Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The minuet step is the dance step performed in the dance minuet. It is composed of four plain straight steps or walks, and may be performed forwards, backward, sideways, or four different Ways, to which there are the like Number of Names annexed, to distinguish them from one another, arriving, not improperly speaking, from the Placing of the Marks upon them: For Example, a Movement, or Sink and Rise, being added to the first Step of the three belonging to the Minuet Step, produces a Bouree; and the like to the fourth and last a Half Coupee, which together compose what is commonly called the English Minuet Step.
The second Method of its Performance is with a Bound; that is to say, instead of the Half Coupee or Movement to the lat Step made upon the Floor, as in the aforesaid, you bound instead thereof, which is the only Variation from the foregoing.
The third Method is quite the Reverse, because, instead of the Bouree, the Half Coupee is made first and afterwards the Bouree, or as the French term it, One and a Fleuret, which is usually called the French Step.
The fourth Way of performing this Step is, by adding another Movement to the third Step of the aforesaid Fleuret, or the fourth of the Minuet Step; and it will then be notwithstanding the fame Step, only of three Movements. As to the two first foregoing Steps, little shall be said concerning them, for the following Reasons: In the first Place, because they are now rarely, if ever, practiced amongst Persons of the first Rank, and seem to be, for the present, entirely laid aside; not as being ungraceful, or that the Dancer could not give Pleasure to the Beholders, or raise to himself a Reputation, in their Performance, but merely through Alteration of Fashion, which varies in this Respect, as in Dressing, &c.
The Minuet Step is composed of four plain Steps, without chewing the Method of their Performance, or their Agreement with the Notes of the Tune, I shall now proceed to describe both of these, which are to be accomplished in the following Manner: The Weight of the Body being upon the left Foot in the first Position the right, which is at Liberty(r), begins the Minuet Step, by making the Half Coupee or first of the four Steps belonging to the Minuet, in a Movement or Sink and Stepping of the right Foot forwards, the gentle or easy Rising of which, either upon the Toe or Heel, marks what is called Time to the first Note of the three in the first of the two Measures, which is of triple Time or of three Notes to a Bar; the second Note is in the coming down of the Heel to the Floor, if the Rise was made upon the Toe, but if upon the Heel or flat Foot, in the tight Holding of the Knees before the Sink is made that prepares for the Fleuret or Bouree following, in which is counted the third and last Note of the Measure aforesaid; and the said Bouree or second Part of the Minuet Step, if I may so say, is made upon the second Measure of the Tune, as the Half Coupee was to the first, so that it is visible, from what has been said before, that one Minuet Step is of equal Value to two Measures or Bars of the Tune.
The Sink or Beginning of the Movement, that prepares for the Fleuret or second Part of the Minuet Step, as it will be named from now on, being made, there only remains to rise from the Sink aforesaid in the stepping forwards of the left Foot(u) to the first.
First Note of the second Measure, and first of the Fleuret or three last Steps of the four that compose the Minuet Step; the second Step of the said Bouree or Fleuret is made, swift forwards with the right Foot, to the same Note; and the third and last Step of the Bouree, (or second Part of the Minuet Step with the left Foot), is to the third and last Note of the fame Measure of the Tune, concluding the Minuet Step with the Weight upon the said Foot, as at first. It is to be noted, that it always begins with the right and ends with the left Foot; and it is performed faster or slower, according to the Tune that is played, which the Dancer is obliged to follow.
Having described the foregoing Step forwards, I shall now proceed in it sideways to either Hand; and, in the first Place, to the right Side of the Room, or rather obliquely, that is to say, from the upper left Corner of the Room to the right lower facing to the upper right Corner of it, or rather in the Middle between directly sideways facing the upper End of the Room and, as said above, from Corner to Corner: For Example, instead of the left Side of the upper Corner and the right to the lower, the left Side or Shoulder points about the Middle of the upper left Corner and sideways directly cross the Room; which will be easily underftood by a fuppofed Line across the Room, for the right Shoulder confequently pointing the fame Way below the Line, instead of facing the right upper Corner, as before, is now to the Middle or Space between the said Corner and directly up the Room; which will likewise be comprehended, by supposing a right Line up the Floor, and the Face a little turn'd looking towards the left Shoulder, or, more properly speaking, upon the Gentleman or Lady with whom we dance; and the said Turn, or rather Complaisance gives a most agreeable Twist or Contrast to the Fashion of the Body in this Step, and not a little Beauty to that Part of the Minuet Dance upon which it falls† but of that more hereafter. Having
Having described the Action or Posture of the Body in which this Step must be performed, if to Advantage, I shall proceed in explaining the Motion or Stepping of the Feet upon the aforesaid Tract or Line; which is sideways to the right Hand, instead of forwards, as in the foregoing, which is the principal Difference. However, as it may not in all Probability be so fully comprehended by what has been said in the foregoing Step, it may not be improper to take some farther Notice of it in this Place, viz. That it is to be taken from the first Position, that is to say, the Weight being upon the left Foot the right, which is at Liberty, commences by making a Sink and Step, open off from the left Foot, on which the Body rests, sideways to the right. The Rise of the Sink marks Time to the first of the three Notes; and the rest are the same, as when done forwards, the Half Coupee or first Part of the Minuet Step being made to the first Measure of the Tune, as aforesaid, ending in the fame Position upon the right Foot, with the left disengaged to perform the Bouree or second Part of the said Step sideways, in like Manner as in the foregoing forwards; which it does in making a Sink and Step to the right Hand sideways crossing behind the right on which the Body rests, the Rise of which is to the first Note of the second Measure. The right Foot then makes a plain open Step sideways to the same Hand, upon the second Note, leaving the left upon the Point, in the very Place the Body rested before, in Readiness to make the second Step, and is about the Distance of a Point in the March; upon which the third and last Step of the Bouree and Minuet Step is made to the third Note of the second Measure of the Tune, by drawing the left Foot, pointed as it is firm to the Floor into the fifth Position behind the right receiving
The Body, and concludes in the first Position, as at first; and it may be continued, as long as the Dancer pleases.
The third and last Method of performing this Step is as follows: Instead of obliquely, as in the last explained to the right Hand, it is here diametrically or sideways crossing the Room directly to the left Hand, facing, not as in the aforesaid, but instead thereof full either up or down the Room, as it shall happen.
This step, in Performance, differs from the last described in this, that the right or beginning Foot, which before made the Half Coupee off to the right, now instead thereof makes a Sink and Step sideways to the left Hand, crossing behind the left Foot, which supports the Body, marking Time to the first Note of the fame Measure, and filling up the remaining second and third Notes, entirely the like as in the foregoing, except that, instead of the first Position as in them, it here ends in the third with the left Foot foremost or inclosed at Liberty to perform the Bouree, in the fame Manner to the left Side of the Room, as before to the right. The said Bouree or second Part of the Minuet Step begins, by making a Sink and open Step, off sideways from the right on which the Weight rests to the left Hand, the Rise or Receiving of the Body upon which marks Time to the first Note of the second Measure, and the right Foot makes the second Step of the Bouree to the second Note, in drawing it pointed crossing behind the left, from the Place where it supported the Weight, before the first Step of the Fleuret was made; and the third and last Step of the Bouree and fourth of the Minuet Step is made, by stepping the left Foot open off from the right, in like Manner as the commencing of the Fleuret, only without a Sink, ending in the first Position, as at the Beginning of the Step, upon the left Foot, which Step may be continued either diametrically or circularly, as Occasion offers.
We are now arrived at the fourth and last of the before mentioned Steps, namely, that of three Movements or Bendings and Risings; which is also commonly called the New Step, from its being used now as much, or very little less than the last explained of two Movements only, and more especially when performed to the left Hand sideways before and behind, in that it composes a Part of the Minuet Dance, as now practised, of which I shall have Occasion to speak more particularly hereafter.
In the Interim I shall proceed in describing the present Minuet Step of three Movements, which, as I have already said, is only the Addition of a Movement or a Sink and Rife more to the last Step of the Bouree or second Part of the of the Minuet Step; yet it will require a farther Explanation, by Reason that it differs very much from the last explained, in its Agreement with the Notes of the Tune; for, tho' that may properly be divided into two Parts or Divisions through the Half Coupee, in that it, together with the Sink which prepares for the succeeding Bouree, answers to the first Measure of the Tune, and the Fleuret or second Part of the Minuet Step to the second, and consequently is of equal Value, tho' no more than a single Step, with the other three remaining, it is not the like here, because the four Steps that compose the Minuet Step are partly of an equal Space or Distance one from the other, as in counting of one, two, three, four, and cannot so justly be divided into two Parts as the foregoing, which notwithstanding is but one Minuet Step, as I have said before, separated for the more familiar and easy comprehending thereof; which said Advantage we must lose in this Step, it being so intirely of a Piece that a Division here would be as unnatural, as the aforesaid is natural, as will appear by the Description I am about to give of it, which in the first Place shall be forwards; and it is to be performed in this Manner.
For Example, the Weight of the Body being upon the left Foot in the first Position, the right disengaged and free begins, as aforesaid, in making a Sink and Step forwards directly up the Room . The Rising or Receiving the Weight upon the Toe or Instep marks the Time to the first Note of the three belonging to the first Measure; the second is in the Fall of the Heel (s) and Sink which prepares for the second Step of the four belonging to the Minuet Step, which is made by stepping of the left Foot forwards, in the fame Manner as the first; and the Rising or Receiving of the Body upon the Instep is to the third and last Note of the first Measure. The third Step of the said four is made with the right Foot stepping a plain straight Step forwards upon the Toe to the first Note of the three in the second Measure; the second is in the coming down of the Heel of the said right Foot and Sink that prepares for the fourth and last Step which is with the left Foot, in stepping forwards from the Sink aforesaid; and the Rising or Receiving of the Weight upon the Toe is to the third Note of the second Measure of the Tune, concluding in the fame Position from whence it begun, in Order for a Continuance, which may be either more or less, according to the Largeness or Smallness of the Room in which the Dance is performed.
The two other Ways in which this Step is performed are diametrically or sideways; the first of which is in the like Manner as the Minuet Step of two Movements, or One and a Fleuret, to the left Side of the Room, that is to say, the right Foot always crossing behind the left; but as I have already in that Step described the Method in which the Feet are to be stepped, it will be needless at present to say any more than to shew its Difference in counting to the Notes, from the former, which from what I have said appears to be very different from the Step now treated on, as I shall endeavour to demonstrate by the following Particulars.
In the first Place, we are to suppose a Movement added to the last Step of the Bouree, or second Part of the Minuet Step, and the first Step with the right Foot to be made upon the Toe to the first Note; the second is in the coming down of the Heel and Sink upon the right Foot, which prepares for the second Step made with the left, as was explained in the aforesaid, the Rising or Receiving of the Weight upon which marks the third Note of the first Measure, leaving the right Foot, as in the aforesaid, upon the Point. The Drawing or Bringing of the right Foot pointed, as it crosses behind the left, is the third Step, and marks Time to the first Note of the second Measure; and the second Note is in the Sink upon the said right Foot, preparing for the fourth and last Step that is made, in rising and stepping sideways from the said Sink upon the left Foot, to the third Note, concluding in the first Position as at commencing.
The next Way of performing this Step only differs from the foregoing, in that, instead of the right or beginning Foot's making the first Step behind, as in the last, it is here made before, from whence it is called before and behind; and this crossing or stepping of the Foot before renders the Step much more agreeable and fuller of Variety than the aforesaid, arising by Reason of the Twists and Turns the Body naturally gives and receives in the Performance thereof.
But since this Step is much more used, in the Dancing of a Minuet, than the aforesaid, I shall endeavour to give as plain a Description of it as possible; in order to which I shall not only repeat the Stepping or Motion of the Feet, but also suppose, instead of two Bars or Measures to a Step in the Minuet, as in the aforesaid, only one Bar or Measure, which in Effect is the fame Thing; for what matters it, whether we count three twice over, or fix but once; or whether the half Time is beat to one, two, three, or to four, five, fix, which last Method, in my humble Opinion, I take to be much more familiar and easy to be comprehended than the other, in that there is not any Repetition of the first or second Measure; but, however that be, I am sure, it will afford a greater Variety, and possibly may inform some of what, perhaps, they were ignorant of before.
But to proceed in the Description of the Step now treated on: For Instance, the Weight and Position, as aforesaid, facing either to the upper or lower End of the Room, it begins in making a Sink and Step sideways, with the right Foot crossing directly before the left to the fame Side of the Room, and producing a Twist or Turn of the Body towards the said Step which receives the Weight upon the Toe, marking Time to the first of the above-mentioned Notes. The second is in the coming down of the right Heel, in the third Position before the left and Sink for the succeeding Step, which is made by stepping the left Foot, open off sideways from the right on which the Body is, to the left Side of the Room ; the Rising or Receiving of the Body either upon the Toe or Heel marks the third Note, leaving the Toe of the right Foot upon the Point, in the fame Place the Body was before the second Step was made. In the Stepping of the left Foot last mentioned it is to be observed, that the Body is convey'd or rather, more properly speaking, makes a becoming Feint in the Air not much unlike that made in the Minuet Step of One, and a Fleuret to the right, only there the Bend or Sway the Body makes in the Air was to the right upon the Half Coupee, or first of the four Steps which compose the Minuet Step; but here it is upon the second to the left, and the Look or Turn of the Head, which in the former was to the left, is in this to the right: The Toe, I say, being left pointed, as aforesaid, makes the third Step in the Minuet, by being drawn pointed crossing behind the left Foot, and receives the Body in a Twist upon the fourth Note or half Time, as above. The fifth Note is in the Sink that prepares for the last Step of the four which compose the Step we now treat of, and is made in like Manner as the second Step with the left Foot to the third Note, in rising and stepping open off sideways from the Sink aforesaid upon the left Toe to the sixth and last Note, except that the right Toe is not left pointed as in the former, but ends in the first Position as at Beginning; and the last Method of counting the Notes or Time to the Step will bear, as well throughout all the Minuet Steps before described as the present.
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