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Streetswings dance history - Minuet Title

--The seventeenth century brought one of the most celebrated dances in our history... The Minuet (aka Menuet). The minuet was originally derived from the Branle of Poitou, France and was to capture every >King and >Queen and their court for over 150 years. The Minuet was the successor to the Courante. The name Minuet comes from the small steps (menu=small) that are taken during the dance.

-- Most dances of the time had exaggerated steps and movements, the Minuet had very small steps and the movement was more on the graceful side. When the pupil knew the steps of the

Courantewell, when he could turn his feet properly and control his movements, he was initiated into the mysteries of the graceful and ceremonious Minuet, which said "took three months to learn," and of which there were endless varieties.

--In its originality the minuet was a lively, spirited dance, (done in moderate triple rhythm) done around the room in the shape of an S, Later refined to a Z, and even later enlarged and followed up by the Gavotte until it was presented to Paris in 1650. After, it developed into a slow and stately dance, very, very elegant and enjoyed a simplicity that most other dances did not share and became the known as the "Walking Dance". Kissing was a big enjoyment of the dance as dancers were encouraged to kiss!, which made the Minuet somewhat seductive (For that period of time).

-- During the time of then King Louis XIV (1638-1715), State balls became very elegant affairs with the Minuet being termed the "Queen of dances". The "Menuet de la cour" was first danced by Louis XIV, at Poitou France, in 1653. In 1662 Louis founded the: Royal Academy of Dancing, with dance master "Pierre Beauchamp" (1635-1705) in charge, Beauchamp did very little to excel this dance and it took a dancer by the name of >Louis Pécourt (1655-1729) to make it the first dance of court in France, from there on it was the Big Cheese!

-- The Minuet was more of an attitude and mixer than a real dance, but a dance it was. Proper dress and courtesy was highly encouraged. After a while the dance became so dull, it was seen as merely a way to show off your courtesy and etiquette skills. Women as well as men would eagerly ask the other for dances. Men would dance with swords attached to the waist and danced in their awkward boots.Brawls and duels were frequent and the heavy clanking of armor on the dance floor was annoying. Women would sometimes wear riding habits, but the "Master of Ceremonies" Beau Nash (1674-1761) at Bath (an English Resort) would change all this and add what is known as the "Code of Etiquette at Bath" (rules for conduct). Included in these code's would be the banishment of all swords, along with the banishment of the exuberant country dances, while the French dances would become the only known dances in these "Polite Society's" programs. These rules were the start of proper dance etiquette we still use somewhat today.

-- The music is in a 3/4 Waltz-March time signature, and the tempo rather slow (56 m.m.). It was customary to make four step movements coincide with six syllables (beats) and for teaching six syllables. The music is very "Majestic" in manner. The dance terms for the dance are the same as what is used in ballet (Jete', Pas, en avant etc). The Minuet is an "Open position Couples" dance.
Originally there were only four Minuets,
1) The Queen's Minuet or Le Minuet de la Reine,
2) Le Minuet de Dauphin,
3) Le Minuet d'Exaudet,
4) Le Minuet de la Cour - (still popular today in certain circles).

-- In some of the old examples of the Galician Sarao dance, a king or queen was selected from among the dancers; this dignitary opened the ball and led the figures. Afterwards a Bastonero, (literally a staff-bearer) was the master of the ceremonies, who was appointed to regulate the ball, choose the couples, and so on. Every Sarao opened and closed with a minuet. The Sarao is a Carnival game/dance, dating from the sixteenth century and is a lengthy dance, resembling the Cotillion in so far as it includes a number of figures, and may last a whole evening. It was given after a banquet, generally to amuse the Court.

-- The Minuet has been spelled differently at different times as well as different parts of the world, this happened with most dances of the time. The English called it -- The Minuet; The Italians--il Minuetto; and the Germans--die Menuett. The Quadrille usually followed the Minuet.

-- George Washington's (1732-1799) favorite dance was the Minuet, Washington would dance with Betsy Hamilton (wife of the secretary of treasury) who was said to be his favorite dance partner.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

n/a n/a n/a n/a

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

Minuet, the Minuet Boogie - Pete Johnson Menuet (Gounod)
            $ Menuet De La Reine, le (Gardel)
            Menuet de la Cour (Lully)
            Menuet con Variazione (Bon)
            Menuett et Trio (Brescianello)
      Minuet (Clarke)
      Minuet and Trio Minuet in D (Eccles)
            ~See: Full Minuet Music List
Night Clubs, Balls etc



Academy Of Music 1927 - Frolic Theatre Court of Cassel
Black Horse Tavern, N.Y. (1736)       English Resort of Bath
Court of the Grand Monarque       Merry Mount, MA.
Dianna Bath (Vienna)       Poitou, France
Royal Academy of Dancing       Versailles, France

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

1905 - Le Menuet Lilliputien n/a 1780 - St. James's Palace
1938 - Marie Antoinette       6/6/1845 - Buckingham Palace Fancy Ball
1675 - Baroque Dance       "The Queen of Swords" (George III.)
        1927 - Jazz and Minuet
1937 - From the Minuet to the Big Apple      


1938 - Sally, Irene and Mary       10/31/1860 - New York Times
1982 - Menuet       1861 - Ueber Land und Meer (#14)
        11/20/1882 - the Gallic One - newspaper
        1/1/1886 - Frauenzeitung - (vol. XII-1)

Other Related Dances of the time...

Courante Pavane Gailliarde Minuet Tango (1913) n/a
Le Branle' Bourree' Menuet de La Cour (1653) Passepied  

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


1632-1687 - J. Baptist Lully Chavanne 1519-1589 - Catherine De Medici
1639-1705 - Beauchamps Compan 1553-1603 - Queen Elizabeth
1655-1729 - Louis Pécourt Mlle. Coupé 1638-1715 - Louis XIV
1674-1761 - Beau Nash DuFort 1732-1799 - George Washington
1680-1741 - F. Prevost Hansel 1743-1826 - Thomas Jefferson
1718-1786 - J. Lany Marcello 1760-1820 - George III.
1725- Pierre Rameau Renaud 1700's - Betsy Hamilton
1729-1808 - Gaetan Vestris Teazle 1755-1793 - Marie Antoinette
1741-1787 - Max Gardel 1860 - Prince Of Wales

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
Art Of Dancing explained by Reading and Figures Tomlinson, Kellom 1724 n/a
Dance Encyclopedia Chujoy, Anatole 1949 Barnes & Co.
Down Memory Lane Murray, Arthur 1954 Greenberg
Composers, Musicians


Poets / Writers

Bach, Johann (1685-1750) Bunbary n/a
BÖHM, Georg (1661-1733) Charles Didelot (1767-1837)    
Boccherni, Luigi (1743-1805) Gillray    
Bon Di Venezia, Anna (1738-1780) Howard Pyle    
Brescianello, Giuseppe Antonio (1690-1757) Jean Antoine Watteau (1684)    
Calrke, Jeremiah (c.1674-1707) Serge Ivanoff    
Eccles, John (c.1668-1735) Rowlandson    
Fischer, Johann Caspar (1665-1746) Val C. Princep (1875)    
Gardel, Carlos (1890-1935)        
Giovanni, Don        
Gounad, Charles (1818-1893)        
Handel, Georges Frederic (1685-1759)        
Haydn, Franz Joseph (1732-1809)        
Lully, Jean Baptiste (1632-1687)        
Mozart, Wolfgang A. (1756-1791)        
Purcell, Henry (1659-1695)        

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

Affairs Baroque French Revolution Stately
Armor Ceremonies Georgian Swords
Assemblies Courtly Kings and Queens  
au courant Dance Masters (Instructors) Mask  
Balls Dancing Swords Scherzos  
Basic Step ...
There are seven motions employed in the minuet, named as follows: Pas Marche, Pas Balancé, Pas Grave, Pas Menuet, Pas Bouré, Pas Sissoné, and Pas de Basqae Pirouette
(The dance mainly consisted of):
The King and Queen would be at the top end of the floor and would start the dance, other nobility would follow in the order of precedence. At the end of the dance, a few couples would dance at the other end of the floor at the kings command. The Minuet was preceded by at least two bows, followed by:
1) An offering of the hand,
2) A salute to your partner,
3) A high step and a balance,
4) Courtly gestures,
5) Bows and curtsies,
6) and kissing here and there!!!
(The posture/ attitude was that of nobility).
November 12, 2004

©1999 End Minuet Dance History Page.