The minuet (also menuet) was a lovely courtly dance originating in France during the Baroque period. The name for the dance was adapted from the Italian minuetto and French menuet, meaning small, pretty, delicate, referring to the short steps, pas menus, taken in the dance.
At the period when it was most fashionable the dance was usually performed in pairs but occasionally with a trio or a line of dancers. It was slow, soft, ceremonious, and graceful.
At most social assemblies of the 18th century, dancing was of paramount importance with the minuet as part of an “opening ceremony” to commence the dancing. The opening minuet was also used to publicly established the social ranks of those present, and to impressed those who needed to be impressed. Regulations for some Assemblies specified that card playing would not commence until after the minuets, probably to ensure that these performances would have a maximum audience. Following the minuet, composed pieces for one or two skilled dancers might be performed such as Louis-Guillaume Pécour’s timeless dance “La Bretagne, perhaps ensued by the upbeat country dances.
As the beauty of the minuet is impossible to describe, I have provided links for your unadulterated viewing pleasure:
MINUET LINE (The second dance witht the solo dancer I believe is called the Gavotte)