The Exclusive Theaytur of the Debutante Balls

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The Exclusive Theaytur of the Debutante Balls

Post  Yakima Canutt on Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:40 pm



Here's another intriguing puzzle that's going to require some close musicological analysis, where do "cotillion" and "quadrille" pieces fit into the grand scheme of things? Some knowledge of the dances might be helpful here. Cotillions were country dances in square formation ("contre danses a la Francais") that became fashionable in the late 18th century. The were swept aside in the fashionable world (i.e., London, Paris, Edinborough, etc.) in the 2nd decade of the 19th century. And shortly after that, the quadrille craze hit the shores of North America. But those contrary Americans kept using the term 'cotillion' to refer to dances that were actually quadrilles. The two dance types share a lot of moves, but were structured quite differently.

The quadrille remained popular for most of the rest of the 19th century and seems to have crystallized into a stable form that was still around when Henry Ford "revived" it in the 1920s. Cotillions as dances faded away, but there is some reason to believe their basic structure and spirit slowly evolved into the rural "hoedown" square dances that bubbled up into general cultural awareness in the 1920s and 30s (A hypothesis still to be tested). Quadrilles tended to be more urban, except in the northern tier of states extending from Connecticut through New York and West to Michigan. And just to make it more interesting, dance history in the Southwest—including both Anglos and Latinos—suggests the Cotillion might have hung on out there longer than in the urban East (another untested hypothesis).

The term 'Cotillion' was also applied to a type of late 19th century party dance or game also known as "The German." Also, the term had some currency as a synonym for "ball." In several accounts of post-Civil War Indianapolis, quadrilles, waltzes, and other dances were danced at cotillions. Here in Chicago today, the term refers to debutante (and perhaps) other balls in the Latino community.

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Re: The Exclusive Theaytur of the Debutante Balls

Post  pinhedz on Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:05 am

I can tell you unequivocally that those dances are pure country--barn dance kind of stuff.

Those debutantes at the new year's ball downtown call what they're doing with those young lads in dress uniforms a "cotillion," but I know it's just square dancing "Kadril" in Russian.

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Re: The Exclusive Theaytur of the Debutante Balls

Post  Yakima Canutt on Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:07 am

Idea

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Re: The Exclusive Theaytur of the Debutante Balls

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