Vive “le Swing” and Traditional Social Dancing

A guest post by Pierre Chartrand
December 6, 2017

Swinging (as in “swing your partner round and round”) is the essence of Québécois country dancing. In fact, it can almost be considered the inspiration for all our figure dances. Our quadrilles, cotillions, and “sets” (the distinctively Québécois form of square dancing) represent the artistic epitome of how people can meet each other. This is particularly true of the quadrille, the first dance done in this show, which has a gradually increasing number of exchanges, first between partners, and then with all the other couples.

For a dancer, to swing well means being very aware of one’s partner and being able to adjust. The swing is the figure that reveals the most about its practitioners, whether male or female. Some
dancers say, “Show me how you do the swing and I’ll tell you what you are like.” It is only a small step from that concept to the viewpoint that traditional dancing is a key element of human culture. By taking part in a social dance like the quadrille or the set, we, as did our ancestors, express our affinity with the group and our acceptance of common rules—while still maintaining some measure of personal freedom. Social dancing continually ensures that the trend toward separation and isolation in our society is not inexorable.

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