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The Independence (PA) Lancers

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The Independence (PA) Lancers



For moving images of the dance, click here.

This is Bob Dalsemer's account of discovering an old dance form maintained in a rural Pennsylvania community:

"On two occasions in 1979, I had the good fortune to visit the bi-weekly Saturday night square dance at the Grange Hall in Independence, Pennsylvania, about 25 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. I found many of the best features of traditional rural dances: a good caller with an interesting and varied figure repertoire, a solid three-piece band-made up in this case of fiddle, electric guitar, and electric bass-and an enthusiastic group of dancers of all ages, including many older dancers who have been dancing most of their lives. I was also surprised to find the Lancers being danced as part of a continuing local tradition. ...

"The Lancers is a five-part quadrille that was popular in the nineteenth-century ballrooms of England and America. I had seen it mentioned and described in quite a few dance books and occasionally one or two figures from it are revived at New England style dances. But I was truly astonished when BillMcAdoo invited me to witness a performance by a set of his oldest dancers of a complete five figure Lancers, perfectly phrased to its own special music played by fiddler Doc Fry accompanied by his brother Joe on the electric guitar."

In addition to a description of the five figures, the article contains music transcriptions by Claudio Buchwald.



Country Dance and Song, #13 (1983), pp. 17–23, published by Country Dance and Song Society; used with permission of the author and CDSS.

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