Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Regency Waltz

In my current release, A Grand Deception, the hero and heroine, Sherwin and Muriel, are placed in an uncomfortable position of sharing a waltz. The waltz is a new, and increasingly popular, dance with London Society in 1815. At Almack's, one must have permission from a patroness before dancing it in the assembly rooms.

When I think of a waltz it is:

. . . Nor is it the Slow Waltz (A), which I have to confess reminds me of (B).

Check it out for yourself . . . .   Go ahead, tell me I'm wrong.

The waltz during the Regency era was considered indecent because a couple danced alone and not with others as in a quadrille or cotillion. There were prolonged periods when, standing in close proximity, they touched their partners, lingering for some time.

Right or wrong, because there has been some debate about this dance, I chose to use this version for my story. There was no music I could use to send my characters dancing in my imagination.

The dance began with the "Marche," a brief side by side promenade.

Quickly the dancers moved into the "Pirouette" or "Slow Waltz." Choosing to either: face in the same direction and rest their hands on the other's waist or face in the opposite direction, draping one arm in front of their partner and resting their other hand upon their partner's waist, then arch their arms above their heads.


Next was the "Sauteuse." The dance grew more lively with the increased musical tempo and the dancers added a hop to their steps.

The position would change once again where one option, depicted on the right, would be for the gentleman would to both of the lady's hands behind her back.

For the final step, the music would increase in tempo again and the dancers would "Jette," displaying a bit more energy before returning to the "Pirouette" where the steps of the dance would begin again.

The couples moved in a circle about the dance floor. The movement forward would be slow, constant, and stately. The pairs could remain focused on their partner for the whole of the dance.

Everyone don your silk dancing slippers and hum a tune, it doesn't matter which, and let us dance the Regency waltz!


Sandy Cody said...

Another fascinating post, Shirley. You always teach me something and make me wish the lesson would go on and on.

Victoria M. Johnson said...

The dance sounds both very innocent and very sensual. I can see why it was considered indecent at the time.

Carolyn Brown said...

I could hear the music just looking at the pictures. What a fun, fun post but then you posts always are!

Roni Denholtz said...

This was a fun post! the fact that the waltz was considered risque at the time can lead to some interesting situations!

Shirley Marks said...

I wish you'd hum the tune so the rest of us could hear it too, Miss Carolyn.

Beate Boeker said...

great post, Shirley! The Scottish still dance the Ceilidh in groups, which has all these complicated patterns, too. I tried it several times when I studied in Edingburgh and ended up disrupting the dance quite often! It's great fun, though!