L'Organiste is a European Contredanse. It was published by Pierre Trappeniers in 1777 in Recueil de Contredanses (Trappeniers), Brussels. It was interpreted by George Williams in 2023. Originally a Triple Minor this version is a proper Duple Minor dance. The minor set lasts 40 bars.

L'Organiste is a dance in the European (French) contredanse style, which derived from English Country dance.

It was written by a Belgian (though Belgium at the time was part of the Austrian Empire) who divised many other Contredanse.

Trappeniers writes:

No1 Le premier Couple fair Chassé, Croisé
et chaque un tour do 2 mains avec le second Couple.
No2 Le Couple dansant, fait 4 pas et l'allemande.
et descend un Couple en dehors.
No3 Ce Couple se place entre le second.
Tous quatre, les mains enchaînées et dans cette figure vont en avant et en arrière.
No4 Le Couple dansant croise les mains.
et descend la colonme le Cavalier croise avec sa Dame,
et descend une Couple en dehores.
No5 On fait la Chaîne.

Trappaniers gives 5 figures. All but the 3rd appear to me to take 8 bars, so I shall assume that one does too, and repeat the described figure in the other direction. The music consists of 3 eight bar strains, all repeated, but that gives us 48 bars and we need 40. So I shall assume the final strain is only played once: AABBC

I shall assume that when Trappeniers says "Chassé" he means some form of setting.

I don't know what to make of "fait 4 pas et l'allemande". Is "faire 4 pas" another variety of setting? Whatever it means that leaves just 2 bars for the allemande. The English allemandes of that period take 4 bars...

No. 3 is just a line of four going up and falling back. I'm not sure what "les mains enchaînées" means. The easiest translation is just that they all take hands, but perhaps something more complicated is intended? Maybe hands are crossed in front of the body so that you join hands with the person furthest from that shoulder? (the line starts as M2 L1 M1 L2 facing up with M2 leftmost so M2 gives his left hand to L1, and she gives him her right, then she gives her left to M1 who gives her his right, then he gives his left to L2 who gives him her right. This is the only figure which appears to take four bars (lines of four in ECD usually go up a double and fall back a double. So to make it 8 bars I assume everyone should turn, go down a double and fall back.

I assume "Le Couple dansant croise les mains" means "in promenade hold". This figure has the lead couple go down two couples. Since, in those days, everything was within the minor set, that means the 1s must start the figure back at the top of the set to be able to go through their own 2s and 3s. I also assume that once they've gone below two couples they need to get back up to the top somehow, and probably this is where progression happens.

Many thanks to Johan Van Der Elst for placing Trappeniers's Recueil de Contredanses online.

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute normally, but the first time through the set the dance will often be slowed down so people can learn the moves more readily. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color, however the border of each dancer indicates what role they currently play so the border color may change each time through the minor set.

The dances of George Williams (including interpretations like this one) are licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA license.
An online description of the dance may be found here.

A11-41s set and cross, end facing neighbor
5-8Neighbor two hand turn
A21-41s set and right hand balance
5-81s cast below the 2s and come up the middle between them in a line of four, facing up, 1s still improper
B11-4Line of four lead up a double and fall back
5-8Drop hands, turn individually towards neighbor, line of four down a double and fall back, bending the line
B21-21s, in promenade hold, lead down between the 2s as 2s cast up
3-41s cross, go outside and below the next 2s
5-81s, loop below this couple and come up the middle ending in 2nd place
C1-8Face partner, four changes of rights and lefts

If you find what you believe to be a mistake in this animation, please leave a comment on youtube explaining what you believe to be wrong. If I agree with you I shall do my best to fix it.

If you wish to link to this animation please see my comments on the perils of youtube. You may freely link to this page, of course, and that should have no problems, but use one of my redirects when linking to the youtube video itself:

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The dance itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. The interpretation is copyright © 2023 by George Williams. And is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2023 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website is copyright © 2021,2022,2023,2024 by George W. Williams V
Creative Commons License My work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Most of the dances have more restrictive licensing, see my notes on copyright, the individual dance pages should mention when some rights are waived.