There are several "sixteen Lancers" quadrilles, written for eight couples rather than four, many of which adopt similar solutions in adapting the figures to twice as many couples. The Royal Lancers, or Horse Guards, is a version that I have found in only two sources: Thomas Hillgrove's 1863 A Complete Practical Guide to the Art of Dancing and Professor M.J. Koncen's 1883 Quadrille Call Book and Ball Room Guide. The diagram at the left (click to enlarge), taken from Hillgrove, shows the arrangement of couples for the Royal Lancers. Note that the odd-numbered couples on each side are to the right of the even-numbered ones. Koncen provides a similar diagram but misnumbers two of the couples.
The figures of the Royal Lancers are only minor variations on the standard Lancers ones, but the multiplier effect of doing the figures with twice as many couples makes even the simplest figures substantially more interesting. For the most part, the Royal Lancers may be danced to any Lancers music, but note that there are both 20-bar and 24-bar versions of Figure 4 in the standard Lancers repertoire, and the Royal Lancers requires the longer music.
8b Salutations to partners and then to corners (not repeated)
4b First ladies and opposites forward and back
4b Same pairs turn opposites by two hands, returning to places
4b Head couples cross over, first couples passing through the second couples (drawers/tiroirs)
4b Head couples cross back, second couples passing through the first couples (drawers/tiroirs)
8b All balance to neighbors: forward four steps to right shoulders, back, two-hand turn
The figure is repeated three more times; on the second iteration, the second ladies and their opposites lead off, and during the cross over (drawers/tiroir) figure, the second couple passes between the first to start. On the third and fourth iterations, the side couples perform the figure, led first by the third ladies and their opposites with the third couple passing through first and then by the fourth ladies and their opposites with the fourth couple passing through first on the last time repetition.
I discussed the original Lancers figure by figure in my earlier series of posts on the New York Lancers, beginning here. The Royal Lancers makes only two small changes in Figure 1:
- The forward and back and two-hand turn are done by two ladies and their opposites only, rather than by couples. This is reminiscent of the older style of quadrilles and allows for four distinct repetitions.
- The balance and turn is done with nearest neighbors, since the dancers in the center of a side do not have a "corner." This is the same as corners for the dancers on the ends of each side.
Although Hillgrove does not specifically mention the salutations, he has previously noted that they are standard to all quadrilles, and Koncen allows an eight-bar introduction in which they might be included. I have added the standard bows to partners and corners at the beginning. The gentleman's bow is explained here and the lady's courtesy here.
Figures two through five of the Royal Lancers will be examined in future posts in this series.