In dance, the galop, named after the fastest running gait of a horse (see gallop), a shortened version of the original term galoppade, is a lively country dance, introduced in the late 1820s to Parisian society by the Duchesse de Berry and popular in Vienna, Berlin and London. In the same closed position familiar in the waltz, the step combined a glissade with a chassé on alternate feet, ordinarily in a fast time.
The galop was a forerunner of the polka, which was introduced in Prague ballrooms in the 1830s and made fashionable in Paris when Raab, a dancing teacher of Prague, danced the polka at the Odéon Theatre in 1840. In Australian bush dance, the dance is often called galopede. An even livelier, faster version of the galop called the can-can developed in Paris around 1830.
The galop was particularly popular as the final dance of the evening. The "Post Horn Galop", written by the cornet virtuoso Herman Koenig, was first performed in London in 1844; it remains a signal that the dancing at a hunt ball or wedding reception is ending. Numerous galops were written by Johann Strauss II. Dmitri Shostakovich employed a "posthorn galop" as the second Allegro scherzo of his Eighth Symphony in 1943. Franz Schubert also composed the fourth movement of his Symphony No. 2 as a galop. The "Devil's Galop" by Charles Williams is another example. The "Infernal Galop" from Orpheus in the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach and the "Comedians' Galop" from The Comedians by Dmitry Kabalevsky are two others. Danish composer Hans Christian Lumbye (1810–1874) wrote several galops, including the "Champagne Galop" (1845). Other works include the "Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop" (1847) and the "Telegraph Galop" (1844). George Gershwin composed the galop "French Ballet Class" for two pianos in his score for the film Shall We Dance. Galops were also written by Nino Rota. Émile Waldteufel wrote several galops, including "Prestissimo" (1877).