HELP NEEDED: 18th century dancing

Totally the wrong kind of dance in my icon there, but it’s the best I’ve got.

Does anyone out there know, or know someone who knows, how to dance a minuet? Or any other kind of mid-eighteenth-century dance, for that matter. The Wikipedia entry on the minuet step is incomprehensible to the layperson, since it was written in 1724, and while the videos it links to show me the basic step, they don’t give me any sense of the shape of the whole dance, and how one interacts with one’s partner.

In other words, it’s time to replace my bracketed placeholder descriptions in the scene where Galen’s dancing a minuet, and I need references to go by. Movie scenes that depict it correctly would also work; unfortunately, the closest I’ve been able to get is Regency dancing, and that isn’t the same.


0 Responses to “HELP NEEDED: 18th century dancing”

  1. doriscrockford2

    These videos seem to be pretty clear, and you have a dance background, don’t you? Maybe the steps will be clearer to you than to klutzy me. 🙂


    In period costume:

    In dance class:

    I also found a link to this book:

    I’m sorry I don’t have any first-hand knowledge. Hopefully someone else will.

    • Marie Brennan

      I have the background to understand that, okay, this is the basics of what your feet are doing; but how that interacts with a partner and the other dancers on the floor, the Wikipedia-linked videos can’t tell me.

      I’d seen that first video before, but needed others for cross-reference. The dance-class one is very helpful, thanks.

  2. kathleenfoucart

    I might know someone who knows how to do that… If he does, I’ll send him this way.

  3. kendokamel

    Euargh – it’s rather difficult to describe without a lot of words. I remember learning it in high school, of all places, but I’d need a refresher if I was going to do it, now.

    As far as interaction, perhaps if you took the Regency style and acted more stiffly? I remember getting yelled at for talking, but that could have just been because we were learning it in a high school music class? (;

    Here’s another pretty good video

  4. sartorias

    Virginia reels are based on minuets. They were line dances, with decorous weaving back and forth of male and female lines.

  5. stakebait

    My historic dance teacher has a blog called Capering and Kickery at; I haven’t seen her post on the minuet yet, but she has a question thread where you can ask such things.

    The New York Baroque Dance Co. gives classes and the most recent one was on the minuet, so I’m sure they could help:

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