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The Varsovienne

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The Varsovienne

            The Varsoviana (Italy) or Varsovienne (France) is a slow dance in 3/4 time having an accented down beat in alternate measures. The Varsovienne was originally from Warsaw in 1850 in honor of Mount Vesuvius and was introduced to France by a young dance instructor named Désiré and America in 1853. The Little Foot Dance and Schottische are related. The Varsoviana was one of the smoothest and graceful dances known and it was the most popular of the dances done at the time.

      Reilley's Amateur Vademecum states:
"Music: 3/4 or 3/8 time. This is a very pleasing and graceful Waltz, and is executed in two parts; the first part consists of the polka step repeated four times, and the second part of two mazourkas and one polka, repeated for the first time, and the polka-redowa for the second execution of the second part, and so on, using the mazourka and polka redowa in the second part."

      In another writing it was said that the dance was always divided into 16 beats of music and was danced by two people!.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Warsaw 1850 n/a Folk Dance
Note: Various Spellings: Varsouvienne/Varsouviana/Varsovianna/Varsouvienna

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a Dodsworth New Varsovianna Varsovienne (Noone)
            Varsoviana (King)
            Varsovienne No. 1 & 2
            Varsoviani (Sokol)
            Varsovienne Waltz
            Varceliana (Adelaido Chavez)

Night Clubs



n/a n/a Australia

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

n/a n/a n/a



Other Related Dances of the time...

Boston Kujawiak (Polish) Minuet Redowa
Clap Dance  Landler Mazurka Schottische
Cracoviene Little Foot Dance Ohorodnik (Ukrainian) Sextur (Danish)
Galliard La Boulangère  Patch Tanz Tarantella (Sicilian)
Gallopade  La Carillon de Dunkerque Polka Troika (Russian)
Kohanochka (Russian) La Cellarius polka mazurka Tropanka (Bulgaria)
Kreuz Koenig (German) La Sauteuse Polka-Redowa Waltz
  La Tempète Polonaise Weggis (Swiss)

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Allen Dodsworth n/a n/a
Désiré (1853)    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
Coulon's Handbook Coulon, Eugene 1860? /r.73 A. Hammonds
Cartier's Practical Illustrated Guide Cartier, P. 1888 DeWitt
Ball-Room Guide or Dancing without a Master ?? 1879 J Daniel & Sons, Aberdeen
Down Memory Lane Murray, Arthur 1954 Greenburg




Poets / Writers

Adelaido Chavez n/a n/a n/a
Benjamin Lovett          
Big Jim De Noone          
Ira W. Ford          
Murray Arnold          
Pee Wee King          
Stanley Sokol            

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

Varsovie n/a n/a ??
Basic Step:
(excerpted from Coulons Handbook-1873):
the gentleman holding the lady by the right arm. There are two different steps.
1) The first occupies two bars of the music. It is composed of one step of the Polka for the first bar; and for the second the foot is slidden to the side, the toe pointed and kept in that position during the remainder of it. This is to be repeated eight times, each time turning half round.
2) The second step occupies four bars, the first and second bars of which are employed while the first step of the Polka ??Mazurka is danced, twice to the side; the third bar, while one step of the Polka is danced, turning half round: and the fourth bar while the foot is slidden to the side, keeping the toe pointed during the remainder of the bar. This second step is to be repeated four times.>

Note: There is also an additional step, which may be danced instead of the second step, or partly with it,
... that is to say... twice of the one and eight of the other,: but this is left to the option of the dancers. It is danced thus:
-- One Polka stop, which takes one bar, observing to slide the first step instead of jumping, and turning like the Waltz.
This is to be repeated sixteen times, when part of the second step is not used.
October 20, 2012