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Dance: 19th c. Canadian Waltz question

Crowhugger 05 Apr 12 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Apr 12 - 04:14 PM
Desert Dancer 05 Apr 12 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Apr 12 - 04:36 PM
Desert Dancer 05 Apr 12 - 04:38 PM
Jack Campin 05 Apr 12 - 05:11 PM
meself 05 Apr 12 - 05:16 PM
Crowhugger 05 Apr 12 - 05:52 PM
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Subject: Dance: 19th c. Canadian Waltz question
From: Crowhugger
Date: 05 Apr 12 - 03:09 PM

While combing through sheet music at the National Archives of Canada I came across the following (alert: the clicky is a PDF download) Waltz Lancers. What I'm wondering about relates to the calls shown on the score. In my very limited dance education I hadn't experienced the waltz as a round or square dance, but that's what it appears to be here, for example one of the calls says "swing opposite lady with right hand." Was it common to dance the waltz this way? Was it a style unique to Canada or Montreal, or the US northeast? Would it have been round, square, or either?

Also I wondered if those who know about dance can guess what are the missing words in the instructions below the title on page 1.

Thanks for any help!


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Subject: RE: Dance: 19th c. Canadian Waltz question
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Apr 12 - 04:14 PM

I believe that 'group waltzing' was pretty common at one time. In my short folk-dance career, I danced two of them, the Valeeta Waltz and Ffarwel Marian.

That's all I know.

Thanks for the link.


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Subject: RE: Dance: 19th c. Canadian Waltz question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 05 Apr 12 - 04:35 PM

I'm not an expert in the 19th century stuff, but drawing on what dance history I know and some quick Googling...

In the late 19th century dances in square formation: quadrilles, caledonians, and lancers, could incorporate various time signatures and steps including polka, mazurka, and waltz. Toward the end of the century, (N.) American quadrilles (in most? areas) were morphing into square dances as we know them, using a walking step (or skipping, for the energetic) and rhyming prompting calls.

This 1889 book from the "Strassburg Dancing Academy" says that for dances in waltz time, only one step per measure is taken. The waltzes were played briskly. Presumably the one step per measure applies to the figures; where it says "all waltz", then normal waltz steps are used.

Do a Google search for "waltz lancers" in quotes and you'll find examples of waltz lancers by various composers, as well as some other descriptive information.

That same sheet music is available here from the Library of Congress.

The text at the top is:
" ... Introduction, the first figure called ... All Waltz should be called."

The "First 4" would be the head couples. The figures are repeated heads - sides - heads - sides.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Dance: 19th c. Canadian Waltz question
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Apr 12 - 04:36 PM

I should have mentioned that was in Missouri, so I believe it's pretty widespread. One teacher was from Michigan and the other from Wales.


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Subject: RE: Dance: 19th c. Canadian Waltz question
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 05 Apr 12 - 04:38 PM

Whoops - "Caledonian Quadrille", but not caledonians in general...


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Subject: RE: Dance: 19th c. Canadian Waltz question
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Apr 12 - 05:11 PM

There is a Scottish "waltz country dance", could that be the same thing? Usually done to a medley of tunes with an 8-bar ritornello. The idea was to use waltz tunes (which were considered innocuous) for something other than the waltz dance (which was the road to perdition).


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Subject: RE: Dance: 19th c. Canadian Waltz question
From: meself
Date: 05 Apr 12 - 05:16 PM

I'm in Calgary, and the 'Waltz Quadrille' is danced here as a kind of square dance. Come to think of it, other waltzes are too. At least, what I'd call a square dance - a group of four couples going through a pattern ....


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Subject: RE: Dance: 19th c. Canadian Waltz question
From: Crowhugger
Date: 05 Apr 12 - 05:52 PM

Thank you leeneia, Becky & meself, much appreciated. Somehow my folk dancing experiences excluded 3/4 time so this was news to me. Cool to know!

So far I've viewed about 1/3 of the online sheet music collection at amicus.collectionscanada.gc.ca. What an enormous time sponge! It seems that waltzes were the single most popular dance of 19th century Canada, however when the popular two-steps (galops, polkas and marches) are taken together they probably outnumber waltzes. That's not based on actual counts but on my impression. It's been interesting to get a musical view of 19th century Canada; there are a number of pieces in the collection that were dedicated to "somebodies" of the current events of day. Not unlike today, a lot of the 19th c. popular music was less than entrancing, nonethless I've made quite a number of good finds.


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