[From Chrononhotonthologos, Phantasmagoria. Cotillions and Supper Entertainment in the Isle of Man 1793-1820 ]
According to Mr. Stretton, a Dancing Master, teaching in Douglas in 1801 "Cotillions are now abolished." The Cotillion is a type of patterned social dance that originated in France in the 1700s and was originally made up of four couples in a square formation, the forerunner of the quadrille. Its name, from French cotillon, "petticoat", reflected the flash of petticoats as the changing partners turned. The Cotillion, of repeated "figures" interspersed with "changes" of different figures to different music was one of many contredanses where the gathered participants were able to introduce themselves and to flirt with other dancers through the exchange of partners within the formation network of the dance. By the 1800s, the Cotillion evolved to include more couples with many complex dance figures. Cotillions were introduced in London about 1766 by French dancing masters.
In the late 1700s there was an increased demand for social dancing in the Island and that demand attracted a number of dance masters to the Island to teach the ladies and gentlemen, as well as their children the art of dance. New and fashionable dances were introduced by the teachers who assured their clientele that they were all the rage in London, Bath and Edinburgh.
These dance masters promised to instil into the young ladies and gentlemen not only the many fancy and variable dances then practiced in the Kingdom but also the carriage and grace required to permit them to mix in good society.
Teachers of the terpsichorean art advertised florid advertisements in the local newspapers boasting of their credentials, numbering the new, fashionable and national dances. They opened schools of dancing in the main towns and at the end of every season held a Ball at the Assembly Rooms to show off their pupils' mastery of the art. Their parents and friends would join in the dancing following the demonstrations by the youngsters.. The fees for tuition were one guinea per quarter plus an entrance fee. Tickets for the Balls were between 2s 6d and five shillings.
Mr. Simpson was well connected in Northern Ireland as a dance teacher among the Nobility and gentry as he was quick to point out in the Manx Mercury issued on 4th June 1793, "Dancing. Mr. Simpson most respectfully acquaints the respectable Inhabitants of Douglas, and the Island in general, that he intends to commence teaching (in his line) in Douglas, in a few days, where, he hopes, the professional knowledge acquired, under the ablest masters in the metropolis of Ireland. His unremitting attention to the pupils committed to his care, not only to the art of dancing, but to other graceful accomplishments of good breeding, will procure him the countenance of a discerning public. - A satisfactory account of his character &c. will be attainable by a line to any of the undersigned Ladies and Gentlemen in the North of Ireland: viz.
Rev Dr. Bruce Mrs. Barkie
Rev Mr Bryson Malcum McNeil, Larne
Ben Edwards Esq The Rev Mr. Lindsay
Mrs Read, Mary-bone, Belfast Dcotor Aikin
Rev Mr. Sinclair Mrs. Gillilan
Dr. Casmont Mr. Dacklon
Capt. Mulgomery Mr Alexander, &c, Ballymena Mrs. Johnson,
whose families Mr. Simpson has attend for some years passed, at one guinea entrance, and two guineas per quarter; tho' his terms here will be more that what is usually paid to others in his line. He may be spoken with at Mr. C. Cannell's; or any commands addressed to him and sent to the printer of this paper, shall be most respectfully attended to. N. B. A collection of fashionable country dances, of his own publication, printed in a neat pocket volume, may be had of him, or at the printing-office. June 4" November brought a new advertisement, "Mr. Simpson opened his school yesterday, in the Assembly Room. His terms are 1 guinea for three calendar months, and a half a guinea entrance. Hours of attendance from 10 to 2 o'clock, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays"
We discover that Mr. Simpson is also a teacher of English Grammar, Writing, and Arithmetic and he opened a school (8th July) teaching those subjects. "All those who may acquire a knowledge of dancing of Mr. Simpson, and at the same time attend his other school, will not be charge entrance for the same, and any who have paid entrance to a professor of dancing before, and continue with him more than one quarter will not be charged entrance at his dancing-school, (in case there be any who wish to be further instructed in that line). As Mr. Simpson will reside here, all who are taught dancing by him for six months, may expect a practice dance once a month after."
Under the patronage of the Bishop he advertises his intention of opening a school at Ramsey, "Art of Dancing. In consequence of the engagement Mr. Simpson has met with from his Lordship the Bishop of Mann, and at the desire of several respectful characters in the north of the Island, he will open a school in Mr. Hendry's long room, Ramsey, on Friday the 16th instant. All who wish to favour him with the tuition of their children, will, he hopes, embrace this opportunity. He will commence precisely at 3 o'clock, the afternoon of the day, when and where the hours of attendance on the following shall be mentioned."
The 2nd of September saw him open his Castletown school, "Art of Dancing. Mr. Simpson having been encouraged by his Honour the Lieutenant Governor of this Isle, &c., &c. will, on Monday the 2d September next, open a school, in Mr. Ginigan's long-room, Castletown, where young ladies and gentlemen committed to his care, shall be instructed, not only in the art of dancing, but in the other graceful accomplishments, good-breeding. He hopes that all who wish to honour him with the tuition of their children, would send them, as soon as possible. He also hopes that his indefatigable attention to all dommitted (committed) to his care, will, not only give general satisfaction, but procure him the countenance and support of a discerning public. To commence at three o'clock on said day, when and where the hours of attendance on following weeks will be mentioned.
"Mr Simpson, grateful for the encouragement he has met with since his commencement in this Island, most respectfully acquaints his friends and the discerning public that in consequence of the approach of winter, he has determined (by the consent of most of his friends) on dividing his time in the following order:-
viz. a week in Douglas, a week in Castletown, a week in Peel, (having been encouraged by most of the respectable gentry in that neighbourhood) and a week at the north, in each month. Terms l 0s.6d per quarter. Entrance I0s.6d Br. (British) Upon this plan he commences in Castletown on Monday the 28th inst. - in Douglas the 4th of November - in Ramsey on Monday the 11 th - and in Peel on Monday the 18th of the said month. Hours of attendance in each town, forenoon at 10 o'clock, afternoons at 3, except the evenings of Thursday and Saturday, on which days the morning tuition will be longer.
"Mr. Simpson most respectfully hopes that his plan for holding assemblies, during this season, at Ramsey and Peel, will meet public approbation. - A subscription paper to that purports in circulation, in each place, which will be handed to the intended subscribers. He shall be careful, on his part, in accommodating them in the most satisfactory manner. Douglas, Oct 15.
"Mr. Simpson's Ball on Thursday last was attended by his Lordship the Bishop of Mann, His Lady, and several others of the first rank. It was opened by Master William Christian, son of Mr. Edward Christian, of Ramsey, and Miss Jemetta Crigan, youngest daughter of the Bishop. The progress of the pupils
gave universal satisfaction, and did great credit to the ability of the teacher. "Mr. Simpson's Ball at Ramsey, which was fixed for Thursday the 21st inst, is unavoidably postponed till a future day; - of which timely notice will be given in this paper. Douglas. Nov. 15
"Mr. Simpson, truly sensible of, and grateful for, the encouragement he has met in the north of this Isle, and which has more particularly shone at his Ball in Ramsey, on the l 0th inst. by a numerous and truly respectable assemblage, of the inhabitants of that town and vicinity, - begs leave to assure, that it claims his warmth acknowledgements. He assures that his constant study shall be (by an indefatigable attention to the progress of those committed to his care) to merit a continuance of such favour.
This being Christmas week, which Mr. Simpson should have spent in Castletown, and having omitted teaching in consequence of the holidays, the time shall be accounted for to his pupils. - He will open school at Ramsey for the ensuing season on Monday the 6th of January. Douglas, Dec, 1793
"Mr. Simpson's Ball at Ramsey on the 19th instant was opened with a court minuet, by Miss Mary Ann Crican, second daughter of His Lordship the Bishop of Mann, and Miss Clucas, daughter to the Vicar General Clucas; - after which were danced, Minuets, Quadrilles, &c. &c. by the rest of Mr. Simpson's pupils, with that degree of elegance, ease and judgment, as gave the most general satisfaction, to a numerous and truly respectable assemblage, who attended on the occasion and reflected the greatest credit on their tutor. For though they have only been one quarter under Mr. Simpson's tuition, yet their performances exceeded the most sanguine expectations of their parents and friends."
January 1794 Mr. Simpson advertises the opening of his Ramsey school to teach, "the principles of English, Writing and Arithmetic (and) the strictest attention will be paid to the morals of those committed to his care."
The 3rd of May 1794 issue of the Manx Mercury he advertises, "Art of Dancing Mr. Simpson most respectfully acquaints the respectable inhabitants of the north of this Isle, that agreeable to his engagement, he intends opening school at Ramsey on Monday the 12th inst; and being countenanced by His Lordship the Bishop of Mann, he will open school at Ballaugh, on Tuesday the 13 t", - All who omitted favouring him with the tuition of their children in consequence of the unfavourable weather in winter last, will he hopes, embrace the opportunity. - Terms as usual - One guinea per quarter, and half a guinea entrance. None will be excluded the entrance who were not entrusted to him. Mr. Simpson begs leave to observe, that he is under no apprehension from the false aspersion lately thrown upon his character; trusting to the power of truth, whose shield defends the innocent, and whose eyes detect the guilty. Douglas, May 3d."
The advertisement begs the question, who was spreading lies about Mr. Simpson? Philip La Glace 1789,1793-1795,1801-1806,1808-1810
In 1789 Philip La Glace, a Frenchman, arrived on the shores of the Island. He also ran schools of dancing in Whitehaven. He was a violinist, accompanist, a musical director, a dance master and fencing instructor who also taught French. He soon was immersed in the entertainment life of Mann and many of his talents can be traced through the local newspapers.
The Manx Mercury dated the 10th of September 1793 informs the public that he will open a school in the Island in November.
April, the following year, he presents his compliments and informs that his new school will open at the Assembly Room, Douglas. He sets out his terms, Terms:- For four months, 3 days per week 18s.0d
By December he is holding a pupils' Ball in Castletown and running a school in that town at the same time as one in Douglas. In one of his advertisements we find he is also offering to teach young ladies to play the guitar and young gentlemen, the violin. His next advertisement for dancing appears on the 5th of January 1795.
There is a gap in the advertisements until 1801. On October 15th he held a Ball to exhibit the dancing learnt by his pupils. Again the Assembly Room, Douglas, was the venue and doors opened at 6 o'clock and dancing commenced at 7. This was a success and the Manx Advertiser records, "Mr. La Glace's Ball, on Thursday evening, was well attended, and the proficiency of his pupils gave ample satisfaction to their parents and connections. We understand, from the great encouragement he has received, he intends to open school again on Monday fe'ennight.(week)"
Indeed his new school term must have been a successful venture for he held another pupils' Ball on Wednesday, 3'd February; 1802. For some reason this was postponed until Friday the 5th, At that time he was living in a house opposite to Mr. Wattleworth's. In 1802 he was teaching three days in Douglas and three days in Castletown.
In May of that year he informed the public that he was leaving the Island but would return in October and would devote six months of the year to the tuition of young ladies and gentlemen of this Island. His return was delayed due to his engagements in England. He informs his clients that he will to revisit the Island to teach in November. However at the beginning of November 1802 he was in Paris and wrote to the Manx Advertiser to inform his public that he would depart for England in two weeks and after a few days in London would proceed to the Island.
We next encounter him through an advertisement dated October 1803 stating that the I0th November marked the last six weeks of the teaching quarter. His next pupils' Ball was held at the Assembly Room on the 12th of January 1804. Such was his popularity that, "On account of the great number of scholars, Mr. La Glace will be under the necessity of opening the Ball sooner than usual. Doors will be open at four o' clock, and the ball will begin precisely at five."
Mr. La Glace in April 1804 announced that he was considering opening a school at Ramsey if there is sufficient interest. There must have been a good response for on Friday 7th September he held his first Ramsey Ball at the Court House.
He reopened his school in Douglas, on Thursday the 23'd 1804; and at Mr. Downes's, in Castletown, on Monday the 27th. The Advertiser reported, "On Thursday night, was very numerously attended, and the pupils acquitted themselves much to the satisfaction of all present. He proposes teaching here again, and at Castletown."
In May he gave Private lessons at his house in Oate's Lane, Douglas. His next Ball took place on 3' December 1804 His advertisement which appeared on 8th December 1804 for his dancing school adds a footnote that he is available to tune harpsichords and pianofortes.
He continues, in 1805, to hold his dancing schools at the Assembly Room and to show off their acquired skills at the Pupils' Balls held at the same venue. His popularity grew among the residents of the Island and comments in the local newspapers are again complimentary stating that "his Balls are numerously attended and his pupils acquitted themselves in a manner peculiarly gratifying to their parents and highly creditable to their instructor."
His clients must have been somewhat startled by a report in the Advertiser dated the 8th February 1806 which was headed "Hue and Cry" concerning a certain celebrated dancing master of this town (Douglas), who after performing a variety of deceptions, he had last, (quite in character) played his creditors the slip and contrived to make his exit. His nickname was "Hero of the Sock." Was this La Glace? Perhaps. If it was, he must have paid off his debts for he is back teaching, two years later, in 1808. In all fairness the report does not mention the name of the dance master so it may not have been him but an absence of two years seems suspicious.
In October of 1808 he opens his dancing school at Mr. Coulthard's building, near Duke Street, also offering to teach pianoforte lessons whilst living at Mr. Story's House in Fort Street. 1809 sees him running his school terminating with a Ball on the 2nd February. From his advertisement in March 1809 in which he advertised his pupils' Ball on Thursday 14th of September we learn that his forename is Philip. He mentioned that he first came to the Island nearly 23 years' previous. This confirms that he had been teaching since 1787 in the Island. His next school began on Monday September 25th and that he could be contacted at Mrs. Story's. "La Glace has lately been favoured by a correspondent with a variety of new dances, as at present in the first circles of fashion," the advertisement reports.
Philip pops up again teaching at Ramsey in January 1810 and in his advertisement for his new school he also draws the public's attention that he also taught the French Language, with particular attention to the proper pronunciation. In March he opened his new school for 9 weeks at his lodgings in Douglas near to the Assembly Room. Mr. Stretton 1801
Mr. Stretton, on Thursday, 8th October 1801, held a Ball at the Assembly Room in Douglas for the exhibition of his pupils. He maintained that the, "Minuet is the ground work of the Art is retained with improvements, as danced at Court on the King's Birth-night last June." The Ball commenced at seven o'clock, and concluded at ten after which there was a general dancing for the company.
It suitable flowery language Mr. Stretton was not backward in coming forward to evince his public of his skills, "Mr. Stretton, with all deference, trusts, the novelty his pupils are prepared with for their Exhibition this year, will evince to his patrons and the public in general, his indefatigable endeavours to merit their approbations and whose favours, his is, and ever will be proud to acknowledge with gratitude."
His advertisement for the 26t' September 1801 ran as follows,
"Mr. Stretton's Ball, for the Exhibitions of his pupils, will be at the Assembly Room, Douglas, on Thursday Evening October 8f, 1801. As Cotillions are now abolished in all polite Circles, they will be laid aside to give way to the more prevalent Fashionable Dances now in full practice in London, Bath and Edinburgh,; particularly, a a Perigrinade with a skipping rope; the Scots Choconne; the Highland Fling; the Opera Jig; and a Pas Seut; consisting of three different movements, viz and Affettuoso, a Jig, and Scotch Corant, composed entire of new steps: with a variety of Reels, &c. The Minuet being the ground work of the Art. Is retained with improvements, as danced at Court on the Kings Birth-night last June. The ball will commence at seven o'clock, and conclude at ten - after which there will be a General Dancing for the Company. Tickets, a 2s.6d.each, to be had of Mr. Stretton, at Mr. Clague's Hotel. NB A Scheme with the regulation of dances will be distributed in due time."
Mr. Blake had two strings to his bow, teaching music as well as dancing. In September 1809 he advertised his intention of establishing himself on the Island; "he will teach dancing, in the most graceful and fashionable style with all the variety of French, Scotch, and English steps, which are now so much admired and doubts not, but that he will give particular satisfaction, to such as honour him with their attention. Should Blake meet the countenance and support, which this country has ever shown to merit, he intends establishing himself in the Island, for the purpose of teaching music and dancing. Grown persons taught country dances with the new ballet step, as privately as possible, on reasonable terms. Blake is engaged at the present, at Mr. John Christian's school, Kk. Arbory, and at Mr. Rothwell's, Peel."
There is no record in the paper as to whether Mr. Blake was successful in attracting pupils.
March 1808 saw a new man on the scene by the name of Fergusson from Scotland. He describes dancing as "that fashionable branch of modern education" He opened his school at the Fort Tavern in Douglas and his terms were one guinea for a quarter with an entrance fee of 5s. He left the Island in September informing the public that he, "intends resuming his professional engagements on or before the first of next month: Mr. F. being just now under the necessity of taking a journey to Scotland, on the account of a family affliction." He promised to return at the end of November.
Mr. Fergusson shows up again in January 1809 offering to teach once again in the Island but no further advertisements or announcements appear in the press.
Mr. Banks began teaching on the Island in March 1809 having taught in Whitehaven, Dumfries and Berwick upon Tweed and having been instructed by the First Masters of London, Edinburgh. He promised to instruct his pupils in, "all the most fashionable dances now in practice," with, "the strictest attention paid to their carriage and behaviour."
Mr. Banks who was then resident at Mrs. Robinson's, the Dragon Inn, held his 1810 Pupils' Ball at the Assembly Room on 9th January and advertised that his school would then close and reopen in August. "Mr. Banks' Ball, on Tuesday night, was numerously and most respectably attended. His pupils acquitted themselves much to the satisfaction of the spectators and credit to their teacher, who received most flattering marks of public appreciation - Mr. Banks intends visiting Douglas again next August."
He returns to the Island from Berwick in September of that year to commence a new season of teaching a variety of new and fashionable dances. He was solicited to open a school in Castletown for two days a week and guarantees that those pupils in Castletown would receive twelve lessons over the two days which would be the equal of those who have lessons over four. The Douglas Ball was held on the 5th December at the Assembly Room. The Ball at Castletown was held at Mr. Down's Assembly Room on 11th December. Again the press praised his pupils and declared the evenings successful by the numerous persons who attended.
Mr. Banks returned to the Island for his new season of dance teaching at Mr. Downward's Long Room. School commenced on Monday 29th of June 1811. He next appeared in July 1811 announcing. his new schools would commence in Castletown and Douglas in the middle of July, "for the instruction of young ladies and gentlemen in the most graceful and accomplished parts of dancing, now in fashion. N. B. A variety of new dances will be taught this season."
Musical and vocal concerts were held at Mr. Banks dancing room during August 1811 given by the concert singer Mr. Lantihw. (see Concerts)
Favourable reports once again were noted in the Manx Advertiser, "Mr. Banks' Ball, at Mr. Downs' Assembly Room, Castletown, on Friday evening, (the 25th October 1811) was attended by a greater number of ladies and gentlemen that have ever been witnessed there on a similar occasion. The young ladies and gentlemen acquitted themselves, through a variety of new and elegant dances, in a manner which reflected great credit on themselves, as well as their teacher, and received the highest applause of a most numerous and brilliant assemblage of the first ladies and gentlemen of Castletown and its neighbourhood." His Ball in Douglas that year was held at Mr. Downward's Long Room on the 14th November. His next school commenced July 1812.
In the period May to October 1812 Mr Banks may have had the dancing scene all to himself as he is the only one advertising at this time in the newspapers. Castletown and Ramsey and Peel saw new school seasons under his instruction. In Douglas only one venue was noted, Mrs. Clare's Long Room near the Parade in Douglas.
Mr. Drennan, an Irishman, "attended by a good musician", informed the gentry of the Island in an advertisement dated August 1810 that he would commence a school in Peel and intended teaching there for the winter at moderate terms. His first pupils' Ball was held at Mr. Long's Liverpool Coffee House on the 4th March 1811.
At his Ball held in Ramsey on the 29th March he, "will dance a Fashionable hornpipe to that tune, 'The Sprig of Shillelah', with many other fashionable dances, and a petticorillion, in newest style." Thursday the 18th April there was a Ball at Ballaugh but there was no mention of the venue. Tickets were on sale at Mr. Killey's, Ballaugh.
May of 1811 finds Mr. Drennen operating a school of dancing in Ballasalla which commenced on 22nd of that month. He also reminded the public that he would now start a school in Castletown with effect from 22nd of May as well a as private night in Ramsey. His next Ball at Peel was advertised for the 4th June at Mr. Long's.
Mr. Drennan's Ramsey Pupils' Ball was fixed for 5th July. As well as opening a new season school in Douglas and Kirk Marown. He announced that he intended opening a school in Ballsalley (Ballasalla) at Mrs. Quayle's (two mile stone) on Tuesday 2nd The dates for his pupils' balls were announced for October 1811 at Douglas, Castletown and Ramsey which would be followed by the usual Balls for the parents.
With the intension of returning to the Island in November 1812 Mr. Drennan thanks the inhabitants for their support and, "particularly for the approbation and applause manifested at his late Balls in Douglas, Ramsey and Peel."
Between the months November 1812 to March 1813 Mr. Marshall Drennan had the dancing scene to himself running schools for young ladies and gentlemen in Douglas and Peeltown. He offered to teach ladies and gentlemen in their own houses on agreeable terms. He decided on a new venture on February 23'd 1813 and presented a programme of dances,
Ball to be opened by four small children. Scotch Reel and figure dancing. Highland Strathspey Reel, by five ladies A French Figure dance by twelve Ladies and Gentlemen The Jolly Sailor's Hornpipe by Mater P. Turner
A Petticotee by two ladies.
A Cottilion ---Ladies Hornpipe --- Petticottee by Mr. Drennan, and a lady The Bang up Hornpipe by two ladies
Highland Hornpipe by Master P. Turner Bang up ditto two ladies Hornpipe by a pupil of Mr. Drennan's Bang-up Hornpipe by two ladies Ditto, ditto, by a young gentleman Reel will be interspersed and to conclude with country dances. A Ball afterwards for the company.
Tickets, 2s.6d.each, to be had at Mr. Long's Liverpool Coffee-house. Mr. Drennan will commence his next quarter on Tuesday 2nd March. Mr. Drennan's Ball at Peel, on Friday 26th Feb
Tickets to be had at Mr. Grant's, Liverpool Coffee-house.
Doors to be opened at six o'clock, and to begin at seven. - Douglas, 1st Feb. 1813 Such was the response that the parents took an advertisement in the Manx Advertiser dated 6th March 1813, "The parents and friends of the children, lately instructed by Mr. Marshall Drennan, Dancing-master, in his town, do make this public acknowledgment, in testimony of his abilities, and beg to observe, that his assiduous attention to his instruction of children, has afforded them every satisfaction, and respects much credit on him as a teacher."
This obviously spurred him on to start a new season school at Castletown at a, "commodious room in Kirk Malew Street commencing Tuesday the 23'd March." Mr. Drennan appeared to be trying new ways of attracting attention to his teaching classes and in March 1813 advertised his last Ball of the season to be held in Douglas at the Assembly Room when his pupils will show off what they have learnt but with a special attraction of a new Irish Dance to be performed by 8 ladies.
On Friday the 25th June his held a Ball in Castletown and presented the following programme:
"A Hornpipe by Masters Harrison and Kelly; Jolly Sailor's Hornpipe by Masters- Patticrew and Cubbin; Ladies Hornpipe by Miss S. Hornpip& by Miss G. A Hornpipe by Mr. Drennan To conclude with a Ball for the Ladies and Gentlemen.
Mr. Drennan hopes to be accompanied by a few of his pupils from different parts of the Island."
In July he promised to run more schools in Douglas, Castletown and Ramsey before going to Ireland stating that he would return in April 1814 to start a new season. True to his word he arrived back in that month, "He has also acquired a new method of teaching by blackboards, which will be found of great utility in giving an easy and graceful carriage. - Every young Lady must provide her own board, - the pattern and plan of which may be seen by any lady or gentleman who may please call at the school room."
The 7th of September 1814 Mr. Drennan commenced his new teaching quarter in Douglas. He held his October Ball for 1814 on the 21st in Douglas before returning to Ireland for the winter stating that he would rerun in April 1815. "We are informed that his numerous pupils' performances were received with the most general applause." There was a gap of four years until we learn from the newspaper of 10th December 1818 that Mr. Drennan, "during his last stay in Ireland, has had the honour of teaching some of the first families there; has acted as a master of ceremonies in some of the first Assemblies in Belfast, Bangor, and other parts; and has had the opportunity of seeing the most fashionable dancing that has been taught in any part of the United Kingdom." From February to December 1819 he opened schools for dancing and holds Balls at regular intervals when he announced in its issue dated 9th December his absence from the Island. "Mr. Drennan returns his grateful acknowledgments to the ladies and gentlemen throughout the Island, who have honoured him with the instruction of their children in dancing, and takes the liberty of informing them and the public in general, that he is under the necessity of going to Ireland for a short time, to fulfil engagements there; after which he proposes to return to this Island early in the ensuing year, with a new selection of modern dances and music; when he hopes to be favoured with a continuance of that distinguished patronage which he had hitherto received, and which will be his continued and uniform to study to merit. Douglas, 4th December, 1819"
February, the following year, he apologies for his delay in returning to the Island, "Mr. Drennan begs leave to inform his numerous friends in the Isle of Man that he is sorry that he cannot be with them on the 1st of March, owing to his engagements with his friends in Ireland; but intends to open school in Douglas, Castletown and Ramsey, early in April, when on his return his friends may rest assured of a variety of new music and dances, which he is selecting" May 1820 saw his return to the Island. Manx Advertiser 25.05.1820. "Mr. Drennan, truly grateful for past encouragement, begs leave to inform the nobility and gentry of Douglas, Ramsey and Castletown, that he has, on his last visit to Ireland acquired a very considerable variety of new music and dances, particularly quadrilles; and he proposes opening schools in the above towns on the usual days. Ladies and gentlemen who may honour him with the tuition of their children, may rest assured that Mr. D. will pay every attention to their education and morals."
Following his end of term Ball in August 1820 he announces, "that (he) proposes teaching one quarter only this season, in Douglas, and Peel, as his engagements in the
North of Ireland, early in the Spring, call him there, Mr. D. returns the ladies and gentlemen of this Island his sincere thanks for their liberal support; and hopes his attentions to the improvement of his pupils will always merit their patronage" His Ball in September of that year in Ramsey was, "well attended by the genteel inhabitants of that town and neighbourhood; and the performance of his pupils gave the highest satisfaction to their parents and friends;" (and in Douglas) "his Ball, in this town, last night, was respectfully attended, and the accomplished manner in which his pupils acquitted themselves, reflected credit on their tutor, and their exertions were uniformly rewarded by the plaudits of the company."
Mr. Drennan continued teaching and holding Balls throughout 1820 informing the public he would be off to Ireland in April 1821, promising to return with a selection of the new and fashionable dances
J. Monday or Munday 1811-1812
Mr. J. Monday offered his services as a teacher of dancing, music and singing in an advertisement placed in the Manx Advertiser for the 4th May 1811, "He presumes that after having studied his profession under four of the first London Masters, Messrs Zuchelli, Novarre, D'Egville, and Rossi, he can produce the greatest variety of the most fashionable peregourdins and dances of all kinds, as danced at present in London and Bath. The utmost pains will be taken to render his pupils' deportment, elegant and graceful. He also teaches music and singing, on the most approved principles; ladies accompanied on the violin. Piano Fortes tuned, by the month or year. Terms of teaching will not exceed what is given to others of the same profession. Notes left at the printers, will be duly attended to."
Mr. Monday began teaching at his academy on 23'd June in the Assembly Room, Douglas
Mr. Munday held his first Public Ball on Wednesday the 4th December 1811 at the Assembly Room where his pupils presented, "an entire new Ballet, such as he flatters himself has not been seen in the Island before; in the course of which will be introduced a great variety of the newest dances; Parifot's favourite Pas Seul, Minuet Dauphin, Vestris's new Gavot, and Peregourdin, besides many others too numerous to insert. The Ballet to commence at half-past seven, and at ten, ladies will draw for places, when Mr. Munday, by using his utmost exertions, hopes to make it as agreeable as a regular assembly to those ladies and gentlemen who may honour him with their presence. Tickets 3s. each, to be had at Mr. Munday's, corner of John- street." It must have been a great success for he held a repeat performance, "Highly flattered by the distinguish patronage he experienced at his Ball on the 4th instant, begs to inform his friends and the public, that he intends having a public night, at Mr. Downward's room, on the Quay, on Tuesday 7th January, 1812, and his pupils will go through his new ballet, which was so much admired at his first Ball. General dancing to commence at nine o'clock. Tickets 3s. each may be had at Mr. Monday's, corner of John Street. Doors to be opened at half-past six, and to commence at seven o'clock. - T.M. will take care the Room shall be made comfortable in every respect."
Mr. Edward Moore's large commodious room in Duke Street, Douglas, saw the opening of a school by Mr. Drewar of Edinburgh on 1st August 1814. Mr. Drewar stated that, "the greatest attention will be paid towards their acquiring a graceful, elegant, and easy carriage."
Mr. Drewar inserted the following advertisement in the Manx Advertiser, dated 10th September, 1814,
"Mr. Drewar, professor, from Edinbugh, begs leave to acquaint the inhabitants of this Island, that he has relinquished his public school in favour of his engagements with Mr. Barton, to attend the young gentlemen and ladies of Heywood House Academy, as also in the first families of Douglas and its vicinity. The chief object of dancing being not only that of giving a quickness of motion to the feet, or that of being enabled to join a country dance, but also that of forming graceful and dignified carriage; an easiness of manners, and a politeness of address; all which are carefully studied by Mr. D. so as to qualify his pupils in the requisite minutiae of that fashionable and useful science. Mr. D. presumes to add, that, from his superior mode of instruction, he has the honour of practicing for a series of years in some of the first families of distinction in the South of Scotland, and in the North of England; and that he will continue to give lessons to young gentlemen and ladies privately, in town and country, in the most fashionable minuets, cotillions, waltzes, quadrilles, reels, Highland Strathspeys, Scotch and English country dances, Hornpipes, the graces &c. &c. &c. Young gentlemen instructed to play on the violin. A line addressed to Mr. D. Heywood, House Academy, will be punctually attended to."
The headmaster, Mr. Barton, is quick to inform the public that Mr. Drewar has been fired from his job at the Academy. Five days after Mr. Drewar's announcement, the Advertiser dated 15th of October, 1814 runs Mr. Barton's notification:
"Notice. Whereas a Mr. Drewar, in the capacity of a dancing master, after repeated injunctions to the contrary, and for what purpose is unknown, continues in his weekly advertisements to infer that he attends the pupils of Heywood House Academy every Wednesday and Saturday. This is to give notice, that the said Mr. Drewar was discharged from Mr. Barton's employment on the 28th September last. Douglas, 6th October, 1814."
Mr. Dewar may have been beaten but was not down as he advertised that he will hold a Ball at the Assembly Room Douglas on Tuesday 3'd January 1815 but there is no evidence that it was held.
Prior to his arrival on the "Manx dance scene" Mr. Ketly was a well established teacher in Whitehaven advertising regularly his professional dancing services in the Cumberland Pacquet between 1793 and the early 1800s. He came to dominate the dancing world in the Isle of Man during the years 1816 to 1817. He arrived in March 1816 from Whitehaven announcing that he was a Principal teacher in the first schools of London and that he had taught dancing in Whitehaven for over 20 years. He stated that he would teach a quarter, annually in the Island if there was a need. He postponed the opening of his Douglas school scheduled for the latter part of March and actually commenced teaching on Monday the 24th April in the Assembly Room. "Every attention paid to the manners and carriage of his pupils and private lessons may be arranged."
The 15th July 1816 Manx Advertiser reports, "Mr. Kelty's Ball, on Tuesday evening, was attended by a very numerous and genteel audience, who appeared highly gratified with the performance of his pupils. - Mr. K. intends coming regularly to the Island, to teach three months annually, and from his known respectability and acknowledge professional talents, it may be fairly presumed, that he will continue to receive deserved encouragement."
"Mr. Kelly, impressed with a grateful sense of the honour conferred on him by the numerous and highly respectable assemblage of ladies and gentlemen who attended his Ball on Tuesday night, and for the approbation they evinced on that occasion, respectfully begs leave to present his sincere acknowledgments, and to inform them, that he purposes re-visiting the Island next May, to teach for three months, and he indulges a confidence that his passed exertions have, in some degree, secured him their future patronage, which he will studiously endeavour to merit."
After a successful Ball held in Whitehaven which was reported as being "the most splendid remembered there for many years past." The Advertiser goes on to announce that his next teaching quarter in the Isle of Man will begin in May but his engagements in England mean that this will be his only season here.
Mr. Kelty's next school started on Monday 1st June 1818. He took up residence in Douglas with his family and taught regularly during summer in the Island, "all the approved fashionable dances that were, at that time, practiced in London and Bath." He kept his schools going in Whitehaven and the local newspaper is happy to report on the success of his Ball in the issue of 21st May 1818 with a rider that he will commence his Douglas school at the Assembly room on the 3rd June next. He advertised that he was willing to teach families in the privacy of their own homes. His annual Ball was held in the Assembly Room, Fort-street, on Tuesday, 25th August 1818, produced a variety of the newest and most celebrated dancing was introduced, such as plain and figure Minuets, Grecian Dancing, Quadrilles, real German Waltzes, Cotillions, with such admired Scotch Dance, "Come under my Pladdie", a variety of Ladies' figure and high Dances, Gentlemen's Hornpipes.&c. "Mr. Kelty being the only professional teacher in the Island, flatters himself, the performance of his pupils will give general satisfaction".
He returned to the Island in March 1820 and commenced teaching on Monday 8th at the Assembly room in Fort Street, Douglas. His Ball was held on the 25th May at the same venue.
Mr. Reynolds appears on the dance scene in 1818 and advertises his professional skills in dancing and informing the public that he has, "for the winter, under the first masters in London, and acquired all new and fashionable dances now performed there and at Bath; Quadrilles, Polonese, Spanish Dances, and Waltzing, with the different graceful attitudes; with various fancy dances. Also fashionable country dances, ladies' hornpipes, &c. Mr.R's method of teaching those different dances, gives that ease, grace and dignity which characterized the well bred; and he hopes from the care and attention given towards the improvement of his pupils to give general satisfaction to those who may honour him with the tuition of their children. P. S. Mr. R. teaches fencing with small and broad word. Mr. R. has taught in some of the first families in the North of Ireland; viz, Colonel Nugent's, Colonel Hoy's, the Bishop of Down's and three Boarding schools; Down Diocesan School, Clough Academy and Bilabay Academy; where he attends occasionally, and can be well recommended from all those different places."
"Mr. R. begs leave to add, that he will engage to complete any young lady or gentleman, who has received lessons before, in a superior style to any that has been displayed in the Island, in the short space of three months. Mr. Reynolds most respectfully informs the nobility and gentry of Castletown and its vicinity, that he intends opening school on Wednesday the 6th of May 1818, at two o'clock in the afternoon, in a room adjoining Mr. Quayle's Brewery, near the stone bridge. - The newest dances will be taught, such are as now practiced in all polite circles at London, Bath &c. Families privately attended."
In announcing that his Ball was fixed for Tuesday 16th June in the Assembly Room, Fort Street, Douglas, he states that, "by particular request, deferred his engagements in Ireland, until October next" And that "A selected band will attend during the whole of the evening, who are also engaged to play for the ladies and gentlemen who choose to dance after the dancing school Ball is over."
He was teaching at the Heywood House Academy as well as running his own school of dancing. "As the mode of dancing has been materially changed within the late period, Mr. R. flatters himself that he is in possession of the most fashionable varieties, having studied occasionally for the last five years, under the first masters in Dublin and London; he therefore proposes to teach Quadrilles, Spanish, French and Polenese, with Waltz dancing, Ladies and Gentlemen's fancy Hornpipes, &c., &c in that, fashionable style, that he trusts will be found pleasing to those who may honour him with the tuition of their children."
On the 24th of July 1818 he advertised that he was holding a Ball at Kirk Michael but no venue is mentioned. He held two Balls at Peel during 1818, one on Friday the 14th August and the second on the 20th November, but again no venue is stated; Mrs. Long was selling the tickets so it could have been at her premises. His next Ball in Douglas was held on 14th October and his Ramsey Ball was held on the 23rd November.
There was also a Ball held at Castletown according to the newspaper issued on the 3rd December 1818, "He intends, the first opportunity, to visit Ireland, and will teach one quarter at the boarding schools, agreeably to his engagement; after which he will
proceed to Paris, to acquire the newest dances that may be prevailing in the polite circles of that city; and he hopes, on his return again to the Island, the latter end of May, that he will meet with as many friends as he can now proudly boast of." His return was delayed due to his commitments in the north of Ireland which he advised in the Manx Advertiser dated 17th June. 1819, "Mr. Reynolds most respectfully informs his friends in the Isle of Man that having been solicited by the nobility and gentry of Downpatrick, to attend their families another quarter, he will be prevented from visiting the Island so soon as he expected, but intends doing himself the pleasure of waiting on them, at the end of his present engagement, and will continue to teach on the Island one quarter in each year. - Mr. R's methods of teaching being entirely new and calculated to facilitate the improvement of the pupil, beyond any other system hitherto adopted, he hopes that his friends will have the goodness to wait until his arrival, when every exertion will be used on his part to merit their patronage."
School opened again on Saturday 15th April 1820. The Advertiser enthused about the pupils' Bail that was held in July,
Manx Advertiser 27.07.1820. "Dancing School Ball - On Monday night last, Mr. Rutherford's Ball, was well attended by the parents of the children, as well as several genteel individuals. The several fancy dances which were performed by the pupils were a clear demonstration of the taste and judicious arrangements of the tutor. The Bower-dance had an effect at once brilliant and imposing; and to a mind perfectly at ease and determined to please with whatever is truly agreeable, - an effect almost paradisiacal. The beauty of this dance was not a little enhanced by its novelty; the moving allusion represented a number of flowerly arbours or arcades, from each of which appeared to issue a youthful figure; the whole representing a group of handsome youths and virgins, appearing to greet each other, as they moved to the soft notes of harmony in quick succession among the bowers; - succeeded still by others, bedizened in the various hues of the rainbow, and all the gay profusion which is the present beautiful season, is wont to adorn the smiling gardens of Flora. - The dance called the Graces, to the air of 'La Belle Catherine,' was admirably well calculated to display each graceful motion of the human form; and the young ladies who performed it, were a lovely personification of the graces they represented. The attitude of the listening, as if to catch the sound of unhallowed footsteps approaching the sacred seclusion of the grove, was extremely well expressed; measure to which they moved was eminently adapted to the sentiment of curiosity and alarm. - After this interesting display, Mr. R, gratified the spectators with a hornpipe, than which we never saw a better performance of the kind. The company then fell in, and having taken partners, kept up the dance for two hours longer. - We understand that Mr. R. intends to prolong his stay among us, as a teacher of dancing; and we cannot refuse him our best wishes for his success, being so well convinced of his desire to please."
The next term began on 4th August
|1. Mr. Simpson|
|2. Mr. LaGlace|
|1. Mr. Stretton|
|2. Mr. La Glace|
|3. Mr. Blake|
|4. Mr. Fergusson|
|5. Mr. Banks|
|6. Mr. Drennan|
|7. Mr. Monday or Munday|
|8. Mr. Drewars|
|9. Mr. Kelty|
|10. Mr. Reynolds|
|11. Mr. Rutherford|
| Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The
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