Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dancers n.

[one dances down the stairs or on one’s feet]

1. (orig. UK Und.) a flight of stairs.

implied in track (up) the dancers
[UK]Head Canting Academy (2nd edn).
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]C. Hitchin Regulator 19: The Dancers, alias the Stairs.
[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 245: I thinks as how I hears a bit of a scrummage below the dancers.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 15/2: At that instant I saw one of you ‘namasing’ down the ‘dancers’.
[UK] ‘Autobiog. of a Thief’ in Macmillan’s Mag. (London) XL 502: I claimed two wedge spoons, and was just going up the dancers.
[US]Indianapolis Jrnl (IN) 28 Feb. 3/3: Steps are ‘dancers’.
[UK]J.W. Horsley Jottings from Jail 5: We went down the dancers.
[UK]E. Pugh City Of The World 276: Their fathers was in it, and their grand-dads [...] that as like as not pratted up the dancers of a gallows to be introduced to Death by Mr. Ketch.
[US](con. 1910–20s) D. Mackenzie Hell’s Kitchen 118: Dancers ... stairs.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 24: We don’t want to leave it too late because of getting up and down them dancers.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 65: dancers The thirteen stairs of the gallows.
[UK]W. Hall Long and the Short and the Tall Act II: She whips him up the dancers once and that’s the end of it.

2. the feet.

Framlingam Wkly News 8 Dec. 3/7: Thieves’ Dialect [...] His feet are his ‘dancers’.
implied in have it on one’s dancers

In phrases

track (up) the dancers (v.) (also lope..., pike..., prat) [SE track, to make one’s way]

to rush quickly up the stairs; also with down.

[UK]Head Eng. Rogue I 52: Track up the Dancers, Go up the Stayres.
[UK]A Newgate ex-prisoner A Warning for House-Keepers 4: They truck up the dancers, which is run up stairs.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Track up the Dancers, c. whip up the Stairs.
[UK]J. Shirley Triumph of Wit 194: Track the Dancers and pike with the Peepers [Go up Stairs and tip off with the Looking-glass].
[UK]C. Hitchin Regulator 20: To lope up the Dancers, alias to go up Stairs.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698] [Ibid.] he loap’d up the dancers, he whipt up the stairs.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 42: Pike up the Prancers, and glee in the Lumber; go up Stairs, and look in the Room.
[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict. 20: To go up Stairs – Track up the Dancers.
[UK](con. 1710–25) Tyburn Chronicle II in Groom (1999) xxviii: To Lope the Dancers To go up Stairs.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]hEgan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lytton Pelham III 297: Toddle, my bob cull. We must track up the dancers and tout the sinner.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford I 4: Vell, I’ll track up the dancers!
Lytton Lucretia II 34: ‘Bob, track the dancers. Up like a lark – and down like a dump!’ Bob grinned [...] and scampered up the stairs.
Lytton What Will he do with it? III (1860) 308: Come, my Hebe, track the dancers, that is, go up the stairs .
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 52: lope Run; be off. ‘The cove loped down the dancers, and got off with the wedge-feeders.’ the thief leaped down the stairs, and got away with the silver spoons.
[UK]Framlingham Wkly News 8 Dec. 3/7: Thieves’ Dialect [...] To ‘prat up the dancers’ is to run or walk upstairs.