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Les Lanciers

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Subject: Danish traditional music, Music of Dominica, European dances, Country dance, Contra dance
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Les Lanciers

The Lancers was danced on ice at an 1899 Nova Scotia carnival.

Les Lanciers or The Lancers is a square dance, a variant of the Quadrille, a set dance performed by four couples, particularly popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is a composite dance made up of five figures or tours, each performed four times so that each couple dances the lead part. It exists in many variants in several countries.

Widespread though it was throughout Europe, Les Lanciers became less fashionable by the beginning of 20th the century. It survived as a popular dance in Denmark until the present day,[1] having been introduced from England in 1860. The Danish dance took its current form before the 1st World War. From the bourgeoisie of Copenhagen it spread through dancing schools in provincial towns and through the landed gentry.[2] It is danced at court,[3] at many University and School Gaudies, and at countless private functions. Les Lanciers is also taught in most of the high schools in Denmark.

The five tours of the Danish dance are:

  • La Dorset
  • La Victoria
  • Les Moulinets
  • Les Visites
  • Les Lancers

The dances keep getting more advanced, no. 5 requiring very precise timing.

The Kitchen lancers was a more boisterous version of the dance that was popular in the early 20th century.[4][5] Lancers sets are still danced in Irish set dance.


  1. ^ Why Danes dance ’les Lanciers’
  2. ^ Why Danes dance ’les Lanciers’
  3. ^ Årsrapport - Kongehusets virksomhed 2006 p. 15
  4. ^ "Kitchen Lancers is an old dance". Spokane Daily Chronicle. May 8, 1911. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  5. ^ Frances Rust (15 October 2013). Dance In Society, International Library of Sociology. Routledge. pp. 76–.  

External links

  • The Danish music for each part can be found here.
  • The origins of The Lancers Quadrilles are discussed here.
  • Les Lanciers1854 American sheetmusic for
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