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Processional couple dance with stately flowing steps, fashionable in the 16th century, especially in France. A line of couples extended their paired hands forward and paraded back and forth the length of the ballroom. It was revived in the 18th century as a figure dance for four couples, in which each pair performed intricate turns under each other's arms, a figure that partly survives in the allemand of the U.S. square dance. In the late 17th century a stylized version of the dance in time began to be used by composers as the first movement of the suite.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on allemande, visit Britannica.com.