Monday, June 22, 2015

Dancing the Quadrille and Mazurka

In Part I, Chapter 23, Kitty dances several waltzes and the first quadrille with Vronsky, and spends much of the chapter hoping that Vronsky will ask her to dance the mazurka at the end of the evening. The waltz is still familiar to most people, but the quadrille and mazurka are not as well known.

According to Encyclopaedia Brittanica, the quadrille is a dance performed by four couples in a square formation and features several intertwining figures.

The mazurka is best known as a Polish dance, and is often accompanied by bagpipes or the accordion, though some Russian composers also composed mazurkas for solo piano performance. The mazurka is a versatile dance, which can be performed by groups of 4 or 8 couples, or by a single couple, and while it is characterized by stamping feet and clicking heels, it is highly improvisatory. The mazurka features prominently in the ballets Swan Lake and Coppelia, as well as in several Russian novels, including Anna Karenina and War and Peace. An example from Coppelia is below.


  1. After reading this scene, I spent a good hour looking up muzurkas and quadrilles on YouTube! The scenes were so vivid and I wanted to get a feel of the dancing and the dancers.

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