During the 1820s the Lance was becoming a very popular Cavalry weapon in the military. The real name of the Lancers dance (or Lancier) was originally called the 'Quadrille of the Lancers' and later shortened to just Lancers. The Lancers were said to be invented in 1820 by dancing master M. Laborde in Paris and was copied from a military dance using Lances and was supposedly introduced by him to France in 1836. The Lancers called the 'Second Set of Quadrilles' were in addition to the older set of Quadrilles already being done. There is documentation which shows that it appeared in England as early as 1817 and was supposedly invented by Joseph Hart in 1819, however La Borde is the most popular writings but does not mean that Hart isn't correct.
In 1850 the Lancers made its first appearance in England with a set being composed by Lady Georgina Lygon, and seven other ladies and gentlemen (Lygon, Fielding, de Lechner, Berkely etc). The Lancers (a second set of Quadrilles) were a more ...
"COMPLICATED SET" and were brought to England a number of years later. By 1856 the lancers were in favor and was hailed as a step in the right direction toward better taste in the dances (quadrilles).
The Lancers Quadrille was full of grace, with its salutes and its bows, its slow and anther solemn movement. Like the French Quadrille, it was much prettier than the American Quadrille, which was so lively, so impassioned, so animated, that it was not easily adopted in formal salons. It also shows a
change of customs. The man no longer advanced toward the woman with the rather trembling respect which was formerly required of him; he no longer presented himself with the courteous regards which were demanded in the times when, having voluntarily placed woman on pedestals, there was only homage for her. The angel of former times has become a partner and is treated as such.
The Lancers had many charming figures, in which the cavaliers saluted with a graceful ease, and the ladies dipped deep in their light skirts to make delightful courtesies. There were the Tiroir, the Signes, the Moulinets, the Visites, the Lancers, or Grande Chaine. The Grand Chaine is often danced in a Polka step, but it had more distinction when simply marched. There WERE always five figures, as in the American Quadrille. They are: the Promenade, the Moulinets, the Chevaus de bois, the Passe, the Corbeille and the Chevaux de bois -- united.
The main glossary of terms for this dance was basically the same as Ballet such as Jeté and arabesque etc. These dances were done by "Open" couples. The Lancer dancers were very energetic, often times called "Breakneck Lancers" or "Kitchen Lancers." If anyone would get in some dancers way, they would run them down. There were some reports of broken limbs in the dance. This was not the normal of the dance however.
Some Pattern names of the Lancers are "Grand Chain, Visiting, Set To Corners, Le Pantelon, La Poule, La Pastourelle".
Basic Dance Step in text form (paraphrased from Coulon's Handbook-1873):
1ST: La Rose: The first lady and opposite gentleman advance and retire, turn with both hands and return to their places. The leading lady and her partner cross over hand in hand, and the opposite couple do the same separately and passing on the outside; they then all set and turn at the corners.
2ND: La Lodowiska:
First couple advance and retire, advance again, the lady remains in the center facing her partner, the gentleman retires, Chassezto the right and left, turn partners to places, the side couples joining hands to form two lines, all advance and retire in two lines, all turn partners to places.
3RD: La Dorset:
First lady advance and stop, opposite gentleman advance and stop, lady retire, four ladies right hands across half round, left hand and back to places while the gentlemen lead round outside to the right half round, and back to places.
4TH: L' Etoile:
First couple pay a visit to the couple on the right hand, and how; then to the couple on the left the same, Chassez Croissé and half set,Chassez Croisséand back to places, right and left.
5TH: Les Lanciers:
The grand chain, the first couple advance and turn half round facing the top, then the couple on the right advance behind the top couples then the couple on the left follows and the last couple the same forming two lines, Chassez Croisséwith partners, and back again, the ladies turn outside the line to the rights the gentlemen the same to the left; the coupled meet up the center and advance joining hands, the four ladies form a line holding each others hands, the gentlemen the same opposite, all advance and retire, turn partners to places, ditto for the other couple, finish with the grand chain.