NOTHING is more advantageous to those who have an Inclination for Dancing, and a Disposition to perform well, than to take care to move their Arms with a Grace : For this Reason they should be attentive to the Rules I am going to prescribe, that they may the more easily take their Lessons of their Masters, and improve.
INDEED a good Master knows how to dispose them properly according to the Make of his Scholar, to raise them higher if of low Stature, and if Tall to bring them down to an Equality with the Hips ; but if the Subject is of a just Proportion, he should keep them out even with the Pit of his Stomach : A Remark I have known to be made by the most able Masters of this Age.
AND besides, every Body knows that Monsieur Beauchamp was one of the first that introduced them, and laid down Rules, and from thence the Desires of so many Persons of both Sexes have arose to practise them to add to all the other Graces, for which they are obliged to him and some other extraordinary Masters.
FOR my own part I shall only say that I look upon the Arms in Dancing as a Frame made for a Picture ; for if it is not made to fit, how beautiful soever the Picture may be, it will want an Ornament : Therefore how well soever a Dancer may perform with his Feet, if his Arms are not easy and graceful, his Dancing will appear heavy and dull, and by consequence will have the same Effect as a Picture without its Frame. Some may argue that it is a particular Gift, I own it ; but nevertheless I hope to be able to lay down Rules to acquire them by a full and plain Demonstration, which may contribute to the Improvement of Youth, as well as the Ease of their Masters, which is all that I propose in my Book.
AS the Grace of the Body, as I have already said, depends on the moving the Arms well, one cannot take too much Precaution to understand how to dispose them first, that they may move with all necessary Freedom ; therefore I suppose in the Elevation which I represent by this Figure, that a Person should be well proportioned, and of a middle Stature, so that in my Opinion, and according to the Rules, the Arms should be raised to the Height of the Pit of the Stomach, as demonstrated by this Figure.
IT is drawn in a front Prospect to distinguish all the Parts in a just Proportion, the Head is upright, and the Body rested on both Legs, with the Feet in the second Position, which is relative to the Arms, in that the Legs being open and the Feet on the same Line, the Arms ought to be opened and raised equally ; for if they were higher they would look like a Cross, and besides would be more stiff, and want that Softness ; yet as there is no general Rule without an Exception, and as we are obliged to help or hide the Defects of Nature, it is the Business of the Master to make a proper Disposition for the Scholar : For Example ; if a Person's Shape be too short, he should necessarily make him raise his Arms a little higher to make his Shape more easy, which by consequence will add a Grace : Whereas on the other hand, if the Waste be too long, the Arms should be levelled to the Height of the Hips, which diminishes in some measure that Disproportion, and gives all that Air which would have been wanting without this Care. I have also represented the Hands neither open nor shut, that the Movements of the Wrist and Elbow may be performed with all Ease and Freedom ; whereas if the Thumb was to touch one of the Fingers, it would make the Motion more stiff.
I am not so over fond of the Attitudes of my Figures for the Elevation of the Arms, but have advised with People of great Abilities, not only in Dancing but also in Drawing, whose Approbation was that they were drawn according to Rule, and to move with Ease in the different Steps where Contrast, which sets off Dancing, is to be observed.
WE reckon three Movements of the Arms as well as the Legs, the which are relative one to the other ; viz. that of the Wrists, that of the Elbows, and that of the Shoulders, which must agree with those of the Legs in this, that if you make half Coupees in Marches and Openings of the Legs, and other Steps which are taken more from the Instep than the Knee, the Wrists then move ; whereas if they are Steps where the sinking is lower, such as the Boree Step, Courant Step, the Sissonne, the Contretems, and other Steps which require Contrast or Opposition, then 'tis the Elbow that moves or is most in sight ; because the Elbow ought not to move without being attended in its Motion by that of the Wrist the same as the Instep and Knee, which cannot finish its Movement without rising on the Toes, therefore of Consequence the Instep compleats it.
AS to the Movement of the Shoulder it is not apparent but in the falling Step, where it seems by the Inclination of the Body as if ones Strength failed one ; so the Shoulder by its Movement makes as if the Arms fall, which shall be explained hereafter in the Manner of moving the Arms in each Step.
THESE Movements of the Shoulder appear yet more in Opposition, in that the Arm being extended, the Shoulder is shaded behind : For Example ; if you go by any one aside, you draw back your Shoulder. But to understand it better, I shall explain the Manner of taking the Movements of the Wrists, separately from those of the Elbows, in the following Chapters, to shew the Difference, that we may be able to come at that Exactness and Gracefulness which Dancing requires.
THOUGH the Movements of the Wrists seem no ways difficult, yet they deserve our Attention in that they afford Grace when they are moved with Ease, and according to the Rules which I shall lay down ; therefore I shall place Figures in all the necessary Places for fuller Instruction, as appears by this first Demonstration (1), which represents the Hand turned upwards, and by (2) the Hand downwards, the one opposite to the other.
BUT as the Movement of the Wrist is taken two Ways, viz. from above downwards, and from below upwards, therefore when taken from above downwards the Wrist must be bent inwards making a Turn of the Hand, which from this same Movement returns to its first Situation, as demonstrated (3) by these Words, The Turn of the Hand, which express the Manner conformable to the first Representation of the Arms (1) ; but Care should be taken not to bend the Wrist too much, which would make it look lame.
AS to the second Movement which is taken from below upwards, the Hand being turned downwards as represented by (2), the Wrist must be bent (4) ; then let the Hand return upwards, making a half Turn as traced by these Words, The Turn of the Wrist ; and by this Movement the Hands are in the same Situation as at (1).
THE Elbow as well as the Wrist has its Movement from above downwards, and from below upwards, with this Difference, that when you bend with the Elbows the Wrists move with them, which prevents the Arms from being stiff and gives them a great Grace ; but yet the Wrist must not be bent too much, for that would look extravagant, and is the same with the Legs ; for when you bend the Knee it is the Instep that compleats the Movement by rising on the Step, and so of the Elbow with the Wrist.
BUT as these Movements require a clear Understanding, the demonstrative Figures which I have made use of seem to me as necessary as the Discourse, which obliges me to make use again of this second Representation of the Arms, that nothing may be omitted to make all these Movements proper.
THEREFORE to move from above downwards, the Arms being disposed as they are represented (5), the Elbow and Wrist must be bent, as these Words, The Turn of the Elbow, The Turn of the Wrist shew you ; and when the Arms are bent (6), you extend them (7), and the Arms return in the Situation they were before at (5) : So also when you make a Movement of the Wrists, they should bend and extend the same as if they bent with the Elbows.
AS to the second Movement which is taken from below upwards, the Hands are turned down as shewn by (8), the Wrists and Elbows must be bent in making only a Circle, as traced by these Words, From below upwards, in both to shew that they ought to bend equally together, and return in the same Attitude (5).
THIS last Movement from below upwards is as necessary as the First, because there are Steps to which they must be moved from below upwards by Opposition ; for commonly the extended Arm is turned downwards, and bends in Opposition to the contrary Foot, which shall be explained more at large in the following Chapter.
AS to the Movement of the Shoulders, as they are no where distinguished but in the falling Step, when the Arms are extended (9) they must fall a little lower than the Hips, without bending either Elbows or Wrists, as expressed by these Words, The Fall, The Rise, at each Arm ; for when they fall they rise to the Height again from whence they fell, which is solely by the Movement of the Shoulder.
OF all the Movements in Dancing, Opposition or the Contrast of the Arm to the Leg is the most natural to us, and the least regarded : For Example ; to see different Persons walk, you will find that when they step with the right Foot forwards, the left Arm will naturally oppose it, which seems to be a certain Rule : And on this same Rule able Dancers have moved their Arms, bringing the Arm in Opposition to the Leg, that is, when you have the right Leg before you, the left Arm ought to be in Opposition during the Extent of the Step. I call it the Extent of the Step, because in the Courant March, which is but one Step, if 'tis made with the right Foot the left Arm moves opposite, as also in the Boree Step, or Fleuret forwards, the which though composed of three Steps does not oblige to three Changes of the Arms, it being sufficient only to oppose to the first Step. But as this Opposition requires a fuller Demonstration, I have drawn this Figure in proper Attitudes. The Body is upright, the Head is turned aside to the opposite Arm, which is the Right and is bent before ; the Hand raised to the Height of the Shoulder and a little forwards, the left Arm extended and drawn a little back, but raised to the Pit of the Stomach ; the Body rested on the left Foot, and the right Heel off the Ground ready to make a Step.
BUT when you would change the Opposition, take care that your Arms move together and make each a contrary Motion, in that the Arm which is extended turns downwards (3), and that which is opposite (2) makes a half Circle, according to these Words, The Turn of the Elbow from above downwards, which ought to be made at the same Time one with the other, to be at one and the same Time both turned down as shewn by (4).
BOTH being then down, the left Arm returned from below upwards (5) as these Words, The Turn of the Elbow from below upwards shew, and the right only returns the Hand upwards, which is done by a little Turn of the Wrist from below upwards, and finishes the Change of Opposition as shewn by (6) and (7). Though I have said that these Movements should be made together, I repeat it again that they should be taken with a great deal of Ease and Freedom : And for the readier Performance of them, I would advise you to stand before a Glass and move your Arms as I have directed, and if you have any Taste you will perceive your Faults, and by consequence mend.
THESE are the shortest and most easy Methods I can lay down to move the Arms with Grace and that Exactness required by Art.
AFTER a Person has used himself to move his Arms with a good Grace, to attain to move them with the Legs, he cannot make choice of any Steps more easy than the Courant Step or March, which is very slow in its Performance, and will use him to move his Legs and Arms together ; therefore I have placed four Figures together which express the different Attitudes the Legs and Arms ought to be in.
FIRST you should remember the Manner of making the Courant Step, which is to sink and rise before you move the Foot forwards.
THE Body in this first Figure is rested on the right Foot in the fourth Position (1), the left Heel off the Floor (3), the Toes only down and by consequence ready to make a Step, the left Arm (4) opposite to the right Foot, and the right Arm (5) extended, the Hand outwards (6) ; and the Writing forming a half Circle (7) is to shew the Course the Arm is to take.
TO begin this Step, the left Foot must be brought up to the Right, in which Approach turn the Elbow as represented by these Words, The Turn of the Elbow from above downwards, which forms the half Circle, and you trace the Turn which the Arm makes from above downwards, as these other Words, The Turn of the Wrist, shew the Movement of the right Wrist.
THE second Figure shews how low one ought to sink. The Body rests on the right Foot (2), the left Foot off the Ground (3), both the Heels close together, and the Arms turned downwards (4) of equal Height. Now to perform all these Movements with Ease, one should take particular Notice of these different Figures, and observe their Situations, which will give a thorough Knowledge of the Movements of the Legs and Arms.
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THE third Figure shews how to rise after having sunk, (which one may call in Equilibrium) the Body being rested on the Toes of the right Foot (3), the left Leg extended as as well as the Right with its Foot off the Ground (4), and the Hands open (5).
THE Fourth is designed to shew the Opposition to the left Foot making a Step forwards, to the which sliding in the fourth Position the right Arm forms its Contrast, the Step and Movement of the Arms ending together.
BUT as one cannot be too careful in moving the Arms in Dancing, and as all depends on the Beginning, I beg Attention to this Figure, in which the right Arm (6) is opposed to the left Foot (7) which is placed before ; the right Arm (8) extended and drawn back as well as the Shoulder, which makes the Opposition just and according to Rule.
THOUGH I have given so ample a Demonstration of these four different Figures for the better understanding of them and their different Movements, yet when you come to put them in Practice, you must understand that the Representation of these four Figures is contained in one Step, and their Actions follow one another in its Extent. But to learn and practise them with one Foot as well as the other, I would advise you to begin at the Bottom of the Room, and when at the Top to make them backwards, observing after you have finished your last Step to rest the Body on the hinder Foot, and make half Coupees backwards after the following Manner.
SUPPOSING then your last March to be made with the right Foot, the Left remains before, therefore you sink on your left Foot, (as said in the Manner of making half Coupees) and as you take your Sink, the opposite Arm makes its half Circle from above downwards, and that which was extended returns from below upwards, which makes the Opposition. You should also observe, that in going backwards 'tis the same Arm and Foot that moves and forms the Opposition : For Example ; if the right Foot makes the half Coupee, the right Arm comes forwards from below upwards.
THERE are several different Steps formed in the Courant Step : You even have Marches made sideways ; but as these Steps are open, in that they are taken commonly from the third Position to the Second, which is an open Position, and by consequence requires no Opposition ; the Arms being open in this Step, a slight Movement must be made of both, and also of the Wrists from below upwards : For Example ; the Arms being open, and the Hands turned as represented by the first Figure just before, in sinking they must be turned downwards, and in rising and finishing the Step a little Motion of the Elbow and Wrist from below upwards, which brings them again into their former Situation.
AFTER having used my Endeavours to give you a clear Understanding of the different Movements of the Arms, as well for the Wrist and Elbow as the Shoulder, having made you sensible at the same Time of the Opposition or Contrast of the Leg and Arm, I have nothing more to do than to shew the Manner of rendering them agreeable to each Step, by instructing you only in the Oppositions or Contrasts you ought to observe, without repeating the Method in which they ought to be done, having in my Opinion said enough of that : Therefore I shall begin with the Boree Step forwards.
IF you make your Boree Step forwards with the right Leg, the Change of the Arms should be made after this Manner ; the right Arm which is opposite to the left Foot, should be extended at the Time you take your Sink, and the left Arm turns downwards at the same Time to come up bent before you while the right Foot moves forwards for the Body to rise upon it, which makes the Opposition of the left Arm to the right Foot. As to the two Steps which follow after and form the Boree Step, you must not change the Arms in them since there is but one Opposition in this Step.
FOR those made backwards the same Rule is to be observed as in the half Coupees, that is to say, if you make your Boree with the right Foot, in taking your half Coupee backwards the right Arm ought to bend, in that the Opposition is only regarded before : Therefore let this be a general Rule, that when a Step is made backwards with one Foot, the Arm of the same Side makes the Contrast.
IN regard to the Boree Step before and behind, if you take it with the right Leg going from the Left, in crossing your right Foot the left Arm comes in Opposition, and the Right is extended : But at the second Step of the Boree, which is with the left Foot, and which you set sideways in the second Position, while the left Arm opens and when you draw the right Foot behind, which makes the third Step of your Boree, the right Arm bends in Opposition to the left Foot before, which produces two Oppositions in this Step, but sometimes they are not both made because of the Connexion of another Step that follows, and which alters the Rule ; for it may happen that you may be obliged to bend both Arms to make the following Step, then 'tis the Master's Business to instruct you.
WHERE they are made in turning, the same Rules are to be observed.
AS to the inclosed Boree there's a Necessity for two Oppositions, viz. one at the Beginning to make your half Coupee, and the other at the last Step you make : For Example ; you begin your Step with the right Foot, and you set it down as said in the Manner of making it in the fourth Position backwards, which obliges you to bend the right Arm to make the Contrast to the left Foot before ; but you are no sooner raised on the right Foot than the left Leg steps behind the Right in the third Position, and you rest a small Time on the Toes of both Feet, the Legs extended both together without changing the Arms ; and when you slide the right Foot before, which is the last Step of your Boree, the right Arm is extended back shading the Shoulder, and the left Arm bends before in Opposition to the right Foot.
THERE is another sort of Boree which is made on the Spot, and to the Presence ; but as this Step is open at the Beginning it is not imitated by the Arms : For Example ; you take your half Coupee with the right Foot sideways in the second Position, and as both your Arms are open, you bend both Wrists, making a whole Turn from above downwards : I call it a whole Turn because the Hands return above as they were ; but at the second Step which you make sideways, as said in the Manner of making it, in drawing the other Foot behind which makes the third Step, you bend the Arm of the same Side of the Foot you draw behind, which makes the Contrast to the Foot before.
THERE is a Manner of moving the Arms in this Step different from the rest, because in the others you oppose the Arm to the Foot at the Beginning, but in this at the last Step.
IT is performed still after another Manner sideways shading the Shoulder, of which sort of Step there are two in the first Strain of the Louvre, in the Bretagne, the new Forlanne, and many others, in which the Opposition is only made at the End of the Step : For Example ; you have the left Foot before, and the right Arm opposed, you make your half Coupee sinking on the left Foot, and rise on the Right, which in the Time the Arm is extending gives you the Liberty of shading the Body or turning a little sideways, and the left Foot, being set behind, you rest on the Toes of both ; then you slide the right Foot before in the fourth Position, the left Arms bending at the same Time, and moving also forwards in Opposition to the right Leg.
THERE are also others called quick Borees, or Borees of two Movements ; which Step is made before and sideways : As to the Arms there is but one Opposition, in which if you move with the right Foot, 'tis the left Arm that bends before ; and when you make the last Step of this same Boree, which is a half Bound, the left Arm is extended, so that both Arms are open : But when you make it sideways 'tis somewhat different in this, that if you make your half Coupee with the right Foot crossing it before the Left, the left Arm comes in Opposition and extends it self presently at the second and third Step ; and when you draw the right Foot behind, in falling upon the Left for a fourth Step (which is a kind of falling Step) both Arms which are extended fall and rise again, which finishes the Action of the Arms in this Step.
AS the Arms are used with several sorts of Coupees according to the Connexion of the Steps of which the Dance is composed, I shall describe them and begin with those made forwards.
SUPPOSING you were to make a Coupee forwards with the right Leg, by consequence you should have the left Leg before, and the right Arm opposed ; then in sinking for your half Coupee you extend that Arm, turning it from below upwards, without bending the Left ; but when you slide the left Foot before, which forms the second Part of your Coupees, that right Arm bends before and makes a just Contrast of the Arm and Leg.
THERE are others in which the Foot is moved sideways on the Toes without resting the Body thereon ; for having then extended one Arm to your half Coupee, you leave them both open as represented by the first Figure, which shews the Height the Arms ought to be held at ; for when you are in the second Position there's no Contrast unless you have a Step in turning to make afterwards, which is very rare, since we ought to turn from the first or fourth Position.
OTHERS end with an Opening of the Leg, where you ought to observe the same Thing in the half Coupee, which is to extend the Arm of the same Side with the Leg with which you make the half Coupee ; yet neither are to make any Motion during the Opening of the Leg.
THERE are others taken before, that is, having extended the Arm in making the half Coupee, you move it with the same Foot is you are to make a Turn, because this Arm ought to be a Guide or Ballance for you to turn ; therefore 'tis a general Rule, if you are to turn on the right Side, to bend the right Arm, because it extends afterwards, and by its Motion gives the Body a Liberty of turning ; and the same when you turn on the left Side.
THE Coupee backwards is different in that it requires two Oppositions ; viz. one in sinking for your half Coupee, supposing it to be made with the right Foot, 'tis the right Arm that opposes and replaces itself at the same Time : The other Opposition is when the left Foot steps backwards, the left Arm comes forwards, and is in Opposition to the other Foot before.
FOR those made sideways, if you begin them with the right Foot you may make an Opposition with the left Arm in making your half Coupee, and extending it again at the second Step which is open.
FOR my Part I think one may make a Movement of the two Wrists in this Coupee, which seems to me the most easy.
THERE are some made before and finished behind, the Manner of which is singular in this ; if you make a half Coupee forwards with the right Foot, in rising the Left is brought up to the Right, making a Beat behind, and returns to the Place it was in before in the fourth Pofition behind, which makes the Coupee intire in this Step, by making the half Coupee with the right Foot, where the left Arm comes in Opposition to the right Leg ; and to distinguish it better, the right Shoulder is shaded, and its Arm drawn back, which makes the Body free and graceful : For those that are made forwards, and with a Beat at the second Step, one ought to make no Movement of the Arms at the Time of the Beat, because this Step is only to shew the Freedom of the Legs without disordering the upper Part of the Body.
I HAVE divided these Coupees from the others to avoid Confusion, and to shew all that Grace they ought to have. This Step is made before and sideways ; but as I would follow in this Plan what I proposed, which was to begin always with the most easy, I shall begin with those made forwards.
THEREFORE when you take your first Step, which is a half Coupee well rested upon, at that Time you let both Arms turn a little downwards, and make a half Movement with the Wrists and Elbows, beginning from below upwards ; which ought to be attended with a small Inclination of the Body and Head imperceptibly and without Affectation ; but when you take your second Movement which is a falling Bound, in beginning your Sink your Arms extend and at the same Instant have a little Motion from the Shoulder in falling, and in rising the Body recovers as well as the Head, which ought to be held a little back, which gives a majestick Air, and makes a perfect Union of the Movement both of the Legs and Arms as well as the Head and Body.
AS to those made sideways, though the Movements of the Arms are taken a little after the same Manner, there are nevertheless some little Observations to be made that are somewhat different ; viz. when you take your half Coupee, (let it be with the right Foot) as it crosses before the Left in the fifth Position, it obliges you to use your self to the Rule of Opposition, to shade the right Shoulder a little and to let the Left come a little forwards, which by consequence makes that sort of Opposition to the right Foot without interrupting you from making those Movements of the Arms from below upwards ; but lower them a little in taking your second Movement and raise them in finishing, and also make a small Inclination of the Body and Head, observing if you go from the right the Head should be half turned that Way.
ALL these Observations have a wonderful Effect in Dancing, and shew both Life and Judgment.
AS I have in the first Part demonstrated the falling Step and Gaillard, which being composed of many other Steps and Movements, give me leave therefore to explain the Manner of moving the Arms agreeable to those different Steps : For Example ; if 'tis only a falling Step, such as I have described in the Manner of making them, you must begin with rising on the Toes, and the Arms disposed as represented by the Figure at the Beginning of this second Part ; therefore when the Foot is drawn behind falling, the Arms though extended fall, which is performed by the Motion of the Shoulders, which extend themselves letting the Arms fall, and raising them again instantly : By that you see the Conformity between the Legs and Arms, since at the Time the Foot is drawn behind and the Knees bend as if your Strength failed you, (which makes the falling Step) the Arms also fall, and rise again when you have made your second Step, which finishes the falling Step, and is a half Bound : So that in this Step the Arms fall and rise again only by the Motion of the Shoulder.
IN the Gaillard Step they must be moved differently, in that it begins with a Close, therefore the Arms are turned downwards before you sink, then you bring them together, and the Wrists are half bent, turning from below upwards : But when you make your second Step sideways in the second Position, your Arms in returning from above downwards, extend to their former Situation : So when you rise on the Foot with which you step sideways to draw the other afterwards behind, the Arms have the same Motion as I have mentioned in the falling Step, which is to fall and rise again.
THERE is besides another Step made forwards very like a Gaillard, which I have heard called the Sissonne de Chaconne : In this as it is made forwards you oppose an Arm to the contrary Foot ; but as I have already told you that this Step begins by a closed Step, therefore if you make it with the right Foot before, the left Arm must be in Contrast before, turning from below upwards : For Example ; in taking the Movement for the closed Step the right Arm which was before extends turning downwards, and at the same Time the Left does the same, and comes in Opposition to the right Leg, which is inclosed before the Left ; but this Inclosure is no sooner made than the right Foot slides into the fourth Position, and in sliding the Body and Head make a little Motion, and recover on rising on this right Foot, and the left Arm extends ; then both Arms remain in that their Situation without making any Movement during the two chaced Bounds which compleats this Step.
THOUGH the Pirouett is one of those Steps which are made on the Spot, and seems to require no great Manner, yet there's a Necessity for as great an Application as to other Steps, and this is what I think makes Dancing so extensive, since a great many Graces arise from those Steps which seem to us the most easy. This Step is commonly preceded by another Step which makes a Preparation for that which is to follow, as a Coupee : For Example ; the Pointing the Toes, or an opening of the Leg, which ends with the Leg off the Ground, prepare for the making a Pirouett, therefore I will shew how to move the Arms ; and that you may be the more intelligibly informed, I have drawn this Figure, which expresses the most essential Parts, by which you may comprehend more easily the Movements the Arms ought to make.
THIS Figure is rested on the right Foot (1), the left Leg off the Floor (2), the right Arm extended (3), the left Arm bent (4), and the Head turned to the Left (5).
BUT when you sink on the right Foot, and the Left crosses at the same Time (as I have already taught the Manner) in rising on the Toes the Arm extends with a Turn of the Elbow and Wrist, as these Words express, The whole Turn of the Arm, which attends the Body in its turning, making an easy and intire Turn of the Arm from below upwards, and returning in the same Attitude as the Figure.
YOU ought also to observe that your Head be very upright to preserve the Body in its Poize or Balance, because it should turn on one Foot as on a Pivot, and is what I have endeavoured to express in my Figure, by placing it perpendicularly on one Foot looking at the Left to move it with that Justness and Ease which the Action requires.
THERE are some Pirouetts made with a Spring, in which the Arms move much the same, expect that they imitate the Legs a little in their Motion by moving more quick at the Spring and extending with more Life, which makes it more easy for the Body to turn on the same Side that the Arm extends on.
HOWEVER though these Movements are made with a Spring they ought to be well governed ; for this Step being made in turning, or to speak properly, on the Spot, if you should spring too high it would throw the Body out of its Poize by the Efforts you would be obliged to make to rise. Besides, Ball Dances require only gracesul and easy Movements.
A BALLANCE is one of the most easy Steps made in Dancing, and to which the most Grace may be given. It falls in with any time, and always produces a good Effect ; but as I have taught it before in different Ways, I shall shew the Manner of moving the Arms with it.
THEREFORE when you make your first Step in the second Position (this Step being made after another Step, to which you are to have an Arm opposite) the Arm which is opposed before extends from above downwards, and the other Arm which is extended makes a small Motion of the Wrist from above downwards ; for you must endeavour when you make a Movement with one Arm, to make a small Motion with the other that is extended to bear it Company ; for it is from these little Things that that Grace and Delicacy which I have already mentioned arises.
AS to the other Ballances which are made before in the fourth Position, if you begin with the right Foot, the right Arm which is before extends taking its Movement from above downwards, and the left Arm turning down bends and opposes the right Foot in returning from below upwards, which is the common Movement : But at the second half Coupee the Head turns a little to the Right, then inclines easily, and rises again agreeable to this Step ; for at the Time you rise on the left Foot the Head rises also and shews a perfect Harmony.
HAVING given the most easy Explanation of making this Step, I come now to teach how to move the Arms with that Grace that should attend it as this Step succeeds another, and every Step hath its Contrast.
SUPPOSING the left Foot before, by consequence the right Arm should be opposite : Then in taking your first Movement the Right also makes at the same Time its Movement from above downwards, and the Left at that Instant turns down and bends, coming in Opposition to the right Foot, which crosses before the Left, and on which you make a second Hop without changing the Opposition of the left Arm, since this second Hop is made on the right Foot which is before, and the Arm is in Contrast to the Foot.
I have told you also that it is made after another Manner on the Spot, thus : To fall at the first Spring on both Feet ; at the Second to rise on the hinder Foot, which makes no Alteration in the Arms, the right Foot being before, and the Opposition just.
FOR those made in turning, the opposite Arm ought to be bent in the Turn, as you'll find in several Ball Dances : For Example ; in le Maria at the End of the first Strain, where there are two Contretems sideways on the right Foot, the left Arm is in Contrast, which in extending shews by its Movement the half Turn to the Left ; but as the right Foot crosses behind, the right Arm bends in Contrast to the left Foot before.
'TIS a general Rule in Steps that turn, that the Arm of the Side on which you turn gives the Liberty ; for by its Motion it obliges the Body to turn on the Side it extends.
AS to those made backwards, the same Rule serves as in other Steps backwards, viz. the same Arm and the same Leg move.
I would willingly advise those who are desirous of moving their Arms with Freedom, to practise many of these Steps with their Arms ; for as the Steps give an Activity to the Body, they also give a Freedom to the Arms.
THE Arms in this Step are the least troublesome, and the Reason is easy to be apprehended, as I shall explain in few Words : This Step is made on the Spot, and has no Movements in it that require a great deal of Strength ; for properly speaking 'tis but a Play of the Instep which engages the other joints to make some Motion : Therefore in the Arms the Wrists only move, viz. once from below upwards, and again from above downwards.
FIRST when you sink on both Legs to raise the right Foot ; in this Movement you turn both Wrists from above downwards, and extend them rising : But when you sink on both Feet to make your last Spring, you bend both Wrists raising them from below upwards, which makes a Harmony betwixt the Legs and Arms.
IN this Step there's this Remark to be made, that there's a strict Relation between the Wrists and Insteps, since they are the only Joints that bend.
BOUNDS are also Steps made by the Instep, therefore no other Joints move but the Wrists : For Example ; you make a Bound with the right Foot and one with the Left, so that you make two together to a Barr of double Time : So that beginning with the Right you make only a small Motion with the Wrists from above below, and the Arms remain extended in the Course of the second Step ; but as these two Steps are made together, and are but slight Movements, the Arms by consequence ought not to be disorder'd.
'TIS the same Thing with the Arms when you make Bounds backwards, observing only to take the Movements with Ease, and not to disorder the upper Part of the Body.
THIS is one of the principal Steps in Dancing, as well for its Antiquity as the different Manners after which it is performed ; for it is made sometimes before and behind, sometimes sideways and in turning : In short, in whatever Time 'tis used 'tis introduced with Ease, and enlivens the Dance by its springing Motion and Variation.
I shall begin with those made forwards as the most easy, and suppose it to be made with the right Foot, by consequence the Left must be foremost in the fourth Position ; therefore the right Arm ought to be opposite, for then in sinking on the left Foot to spring upon it, the right Arm at the same Time extends in turning from above below, and the Wrist of the left Arms bends also from above downwards : But these three Movements ought to be taken equally together, that is to say, when you sink on the left Foot, the right Arm by consequence makes its Movement that Instant.
TO make them backwards the Arms and Legs move the same : But for those sideways they are made different both with the Legs and Arms ; and as I have demonstrated the Steps in the first Part both by Discourse and Figures, I think my self obliged to place three Figures here together to shew the different Steps, and the Movements of the Arms in the Extent of this Step ; viz. when you have both Feet in the second Position, and the Body rested on both Legs as represented by this first Figure in which both Arms are extended, and these Words engraved to each, The Course of the Arms, to shew from what Situation the Arms ought to bend.
WHEN the Movement of the Contretems is taken, the Head as this second Figure represents is upright, the Body rested on both Legs, the Knees bent, and the Waste steady ; but in rising with the Hop you fall on the left Foot, and your Arms extend by the Turn expressed by these Words, The Turn of the Arms from above downwards, engraved about both, to shew that the Arms should move together.
THIS third Figure is to shew how the Arms ought to be extended after the Hop, and to remind you that the right Leg be extended sideways when you hop on the Left, as I have taught in the first Part ; afterwards you step a-cross with it behind the Left in the fifth Position, and step again with the Left in the second Position ; but while these Steps are making the Arms remain extended without any Contrast.
AS to the Head it ought to turn when you rise a little towards that Side on which you are going ; though this is a Rule not always to be observed, for if you dance with any Body, and make these Contretems in passing before one another, you must both look at each other. So when I said the Head must be held very upright, I did not mean that it should not move, but that it should not be stiff and affected.
THE Contretems de Chaconne is taken from the third or fourth Position, as explained in the first Part, therefore it requires a Contrast ; and for this Reason if the left Leg is before, the right Arm falls in Opposition ; and having the Body in this Attitude rested on the left Leg, you must sink upon it and hop, extending the right Arm ; then set the right Foot aside in the second Position in going to the Right, and if you step with the left Foot behind in the Third, which is your second Step, at the same Time the left Arm bends from below upwards, which makes the Contrast to the right Foot before ; but when you set the left Foot before the Right in the fifth Position, then the right Arm opposes ; Therefore in this Step there are two different Contrasts, which are owing to one Step being made either before or behind, for the Arms at the Beginning must be extended and make no Contrast but at the last Step, whereas in other Steps they are opposed at the Beginning.
THIS Contretems is a Step very gay as well as much used in Ball Dancing, and the Manner of moving the Arms not very troublesome, since there is but one Opposition required : Indeed there is but one Step, but that Step contains two Movements, as I have said before, which render it brisk and lively.
IF you take it forwards, and have the Body rested on the left Foot, you sink on it raising the Right, and the right Arm at that Instant turns from above downwards, and the Left comes upwards, which makes the Contrast to the Limb that moves before ; but in falling on the Right for this second Movement, the Arms muft not be changed. You should also observe in this Step to keep the Body back, and turn the Head a little to the Arm in Contrast.
BUT when you make this Step backwards, you must follow the same Rule as in other Steps ; that is to say, when you step with the right Leg back, as the left Arm was then in Contrast, you at the Time of making that Movement turn the left Arm downwards and bring up the Right, which makes that Change of the Arms that should be observed in this Step.
AS to that made sideways it is different in that it requires no Contrast : For as its first Movement is taken from the third or fifth Position, and at the next you fall into the Second, which has no Contrast, it is enough to make a little Motion with the Wrists.
THESE are all the most agreeable Manners of moving the Arms with these different Steps.
AFTER having laid down all the most easy Methods of making of Chassees in Ball Dancing, it is also necessary to explain the Method of moving the Arms after several Manners.
I shall begin with those used in le Maria, which as being known to all the World, may be said to be one of the finest Dances ever seen.
THERE are of these Chassees in the Beginning of the third Strain, where they are preceded by a Coupee ; therefore in this Coupee you bend both Arms and extend them at the first Movement of the Chassee : But at the Second which rises on the contrary Foot to the Leg which has drove the other, the same Arm of the Side with the Leg which rises bends, because commonly at the End of this Step there is a turning Step ; and as I have said before in the Chapter of Pirouetts, the Arm makes it easy for the Body to turn on that Side on which it extends ; and for this Reason this Opposition is made : For if it was as it is in the Allemande, where several are made together, there would be no Contrast. 'Tis true there's no Motion of the Arms in the Chassees of that Dance, because it is perfectly characterised.
THERE is another Manner of Chassees in the Louvre, which are only chaced Bounds, of which there are three made together, and contain in their three Movements the Time of one single Step : But one Contrast is sufficient for this Step, which begins at the first Movement, and continues during the two other Steps.
THEY are also made sideways, as I have observed in the first Part, of which there are two Figures which express the Movements. It's enough in this Step to have the Arms extended : For Example ; if you take it returning to the left Side, the right Leg ought to rise to drive the Left, therefore the right Arm and Shoulder ought to rise more than the left Arm and Shoulder, though both are extended, because the Arms in this Step serve for a Ballance ; but nevertheless there should be a little Action of the Wrists at the first Movement to prevent a Stiffness that would appear without some. I have also told you that there are other Chassees, but as there are none of that sort used in Ball Dancing, I shall not speak of the Movement of the Arms.
THIS sort of Step is particular in its Manner, and partakes, as I may say, on the falling Step, in that you rise on the Toes to begin it ; but as I have shewn in my first Part how to make it, and I am now to teach the Movement of the Arms, I shall only say that when you begin, having the Feet in the fourth Position, and by consequence one Arm in Contrast, that Arm must then extend turning downwards, and the other come upwards ; but no Change must be made at the second Hop : Afterwards in making the Third which is a closed Step, let both Arms fall by your Side ; then make a little Inclination with your Head, and raise it at the same Time with your Arms when you make another Step, as a Boree, or such as the Dance requires ; for this little Action, when made properly, gives a great Grace ; but have a Care of Affectation.
I have not treated of the Motion of the Arms, with the Turns of the Leg and its Openings ; for in these Actions the Arms as well as the Body should not stir.
THERE are also other Steps in Dancing, of which I have made no Mention, having undertaken to treat in this Book only of the Manner of making all the principal Steps in Ball Dancing, and to lay down the most easy Methods of performing them with the Arms, that any Body may learn to dance with all the Judgment and Delicacy that this Exercise requires ; and I flatter my self with Success.