Round Dance

Are an especial favorite with dancers generally. As a graceful carriage and elasticity of movement are most essential, only those who have acquired these should take part in a round dance.

The Waltz, A Trois Tempe

This is the "old waltz", as it is called, that which is always implied when " the waltz" is spoken of. In this waltz the time is three-quarter: in each bar there are three steps in three beats of the time. The gentleman takes his partner round the waist, in the same manner as for the polka and all other round dances.

(First beat.) Pass your left foot backward in the direction of the left. (Second beat.) Pass your right foot past your left in the same direction, care being taken to keep the right foot in the rear of the left (third beat), and then bring the left up behind being the right, completing ONE BAR.-(First beat.) Pass right foot forward toward the right. (Second beat.) Pass left foot forward still toward the right (third beat), and bring right foot up to right, turning at the same time on both feet and completing the turn, TWO BARS.-Always conclude with the right foot in front, in order to be ready to commence with the left.

The above description is intended for the gentlemen, as they invariably commence on the left foot: if for a lady, "right" is substituted for "left", in the foregoing, it will be found to be equally applicable. The usual progression of all waltzes is from the gentleman's left to right; but a good dancer should be able to waltz equally well in the reverse direction, as it affords an agreeable change for his partner, and gives a pleasing variety to the dance.

Waltz in Double Time

This waltz has certainly held its position as the AUTOCRAT OF THE BALL-ROOM for many years past; and there are few more graceful than this when it is really well danced. Unfortunately, there are few dances which have among their pledged admirers such a vast assemblage of bad dancers as the Valse a Deux Temps. Its rapid temps (time) induces many to rush into it without having sufficiently mastered its mysteries; and we have often seen rash youths dragging their partners round in a wild scramble, with a total disregard of time and step. Probably this circumstance has contributed not a little to the decrease, in popularity, of this once all-powerful dance. It must be borne in mind that in this waltz there are but two steps in the bar of three notes.

(First beat.) Slide in the direction of the left with the left foot. (Second and third beats.) Chassez to the left with the right foot, remembering not to turn.

FIRST BAR: (First beat.) Pass right foot to the rear while turning half-round. (Second and third beats.) Pass left foot behind the right foot, chassez forward, completing the turn.

SECOND BAR: The great principle to be observed in all waltzes is to dance them smoothly and evenly with the sliding step, or glissade. All jumping or hopping should be at once discarded as eminently ungraceful.

Cellarius or Mazourka Waltz

This graceful dance is sometimes, though rarely, introduced as a feature in the programme du bal; we therefore give a description of the step, premising that it is not a dance to be learned from a book, and that what we here set down is only intended to refresh the memory of those who have learned it, but who, from its being so seldom danced, are likely to forget some one or more of the movements of which it is composed.

The time is that of the Valse a Trois Temps, but the more slowly the dance is played the more graceful is the result.

The gentleman having half-encircled lady's waist with right hand, takes her right hand in his left, slides forward with left foot, and hops twice on it; then slides with right foot and hops twice on that. Repeat this for sixteen bars, letting the movement be circular, as in the waltz, and getting half round during the two hops on each foot, the four completing the circle.

As formerly danced, there followed a movement which may be described as springing on each foot in succession, striking the heels together, sliding, and so on-but this showy performance has gone out of date.

At present, the dance concludes with a valse en glissade strongly marked.

The Schottische

This is probably danced less than any of the other round dances in "best circles", being deemed "vulgar". With children and young persons it is, however, still a favorite; and therefore we give a description of the manner in which it is danced.

The Schottische is danced in two-four time, the first and third beat in each bar being slightly marked. The slower the time is played, in moderation, the more pleasing the effect.

The gentleman takes the lady's waist and hand, as in the polka, and starts off with the design of moving in circles; he slides forward the left foot, and, as it stops, brings the right up to it smartly; slides the left forward again, and gives a spring on it, while he raises the right foot, and points it ready to start off with that, and repeat these movements. They may be continued without variation, the dancers revolving as in a waltz, if it is agreeable to the lady; but she may prefer that it should be continued as formerly danced. Then, when the first step had been performed eight times-that is, four starting with the left foot and four with the right, alternately-the second part of the figure commences.

This consists of four double hops. Take two on the left foot, half turning at the same time, then two on the right, completing the round. Repeat this; resume the first step for two bars; and so on throughout. But the Valse a Deux Temps step is now generally substituted for the hops, and, indeed, when a Schottische is played, good dancers often use that step throughout it.

The Polka

Is one of the most popular of the round dances. Brief directions will convey the manner of dancing it as now practiced; but no one should attempt it without previous instructions, as every thing depends on the grace with which it is executed.

Those who have learned the dance will pardon our pointing out one or two vulgarisms which it is easy to fall into. A hopping or jumping movement is singularly ungraceful; so is the habit many have of kicking out their heels to the inconvenience of other dancers. The feet should scarcely be lifted from the ground-the dancers sliding rather than hopping-and the steps should be taken in the smallest compass, and in the very nearest manner. Again, the elbows should not be stuck out, nor the hands extended at arms' length, or placed upon the hip .

After going through several mutations, the polka has come to be danced with a circular movement only-in that respect resembling the waltz. This is the manner of it, supposing a gentleman to be the dancer: You will clasp your partner lightly round the waist with your right hand, and take her right hand in your left, holding it down by your side, without stiffness or restraint. The lady places her left hand on your shoulder, so that you may partially support her.

Remember that the polka is danced in three-four time, and that there are four beats to each bar. Three steps are performed on the first three beats; the fourth is a rest.

Observing this, proceed thus: First beat: Advance your left foot, at the same time rising on the toe of the right with a springing motion.

Second beat: Bring right foot forward, so that the inner hollow of it touches the heel of left foot, and, as it touches, raise left foot.

Third beat: Slide left foot forward and balance the body on it, while the right foot is slightly raised, with the knee bent, ready to start with the right foot after next beat.

Fourth beat: Rest on left foot. With the next bar, start off with the right foot, and repeat the step, then with the left, alternating the feet at each bar. Bear in mind all the while that you are to revolve in a circle, and to accomplish this it is necessary to half-turn in each bar, so that two bars, one commencing with the right foot and one with the left, will carry you round.

The lady reverses the order of the feet. Relief from the fatigue of perpetual spinning round must be sought, not in promenading or executing the steps in straight lines-these methods are exploded, and the correct thing is to reverse the direction in which you have been revolving . Thus if you start from right to left in the usual manner, change the step and revolve from left to right. This is difficult, but may be achieved with practice.

The Galop

Among our notices of the round dances-not merely those which are fashionable, but even those that can by any possibility occur in any modern ball-room-we can not do better than describe the Galop. This is undoubtedly one of the fastest of dances, and from its life and spirit-also from the circumstance of its always being allied with the most dance-compelling music-it has always been, and, we venture to say, will long continue to be a great favorite.

The tempo (time) of the Galop is two-four, but the step resembles, as nearly as possible, that of the Valse a Deux Temps. The great rapidity of this dance requires the utmost care to prevent-as we remarked with regard to the deux-temps -its degenerating into a mere scramble. A good dancer should be able to introduce into the galop every variety of reverse-movement.


This dance, though a very popular one, is somewhat difficult, and directions for dancing it can hardly be conveyed to the mind of the reader in print. Most of the Redowa music, however, is very suggestive, and to any one acquainted with the more simple dances, the Redowa step is soon acquired. The movement is about as follows: Gent takes one hop on left foot and lady upon right simultaneously. Gent then takes one hop upon right foot, which has been passed behind, and to right of the left, which movement will turn gent to right, turning lady, who makes the movement in two running hops. This is continued alternately, one hope in time of partner's two running hops, care being taken to keep in perfect time with the music.

Polka Redona

This dance, from its simplicity and grace of movement, is a very popular one, and as the time is much slower than in any other, it is not quite so fatiguing, and is therefore more generally preferred. The movement is the same as in the Polka, so the same general rules and directions will apply, the only difference being in the time.


This round dance has become almost obsolete in fashionable circles, so that a description is not essential.

Danish Polka

Is performed with four steps forward, followed by four hops, turning; four steps then in opposite direction, with other foot. Hops same as schottische movement.

The Varsoviana

FIRST PART. Pass the left foot toward the left, followed by the right foot in the rear, twice (first bar). Repeat (second bar). During the turn execute one polka step (third bar) and bring your right foot to the front, and wait one bar (fourth bar). Begin as above with right foot, consequently reversing the order of feet throughout the step.

SECOND PART. Commence with left foot, one polka-step to the left turning partner (first bar). Right foot to the front, and wait a bar (second bar). Polka-step, right foot toward the right, and turn partner (third bar). Left foot to front, wait one bar (fourth bar).

THIRD PART. Three polka-steps, commencing with left foot, toward the left (three bars). Right foot to the front and wait one bar (four bars). Repeat, beginning with right foot (eight bars)-making in all, sixteen bars, into which the music for this dance is always divided.

Beadle's dime ball-room companion and guide to dancing, 1868

Dance Influence of Dance Guests
Music French Terms Order of Dances
Programme       Deportment
Ladies Toilette Gentlemen Guide Refreshments
La Tempete Polka Quadrille
Round Dances Spanish Dance Square Dances
Virginia Reel Cotillions Waltz
Sociables Balls Ball Etiquete

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