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contredanse

[kon-truh-dans, -dahns; French kawn-truh-dahns] /ˈkɒn trəˌdæns, -ˌdɑns; French kɔ̃ trəˈdɑ̃s/
noun, plural contredanses
[kon-truh-dan-siz, -dahn-; French kawn-truh dahns] /ˈkɒn trəˌdæn sɪz, -ˌdɑn-; French kɔ̃ˈtrədɑ̃s/ (Show IPA)
1.
a variation of the quadrille in which the dancers face each other.
2.
a piece of music suitable for such a dance.
Also, contradance.
Origin
1795-1805
1795-1805; < French, equivalent to contre- counter- + danse dance, misrendering of English country-dance, by association with the characteristic arrangement of dancers in rows facing each other
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for contredanse

contredanse

/ˈkɒntrəˌdɑːns/
noun
1.
a courtly Continental version of the English country dance, similar to the quadrille
2.
music written for or in the rhythm of this dance
Word Origin
C19: from French, changed from English country dance; country altered to French contre (opposite) by folk etymology (because the dancers face each other)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for contredanse

contra dance

genre of dance for several couples. The contredanse was an 18th-century French development of the English country dance (q.v.) and was performed into the 19th century by French, English, and German aristocrats and bourgeoisie. Contredanses at first used only the country dance's "longways" formations, in which each couple danced its way to the head of a double line (men on one side, women on the other). At the head of the line, the pair danced a duet before relinquishing the position to the next couple in line. Later contredanses on the Continent appropriated square formations from country dancing; these became the popular cotillion and quadrille (qq.v.). Cooperation was required to execute the various geometric figures of the contredanses because steps were often not standardized; e.g., the longways duet could be performed differently by successive couples.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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