Definition of an Allemande -Music:
An allemande (also spelled allemanda, almain, or alman) (from French “German”) is one of the most popular instrumental dance forms in Baroque music, and a standard element of a suite, generally the first or second movement.
A 17th and 18th century court dance developed in France from a German folk dance: a dance step with arms interlaced.
The name ‘country dance’ has nothing to do with country as opposed to town, but comes from the French ‘contre-danse’, describing the way in which the dancers start by standing up facing each other in two long rows, men on one side and girls on the other. The leading couple would then move off down the row, the other couples falling in behind them; there was no fancy footwork involved, but the dancers would weave their way in a variety of patterns across the floor, linking arms or hands with their partners s the figure required – the ‘allemande’figure involved a ‘a great deal of going hand in hand, and passing the hands over heach other’s heads in an elegant manner’. – Jane Austen, The World of Her Novels, Deirdre Le Faye, p. 104.
More on the topic:
- Allemande: Scottish Dancing Dictionary
- Midi podcast of an Allemande: J.S. Bach’s Partita in A minor for solo flute.