many, for want of taking Notice, may be ignorant of this Action, I think this Remark no ways unnecessary.
AS to the Manner of Walking, one Foot is to be understood as well as another, in a Step either forwards, backwards, or aside ; but in Dancing, the Name of a Step includes several Steps together, and which are sometimes varied in several Movements, which nevertheless compose but one Step ; as the Boree Step, the Courant Step, the Menuet Step, and many others, which I shall teach the Manner of performing ; and as all these different Movements ought to be taken properly, and the Rules to be followed are grounded on the five Positions, they shall be explained in the following Chapters.
WHAT is called a Position, is no more than a just Proportion, found out to divide, or bring the Feet nearer together, in a limited Distance, whether the Body be in an easy Balance, or perpendicularly Upright ; or whether it be in Walking, Dancing, or Standing. These Positions were brought to light by the Pains of the late Monsieur Beauchamp, who form'd to himself an Idea of putting this Art into so necessary an Order.
THEY were not known before his Time ; a Proof of his Penetration in this Art, and ought to be look'd upon as Rules that should be followed without any Dispensation. I have been inform'd by himself, that according to the Rules of his Time, they reckon'd but five Steps in Dancing, from which all the rest in practice were derived ; and as he had a fertile Genius, and was ready at Invention, a Qualification as necessary for a Composer of Dances, as well as of Musick, he found that there was nothing of more Importance to support the Body in a graceful Attitude or Posture, and the Steps in a just Measure, than to introduce these five Positions.
THE Positions, as I have already said, being only to give a just Proportion to the Steps, to keep the Body erect and steady ; but to comprehend it with more Ease, it must be observed, that this Figure, as well as the others, only differs by the Positions of the Legs and Feet : For the Body ought always to be upright, and resting on both Legs. This first Position is to have the Legs well extended, the two Heels close together, and the Feet equally turn'd outwards : Its Use is to take the Motion from the closed Step, in a Sink ; because all Steps, which begin by half Coupees ought to be taken from this Position. And the Reason is, that when you sink, if one Foot was behind the other, the Knees would more easily fall in ; whereas the Heels being close together, the Knees turn equally outwards, and moreover the Body appears more straight ; which I shall explain at large in the Manner of taking the Movements, since I only intend here the Explanation of the Positions, and to give a Demonstration of them.
THIS second Position, by its Situation, shews the Distance to be observed in those open Steps which are made sideways. It represents both Legs asunder, which ought not to be at a greater Distance than the Length of the Foot, which is the just Proportion of a Step, and the true Position of the Body on both Legs, which is demonstrable by the Shoulders being of an equal Height ; for this Reason the Body can easily rest its Weight on either Leg, without using any forced Action, the same as in the open Steps, which are made sideways, jointly with the fifth Position, which are those used in going sideways ; the Fifth being for the cross Step. It must be observed that both the Feet be on the same Line, the Legs extended, and the Feet turned equally outwards, that the Body may rest on both Legs, as in the first Position.
I desire the Reader to have these Positions by heart, not only for the Proportion of the Steps, but also for the Manner of making them, because I shall quote hereafter from what Position a Step is taken, and that by which it ends : Wherefore if a Person does not remember them, instead of making a better Progress, he will be obliged to have recourse to the Beginning of the Book, which will very much retard the Execution of the Step.
THIS Position is designed for the inclosed Step, as well as others ; and is never perfect but when both Legs are so well extended and closed together, that light cannot be seen between them ; therefore I have taken the more Pains with this Figure, for the more easy Comprehension of this Position ; and that the Eye, the Mirrour of Knowledge, may give more Strength to my Expression, by bringing the Reader to a clearer Understanding of my Meaning.
THE Body rests erect on both Feet, the left Foot foremost, but crossed before the Heel of the Right at the Instep, as shewn by the Figure. This Position is the most necessary in Dancing well, it teaches the Dancer to stand firm, to extend the Knees ; and uses him to that Regularity which is the Beauty of Dancing.
THIS Position regulates the Steps forwards or backwards, and gives them their due Proportion which ought to be observed either in Walking or Dancing. It is put in the same Light as the others ; but though the Distance that ought to be between the two Legs does not appear so plain as it would, had they been drawn in a Profile ; yet it is easy to be discern'd by the Perspective, how much the left Foot is advanced before the Right : And what moreover engaged me to put it in a front View, was the exposing all the Parts to Sight. It ought to be observed in this Position, that the Feet be placed one before the other, and in a straight Line, without crossing them, and especially in Dancing ; for by crossing the Feet in a Movement forwards, it happens that one cannot rise again with the same Ease ; and besides it puts the Body out of its Poize, and distorts it.
AS to Walking, if a Person crosses his Legs, it makes him go awry, as well as disorders the Body, which one should take Care of. This indeed ought to be the Master's Care, for ill Habits are sometimes contracted at the Beginning, which prove afterwards very difficult to overcome ; and yet how good soever the Master may be, if the Scholar does not strive to break himself of them, 'tis to little Purpose. Then it will be objected, that a Person has not a Disposition : To that I answer, We have always one when we have a good Will, which argues neither more nor less, and is easy to prove ; for don't we Walk, and make Bows ? Therefore there needs nothing further to be done, than to apply ourselves to make them well, and to walk handsomely : For when you can make a Bow with a good Grace, you are drawn insensibly to have a Taste for Dancing.
IT may be urged further still, that there ought to be a good Disposition to dance well : I own it ; and yet Persons may dance tolerably well, I'll be bold to say, without a Disposition ; for Dancing is no more than to know how to sink and rise properly.
THIS last Position, as I have already said, is for the cross Step, moving either to the Right or Left, and is inseparably from the Second ; for from these two Positions the Body can move on any Side without turning, and still preserve its Presence. But to perform it as it should be, the Heel of the Foot that crosses, should not go beyond the Toe of the hinder Foot, which would be contrary to all Rules, for the Body would not find its Centre : Besides, by the foremost Foot going beyond the hindmost Toe, the Knee of the hindmost Leg would fall inwards : It may be seen by the Figure, where the Feet are no more cross'd than the Rule permits.
I have taken Care in all these Positions, that the Body should rest firm on both Legs, which shews by the Distance observed, one may move one Foot, resting the Body on the other without any forced Action. I fhall not speak of the false Positions, because they seem to me to be useless for young People to learn, but leave them to those Masters who have a Fancy to teach them their Scholars ; they are indeed very frequent in Comick or Grotesque Dancing.
IT is very necessary for every one, in what Station of Life soever he be, to know how to take off his Hat as he ought, and to make a handsome Bow ; But as Bows are made after different Manners, according to different Occasions requiring them, I shall explain each in particular, agreeable to the Figures representing the principal Actions of the Body, after I have shewn in the following Chapter the Manner of taking off and putting on the Hat again ; a very useful Instruction for Youth, who will not easily be made sensible of the Consequence thereof.
AFTER having demonstrated the Positions, and spoke of Honours in general, to pursue the Order I ought to observe ; and as nobody makes a Bow before he takes off his Hat, it shall be the Subject of this present Chapter.
THE Body being disposed according to the Rules beforementioned, if you would salute any one, the Arm must be raised to the Height of the Shoulder, as this first Figure (1) represents, having the Hand open(2); then bend the Elbow to take off the Hat, which makes a half Circle, according to these Words ; The Bend of the Elbow, which has its Point from the Elbow it self.
THE Elbow being bent, as you see by the second Figure, and the Hand open, as in the first Figure, it must be carried to the Head, which should not move ; then place the Thumb against the Forehead, and the Fingers on the Brim of the Hat cock'd up, and closing the Thumb and the four Fingers, hold it so ; then raising the Arm a little higher, it lifts the Hat off the Head at once, and extending itself, falls by the Side of the Body, which is call'd, The Fall of the Arm, as express'd by the Figure.
THIS third Figure represents the Manner of holding the Hat hanging down by the Side, the Crown downwards.
ALL these different Postures represented by these three Figures, are only to shew the Manner, and different Times that ought to be observed in this Action ; for it should not be understood by these different Postures, that there should be any Stop made at each Time, for that would be ridiculous. What I mean is, that there should be no Interval, and that these three Motions should be so imperceptible, that they should seem but as one single Action ; which I thought proper to distinguish by each principal Posture or Attitude, for the better Apprehension of them : Viz. to raise the Arm from the Side, bending the Elbow ; to carry it to the Head, and take hold of the Hat ; to lift it off, and let the Arm fall by the Side again.
AND to put it on again, the same Order is to be observed ; that is, to raise the Arm from the Side to the Height of the Shoulder, and bending the Elbow, put the Hat on the Head, pressing the cock'd Brim at the same Time with the Hand, to force it down in one Action, and not to clap the Hand on the Crown, which would be ungenteel; for the Head ought not to make any Motion to receive it, but the Hand and Arm should put it on : Neither ought the Hat to be press'd down too hard, by reason of the Difficulty there would be to take it off again ; its Use being only for an Ornament. One ought to observe also not to take it off formally, nor to advance the Arm and Hand too forwards, which would hide the Face ; nor even to stoop with the Head, and let the Hat carelesly fall over the Face, which would look very ill.
THE most graceful Manner of wearing it, in my Opinion, is this : To clap it first on the Forehead a little above the Eyebrows, and pressing the Cock moderately, force it down no farther behind than a just Proportion will admit ; the Fore-part to be lower a small Matter than the Back-part. The Button ought to be on the left Side, and the Corner or Point of the Hat over the left Eye, which disengages the Face : For to wear it quite back gives an aukward silly Air, and too much press'd down gives a melancholy or angry Look ; whereas the Manner of wearing it, as I have shewn, seems both decent, modest, and agreeable.
HAVING prepared the Reader, by the preceding Chapter, of the Manner of taking off the Hat, I shall now speak of every Bow in particular, to let him know the Difference, by shewing him the Manner of making them properly, according to the different Occasions that offer every Day ; and shall begin with that made forwards : The Body being upright, slide either the right or left Foot forwards to the common Proportion, which is the fourth Position, as represented by these two Figures, which express in their Attitudes, the Uprightness of the Body, with one Foot foremost, to remind you that the Body ought not to incline or stoop, till after you have moved the Foot, because the Body follows the Legs ; and what it ought to do afterwards, appears by the other two Figures which are bent.
I say then, that you ought to move the Foot gently forwards, leaving the Weight of the Body on the hinder Leg, the Knee of which is forced to bend by the Weight of the Body ; whereas the foremost Leg ought to be very much extended : But the Inclination of the Body is greater or less according to the Quality of the Person you salute : The Head also inclines, which is one of the essential Parts of the Bow. And in bending the Waste, extend not the hinder Knee, because that would raise the Hip, and make the Body seem awry ; whereas in the Disposition I have given, all the Parts are supported by their Opposites : But when you rise again, let it be with the same Ease you bow'd ; and in rising leave the Weight of the Body on the foremost Leg, which gives the other behind the Liberty of advancing forwards, or stepping sideways to make another Bow, which is commonly made behind, and what I shall explain in the Manner of making your Honours in entering a Room.
IN making a passing Bow in walking, it is to be done as the former, except that you must turn your Body half sideways towards the Person you bow to, sliding that Leg before you which is next them, bending the Waste, and inclining the Head at the same Time, as I have endeavoured to express in this Figure.
IF the Salute is to be paid on the left Side, it must be with the left Foot, and on the right Side with the right Foot. But as Bows are used in several Places, I ought to distinguish those where they ought to be made with the greatest Observance : For Example ; those in the Streets may be made more carelesly ; but those in publick Walks, where Persons of the best Fashion resort, they must be made with more Care and Regard. In walking in such publick Places, People generally wear their Hats under their Arms ; therefore if you meet a Person of a superiour Rank, you must take your Hat in your right Hand, and afterwards make a very low Bow, to shew the greater Respect.
IT is also necessary to observe, when you bend the Body, not to incline the Head so much as to hide the Face, which is so much the more palpable Fault, because you put the Person in doubt whether or no it is him you salute ; therefore before you begin the Bow, look the Person modestly in the Face, which is what we call directing your Bow before you make it. I am very well perswaded, that by Attention to these Observations, every one will make their Honours with all the Grace they require ; but as the surest Way of learning is a frequent Repetition of what we desire to know, I exhort those young Gentlemen who are bred in Academies and Colleges, to apply themselves closely to their Honours, since they are most exposed to the Meeting of their Masters or Tutors, and indispensibly obliged to pay or return a Salute ; therefore I advise them to apply themselves more strictly to these Things, that they may become more habitual to them.
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THESE Bows are made quite different from the former, as they are more respectful ; and for this Reason require more Care, it being a Pleasure to a Man's self to be distinguished from the common People. Supposing then the Hat in the Hand, and the Feet in the fourth Position, and the Body as the Figure represents, the Weight of the Body on the left Foot, and by consequence the Right ready to move, or make a Step, which it does on the same Line : The Heel is first set down in making this Step, and the Body rests the more easily thereon ; then make the Bow as this second Figure represents, which is in the fourth Position.
THE Body being thus rested on the right Foot (3), and the Left (4) ready to move, you draw it easily behind the right Foot (3), in the third Position, rising at the same Time that you draw the Foot behind, which brings the Body upright, and is the Extent of your Honour.
I have seen many bow from the Waste, and draw the Leg at the same Time : I think it very good ; but, in my Opinion, the Manner I have described seems more graceful, and to have a much better Air.
I have told you that this Bow is different from that forwards, which is made by sliding the Foot and bowing at the same Time ; whereas in this backwards, you first bow the Body and Head before you move the Foot, but not at too great a Distance of Time, because these Honours onght to be made together to avoid Affectation.
BUT the Way to bring one's self to a Habit of doing them well, is to make several together, which will be the more easy, as the Foot drawn behind having finished the Extent of the Step, you have the Weight of the Body upon it, and from thence move the foremost Foot aside to make another, and so continue to make several together ; for when you have the Manner of making them with one Foot, you make them easily with the Contrary ; and so by practice you make them equally with one Foot as well as the other.
I DOUBT not but I should be accused of Indifference, or of knowing only how to teach Men, if I should not shew my Zeal and Care for the Instruction of the fair Sex, who are the Life of Dancing, unless I would cut off the most beautiful Part of the Creation ; for without Women there's no Spirit in Dancing ; they raise that ardent and noble Emulation that appears between them and us, when we dance together, especially those who delight in this Exercise, of which there is a great Number ; for nothing to me seems more engaging in a Company, than to see two Persons of each Sex dance together with Justness and Applause : For which Reason, independantly of what I have already said of the Manner of Walking in the foregoing Chapters, which equally regards both Sexes, the same Remarks are necessary for the Women, who ought to turn out their Feet, and straighten or extend their Knees ; though it is said by some, that these Faults are imperceptible in them ; but to undeceive such Persons, especially those young Ladies who are negligent of themselves, let them walk before a Glass, and observe the Manner I have laid down in the preceding Chapters, and let them walk carelesly, they will find they have another Air, and own, that by holding their Heads upright the Body is more steady, and by extending their Knees their Steps are more firm.
IN short, I have made an Observation, which seems to me very just, on the Manner of carrying the Head ; which is, that a Woman, how graceful soever she may be in her Deportment, may be differently judged of : For Example; if she holds it upright, and the Body disposed, without Affectation, or too much Boldness, they say there goes a stately Lady ; if the carries it negligently, they accuse her of Carelessness; if she pokes her Head forward, of Indolence ; and in short, if she stoops, of Thoughtlessness, or want of Assurance ; and so on.
THEREFORE my Desire is, that young Ladies would only observe the easy Method I lay down, to avoid the Faults I have recited, which has engaged me to place this Figure here which represents the Carriage they ought to have in Walking : Viz. the Head upright, the Shoulders down, the Arms bent, and easily drawn back to the Body, and the Hands before, one upon the other, with a Fan ; but above all, without Affectation.
WOMEN labour not under the same Difficulties that the Men do, to make their Honours ; it is enough for them to have a good Presence, that they turn their Feet out, flide them properly, sink equally on their Knees, and hold up their Heads, their Bodies being steady, and their Arms well placed, as this Figure shews, which is what is most essential.
WE may distinguish three sorts of Honours for them as well as ourselves, viz. a Courtesy forwards, a passing Courtesy, and a Courtesy behind, which is that which shews the greatest Respect, and in which there is made a little Stop, and the Sink much lower.
I shall begin with those forwards : One Foot must be slid gently before, to the fourth Position, leaving the Weight of the Body on both Legs ; then sink easily with both Knees, not bending in the Waste, that ought to be most upright, without wavering, which oftentimes happens by the Feet being ill placed, either too close or too wide ; but when you have sunk low enough, rise again with the same Ease, which finishes the Honour.
AS to that en passant, or passing by one, it is made after the same Manner, except that when you meet any Person, you make two or three Steps forwards to begin your Honour, looking at the Person you salute, to direct your Courtesy, and at the same Time turn half sideways towards the Person you salute, and slide forwards the Foot that is nearest to them ; then sink, and rise again easy, observing to rest the Weight of the Body on the foremost Foot, to be able to move with the Hinder.
THIS second Figure is to represent and give a just Idea of this Honour, which being made on the right Side, the Head is turned on the same Side, and the right Shoulder, as you see, falling back. But as these Courtesies are most used in publick Walks, and other Places of Ceremony, it ought to be observed, that when you salute any one above you, instead of making your passing Courtesy, you should make one backwards, to shew the greater Respect.
THIS Courtesy is made by a Step on either Side, in the second Position ; the Weight of the Body resting on the moved Foot, and the other drawn to it with both the Heels close together, in the first Position ; then sink on both Feet very low, and rise again with the same Ease : But if you are to make a second Courtesy, you must rest the Weight of the Body on the Foot you have drawn, and step the other Foot aside, and do the same Thing with the other Foot. For this Reason I have drawn this Figure, which represents a Courtesy, in a direct Prospect, or to the Presence, which I thought very necessary to come at a true Eclaircissement. Also Care should be taken not to draw the Foot and sink at the same Time, which would disorder the Body, put it out of its perpendicular Position, and make it waver.
I have also said that the two Heels should be close to one another ; in which Position, when you bend the Knees, turning them outwards, neither is advanced before the other ; whereas by drawing one Foot behind the other, the Knee must appear forwards, and will more easily fall inwards, both which Faults should be avoided.
WHEN you come into a Room, pull off your Hat with the right Hand, as I have said in the tenth Chapter, and advance two or three Steps forwards, that the Door may not be in your Way ; and also take time to direct your Honours : Afterwards make your first Bow forwards ; but in rising up, rest the Body on the Foot moved forwards, and with the Hinder, step aside in the same Line, according to the second Position, to make your Bow backwards.
AFTER these two Bows, you enter ; and if there be a great deal of Company seated on both Sides of you, make your Honours en passant as you go along on both Hands, as you go through the Company.
BUT in case you go to speak to any one, in accosting him, you make the same Bows as at your Entrance ; and in quitting him, make two Bows backwards, and others en passant, as far as good Manners allows of, which has no Bounds ; the Behaviour of People of Fashion being the best Rule.
AFTER having taught the Manner of entering a Room, I must, to pursue the Instruction necessary for Youth, give an Idea of a Ball, and of the Manner of behaving with Politeness, whether a Person be taken out to dance, or goes to take out another, which shall be explained in the following Chapters.
I THOUGHT I could not give a Description capable of gaining Attention for the Ceremonies and Rules of private Balls, before I gave a short Account of the King's grand Ball ; to which, as it is the Entertainment of People of the first Rank, all private Balls ought to be conformable, as well for the Order kept, as the Respect and Politeness observed therein.
FIRST you must know, that nobody is admitted in the Ring but Princes and Princesses of the Blood ; then Dukes and Peers, and Dutchesses ; and after them, the other Lords and Ladies of the Court according to their Rank ; the Ladies placed foremost, and the Lords behind them.
EVERY one being thus placed in Order, when his Majesty has a Mind the Ball should begin, he rises, and the whole Court does the same.
THE King places himself in that Part of the Room most proper for the Beginning of the Ball, (which is by the Musick Room). The late King used to dance with his Queen, and in her Absence his Majesty took out the first Princess of the Blood, and they placed themselves first, and after them every one in a Row according to their Rank ; all the Lords on the left Side, and all the Ladies on the Right ; and in this Order they made their Honours one before the other. Afterwards his Majesty and his Partner led up the Brawl, which was danced wherever there were any Court Balls, all the Lords and Ladies following their Majesties, each on their Side ; and at the End of the Strain, the King and Queen went to the Bottom, and the next Couple led up the Brawl in their Turn, and so successively till their Majesties came at the Top again : After which they danced the Gavotte in the same Order as the Brawl, every Couple going to the Bottom in their Turn ; and then made the same Honours in parting as they did before they began to dance.
AFTERWARDS they danced double Dances ; but formerly the Courant used to be danced after the Brawls : And Lewis the Fourteenth danced one better than any Person of his Court, as I shall give you an Account hereafter ; but now the Menuet is danced after the Brawls.
THEREFORE after the King has danced the first Menuet, he goes to his Seat, and every Body then sits down ; for while his Majesty is dancing, all stand : After which the Prince, who is to dance next, makes the King a low Bow, and then goes to the Queen or first Princess, and they make their Honours together before they begin to dance ; and after the Menuet, they make the same Honours as before. Then this Lord makes a very low Bow to this Princess at parting from her, because nobody offers to reconduct her to the King.
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AT the same Instant he advances two or three Steps, to address himself by a Bow to the Princess that is to dance next, to invite her to dance, and there waits for her to make their Honours together to the King, as shewn by the Figures (1), (2) ; then they descend a little lower, as represented by the Figures (3), (4), and make the usual Honours together before dancing, and dance a Menuet, and then make the same Honours again ; afterwards he makes her a Bow backwards, taking his Leave, and goes to his Place ; whilst the Lady observes the same Ceremonial to invite another Prince, and so to the End. But if his Majesty desires another Dance to be danced, one of the first Gentlemen of his Bed-Chamber speaks for it ; but still the same Honours are observed.
AS I proposed in all this Treatise to teach Youth the Manner of Behaviour in publick Places ; and as Balls give a certain Freedom, by the easy Admittance every Body finds, and as a great many who come puffed up with I know not what Birth or Rank, but little Manners, take Liberties contrary to a just Order and Decorum, I shall set down here the Ceremonies that ought to be observed, to prepossess my Readers in their Favour by their Politeness.
AS in regulated Balls there's a King and Queen, whose Example is to be followed, they begin to dance, and when their first Menuet is over, the Queen invites another Gentleman to come and dance with her ; and after they have danced, he reconducts, and asks her in a handsome Manner, who she has a Mind that he should take out ; and then making her a Bow, goes to the Lady he is to dance with, to invite her to dance. But if she is talking to any Body, and does not come presently, he must go to that Part of the Room where they begin to dance, and wait for her, watching her Motions to go to meet her, which is what good Manners requires. After the Menuet, or other Dance, you make the same Honours as before you begun : And independant of all this, the Gentleman makes a Bow backwards, and goes to his Place.
BUT if any one takes you out, when 'tis your Turn you must ask that Person that first ask'd you, otherwise it would be a Breach of good Manners : This Rule is equally to be observed by the Ladies. So when you are invited to dance, you must go to the Place where they begin, and make your Honours before Dancing : And after you have danced, and made your Honours again, lead the Lady to her Place, and then invite another Lady ; but should you happen to take out a Lady that excuses herself with not being used to dance, or not having learnt long enough, you must lead her back to her Place, and pitch upon another, to prevent any Disorder in the Ball. But when you are press'd close to dance, and have once refused before, you must not dance all that Ball, notwithstanding any Perswasion, because that would affront the Person that ask'd first, which ought to be observed by Persons of both Sexes. Also they that have the Management of the Ball ought to take Care that every one dances in their Turn, to avoid Confusion and Displeasure ; and if any Persons come in Masquerade, to make them dance first, that they may introduce their Company afterwards ; Regard being always to be had to Masques, as they often disguise People of the first Rank.
I doubt not, but by these Precautions, those that assist at Balls, and those that make the Company, will distinguish themselves only by their good Manners and Breeding.
AS to private Dancings in Families, which are generally composed of Relations and Friends, the same Ceremonial ought to be observed, as well as in Balls ; that is, to know how to take a Person out to dance, by making their Honours properly, and returning them reciprocally. Above all, I recommend to young Persons, for whom these Dancings are often made, to observe these Rules that there Masters ought to have taught them, and to take a Pride in the Education they receive.
THOUGH the Honours before Dancing are made after the same Manner as those backwards, yet they require some particular Instructions ; therefore I desire Attention to the Rules I shall give, to make them well, which is of Consequence, because in whatever Company we are, we generally look very earnestly at those that are going to dance ; and when any one presents himself with a good Grace, we are very much prepossessed in the Favour of him, that should he not dance so extraordinarily well, it is some Merit to know how to make a Bow handsomly.
I also am obliged to inform you, that you ought to have your Gloves on before you place yourself for dancing, nay, even before you go to ask a Lady to dance, for it is a Piece of Rudeness to make her wait for you.
I suppose you then standing aside of one another, the right Foot foremost, in the fourth Position, as this Figure represents : I shall not speak of the Manner of pulling off the Hat, having already spoken of it before, but shall only tell you, that here it must be taken off by the left Hand, with the same Precautions as with the Right, the Body being rested on the left Foot (1), the right Foot before (2), take off the Hat with the left Hand, letting it fall by the Side, the same as the right Arm, as demonstrated (3), presenting at the same time the right Hand (4) to the Lady, looking at her.
THESE two Figures are to shew the Gentleman and Lady placed as they should be ; the Lady on the Right, and the Gentleman on the Left aside of each other, on the same Line ; the Gentleman holding the Lady by the Hand, his below (5), and hers above (6); her right Arm extended by her Side, holding her Pettycoat with her Thumb (7), the Hand being hid by the Pettycoats as the Arm is turned outwards.
FROM this Attitude the Man moves his right Foot aside to the Line (8), which is the second Position, and the Lady her left Foot also aside to (9) in the same Position.
THESE two other Figures express the Form of this Honour ; the Man having moved his Foot into the second Position, rests the Weight of his Body on it, and bows at the same Time to make his Honour, which is made as the Honours backwards, as I have said before : But in making this Honour he does not let the Lady's Hand go ; and to make you sensible of all the Times, I'll distinguish them.
THE Body resting intirely on the right Foot (10), the Left is ready to move (11); but from the Beginning to rise from your Bow, the Left with the Heel raised, slides at the same Time behind the Right, a little farther than the third Position, as appears by the Figure (12), which brings the Body again into its perpendicular Station.
BUT in rising again, the Body rests on the left Foot, and you let go the Lady's Hand, sliding the right Foot forwards, crossing it a little more than in the fifth Position. In making this Step, the Body moves different from other common Steps, because it turns to the Left, moving the Leg and Arm of the same Side at the same Time ; and when you slide the right Foot, the left Knee bends, which by its Motion throws the Body on the right, and by making a quarter Turn about to the Right, sets you opposite to your Lady. Then make a Step, with the left Foot aside, in the second Position, and looking at her to direct your Honour, bow from the Waste and incline the Head, as in the First, and rising, draw the right Foot behind : But if you are to dance a Menuet, you in rising leave the Body on the Left, to move with your Right in the Menuet Step. If it is another Dance, you must, after drawing the right Foot behind, leave the Weight of the Body on that, to be able at the same Time to slide the left Foot forwards, to return to the Place from whence you made your first Honour ; and making a quarter Turn to the Left, and another Step with the right Foot, which sets you before the Presence, there to wait for the Time of the Musick to begin your Dance.
AS to the Lady, having the left Foot before, in the fourth Position, she steps aside with it in the Second, and afterwards drawing the Right quite close in the First, bends both Knees equally, as I have shewn before. The first Honour being finished, she must leave the Weight of her Body on the right Foot, and slide the Left forwards a little beyond the fifth Position, to make a quarter Turn to the Left and at the same Time make a step with the right Foot aside which brings her opposite to her Partner ; then looking at him, and drawing the left Foot close to the Right, she sinks easily, and rises again, resting the Body on the left Foot, to be able to move with the right in the Menuet. But if 'tis another Dance, she must slide the right Foot forwards somewhat beyond the fifth Position ; and in returning to the Place from whence she began her first Courtesy, and making a quarter Turn to the Right, and a Step with the left Foot in the second Position, she will front the Presence.
AS it is most essential in Dancing, to know how to take the Movements, the Way to perform them justly, is to know them well, and to know them thoroughly, to understand the Power of Motion, which is what I shall endeavour to make you apprehend by the Rules of Art.
THERE are three Movements from the Waste to the Feet, which is that of the Hip, Knee, and Instep : From these principal Movements we form all the different Steps in Dancing.
BUT they are not brought to their Perfection until the Joints have made their Flexions, or Bendings, and regain'd the Situation they were in before ; that is to say, the Leg stretch'd out.
I shall begin then by the Explanation of that of the Instep, which has two ways of moving, to wit, Tension and Extension, according to the Terms of Anatomists, which is what we call raising the Toe and setting it down : In my Opinion I find it the most tiresome Motion of all, because it supports the Weight of the Body in its Equilibrium or Balance, and is the most necessary to dance well : 'Tis by its greater or less Strength that the Leg extends it self with most Ease, either in Dancing or Jumping ; for the Instep, by its Strength, raises you with Sprightliness, and when you fall again you light on your Toes. The Number of Steps on the Toes in Dancing make you seem somewhat more light ; but it is the Hip that makes the Step, and the Instep which supports the Body and compleats it, by carrying it on with that Lightness.
THE Movement of the Knee is different from this because it is not in its Perfection but when the Leg is extended and on the Toes, as is plain in the half Coupees, where the Knee bends, and the Toe is raised a little ; but when you make the Step and raise yourself, 'tis the Instep that compleats it ; therefore the Movement of the Knee is inseparable from the Instep : That of the Hip is very different, its Movement is not so apparent, but nevertheless it governs and disposes the other Movements, since neither the Knees nor Feet could turn out if the Hip did not turn first, which is undeniable, since it is the commanding Joint. But there are Steps in which no other Joint but the Hip has any thing to do, as in the Capers in Theatrical Dancings, in which the Hips only move the Legs, which are to be well extended, therefore neither Instep nor Knee moves. But as I took upon me only to give Instructions in the several Steps used in Ball Dancing, I should not inlarge on those which are more difficult to be performed.
AFTER having cleared up the three Movements, I shall describe the Manner of making a proper Use of them. As no bent Step can be made without the Movement of the Knee, and as commonly all those Steps which are composed of many Steps, begin with half Coupees, whether it be with the right or left Leg, its no matter ; but supposing it to be with the Right, the left Foot must be foremost, in the fourth Position, and the Body rest upon it, as represented by this first Figure, which hath the Body rested forwards upon it, the Right being ready to move, having nothing but the Toes placed on the Ground.
THEREFORE to begin this half Coupee, you bring the right Foot up to the Left, in the first Position, and bend both Knees equally together, keeping the Body on the left Foot, as shewn by this second Figure, which hath both the Feet close together, the Body all the while on the Left (2), the Right off the Ground, both the Knees equally bent, and turned outwards, the Waste steady, and the Head upright.
IN this Sink you carry the right Foot before you, without rising, to the fourth Position, as this third Figure shews ; and at the same Time bring the Body forwards on it, rising upon the Toes of the right Foot (3), with an extended Knee, and bringing the left Foot close up (4), with its Knee extended also, as the fourth Figure represents, which for that reason we may call the Equilibrium or Balance, because the Body is only supported by one Foot. Afterwards you let the Heel down to the Ground, which makes an End of this Step, and leaves you in a Position of making such another with the other Foot, observing the same Rules ; and so continue the Practice for several times without Intermission, observing to sink easy, and rise on the Toes, extending the Knee at every one of these half Coupees, which is a Step the most essential in dancing well ; for it gives Facility in extending the Knees, and makes you acquainted with the Strength of the Inftep : Therefore good Dancing very much depends on this first Step, since the knowing how to sink and rise well makes the fine Dancer.
THE same Rule is to be observed in making them backwards and sideways, which is not to move the Foot before you sink.
HAVING intelligibly shewn the most easy Manner of making half Coupees, which are the Basis and Foundation of different Steps : And as a Menuet is a Dance the most in Request, I shall instruct you in the most easy Method of attaining to dance it well.
YOU must first know that the Menuet Step is composed of four Steps, which nevertheless by their Connexion, according to the Terms of Art, make but one single Step. This Menuet Step hath three Movements, and one March on the Toes ; viz. the first is a half Coupee of the right Foot, and one of the Left ; a March on the Toes of the right Foot, and the Legs extended : At the End of this Step you set the right Heel softly down to bend its Knee, which by this Movement raises the left Leg, which moving forwards makes a Tack or Bound, which is the third Movement of this Menuet Step, and its fourth Step.
BUT as this Step is not agreeable to every one, because it requires a very strong Instep ; for this Reason it is not so much used, but a more easy Method introduced, of only two Movements, which I shall describe.
YOU must also know that this Step is composed of four Steps as well as the other ; viz. two half Coupees, the First of the right Foot, and the Second of the Left ; then two Walks on the Toes of each Foot, one of the Right, and the other of the Left, which is performed within the Compass of two Barrs of triple Time, one called the Cadence, and the other the Contre-Cadence. But for the better Apprehension it may be divided into three equal Parts ; the First for the first half Coupee, the Second for the Second, and the Third for the two Walks, which ought to take up no longer Time than a half Coupee : But in the last Walk it is to be observed, that the Heel be set down to be able to make a Sink to begin another Step.
HAVING then the left Foot foremost, you rest the Body on it, bringing the right Foot up to the Left, in the first Position, and from thence sink without letting the right Foot rest on the Ground, and move the right Foot into the fourth Position, rising at the same Time on the Toes, and extending both the Legs close together, as represented by the fourth Figure of the half Coupees, called the Equilibrium or Balance ; and afterwards set the right Heel down to the Ground, that the Body may be the more steady, and sink at the same Time on the right, without resting on the Left, which move forwards the same as the right Foot, into the fourth Position, and rise upon it : Then make two Walks on the Toes of both Feet, observing to set down the Heel of the Left, that you may begin your Menuet Step again with more Firmness.
ONE ought also to take Care in these half Coupees, to open the Knees, and turn the Toes out ; but to do them with more Ease, the best Way is to continue to make several forwards together, which will bring one into a Habit of making them well. These two Movements ought to succeed one another in an equal Rise ; but after you have risen on the second half Coupee, you must not, to make a Connexion with the two Walks, set the Heel down ; but in the Last of them, which is that of the left Foot, you must set down the Heel to begin another Menuet Step.
NEITHER ought a Person to attempt to make the Menuet Step either backwards or sideways, till he is perfect in that forwards. That backwards comes very near that forwards, only that upon the first half Coupee of the right Foot, you leave the left Leg extended before you, and in sinking on the Right for the Second, the left Heel comes up to the right Foot, where it stops while you sink to the last Extremity, to step back with it to rise on, which makes it the more easy for you to do it well ; whereas if you was to step with it in your sinking, you would never rise so well, and the Knees would always appear bent : All these Remarks are very necessary to dance a Menuet to Perfection.
AS to the side Menuet Step moving to the Right, and which may be called the open Menuet Step, because its first Step is made in the second Position ; it is made after the Manner of that backwards, only in a different Part of the Figure : That backwards being made in a strait Line falling back, and this sideways on an horizontal Line to the Right.
THERE is also another Way in turning again on the left Side, which is different in this, that it is crossed, though made in the same Line, but in returning from the Right to the Left ; the Manner is this : The Body being on the left Leg, you sink on it, and afterwards make a cross Step before, with the Right Leg to the fifth Position, and rise upon it, the Left following extended by its Side, both the Heels close together, and the Right only set down ; then you sink again on the Right, stepping with the Left in the second Position, and rise on the Toes, the Legs being extended and the Heel off the Ground ; afterwards make two Walks on the Toes, the right Foot crossing behind in the fifth Position, and the other moving in the Second, with the Heel down, which is a kind of third Movement when you have got a Habit of performing it well, and what gives more Life to your Menuet.
AFTER you have practised all these different Steps well, you form a regular Figure, which we call a Menuet, which I shall explain in the following Chapter.
THE Menuet is become the most modish Dance, not only for the easy Dancing of it, but for the easy Figure used at present, and for which we are obliged to Monsieur Pecour, who so much improved it by changing the Form S, which was the principal Figure, into that of Z, where the Number of Steps limited keep the Dancers in a Regularity, as will be shewn in the End of this Chapter.
AFTER your second Honour, you must make a Menuet Step in returning to the Place where you made your first, forming the fourth Part of a Circle, as shewn by (1), which brings you up to your Lady again, to whom you present your Hand, as represented by (2) ; and each make two Menuet Steps forwards, the Man's Hand undermost to support the Woman's, as in Figure the First.
AFTERWARDS you both make two Menuet Steps forwards, as in the second Plate, keeping Hands.
BY this third Figure you are shewn that the Man makes a Menuet Step backwards, to let the Woman go by him, and then a Menuet Step sideways, at the End of which he lets go her Hand and makes a Menuet Step forwards, and the Woman makes one also going down, as shewn by this written Figure, which directs the Way, and names the Steps ; afterwards they both make a side Step slanting on the Right backwards, which sets them opposite to each other, by the quarter Turn made at the first step of the Menuet Step aside, as it is expressed : But in making this Step, the right Shoulders of both Parties are shaded from each other, and the Head turned a little to the Left, looking at each other, which ought to be observed throughout the whole Course of the Menuet ; but above all, without Affectation.
TO pursue the Figure as represented by this Plate, two Steps (2) must be on the left Side, with the Body upright ; and in making two other Steps forwards at (3), the right Shoulders of both should be shaded, the Man always to let the Woman pass on the right Side of him, but both looking at each other : (What I call shading the Shoulder, is drawing it a little backwards, presenting the Body more full) but nevertheless still to make their Steps forwards, as the Plate shews, which is the principal Figure of the Menuet : But when you have made five or six Turns, you must from one Corner of the Room or other, looking upon one another, present your right Hand in your Step forwards.
BUT that you may the better apprehend it, when you are going over, that is at the End of your last Step returning to the Left, raise your right Arm to the Height of your Breast, the Hand turned as represented by the two Arms : The Head being turned to the right, looking at each other, you make a little Movement of the Wrist and Elbow raised up, with a slight Inclination in presenting the Hand, and still looking at one another, make a Turn quite round, as represented and shewn by this Figure.
HAVING let go the right Hand, you go forwards, making a half Turn to present your left Hand, observing the same Ceremonial as in the Right, as shewn by this Figure.
AND when you have let go the left Hand, you must make a Menuet Step aside to the right obliquely backwards, as here described (4), which brings you again into the principal Figure, which you continue for three or four Turns ; afterwards you present both Hands, raising your Arms to the Height of your Breast, with the Body bent.
IN presenting Hands to the Woman, according to my Opinion, which I have endeavoured to express in these two Figures, and when you take Hands, you make a Turn or two, and the Man makes a Menuet Step backwards, bringing his Woman up with him, whose left Hand only he lets go to pull off his Hat : When he has compleated his Menuet Step, he steps with his right Foot aside in the second Position, and then they both make their Honours together, the same as before they danced.
I don't think it right to make a Menuet too long ; for though it has always been my Opinion, that every one may be left to his own Discretion, yet it is both reasonable and becoming to set some Limits ; for though a Person dances never so well, the Figure is still the same, therefore the shorter it is made the better.
AND when a Person is come to dance well, he may now and then introduce some Graces, which I shall explain in the following Chapter.
THOUGH to dance the Menuet plain is by some thought the best, yet I have seen some Graces that make it more airy and genteel ; and as I find they are very much used, it has engaged me to inform you how to make them, that you may practise them either in taking Hands, or other Parts ; and shall begin with that forwards.
HAVING finished your Menuet Step forwards, and the Body on the left Foot, bring up the right ; afterwards sink and rise at the same Time ; then slide the right Foot forwards to the fourth Position, and rise upon it, making an easy Bound on the left Foot, and re-assume your Menuet Step : But to use your self to do them easily, is to practise them often in your Menuet, and when you have got the Manner of doing them easily, to use them in proper Places, where they will appear most graceful : For example ; in presenting Hands, in going to your Woman after you have finished your Menuet Step ; returning to the Left raise your right Hand, as I have already told you, to present Hands ; but at that Time, instead of a Menuet Step forwards, make the aforesaid Step, and in the Performance, inclining the Body and Head a little to recover your former Position in making an easy Bound, and then re-assume your Menuet Step, pursuing the Figure.
I call it an easy Bound, because when you have made this first slow Steps, and have risen on the right Foot, with both Legs extended, the right Knee immediately bends, which by its Motion throws the Body again on the left Leg, which moves easily forwards, falling on its Foot ; therefore it cannot be called otherways, since it is but a Bound half made.
IT may be used also on another Occasion, viz. when you pass by one another, with the Menuet Step forwards ; and also when you dance with a Person that makes three Menuet Steps forwards, when you have made but two ; so that it will fall out, that you will be making your Menuet Step aside to the Right, while your Partner is dancing forwards ; therefore to be alike in the Figure, make this Step going to the Right, by sinking on both Legs ; and in rising on the Left, the right slides aside to the second Position, and you rest the Body on it, rising at the same Time on the Toes ; but by the Position of the Body, and that Elevation, the left Leg follows, letting the right Heel come to the Ground, and the Knee bending by this Motion, obliges the left Leg to cross before the Right, to make this easy Bound : Afterwards you make your Menuet Step going to the Right, which brings you both regular in the Figure.
THERE are some Persons that use it passing each other, but it must not be too often repeated, because that would look affected.
AFTER having examined all the Methods and Instructions necessary to dance a Menuet well, there still remains two essential Parts, the Ear and the Arms : For the First, if a Scholar has not that ready Disposition to understand the Cadence, he must apply himself to beating of Time, when his Master teaches him, and be instructed in, and better apprehend that Cadence, which, if I may be allowed the Expression, is the very Soul of Dancing, and which often depends on a little Application.
I have already said that the Menuet Step is performed in two Barrs of triple Time ; therefore there is a true and a false Cadence. The true is the First, and the false Cadence s the Second : But as in a Menuet Strain there are eight or twelve Barrs ; every first Barr is the true Cadence, and the Last the false. This Cadence is known by striking the right Hand in the Left, and the false by the lifting up of the Hand again, which is an equal Continuation of Time.
BUT the Feet act quite contrary to the Hands, since at the Time that you rise on the Toes of the right Foot, you beat with your Hand ; therefore one ought to sink at the End of the last Barr, to be able to rise when you beat. The Tune or Cadence is expressed two Ways in Dancing ; that is to say, the Steps which are sinking and rising, are raised in the Cadence ; but those of jumping fall in it : Therefore the Movement ought to be taken before ; that is to say, to sink at the last Barr, to rise when it directs.
THE Manner of moving the Arms gracefully in a Menuet, is as necessary as that of the Feet ; because they move with the Body, and are its greatest Ornament.
THEREFORE the Arms ought to hang by the Side of the Body, as this first Figure represents ; the Hands neither open nor shut : For if the Thumb was to press one of the Fingers, that would shew a determined Motion, which would cause the upper Joints to look stiff, and prevent that easy Motion which the Arms ought to have.
THE Arms being thus disposed, you let them fall almost to the Bottom of the Coat-Pocket, making your first Step of the Menuet, (which is a half Coupee) with the right Foot, the Hands turned in, as this Second Figure represents.
BUT in taking the second Movement at the same Time from the left Foot, the Elbow bends a little, raising the Hands imperceptibly, as this third Figure shews ; and afterwards you open them very easily, extending them with a Grace to the End of the Menuet Step, and so on during the Course of your Menuet, in every Step you take, whether it be backwards, forward, or sideways.
IT is to be observed, that though I have drawn three different Figures for the Explanation of the different Situations, that they may all be distinctly understood, the Motions following one another make but one in the Extent of the Menuet Step.
I have seen many Persons make Balances in dancing a Menuet, in which the Arms move contrary to the Legs : For Example ; the Arms should be raised to the Height of the Hips ; and in making the first Balance with the right Leg, the opposite Arm is brought a little forwards, as well as the Shoulder, the right Arm and Shoulder drawn back, and the Head also at the same Time inclines a little : But at the Second, both Head and Arms regain their former Situation.
FOR Women, who are not to use their Arms in a Menuet but when they present their Hands, it is sufficient that at the first Balance they shade the right Shoulder, which brings the Left forwards in a kind of Opposition to the Foot, and make also a small Inclination of the Head, which gives great Grace to this Step ; but take care of Affectation.
IT is enough for the Woman, during the whole Course of the Menuet, to hold her Head upright, and in a good Situation, her Shoulders back, which inlarges the Breast, and gives a better Grace to the Body ; the Arms extended by its Side, so that the Elbows almost touch the Hips ; but all naturally.
TO give a better Idea of it, observe this Figure, which I have given all the Air and Life that a Woman ought to have in Dancing. She holds her Petticoats with her Thumb and Fore-finger, the Arms extended by the Side of the Body, the Hands turned outwards, without spreading the Petticoats out, or letting them fall in. And as to their Manner of figuring, it is the same as that of Men, as well for shading the Shoulder in the side Menuet Steps, as those forwards : As for presenting of Hands, and the Graces, they are equally the same in one Sex as the other.
THE Contretems are made instead of a Menuet Step ; but of late they have not been commonly used since Passpieds and figured Menuets have been in Fashion : Indeed these Dances are very graceful by the Variety of their Figures, and the different Steps they contain ; and as the Contretems are a Part of their Composition, I shall describe the Manner of making them according to the Rules of Art.
BUT to make them well, you must first Comprehend how they are formed. They consist of three different Manners of Rifing : One before the Step, the Second after the Step, and Third in making the Step.
THE first Manner is when you have finished your Menuet Step ; and as you make an End of it with the left Foot, the Body must be rested intirely upon it, and the right Foot brought up close to it, in the first Position ; then sink upon the the Left, and rise upon it with a Hop, which is what we commonly call a Hop on one Leg ; and this is the first Rising.
THE Second is, having the Body on the left Foot, you sink a second Time upon it ; and while the Knee is bent, you slide the right Foot before you in the fourth Position, and rise upon it with a Hop ; which is the second Rising.
THE Third is, as you have the Body rested on the right Foot you sink upon it, bringing the Left close up ; then in rising you move it easily forwards, and fall upon it with a Bound, which is the last Rising. But when you rightly comprehend all these different Risings, put them together, which compleats your Contretems or Menuet Hops.
AND the Way to use your self to make them with Ease, is to practise them alternately after a Menuet Step, making several together ; which will nor only render them more familiar, but will give you a Lightness and Activity, that when you become Master of them, you may soften them in the Performance.
AS to Women, their Manner is the same, only that they should moderate the Hop as much as possible : Therefore when you dance a Passpied or figured Menuet with a Woman, you should make your Contretems as easy as possible, to be the more conformable to her, in which the Beauty of Dancing consists.
BESIDES, these lofty Contretems are only fit for young Persons, or those of low Stature ; for those who are taller should only make a Courant Step, and a half Bound, as I have already observed in the Manner of taking Hands ; because it is not agreeable for tall Persons to jump and skip in Dances where they figure, in which only the most, easy and graceful Movements should be used, which are so much esteemed by our Nation, though not so much practised in the many Country Dances of late introduced in France, and which are not so well relished by the Admirers of fine Dancing.
INDEED there are a great many without any Design or Taste, the Figure being always the same, without any certain Steps appointed for them : All the Perfection of these Country Dances being a distorting the Body in turning about, and stamping with their Feet as if they had wooden Shoes on, and putting themselves in several ridiculous Postures. They tell me this diverts a whole Company, because a great many Persons may dance at once. Is it not possible to make Dances for several Persons to dance together in regulated Steps, after the Manner of the German Dances I have seen danced in Germany ? For though they change their Movements, they observe a certain Rule, which prevents Confusion, especially among Persons of Distinction.
FOR Dances may be composed for several Persons to dance together, and may have different Movements to common or triple Time : But I could wish that the Masters who compose them, would put them into Characters that they might be danced regularly, as in Brawls, where every one leads up in his Turn, without Confusion or Disorder.
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.