A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15.

The entertainments of this memorable night concluded with a dance, in which the principal people present exhibited.  It resembled the immediately preceding one, in some respects, having the same number of performers, who began nearly in the same way; but their ending, at each interval, was different; for they increased their motions to a prodigious quickness, shaking their heads from shoulder to shoulder, with such force, that a spectator, unaccustomed to the sight, would suppose, that they ran a risk of dislocating their necks.  This was attended with a smart clapping of the hands, and a kind of savage holla! or shriek, not unlike what is sometimes practised in the comic dances on our European theatres.  They formed the triple semicircle, as the preceding dancers had done; and a person, who advanced at the head on one side of the semicircle, began by repeating something in a truly musical recitative, which was delivered with an air so graceful, as might put to the blush our most applauded performers.  He was answered in the same manner, by the person at the head of the opposite party.  This being repeated several times, the whole body, on one side, joined in the responses to the whole corresponding body on the opposite side, as the semicircle advanced to the front; and they finished, by singing and dancing as they had begun.

These two last dances were performed with so much spirit, and so great exactness, that they met with universal approbation.  The native spectators, who, no doubt, were perfect judges whether the several performances were properly executed, could not withhold their applauses at some particular parts; and even a stranger, who never saw the diversion before, felt similar satisfaction, at the same instant.  For though, through the whole, the most strict concert was observed, some of the gestures were so expressive, that it might be said, they spoke the language that accompanied them; if we allow that there is any connection between motion and sound.  At the same time, it should be observed, that though the music of the chorus, and that of the dancers, corresponded, constant practice in these favourite amusements of our friends, seems to have a great share in effecting the exact time they keep in their performances.  For we observed, that if any of them happened accidentally to be interrupted, they never found the smallest difficulty in recovering the proper place of the dance or song.  And their perfect discipline was in no instance more remarkable, than in the sudden transitions they so dexterously made from the ruder exertions, and harsh sounds, to the softest airs, and gentlest movements.[161]

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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