About Dance

From the earliest days, the dances and the music that accompanied them were brought to America by the people of the British Isles, continental Europe, and Africa. The Virginia Reel, based on the “Sir Roger de Coverly” became popular after the French Revolution. Quadrilles, too, including the cotillon, anglicized as cotillion, were brought to America by French dancing masters. Their influence survives in terms used in square dancing. One 1774 account states that “Betwixt the country dances they have what I call everlasting Jigs. A couple gets up and begins to cut a jig (to some Negro tune). Others come and cut them out, and these dances always last as long as the fidler can play.”

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