The Plain Quadrille ~ Facing Couples

The Plain Quadrille ~ 6 Couples The Plain Quadrille ~ Facing Couples The Plain Quadrille

The Plain Quadrille ~ Facing Couples is a Quadrille. It was devised by Edward Payne in 1815 and published in First Set of Quadrilles. It was interpreted by Thomas Hillgrove in 1857. It is a Facing Couples dance. There is no progression in this dance. The dance lasts 288 bars.

A brief history of the introduction of this quadrille to England may be found at The Regency Dance site.

In this set of dances the heads and the sides do not interact. It as if there were two separate dances going on: First the heads alone do things, and the sides watch and learn, then the sides alone do things and the heads rest. This appears to have been a feature of many early quadrilles, which could be danced with just 2 couples (as opposed to cotillians which required four). Indeed the dance The Sicilian Circle is an improper duple minor dance which consists of the first three figures of the first number followed by progression.

Hillgrove says of this dance:

...which is commonly called a plain Quadrille, and is really the only popular set that has ever been introduced; and is so universally approved that it has never been superseded by any other as a general dance, although it has had many rivals.

Hillgrove does not mention what music to play. One may infer from his directions that there should be 2 counts per bar and 8 bar phrases.

Hillgrove says "In all the following descriptions the words that are printed in Capitals are those called by the musicians, or the director of ceremonies, and should be strictly observed..." I include his calls, but also text to explain them. Several of his calls ("BALANCE" for one) are used with multiple meanings, so I find them confusing.

The figures of the quadrille evolved over time, in particular the "FORWARD TWO" figure originally had only the active lady and her vis-à-vis (opposite) advance, but later their partners were included in the movement. See The Prompter, page 41.

In the right and left, Hillgrove does not specify taking right hands with your opposite, but De Garmo (in The Prompter) does. The turn at the end of the right and left through or the ladies chain is different from the modern courtesy turn. "the entlemen then present their left hand to the left hand of their partners, and turn them half round, and then turn themselves, so that each couple may face the opposite couple."

In the calls I number couples the way modern square dances do, not the way quadrilles used to (as I expect more people are familiar with square dances than quadrilles now).

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color.

An online description of the dance may be found here.

Intro1-4Honour your partner
5-8Honour your opposite
Number11-8Heads RIGHT AND LEFT Heads right and left through over and back
9-16Heads BALANCE Heads face partner join both hands pass to the right of the other couple, over to the far side and return the same way
17-24Heads LADIES CHAIN (over and back)
25-32Heads BALANCE
Number21-16Heads FORWARD TWO Heads join hands with partner, forward and back, pass through and face partner, chassez in and out, pass through
17-24Heads BALANCE
25-40Heads FORWARD TWO
41-48Heads BALANCE
Number31-8Heads RIGHT HAND ACROSSs Cross with a right pull-by, cross back with the left
9-12Heads BALANCE the ring
13-16Heads promenade half across the set
17-20Head LADIES FORWARD and back
21-24Head GENTLEMEN FORWARD and back
25-28Heads FORWARD FOUR Heads take partner's hand, go forward and back
29-32Heads half right and left
33-40Heads RIGHT HAND ACROSSs Cross with a right pull-by, cross back with the left
41-44Heads BALANCE the ring
45-48Heads promenade half across the set
49-52Head LADIES FORWARD and back
53-56Head GENTLEMEN FORWARD and back
57-60Heads FORWARD FOUR Heads take partner's hand, go forward and back
61-64Heads half right and left
Number41-4Heads FORWARD FOUR Heads take partner's hand forward and back
5-8Forward again, L1 takes hands with opposite gent, all retire
9-16FORWARD THREE G3 and ladies forward and back (G1 standing), forward again, ladies turn, G1 advances, all retire
17-20FORWARD THREE G1 and ladies forward and back
21-24Forward again, ladies turn, take hands four
25-28Circle left half and retire
29-32Half right and left to places
33-36Heads FORWARD FOUR Heads take partner's hand forward and back
37-40Forward again, L3 takes hands with opposite gent, all retire
41-48FORWARD THREE G1 and ladies forward and back (G2 standing), forward again, ladies turn, G2 advances, all retire
49-52FORWARD THREE G3 and ladies forward and back
53-56Forward again, ladies turn, take hands four
57-60Circle left half and retire
61-64Half right and left to places
Number51-8ALL PROMENADE
9-24Heads FORWARD TWO Heads join hands with partner, forward and back, pass through and face partner, chassez in and out, pass through
25-32Heads BALANCE Heads face partner join both hands and do a couple do-si-do
33-40ALL PROMENADE
41-56Heads FORWARD TWO
57-64Heads BALANCE
Finale1-4ALL CHASSEZ
5-8Honor partner
9-8Gentlemen conduct partners to their seats

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.

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The dance itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. The interpretation is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2021 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website is copyright © 2021 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.