The Castle Gavotte Dance, 1914

“It was Mademoiselle Pavlowa who has shown this generation how beautiful the Gavotte really is, and in doing so she has proved the value of simplicity in dancing.”

The November 1914 issue of the Ladies’ Home Journal features this amazing two-page spread with dance instruction from Vernon and Irene Castle. The Castles were hugely popular dancers in the teens, and it was they who are often credited with popularizing the foxtrot. Irene was also known for her fashion sense and was an early adopter of bobbed hair. Here, they are making the case for the French dance called the Gavotte.

They mention here that Pavlowa (referring to popular ballerina Anna Pavlova) is the one who has shown their generation the beauty of the Gavotte. The Gavotte itself is actually a centuries-old French dance, but Anna Pavlova introduced the “Pavlova Gavotte” in 1913 according to this helpful site. Still, it was apparently not a dance that was typically done in the ballroom. Mr. Castle says in this article,

“I have not yet, however, seen it generally danced in the ballroom, the reason for which I feel may be that, as taught, it has not been sufficiently modernized for the ballroom. It is with this end in view, therefore, that I make my humble effort to teach, and my appeal to you to dance, the new Gavotte. The music for the Gavotte can be purchased in any music store, and you will find scores of selections from which to choose.”

He also explains that “the most popular modern piece of music, and probably the easiest to learn the dance by, is ‘The Glow Worm.’” (If interested, you can hear it here on YouTube.)

So put on the song, have a look at the beautiful photographs and instructions below, and have a go at the Gavotte!

The Gavotte dance instructions from 1914

The Gavotte dance instructions from 1914

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