People often ask us this at LPR. The core of the answer is rather simple: court dancing is dancing like the aristocrats of old used ti. It is usually done in formations, and each dance has a set choreography.
In some ways, it resembles ballroom dancing or line dancing; you learn set combinations of paces that fit with one type of dance, but not the other. For each dance, you have a particular pose or ‘hold’ and the dancers are set up in a certain pattern such as a square, line or circle.
Court dancing is also a couple’s sport, though we don’t have set partners, because that’s bad etiquette! For each dance, a gentleman invites a new lady*. This makes court dancing an exceptionally social dance sport.
This social nature is also reflected in the dances themselves: there are many dances where one couple goes to “visit” another couple. You also politely greet each other every time you pass one another. Ladies go first, partners are swapped during the dance, and much more exciting things happen.
And for those who think that all these old dances are slow and boring, we’ve got some news for you: guess where the Viennese waltz comes from? The polka? Galop? Those have enough tempo to get you panting in no time! Luckily, there’s also the minuets, pavanes and longways for you to catch your breath again.
So: although court dancing might sound dusty and old at first, it really isn’t…. All right, maybe it is a little, but it’s also so much more than that! It’s social, varied, and although many modern dance styles find their origins in court dancing, they’re still quite different. The only way to really feel what we mean, is to experience it in person, so come and visit us to try it for yourself!
*Gentlemen and ladies in this context are equivalent to the roles of lead and follow