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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Gavotte
Gavotte dancers photo
The Gavotte !

    The oldest description of the gavotte is in Arbeau's Book, "Orchesogrphie" written in 1588. The gavotte was originated by the French after the Gavot's (Peasants) in the "Pays de Gap" (Gapencais district) region of the Dauphine (1403-1461) or the Alps, French Province. King Louis XIII (1601-1643) of France was said to have created the music for the traditional gavotte which reached the highest mark during the Renaissance. The gavotte became known as "La danse Classique." It became popular in the 17th. century and was danced with as much enthusiasm as the Minuet.

    The dance was a very spacious dance and had a interesting benefit, after the group danced for a while the lead couple would dance in the

middle of the room, when the male lead would end the passage, he would kiss his partner (Kewl!) then he would kiss all the rest of the ladies in the room, the lady follower would do the same. (I can see why this dance became so popular! :). Dance Master Vestris created many of the rules for this dance.

     The dance was performed to a medium to fast tempo music (4/4), however it was slower than the Bouree. The gavotte remained popular till the French Revolution (18th. century.) Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) was a great admirer of this dance. Usually the Minuet would follow a Gavotte.

Step descriptions are the same as those of the ballet. (see Bottom of Page)

     In 1910 the Dance Masters of America held conference and decided to honor President Rosevelt with a new dance called the Rosevelt Gavotte, however after much debate they decided to call it the Credo Waltz which was a gliding, Stately Waltz. Prof. Oskar Duenweg of Terra Haute created the dance.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

France ? 1580s ? Peasants Court Dance

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a n/a Dance Of The Little Feet
            Gavotte (Gossec)
            Gavotte I, II (Blavet)
            Gavotte I, II, III (Praetorius)
            Gavotte Mignon
            La Gavotte
            Secret Love Gavotte

Night Clubs



n/a n/a France
            Gapencais district (Pays De Gap)

Instructional / Exercise


Ballets / Stage

n/a n/a n/a

Newspaper Publications

            8/9/1827 - Wilmingtonian (Gavotte Mentioned)
            1/12/1895 - Daily North Western (Gavotte and Deux Temps)

Other Related Dances of the time...

Allemande Gavotte de Vestris Motto Gavotte (1910) Tango n/a
American Gavotte Harvard Gavotte Pavlova Gavotte Turkey Trot  
Boston, The Kaiserin Gavotte Polka Two-Step  
Bourrée Landler Rosevelt Gavotte (1910) Waltz  
Cotillion Minuet Schottische Gavotte    

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Anna Pavlova Vestris Louis XIII (1601-1643)
The Castles   Marie Antoinette (1755-1793)
Pierre Rameau (1720's)    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...



Date Published


Orchesographi Arbeau, Thoinot 1588 n/a
The Dancing Master Rameau, Pierre 1728 n/a
The Dance ... Ancient & Modern Moore, Arabella C. 1880's n/a



Poets / Writers

Arbeau, Thoinot (c.1580s) n/a n/a
Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750)      
Blavet, Michel (1700-1768)        
De Kovan        
Gardel, Carlos (1890-1935)        
Gluck, Christoph Willibald (1714-87)        
Handel, George Frideric (1685-1759)        
Praetorius, Michael (1571-1621)        
Rameau, Pierre        
Vestris, Gaetano        
Gossec, François-Joseph (1734-1829)        

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Court dance Gavot Musette -
Dauphine Glide dance Renaissance dance    



  • Basic Step: (American Gavotte): By Edna Witherspoon-1890

  • First Part:
    Slide left foot to left side in second position, count one; draw right to left and slide left to side (chassé) and immediately following the chassé count and-two; repeat chassé and count and-three; draw right to left to first position, placing the weight on the right and count four; two measures.
  • Second Part:
    Slide left foot to side in second position, and count one; draw right to left to first position, count two; slide left to side, count three; draw right to left and immediately slide left to side, counting four after the chassé; two measures. Repeat all of the above, commencing with the right foot. The first part is to be made directly to the side; the turn to be made on the second part. Counterpart for follower.