The Quadrille: Not Just An Old Dance Anymore

quadrille: noun – 1. a square dance performed typically by four couples and containing five (or six) sections, each of which is a complete dance in itself. A piece of music for a quadrille dance. 2. each of four groups of riders taking part in a tournament or carousel, distinguished by a special costume or colors. A riding display.

The Dance

The dance took its name from square formations executed by four mounted horsemen in 17th-century military parades. The dance was executed by four couples in a square formation.

The following table from Wikipedia shows what the different parts of the Viennese six-part style look like, musically speaking:

  • part 1: Pantalon (written in 2/4 or 6/8)
    theme A – theme B – theme A – theme C – theme A
  • part 2: Été (always written in 2/4)
    theme A – theme B – theme B – theme A
  • part 3: Poule (always written in 6/8)
    theme A – theme B – theme A – theme C – theme A – theme B – theme A
    • Part 3 always begins with a two-measure introduction
  • part 4: Trénis (always written in 2/4)
    theme A – theme B – theme B – theme A
  • part 5: Pastourelle (always written in 2/4)
    theme A – theme B – theme C – theme B – theme A
  • part 6: Finale (always written in 2/4)
    theme A – theme A – theme B – theme B – theme A – theme A
    • Part 6 always begins with a two-measure introduction

All the themes are 8 measures long.

The Poem

I started this study of quadrilles today because it’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and I wanted to participate for the fist time. The connection between the quadrille dance and poetry began when Lewis Carroll lampooned the dance in  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’sThe Lobster Quadrille” (1865).

The dVerse Poets Pub Quadrille is a poem (or short prose) in exactly 44 words that incorporates a given word. To quote from the original post from Björn Rudberg, “The challenge combines two essential elements to have fun.” Today’s word is muddle and the quotes on the site are great!

I headed over to Shadow Poetry to see if they had a poetry form page for the quadrille and the closest I found was an invented poetry form by C. G. V. Lewis called a quadrilew.

Over at Poetry Soup I found a page of links to poems about quadrille that they call Quadrille Poems which I thought was interesting.

And now that I have some understanding of quadrille (at least the word), here is my first attempt at creating my own:

The Dance

Lace and denim muddled
space in a rat race

Grace; a muddled mint
in a julep glazed

Chase a hint
of mace-muddled flint,
a warm taste

Face the phenom
of muddled voices
venom without trace

Time is a climb of thirsting,
bursting rhyme sublime

 

The Horses

Happy Reading and Writing!

and dancing and horses and costumes

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