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AGREEABLE SOCIETY. English, Cotillion (whole time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. The tune was first printed in James Fishar's Twelve New Country Dances. Six New Cotillons and Twelve New Minuets, printed by Rutherford in London around 1775. The Cotillion, a type of square dance, was a fairly recent dance in London society, having been imported from the Continent in the mid-1760's. Lloyd's Evening Post, for example, commented in March, 1768, "A country dance of new nature called a Cotillon, and which admits of but eight persons, has lately been introduced in the poite world from France, and is now in great esteem among our people of quality."
In the 1770's James Fishar was employed as a Ballet Master and principal dancer at the Covent Garden Theatre, and was also invovled in the King's Theatre Opera House when management of the two theatres was briefly merged in 1778. That same year Fishar published another book of Cotillions, aimed at simplifing the steps and making the new dance more accessible to dancers used to country dances. The General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer (March 5th, 1778) reported:
Mr. Fishar, being convinced that many ladies and gentlemen do not like to dance cotillions, on account of being obliged to learn the steps, Mr. Fishar thought himself bound in gratitude for many favours he has always received from the public, both in his capacity of first dancer, ballet-master, and in all his publications, to find a method for them to dance those kind of dances, without any steps but the common country dance steps.
"Fisher's Hornpipe," published in 1780, has been associated with him.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Moffat (Dances of the Olden Time), 1922; p. 2.