What is Quadrille Dancing

Januka Quadrille Dancer

Januka performing at The Albany in South London

An English square “country” dance of the 17th and 18th century, that became popular within European High Societies and performed on special occasions as part of their pageantry.

Taken to the Caribbean in 18th and early 19th centuries by English and French slave traders/masters and regularly performed at grand occasions in “Great Houses”.

European musicians were often transported to the Islands for such grand occasions to provide specific orchestral musical accompaniment.

The quadrille, normally commences with a Grand Entrance, followed by up to 5 Set pieces called Figures, and end with a Grand Finale/Waltz.

This square dance is normally performed by 4 couples (Quad), but can be successfully accomplished with less or more. A strict hierarchical structure is observed where 2 couples (Head and Foot couples) would dance first, whilst the other 2 couples (the Right and Left Side couples) patiently watched until it was their turn to imitate the head and foot couple’s movements.

Couples would adopt an upright military posture, as they perform repetitive synchronised movements (The Drill), to the beat of the music, with little friendly facial interactions. They would turn their heads and swing their feet from side to side, creating geometrical patterns on the dance floor (e.g. circles, rectangles, triangles, diamonds, squares). They sometimes used their arms and upper body to accentuate the patterns they create with their feet.

The dance is normally completed in 20-25 minutes, but a demonstration can be done in less time.

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