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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Galop
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The Galop

  The word Galop has the usual significance in the most rapid pace of a horse and the word Gallopade referring to a similar movement in dancing, Gallopade is really the correct term. The term Galop came from the Waltz-like turning of the dance, which also has a version called a "Galop-waltz" in 3/4 time.

  The origin of the Galop is Hungary (some say Germany). It was often danced after the Volte and the country dances (Contredanses) as a variant to the slow and solemn dances such as the Mazurka. Around 1815, the Galop began to be

recognized socially. It first appeared in Vienna and Berlin about the year 1822, was introduced at the Balls given in France (L.G. Brookes says 1800) by the Duchess de Berri (1798-1870) during the Carnival of 1829 as well as England in that same year. It was rendered famous by its termination of the masked Balls at the French Opera.

  The basic Galop has the lead moving forward and the follow backward, no turning in counter-clockwise fashion around the floor. Most Galops were written in 2/4 time and was basically a "Slide, Change, Slide -- Slide, Change, Slide, etc." But!, it is said that the steps resembled a "Valse à deux temps" (waltz.) The couple dance version is done in basic ballroom position and travels counter-clockwise (Line-of-dance) around the floor, Basically consists of a Glissade with one foot and a Chasse', then alternate.This dance can be done as a group dance as well (see clip).

  It has been said that there was no dance more exciting, or easy to learn, it required only a good ear to mark the time of the music. The chief requisite in this dance is to keep on one's feet, for there is great danger if once you fall that you will have those who follow over you really following over you... If you get my meaning!

   The Galop was often used in classic Ballet's. The Galop is actually the forerunner of the Polka with the Minuet usually followed a Galop and then a Volte in dance order. The Berlin dance was a mix of the Polka and Galop dances.

Modern day we have a few dance steps / movements called "the Gallop" such as Psy's animated riding of a horse in his viral video "Gangnam Style" Song. Another similar is one hand out front and the other occasionally whipping the horses rea end while doing the Gallop motion with the legs, etc. But these have no relation to the original polka type dance of this page.


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Hungary 1800's n/a Ballroom

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a Celebrated Storm Galopade (1860s) Ekaterinburg
      Champagne Galop Genevieve
      Gallop Des Drapeaux (Hungarian Flag Dance) Glocken Spiel
      Light Baggage Galop (1860) Le Bal (Bizet)
      Paris Galop Petersburg Champagne
      Satanella or Devil's Call Galop (1864) Sturm Marsh Galop

Night Clubs, Ballroom's etc.



Jullien's bal masqué - 1860's (London) n/a England
Ode'on Theater - (Paris)       France

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

?? 1983 - Galop, galop ?? n/a n/a
Murder at the Gallop ?        



Other Related Dances of the time...

Country Dances Polka The Berlin   n/a
Gallop Quadrille Volta    
Mazurka Redowa Waltz    

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Cellarius Gabrielle D. Korponay Duchess de Berri (1798-1870)
Duchess de Berri Rabb William the Conqueror

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...





Die Gallopade, wie sie getanzt werden soll Franken, Joseph 1829 cologne
Philadelphia Assemblies Balch, Thomas 1849? ??
Fashionable Dancers Casket Durang, Charles (?) 1856 Fisher & Brother
Brookes on Modern Dancing Brookes, L.G. 1867 n/a
Guide to Dancing (Notes on origin & Refining) Lawson, Edward c.1900s n/a



Poets / Writers

Bizet, Georges (1838-1875) n/a n/a

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

Cotillion n/a n/a -
Galop waltz        
The Art Of Dress 1500 to 1914 The Art Of Dress in France and England -1750-1820
$ Art Of Dress 1500-1914 $ The Art Of Dress


  • The Basic step:
    (Uses old time ballroom hold, lady starts right foot, man left, lady starts backward, man starts forward),
    is simply a chassé with one foot as long as you continue one way, and chassé with the other foot when you turn. The step of the Gallopade in turning is the same as the step of the valse à deux temps, the difference only being in the accentuation, as it is danced to waltz music.

  • Charles Durang Description - 1856
    "Is a dance now very much in vogue, from its being so very similar to the Valse à Deux Temps in appearance; but the music is extremely different, being in two-four time. Like the round dances, an unlimited number may join, and the step is somewhat similar to the Chassez. The gentleman commences with his left foot, and the lady with her right, and it is generally commenced with eight sliding steps, the gentleman keeping his left foot forward, and the lady her right; then half turn, and Vice Versa, the gentleman with right foot forward, and the lady with left, and so at pleasure. It may be varied by Valseing (Waltzing) This dance is generally used as a finale, or, concludes the first part of a public ball. It is of a very exciting nature." ... end

  • Cartiers description - 1888:
    "Slide left foot to second position (count one); draw right foot to first position, and almost at the same time slide left foot to second position (count two). Repeat the same by commencing with the right foot, counting one, two, and continue on alternately from right to left." ... end.