As for Evangeline, she went through the other dances by rote. During the Lancer’s Quadrille, she and Alcide were opposite each other during their sets, which meant that an occasional vis-a-vis step brought them together. His partner was Juliette Dubois, who was giggling more than usual and barely attending the dance itself. Evangeline couldn’t even think of her partner’s name as he kept up a barrage of inane chatter during the dance. Young Monsieur Tiresome was blabbering about her beauty and how he wanted to call on her; Evangeline made all of the polite noises expected of young women and the youth was convinced his suit would be welcome. He wasn’t the only one to mistake Evangeline’s distractedness for agreement that evening. In fact, several young Creole gentlemen determined to have their fathers send notes declaring their intentions to Monsieur DuPre as soon as possible. — From my novel, Bayou Fire.
A quadrille is a set dance, consisting of four or eight couples. There are set figures (often called by someone within the set, for those who may not be perfectly familiar with the dance). They result in each couple in the set dancing with an opposite partner (vis-a-vis, or face to face), and a corner partner to one side or the other. Because the dance itself could be quite lengthy, it gave partners a few moments to talk. The Lancer’s Quadrille has five figures, so it is nearly 12 minutes long. Lancer’s, along with several other quadrilles, is still enjoyed at vintage and Victorian dance parties today. Here is a short video, so that you can see what one of the figures looks like and hear the music. Enjoy!