Swiss Allemande

The tune The Swiss Allemande was published in London by Mr. Werner in Humbly Dedicated to the Gentlemen & Gentry Subscribers in 1780, and by Charles and Samuel Thompson in 24 Country Dances of 1782, published in 1781, as well as in Thompson’s compleat collection of 200 favourite country dances: etc. (Volume 5) published in 1788. It crossed the Atlantic rapidly and we find it in a manuscript written by Jeremiah Brown in 1782.  It should not be confused with the tune Allemande Swiss.

We’ve found two distinctly different dances written to the tune Swiss Allemande.  One is the dance published by Charles and Samuel Thompson and found in Jeremiah Brown’s notebook, and the other was published by a dancing master named Benjamin Walker in Virginia, on a 1784 broadside which gave the instructions for the dances which would be taught at his dancing school.

Here’s how we have danced both dances:

Swiss Allemand  (Thompson/Jeremiah Brown version)
(triple minor longways)

  • A1   First and second couples change sides with partner, and return
  • A2   First and second couples right hand star, then left hand star
  • B1   First couple chassee down the set, beaten step, return and cast off one place
  • B2   First couple allemand, then allemand reverse

Footwork: We usually use a skip change step for this dance.

Swiss Allemand  (Walker version)
(triple minor longways)

  • A1   Ladies take hands, 1st lady leads ladies 2 and 3 around the men
  • A2   Gents take hands, 1st gent leads gents 2 and 3 around the ladies
  • B1   First couple chassee down the set, beaten step, return and cast off one place
  • B2   Clap own hands, clap right hands with partner, clap own, clap left with partner, clap own, clap right with partner, clap own, clap left with partner
  •         All two hand turn partner

Footwork: We usually use a skip change step for this dance.

Here’s the original description of the dance from Jeremiah Brown:

First and second couple change sides/ and back again then hands across/ and back again lead down the middle up again/ and cast of allemand with right/ and then with the left

Here’s the original description of the dance from Walker:

First, second, and third couples of the ladies join/ hands and dance round first second, and third gentle-/men, they standing close together; then the gentlemen/ do the same while they return to their place, dance/ down the ally and back, out at the top, meet in second/ couple, clap hands, turn your partner, and begin.

Here is the sheet music:
Here is the tune for you to listen to:

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