The allemande is a dance of German origin. First used in the 17th century ballet performances, the allemande became popular by the end of the 18th century as a form of partner dance in which dancers held one another’s hands in a complex and fanciful manner. Rooted in the tradition of German folk dances, the allemande retains their characteristic figures and choreography.

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In the 17th century, the allemande was a stage dance, as evidenced by the sole surviving choreography by Pecour, transcribed in the Feuillet notation and danced to Jean Baptiste Lully’s ballet Fragments de M. Lully. The ballet includes the famous Tour d’allemande figure and other typical Belledanse steps.

The tempo of this composition is rather fast, and its character cheerful and lively.

In the second half of the 18th century the allemande became popular with the European elites and was widely performed, above all on such occasions as balls. Such a variant of the allemande was performed as a partner dance. Crucial in the dance were the clasps of the partners’ hands, drawn from German folk dances. Steps in the complex duo figures tend to be simple, and their pattern repetitive. Above all, they include gliding double steps and swinging balancé steps, as well as what Pierre Rameau described as chassés de l'Allemande, balonnés, battements.

The collection of allemandes compiled by La Cuisse, Dubois and Guillaume includes a wide range of various choreographies featuring a new component, i.e. a whirling pair, which prefigures one of the dance patterns of the early waltz. In the 19th century, the allemande became an important element of the more fashionable contredanses.



Agnel Romana, Podstawowe formy tańca dworskiego w okresie Baroku [Basic Forms of Court Dance of the Baroque], [in:] W kręgu tańca barokowego [In the Circle of the Baroque Dance], ed. P. Grajter, Lodz, 2007.

Conté Pierre, Danses anciennes de cour et de théâtre en France, Paris, 1974.

Drabecka Maria, Tańce historyczne [Historical Dances], vol. IV, Warsaw, 1984.

Larousse-Bordas, Dictionnaire de la danse, Paris, 1999.