Last updated:  8 February, 2020

Contra (American)

Proponents of Contra-dance cite its advantages as:

Also, generally all couples perform the same steps simultaneously - although half may be moving in the opposite direction…  and figures are walked - so there’s no need to ‘skip’, ‘step-hop’, ‘rant’ etc..

Since Contra doesn’t involve any taxing, energetic figures e.g. galloping down the length of a set ‘balance & kick’ or ‘basket’, it’s more suitable for the more mature dancer.  Nevertheless, this doesn’t imply that Contra isn’t amenable to frivolous flourishes e.g. transitions between balancing, circling or starring…  and swinging, can all be embellished by creative twirling (e.g. if the man’s new partner is adjacent, on his left, he can raise his l. arm and twirl her ½ Ccw. under it to face each other) or, for unashamed flamboyance, the man tucks his right leg behind his lady, cradles the back of her head in his left hand and, taking her weight with his right arm around her waist - her right hand around his neck, gently lowers her backwards, horizontally, over his right thigh - honest!  (A ‘back-breaker’.)

But ultimately, Contra doesn’t offer quite the variety - the ‘cherries’ - afforded by figures such as ‘Strip the Willow’, ‘Duck & Dive’, or ‘Thread the Needle’.

32-bar Contra dances often comprise eight, four-bar figures c.f. four, eight-bar figures for more conventional country dances - so possibly a bit more demanding to remember.

Accompaniment is often contemporary - performed by string bands.

You want to see a demonstration of Contra?
Here’s a sample, danced with youthful exuberance:

What you’re watching:
Formation:  duple minor, ‘1’s improper.
Start in a crossways wavy line.

    * * *
(Bars 1-4) Balance the wave,
Allemande by the right ½ around (as a variation: ‘Box the Gnat’),
(5-8) Balance the wave,
Men Allemande by the left ¾ around - to go back and …
(9-16) …Balance (two-handed) and Swing Neighbor,

(17-24) (In fours, holding hands) Circle left ¾ (ladies only half-circle),
Swing Partner,
(25-28) Circle left ¾ - to a crossways wavy line,
(29-30) Balance the wave,
(31-32) Pull-thru’ to progress.


Author:  Don Flaherty

Watch, from 4m43, at:

Form:  Longways line of crossways couples, duple minor.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top - each couple faces another couple, ‘1’s improper.

Suspended, wood-board flooring enhances stomping. 

    * * *
A1:  Balance (meet double-handed, push-back to a single-handed [man’s right hand] lean-back, tap), new neighbor.  (2 bars)
Swing that neighbor.  (6 bars)
Finish with the lady on man’s right.

A2:  Minor sets circle left ¾.  (Ladies half-circle.)  (4)
Swing partner.  (4)

B1:  Longways lines forward, double-handed clap neighbor, reverse back, tap/stomp.  (4)
Chain ladies across the set (optional Cw. twirl).  (4)

B2:  Longways lines forward, balance (meet partner by the right hand, tap, reverse [still holding right hands] - lean-back), tap.  In minor (two-couple) set Right-Left Pull-by  (cross by r. h. with partner, l. h. along the line - with neighbor).  (4)
Forward and repeat…  (4)
(If reached an end, turn-around - as a couple, change designation and wait-out a go; if already sitting-out, re-join.)

Becket Reel (variant)

by Herbie Gaudreau

Watch at:

Form:  Contra, Becket i.e. a longways line of couples (lady on the man’s right) facing another, similar line.

    * * *
A1:  Ladies chain across the set, ladies chain back.

A2:  Continue into a Hey (reel of four) across the set (in the middle, pass by left shoulders)…  and back.

B1:  Allemande left with your neighbor.  Swing (buzz step) partner.

B2:  Right and Left thru’ with the couple on your left diagonal - as a flourish, ladies can finish by twirling Cw. under their man’s left arm as he rotates Ccw. ¾.  (A top couple and a bottom couple wait-out these four bars.)
Right and left thru’ with the couple across the set.  (Everyone’s ‘progressed’ Cw..)

Dr Bluhm’s Delight

Author:  Rick Mohr

Form:  Contra, Becket.  Minor sets that are adjacent crossways could align themselves with each other - allowing wavy lines to be extended.

Watch at:

    * * *
A1:  In fours, circle left ¾.  Men return to place with their neighbor (whom only ½-circled).  (Optionally, since the lady’s on the man’s left, he could twirl her Ccw. into:)
Neighbors Swing.

A2:  Lines (new lady on right-hand side) forward and back (some ‘end’ couples may be waiting-out).
Left hands across to star Ccw. - men cross-over sides & face back (½-turn).  Ladies continue to circle a further ¾-turn to their neighbor with whom they form a wavy line i.e. they face in alternate directions.

B1:  ‘Balance’ the wave (lean/sway/step and double-bop to the right towards this ‘neighbor’, then left - ladies balance towards each other), release their l. h., so that neighbors can Allemande right two-thirds Cw., the man meets a man from his adjacent, minor set, by the l. h., or a man from an end couple that’s preparing to rejoin.  (If none, imagine a virtual man… )  (4 bars)
‘Balance’ your neighbor, then balance left (men to each other).  Men Allemande left ¾ (Ccw.) to return for "right hand to partner".  (4 bars)

B2:  ‘Balance’ right (to partner), then left.  (2)
Swing partner.  (6)

To allow the Cw. progression, end couples may now need to wait-out a ‘go’ (rejoining at B1).

Chuck the Budgie

Author:  Rick Mohr

Form:  Longways line of crossways couples.

Preparation:  Take hands four from the top.  Duple minor, ‘1’s improper (change places with partner).  Minor sets that are adjacent crossways could align themselves with each other - allowing wavy lines to be extended.

Watch at:
Music:  Flying Tent

    * * *
A1:  Men forward across the set and Allemande left a half-turn.
They go back to "Swing your neighbor" (whom they’ve just met - on their left).

A2:  (Still with neighbor) Face across.  Hold hands in fours, circle left ¾ (men return ‘home’ - with their lady) to "Swing your partner".

B1:  Re-form longways lines, go "forward and back".
Ladies Allemande right 1¼ turns to meet their neighbor (man) with a raised l. hand, "keep holding - left to your neighbor" - to form a wavy line.

B2:  Balance the (crossways) Wave:  balance this person (lean/sway right (ladies towards each other) - emphasized with a double dip/‘bop’… and flap/pump elbows), then balance left.
Ladies release r. hands and Allemande left ¾ around their neighbor to meet a new neighbor, and, without releasing left hands, make a longways, wavy line.  (4 bars)  (Men have progressed one place left, ladies right.)
Balance the (longways) Wave:  lean/sway/bop right (new neighbor), then left.
Everyone releases their l. hand, and Allemande right their new neighbor ½ around.  (4)  Couples that have reached an end, swap their designation (turn-back - as a couple) and wait-out a ‘go’.

Restart:  men continue-on to Allemande left…

Hay/Hey in the Barn

Author:  Chart Guthrie

Watch at:

Preparation:  Take hands four from the top.

Form:  Contra, duple minor.  Improper (first couple) - essentially symmetrical (i.e. ‘1’s and ‘2’s do exactly the same - but moving in the opposite direction).

    * * *
A1:  Neighbors two-handed balance - or meet with a ‘Box the Gnat’ (to either side), twirl - and swing.  (8)

A2:  Ladies chain across to their partner.  (4)
Continue smoothly into a Half-hey, start with ladies passing right shoulders.  (Men end-up crossed-over, ladies end-up on their ‘home’ side.)  (4)

B1:  Partners balance and swing.  (8)

B2:  Ladies chain across.  (Everyone’s crossed-over.)  (4)
Half-hey, ladies pass right shoulders to start.  After men pass each other, by the right shoulder, in the middle, they veer to their right to cut-the-corner and progress-on to meet a new neighbor.  (4)

On reaching an end, turn-back - as a couple, and wait-out a turn.

Love at First Swing

Author:  Bob Isaacs

Watch at: or:

Form:  Contra, Becket longways lines.  The progression is Cw. (effectively).

    * * *
A1:  Form lines of four across the set, facing down.  Advance four steps forward.  (2 bars)
The pair of ladies, holding hands with the central man only, pivot in front of him:  the ‘outside’ lady (r. h.) arches, the ‘inside’ lady ducks (remember the order after crossing rows at the ends), allowing that man to half-turn Cw..  (2)  Four steps back.  (2) ‘Outsides’ curl inward - dragging the line into a circle of four.  (The ladies returning to their man’s right.)  (2)

A2:  Keeping hands joined, balance in, lean back, release hands and Petronella turn (rotate ¾ Cw., while also moving Ccw. into the next position round), ‘clap-clap’…

B1:  Balance in, lean back, California twirl(This figure produces the Cw. progression).  Meet and swing the new person facing along the set.  (End couples need, as a pair, to turn-back and wait-out a turn.)

B2:  In fours, ¾ Circle Cw. (only the man completes a full circuit).  (Optionally, since his partner is on his left, the man can twirl her Ccw. into:)
Swing partner.

Simplicity Swing

Author:  Becky Hill

Preparation:  Take hands four from the top.

Form:  Duple, ‘1’s improper.

Watch at:

    * * *
A1:  Balance neighbor (meet double-handed, push-back to a single-handed [man’s right] lean-back).  (2 bars)
Swing neighbor. (Optionally, twirl lady Cw. into:)  (6 bars)

A2:  ¾ Circle left (ladies only half-circle), (Man could optionally twirl his partner Ccw. into:)  (3)
Swing partner.  (5)

B1:  Longways lines forward and back, stomp.  (4)
Ladies (or ‘Ravens’) Chain - partner crosses sides.  (4)

B2:  Ccw. Star - holding left wrist of person in front.  (4)
After 7/8-turn, peel-off to do-si-do (with an optional twirl) around new neighbor.  (4)
or, if reached an end, swap rows and wait-out a ‘turn’ (or swing one’s partner instead).


Watch at:

Music:  Benton’s Hallucinations

Form:  Becket lines.

    * * *
A1:  Men Allemande left a half-turn with the opposite man.  (3 bars)
Swing partner.  (5)

A2:  In fours, holding hands, circle left around.  (4)
Couples jink left along the line to pass around their neighbors, jink right to pass thru’ (men in the middle) their advancing, new neighbors (or, if ejected at an end, the couple turn-back together and Allemande right with the following couple, then wait-out a turn - until the next ‘jink thru'’).  (4)

B1:  Allemande right ½-turn with the subsequent, advancing couple (or, if ejected at an end, Allemande right partner), and return to the new neighbors.  (4)
Swing that neighbor.  (4)

B2:  Longways lines go forward three, tap & back.  (4)
Ladies Allemande right (1¼-turns) the opposite lady - returning to their partner.  (4)

Rock the Cradle, Joe

Author:  Ridge Kennedy

Form:  Longways lines of crossways couples.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  Couple facing couple… (symmetrical - effectively couple ‘1’ will be ‘improper’).  In fours, form a crossways, wavy line - ladies overlap in the middle.  Minor sets that are adjacent crossways could align themselves - allowing wavy lines to be extended.

Watch at:  (Caller: Darlene Underwood)
Music:  Turnpike Warrior.

    * * *
A1:  Balance the wave (lean/sway/double-bop towards the right, then to the left - so, four beats.  (2 bars)
Roll (Cw.) across to the right, in front of your ‘opposite’.  (2)
Back in wavy lines, balance to the left, then right.  (2)
Roll (Ccw.) back - in front of ‘opposite’.  (2)

A2:  Taking two hands with ‘opposite’, lean back, pull together and swing.  Finish in two, facing, longways lines.  (8)

B1:  Lines forward, taking two hands with partner, the man pulls his partner back to his side for a swing.  (8)

B2:  In fours circle left ¾, lady on her partner’s right…  (4)
…into a wavy line of four (ladies in the centre) holding hands across the set.
Balance the wave, lean back and pull through (optional twirl) to meet an approaching couple with whom to form a new, crossways, wavy line.  (4)  (…or, if at an end, turn-back as a couple and wait-out a turn.)

Expert Bits

Author: Peter Stix

Music:  Perpetual e-Motion - Eleanor Rigby

Watch at:

Form:  Longways lines of crossways couples.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top so that couple-faces-couple… (symmetrical - effectively couple ‘1’ will be ‘improper’).  Nudge right slightly and form a crossways, wavy line - men overlap in the middle.  Minor sets that are adjacent crossways could align themselves with each other - allowing wavy lines to be extended.
The eventual progression for couples is forward - along the major set.

    * * *
A1:  Balance (lean/sway, double-dip/bop… flap elbows) the Wave to the right, then the left  (2 bars), men roll/twirl Cw. towards their right (in front of the other man) - back to partner  (2 bars), swing partner.  (4 bars)

A2:  Ladies Chain across  (4), ladies cross/pull-thru by the right  (2), Allemande left partner ¾ into crossways waves - still with partner and with ladies in the middle…  (2)

B1:  Balance the Wave to the right, then left  (2), ladies twirl across to their right  (2), swing neighbor.  (4)

B2:  Couples cross the set (ladies meet by the left with a ¼-turn), to form a crossways Wavy line (2), balance the wave to the right, left (2), pull forward (and slightly to the right) to the next neighbors (if at an end, turn-back as a couple, and wait-out a ‘go’),
Allemande left a full-turn into a crossways Wave - men in the middle…  (4)


Heartbeat Contra

Author:  Don Flaherty

Music:  36s: C-R Logston - a *Highlander’s Farewell jam;  35s: Payne & Money - Sheepskins and Beeswax;  33s: We Banjo 3 - (from 1m40) Sheepskins and Beeswax.

Watch at:

Form:  Longways lines of crossways couples.

Preparation:  Longways lines of crossways couples.  Take hands in fours from the top, ‘1’s improper.

    * * *
A1:  Balance the Ring (2 bars),  In circles of four, pull-forward (stepping forward on the right… ) close and tap with the left foot… then lean back,
Petronella (2),  twirl ¾ Cw. to the right, clap-clap,
Repeat. (4)

A2:  Balance the Ring (2), … (optionally lady can twirl Ccw. under neighbor’s l. arm into:)
Swing Neighbor. (6)

B1:  Ladies Gypsy round once or they meet two-handed, one lady raises l. hand for the other to rotate Ccw. under and both rotate Cw. …  or do something! (4)
Swing Partner. (4)

B2:  Holding hands, Circle left ¾. (4)
Balance (still in a ring) (2),
California Twirl partner (to face new, oncoming neighbors). (2)
…or, if at an end, turn-back as a couple, swap designation and wait-out a turn.

There and Back Again

Author:  Heather Carmichael

Watch at:

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.

Form:  duple, ‘1’s improper.

Start in cross-ways wavy lines - ladies overlap in the middle.  Minor sets that are adjacent crossways could align themselves - allowing wavy lines to be extended.

    * * *
A1:  Balance the Wave  (2 bars), Twirl (Cw.) right.  (2 bars)
Catching neighbor to Allemande Left 1½.  (4) returning to:

A2:  Previous neighbor Balance meet double-handed, push-back to a single-handed (man’s right) lean-back & swing  (2, 6) or man raises left arm, lady twirls-in Ccw. (to her neighbor’s right) and, wrapped in a clinch, they rotate Cw..  Eventually the lady is released to twirl-out Cw..

B1:  Circle Left ¾.  (4)  Partner (since his partner’s on his left - the man could twirl her Ccw. into:) swing.  (4)

B2:  Hold hands (partner and 'opposites’) in circles of four, Balance pull-in, out…  the Ring  (2), and ladies pass as they cross through to form a wavy-line with original opposites (from A1).  (2)

Balance the wave  (2) and pull forward to a new neighbor.  (2)

Progress is:  back one couple, and forward two.  End couples need to remain alert!

Coconut Cream Pie

Author:  Lynn Ackerson

Music:  The Great Bear Trio - *Garbage in A

Watch at:

Form:  Lines comprising two adjacent, crossways couples facing two crossways couples, i.e. each minor set has eight people.  (Quadrille)

    * * *
A1:  Lines of four, Forward and Back  (4).  Center four Right Hand Star  (4)…
…while ends do ‘whatever they want’.

A2:  Partner, Allemande Left c. 1¼  (4).  New Center four Right Hand Star  (4)…
…new ends do ‘whatever they want’.

B1:  Balance meet double-handed, push-bac to a single-handed (man’s right) lean-back & Swing Partner  (2, 6).

B2:  As a group of eight Circle Left ½  (4), Balance Ring  (2), California Twirl Partner to turn to face a new line of four  (2).  So the progression continues in the same direction - but everyone has swapped lines…  unless at an end - where a pair of couples turn-back and wait-out a turn.

Box the Gnat Contra

Author:  Becky Hill

Watch at:

Form:  Longways lines.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  Duple, ‘1’s improper.  Face neighbor.

    * * *
A1:  Single-handed Balance neighbor (along the line), ‘Box the Gnat’ with neighbor.
Face across, single-handed Balance partner, ‘Box the Gnat’ (end-up crossed-over diagonally).

A2:  Double-handed, Balance neighbor, Swing neighbor.

B1:  Face across, ladies Allemande by the right - one complete turn.
Swing Partner.

B2:  Right-left thru’ pass opposites by the right, ‘Swat the Flea’ (lady twirls Cw. under her neighbor’s left arm) by the left…  ready to:
Ladies chain across, ending with a ‘Swat the Flea’ again, so they end-up back-to-back - each facing a new neighbor.

Repeat…  or, if at an end, turn-around, swap designation and wait-out a turn.

Mad Mad World

Author:  Martha Wild

Music:  *On the Danforth

Watch at:

Form:  Longways lines of crossways couples.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  Duple, ‘1’s improper.

    * * *
A1:  Lines forward & back.
Mad Robin (sideways do-si-do, ladies cross in front first) new neighbor.  At ends, change designation, turn-around, wait-out a turn, rejoin at next A1.

A2:  Ladies cross - passing to the right - to partner.
Gypsy once around partner.
Swing partner.

B1:  Couples Pass through (to the left of neighbor) across the set.
California twirl.
Mad Robin (men first) partner.

B2:  Men cross - passing to the right.
Gypsy once around neighbor.
Swing neighbor.  (Finish with lady on right.)

Joel’s In The Kitchen

Author:  Sue Rosen

Watch at:  or:  Music:  28th of January, Haphazard Breakdown

Form:  Becket.

    * * *
A1:  Long Lines Forward and Back.  (4)
Ladies Chain to a circle of four.  (4)

A2:  Balance the Ring,  (2) twirl one place to the right (as in Petronella).  (2)
Repeat.  (4)

B1:  Balance the Ring,  (2)
couples Cross the set (pass to the left of partner);  then, with partner, turn to pass-thru’ along the line (to the right of neighbor).  (2)
Swing the next neighbor.  (4) or, if at an end, swing partner, swap places and wait-out…  or re-join.

B2:  Circle of four Cw. ¾.  (4) (the lady’s on the man’s left - so, optionally, he can twirl his partner Ccw. into:)
Swing Partner.  (4)

The Amazing Sarah Wilcox

Author:  Tom Hinds

Watch at:

Music:  The Squid, The Seagull.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.

Form:  Duple, ‘2’s improper (‘1’s progress ‘upwards’)

    * * *
A1:  Circle Left ¾ (4 bars), swing Partner.  (4)

A2:  Circle Left ¾ (4), swing Neighbor.  (4)

B1:  Lines Forward & Back.  (4)
Chain three around (R-L-R).  (4)

B2:  Face out in long lines, Balance towards neighbor, then previous neighbor,  (2) lady rolls across (to her left - in front of her neighbor).  (2)
Balance towards new neighbor, then neighbor,  (2) end couples change designation and wait-out…  or, if already waiting out, face outwards and re-join the line.
California twirl new neighbor - to face-in.  (2)

3-33 (“Three Thirty-Three”)

Author:  Steve Zakon-Anderson

Watch at:

Form:  Longways lines of crossways couples.

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.  Duple, ‘1’s improper.

    * * *
A1: Take right hands with neighbor (in your minor set), balance (forward, tap, back, tap) and pull-by.  (2 bars, 1 bar)  If at an end, balance person opposite (partner) and continue round the corners (men Cw., ladies Ccw.).
Pull-by left with #2 neighbors.  (1)
Take right hands with #3 neighbors, balance and Box the Gnat.  (2, 2)

A2:  Pull-by right #3 neighbors,  (1)
pull-by left #2 neighbors.  (1)
Swing original neighbors. (6)  If left at an end, wait-out during B1-B2.  Then, change designation and continue normally at the subsequent A1.

B1:  Circle left ¾.  (3)
Swing Partner.  (5)

B2:  Long lines (Becket) go forward and back.  (4)
Ladies do-si-do a complete turn - twirling around each other and swapping sides.  (4)

Alternatives for B2:  ladies chain across (4) and l. h. star (Ccw.).  (4)

Mange Tak ("Many Thanks")

Author:  Ron Buchanan

Watch at:

Form:  Take hands in fours. ‘2’s improper.

    * * *

A1:  Two-handed balance and swing new neighbor.  (8)

A2:  Couples cross the set - thru’ (to the left of) the opposites, to form a wavy line across the set.  (2)
Balance the wave.  (2)

Neighbors Allemande r. ½ around, men pull-by l. across the set.  (2)
Allemande partner r. ¼.  (2)

B1:  Along the line, (to shadow) Allemande l. ½.  (3)
Along the line, return to swing partner.  (5)

B2:  Couples Cross thru’ the opposites, to form a wavy line.  (2)
Balance the wave.  (2)

Allemande right ¼, men pull-by l..  (2)
Allemande neighbor r. ¼.  (2)
Along the line, progress to a new neighbor.  (At ends, change designation and wait-out a turn.)

Flourishes - Twirling
Hands are held loosely - allowing relative rotation. 
The couple approach each other with:

Suggested Contra Tracks (mainly 32-bar)
37s: Becky Tracy - Arizona;
36s: We Banjo 3 - Good Time, Old Time;
35s: Perpetual e-Motion - Vladi on the Trans-Siberian, Mean Lids - Midnight Wander;
34s: The Great Bear Trio - *Benton’s Hallucinations, The Gardener, Flook - *Larry …/Elzic’s Farewell, George Penk, Clyde Curley & Susan Songer - Merriweather/Sally Ann Johnson set, Michael Daves - *The 28th January, Hotpoint Stringband - *Bus Stop Reel, Mean Lids - Feel the Bubbles/Sally in the Garden;
33s: Tidal Wave (Contra Quebecois) - Reel à Bruce/Reel De Terrebonne/Reel Du Nord, Perpetual e-Motion - Bridge the Gap, Cluck Old Hen, Turnpike Warrior/Mom/Kandahar set, The Great Bear Trio - *The Randomanians, Jenny’s Groove, Andrew and Noah Band - Cascade/Dial Pancake, Hotpoint Stringband - Big John MacNeil/Elzic’s Farewell set, Jeff City/Dolly McFadden’s Favorite/… set, Come Along Jody/…Dog, Genticorum - Reel Circulaire, Stringdancer - Bad Axe Breakdown, Vitamin String Quartet - Billie Jean;
32s: Perpetual e-Motion - Sandy Boys/Beth Cohen’s set, The Great Bear Trio - Contra Dance, The Hat Thief Lake City/The Monarch (30s), George Penk, Clyde Curley & Susan Songer - Mad River/…/Hey Little Girl set, Andrew and Noah Band (Great Bear) - *Elusive Goose, Cascade/Dial Pancake, Toss the Possum - *The Volunteer, Blackberry Blossom, Elzic’s Farewell, Hanneke Cassel - *Dot the Dragon’s Eyes, The Lost and Nameless Orchestra - Jeff Davis/Phoenix, Dizzy Molly/Delaney/…McNeil, Kaiser Family - Hey Little Girl/Hangman’s Reel, Tom Adler & Co. (incl. Rob Pine) - Sweet Nell, Hotpoint Stringband - Juneteenth/Opera Reel, Warsaw/*Haphazard Breakdown set, The Gothard Sisters - *Against the Grain!, Béla Fleck - *Frosty Morning, Mean Lids - Glory Box, Chattanooga, Tidal Wave (Contra Music Of Quebec) - Set des Frères Pigeon/Répertoire Gerard Lajoie/Reel St Michel, Quadrille De Beauharnois/Reel Américain/Reel De Bergeville, Vitamin String Quartet or Taylor Davis - *Thriller, Organic Strings or Alexandr Misko - Billie Jean;
31s: The Great Bear Trio - *Garbage in A, Buddy System - *Ride the Wheel, Mean Lids - Waterbound, Firecloud - *Sandy Boys/… , Toss the Possum - Catharsis, Perpetual e-Motion - *Eleanor Rigby;
30s: Blazin’ Fiddles - Pat The Budgie, Perpetual e-Motion - Greasy Coat/Sally Ann, The Great Bear Trio - Rec Hall/Redstone Reel/Allen Street.

Electro/Techno (non-32-bar structure)
34s: Firecloud - Smith Mountain/High Avalanche Danger, DR Shadow (Benjamin Smith) - Hills;
33s: Perpetual e-Motion - Bridge the Gap, DR Shadow - First Chance;
32s: Perpetual e-Motion - *Flying Tent, DR Shadow - *Glory in the House, Midnight, Drop, In the Bucket, Cluck This, Firecloud - *Eyeball Tacos;
31s: Firecloud - *Get Serious.

American Square Dances usually comprise two alternating parts:  the distinctive main figure, unique to each dance and repeated by each couple in turn, and the ‘break’ or ‘chorus’, a formulaic combination - elements of which can be repeated from dance-to-dance, e.g. ‘Allemande your corner by the left, Right-Left Grand’, ‘You swing mine (partner), I’ll swing yours’ or ‘Promenade around the ring’…
    … and ‘calling’ employs a characteristic, rhyming ‘patter’.

Danced to reels - usually multiples of 16 bars, played in Bluegrass-style.

Texas Star

(A ‘breakdown’ style of square dance.)

Watch at:  ‘Called’ by Phil Jamison.

All hold hands and circle left, “Circle of eight”, “other way back - and don’t be slow”/“Don’t be late”.  (16 beats)

“Swing your partner high & swing her low” or “Everybody home and swing”.  (8 beats)

“Promenade (with a heel & a toe)” Ccw. until you’re home.  (16 beats)

    * * *
Main Figure (44 bars)
“All four ladies go…  in to the middle” (3 steps and clap neighbors’ hands), ladies reverse out (“and back to the bar”).  (8 beats, 4 bars)

“ …and the gents go in with a r. hand star” (Cw., grip wrists)…  (8 beats)

…then turn back for a l. hand star back.  (8 beats)

Men pass their partner with a slight bow and pick-up (arm around her waist) the next lady (to progress) “Take the next” with r. hand, “right by your side”, continue, circling back to man’s place.  (8 beats)

Men let go l. hand so that couples can wheel around Ccw. (men reverse) 1½ times: “Gents swing out and ladies in”/“Insides out and outsides in - it’s once-and-a-half and you’re goin’ ag’in” i.e. ladies r. hand star, men hang-on outside their partner.  (16 beats)

“Break that star, and swing”.  (8 beats)

Promenade (crossed-hands, in front) to the man’s home place (optionally, a few steps from home, the man can raise his r. hand so that the lady can twirl back to place).  (16 beats)

All hold hands and circle left, “Circle left - eight hands around”, “other way back”.  (16 beats)

Repeat the dance a further three times (by going back to:  “All four ladies go… ”).


The Break… (between main figures) or ‘chorus’

‘Rip & Snort’ (Sometimes also used as a finishing ‘trimming’.)

All join hands.  The first man, with his new lady, go ‘R & S’:  couple 3 make an arch and ‘1’s, still holding hands, pass through it, “First couple down the centre… ”, pulling their adjacent couples through.  Couple 1 separate (only releasing their partner’s hand), round the outside of the set, and meet back home (couple 3 need to ‘unwind’ under their arch together).  Couple 1 rejoin hands;

“‘4’s arch and ‘2’s duck through”/“Couple 2, come on thru”;

‘1’s arch, “Couple 3 go through that door”;

‘2’s arch, “Couple 4, you know what to do”.  (Total = 4 x c. 8 beats)

Georgia Rang-Tang

Watch at:

Opener  (c. 32 bars)
Circle left.  (16 beats)

Swing partner.  (8 beats)

Promenade Ccw.  (8 beats)

Put the lady on the left - to swap sides…  (8)

…ladies continue circling Ccw. - men turn back and go the other way around.  When you meet, “Swing your own” - until the next music phrase.

Find another couple…  “Lost and found in the middle of the floor”.  (c. 8 beats - until the next music phrase)

Main Figure (c. 24 bars)
The Georgia Rang Tang figure shares similarities with the Arkansas Traveler figure.

    * * *
(As couple-facing-couple:) Right hand Allemande a half/third turn-around your ‘opposite’ person (“Turn your opposite by the right hand around.”),  (6 steps)

l. hand half-turn around partner (“Partner by the left hand around.”),  (5 steps)

r. hand half-around with opposite,  (6 steps)

l. hand with partner,  (5 steps.  So a total of c. 22 beats/steps so far)

swing your opposite, so “You swing mine, I’ll swing yours… ”

…“and now swing your own”.  (c. 8 + 8 steps, so total = c. 38 steps/beats)

Move-on to the right to the next couple, inner couples move Cw., outers move Ccw..  (c. 10 steps/beats)

Repeat the figure…

Finally: “Promenade that one you know.  You know where and I don’t care…  Take your partner to an easy chair.  That’s all there is from this ol’ square”.

Dip and Dive

As called by Bob Dalsemer at: and

Music:  Need to start very slowly - perhaps for a walkthrough?  Then try:  Mick O’Brien & C O’R - *Rolling in the Ryegrass set  (16 bars in 20s of initially relaxed, but infectious, fiddling).

Form:  square.  Prepare by dancing a G. R.-T. figure.

    * * *
Main Figure (consists of c. 56 bars or c. 36/37 bars without the G. R.-T.)
The first couple lead-out to their right - to couple 2.  The two couples hold hands to make a circle which they half-turn Cw..  Couples 1, 2 and 4 are now in a ‘line of three’ couples across the set - with couple 2 in the middle.  4 bars

Couple 2 make a single-handed arch and move forward.  Couple 1, facing towards the line, dive under the arch and then make an arch themselves as they continue forward towards the advancing couple 3.  Couple 2 then turn around with a ‘California Twirl’ or, if desired, the man swaps sides by leading round the back of the lady, she swaps sides half-turning Ccw. ‘into’ him - so that her left arm is wrapped across her waist.  (After the couple has ‘dip’ped through the oncoming arch, the lady then ‘unwrap’s - by rotating Cw. once).  “Insides arch and outsides under, ‘Dip and Dive’, you go like thunder”…  twice across until couple 1 are in the middle.  (12 bars)

“On you go - it’s on to the next”.  Couple 1 then break-off to half-circle left with couple 3  (4 bars), and either: perform a ‘Georgia Rang-Tang’:  “(Half-)turn your left hand lady by the right hand around”, etc..  (10 bars) and swing (2 bars)…
or:  couple 3 arch and ‘1’s simply dive thru’ and move-on.  (c. 3 bars)

After the “swing your own” at the end of the G. R.-T. figure, couple 1 move-on to hold hands with couple 4 and half-circle Cw. - so couples 2, 4 and 1 are in a line across the set.  (4 bars)

The middle couple (couple 4) make the arch, couple 1, facing the line, dive under the arch - then the three couples Dip ‘n’ Dive across twice until couple 1 are in the middle.  (12 bars)

Include a ‘break’ figure here?

Restart - with couple 2 as the working couple.

Break figure suggestions (choose, say two, for the last 16 bars):

Long Swing “Now home we go, what ya goin’ do?  You swing your partner and she’ll swing you”.  “Step right back and watch her grin, step right up and swing her ag’in, step right back and watch her smile, step right up and swing her awhile”.

Do-si-do:  “Dance around your corners all…, dance around your partners all… ”.  (8 + 8 steps)

“Allemande left your corner (with your ol’ left hand) - then ya’ walk straight into a R-L Grand”.  (4 + 12 steps)

“Promenade with your partner - go two-by-two (or just ‘one-step’) - right back home like you used to do”.  (16 steps)

Circle: “All hands up and circle south; put a little moonshine in your mouth…  and find your way back on that same ol’ track”.  (8 + 8 steps)

Kentucky Do-Si-Do

As called by Bob Dalsemer at:

Form:  square.  The caller’s priority should be to keep the working couple progressing smoothly, rather than calling to the music’s phrasing.

Preparation:  Walk-thru the Do-si-do & promenade figure in two, two-couple groups.

Circle left eight steps, “the other way back, single file, ladies in front”;  everybody cross-hand swing partner, corner swing, promenade partner round the ring “promenade them two-by-two”. (8 + c. 12 bars)

    * * *
Main figure  (c. 36 bars)
First couple lead-out to their right - to the second couple, with whom they hold hands and circle left: “Out to the right and circle of four” (3 bars).  “On to the next, circle of four” (3)…  and “on to the next, circle of four” (3)…  and “bring it on up with a (Kentucky) do-si-do”: “(half-) turn partner by the left and around you go” (3), “opposite right and around you go” (2), partner left (3), opposite right “and one more change and around you go” or “and all four change and on you go” (2), to meet partner by the left. (1)

The two men curl round Ccw. so that they can promenade (crossed-hands in front) their partner around the other couple (men should be close - shoulder-to-shoulder) and back home.  Both men (1st and 4th) should commence this figure as they pass back-to-back, “back home you go”.  (4)

Everybody two-handed lean-back with partner and swing ½ around, “partner swing” (2), everybody pass-by to two-handed lean-back and swing corner ½ around, “corner swing” (2), pass-back to promenade partner around the ring.  (8)

Second couple lead-out to the right and circle four… etc..

Third couple go out to the right… etc..

Fourth couple… etc..

Arkansas Traveler

(Known as The Georgia Rang-Tang in the eastern USA)

Form:  square.

Watch Bill Litchman call at:

    * * *
Head two couples go forward four steps and back.  4 bars

Main figure

(Half-)Turn (Allemande) your opposite with the right hand around.  2 bars  (c. 5 steps/counts)

Turn your partner with the left hand around.  3 bars  (c. 5 steps)

‘Opposite’ right hand around.  2 bars  (c. 5 steps)

Back to your own (partner) with a left hand ’round.  3 bars  (c. 5 steps)

Then a Break figure (for a total of 32 bars, one needs about another 18 bars)

Repeat three times…  Same two head men with their new partners go forward and back etc. …

Then repeat the whole sequence with side couples leading.

Bouquet Waltz

or Pokey-O

(A ‘progressive pick-up’ style of square dance.)

(As called by Bob Dalsemer on YouTube.)
Form:  square.  ‘Calling’ needs to react to dancers’ progress rather than music phrasing.

Music:  Uncle Earl - Backstep Cindy.

    * * *
Couple 1 step into the middle, Allemande by the left hand once around.  (5 steps)
Lady stays there, gent makes a “circle of three” with couple number 2 and they circle left, Cw., once around.  (c. 7 steps)

Couple 1 Allemande left (hand) in the middle.

“Gent go on” to couple number 3 making a “circle of three”, lady follows-up making a circle of three with couple 2, both circle left (about 3 times) and both circles rotate Ccw. once around each other.

Couple 1 Allemande left in the middle.

Gent goes on to couple 4, “lady follow-up” with couple 3, “two circles of three”, both circle left and both circles rotate Ccw. once around.

Couple 1 Allemande left in the middle.

Couple 1 go on to couple 4 to make a 4-person circle that’s circling left, the other two couples make another 4-person circle that’s also circling left… both two-couple circles then rotate Ccw. around each other once.  “Four-by-four go round the floor… four-by-four and you ‘Pokey-o’ - take four in a bunch and round you go”.

Couple 2 step into the middle and Allemande left.

Lady stays in the middle, man goes on to circle left once with couple number 3… etc..

Include a ‘break’ figure here….

Couple 3 etc.

Couple 4 etc..

Examples of ubiquitous ‘break’ figures

Finally:  “Promenade that one you know.  You know where and I don't care… take your partner to an easy chair.  That’s all there is from this ol’ square”.
Or:  “Promenade around the floor.  That’s all there is… there ain’t no more.”
Or:  “Bow to your partner, bow to your corner too.  There you go, that’s it - we’re through”.

The Rout (not dissimilar to ‘Chain Double Quadrille’)

As called by Tony Parkes at:
and also at: to Glise de Sherbrooke

Music:  The basic main figure takes 32 bars.  48 bars when the ‘R-L thru'’s are included.  32-bar, starting slowly (44s) - speeding to 31s: Hawktail - *Abbzug.  16-bar, 17s: Ron Block - Devil in the Strawstack.

Form:  square.

Note:  The degree of ‘courtesy-turn’ differs (¼ or ¾) between couples - affecting timing.


Head couples bow to partner, then corner.  4-bar intro.

Hold hands, circle left eight steps and then right.  8 bars

    * * *
Main figure - the basic version omits the four ‘R and L thru'’s (shown below in a paler, italic font)

Both head couples lead to the couple on their right.

“Everybody circle left”.  The head/side men break their circle to open it out into a line - so, ending with two, longways/sideways, two-couple lines facing each other.  4 bars

Into the middle (where ‘outsides’ clap free hands) and back.  4 bars

Across the set, everybody forward, ‘Right and Left thru'’, finish with a courtesy-turn.  4 bars

With the same two - “Chain those ladies across the set/track”.  (Ladies cross, by the r. hand, to the opposite man.)  Finish with a courtesy-turn (or, as a flourish, ladies can finish by twirling Cw. under the man’s left arm as he rotates Ccw.).  4 bars

Facing along the line, two ladies’ chain, finish with a courtesy-turn.  4 bars

With the same two - along the line, everybody ‘Right and left thru'’.  4 bars

Across the set, chain those ladies.  4 bars

Same two - across the set, ‘Right and left thru'’.  4 bars

Along the line, ‘Right and left thru'’.  4 bars

Same two - Along the line, chain those ladies.  4 bars

Courtesy-turn twice around…  “You’ve got your own” and Promenade Ccw. (“around the town”) (end flourish: man raises left arm and lady twirls under it).  8 bars

Then repeat with the side couples leading… (but making two, cross-ways lines).

Hash Break figures:  do-si-do your corners all, left shoulder do-si-do your partner, men r. h. star once around, turn partner left, turn corner right, turn partner left;  ladies r. h. star, ladies l. h. star, do-si-do partner and swing partner.  32 bars

All join hands and circle left and home you go.  8 bars

The Rout - Alternative version (where ladies circulate twice around the set)

“Everybody forward”, across the set, R-L thru’.  (4 bars, 4 steps + 4 steps)
Along the line, ladies’ chain.
Across the set, ladies’ chain.
Down the line, everybody R-L thru’.

Across the set, ladies’ chain.
Down the line, R-L thru’.
Across the set, R-L thru’.
Down the line, ladies’ chain…   (8 x 4 bars)

Courtesy turn once/twice around and promenade - “around the square”…  or: “we’re homeward bound”.  8 bars

Break:  Do-si-do partner…  Allemande left your corner, R-L Grand.

Down Yonder

Watch at:

Music:  40-bar reel.  Own tune.  38s: Randall Franks, Fairchild & Shuler - Down Yonder.

Form:  square.  (Break, two main figures, break, two main figures, break.)

(As called by Bob Dalsemer on YouTube.)

Break Figure:
1-6  Face corner, Allemande left twice around…  keep holding l. hands

7-8  then, in a circle - ladies innermost facing out i.e. Alamo-style, while also holding partner’s r. h., balance (pull-in to partner, then lean-back)

9-10  let go left hand only and swing half-around partner to also hold l. h. with the next person (so men circulate Ccw. around the set, ladies go Cw.)

11-12  balance (pull-in to that person, then rock-back)

13-14  then let go r. hand and swing half-around

15-22  repeat bars 7-14 with the last two people

23-26  R-L Grand Chain back home

27-30  meet and do-si-do your partner

31-40  promenade your partner once around the set.

    * * *
Main Figure:

1-8  4 ladies/men chain… and chain back

9-12  walk Cw. round your corner, (final time around: ladies twirl under their l. arm and honour)

13-16  ‘see-saw’ (walk Ccw. around) your partner

17-22  go back and swing your corner

23-30  next corner Allemande left…  into a R-L Grand

31-34  meet and do-si-do the one you just swung

35-40  promenade that lady back home (i.e. half-way round the set).

Singing Call for ‘Down Yonder’


“Turn corner left twice around…   In the Alamo style:
give right hand to your partner and you balance awhile,
turn by the right and you balance, I say,
turn by the left and you balance that way,
turn by the right and you balance once more,
turn left, balance (your own)…

Grand right and left the floor.
You’re going down yonder, until you meet your own,
and then you ‘do-si-do’ your partner boys and promenade home.
You’re raising a fuss and a hullabaloo, but she’s going down yonder with you”.

Main Figure:

“Four ladies/gents chain, turn the opposite man/gal,

now chain ’em back, turn your partner again.

‘Do-si-do’ your corner and ‘see saw’ your own/partner around.

Your corner you swing, you’ve got the world on a string.

You do an Allemande left, and a Grand right and left.

You’re going down yonder, until you meet the one you swung,

and then you ‘do-si-do’ this partner boys and promenade home.

You’re raising a fuss and a hullabaloo, but she’s going down yonder with you”.

Suggested Bluegrass Tracks (to accompany American Square Dances)

42s:  Johnny Cash - Casey Jones - (Steamin’ and a Rollin’, obviously!), vocal content;
41s:  Bourbon Street Stompers - Oh Susanna;
39s:  Ricky Skaggs - Missing Vassar;
37s:  Bruce Molsky - *Shove the Pig’s Foot… , We Banjo 3 - *John Brown/The Lost Indian/Sail … set;
36s:  Bucketboy Bluegrass Band - Kitchen Girl/June Apple, We Banjo 3 - *Good Time, Old Time, Mark Johnson - *Booth Shot Lincoln, Lone Pine String Band - Angeline the Baker, John Hartford - Squirrel Hunters, Jim Hendricks - Ballad of Casey Jones (instrumental), We Banjo 3 - Little Liza Jane (vocal content);
35s:  The Gilded Bats - Sal’s Got Mud Between her Toes, Mean Lids - Red Prairie Dawn, Matt and Tom Turino - Cuiver River Shiver, Mark O’Connor - Say Old Man, The Wayfarers - Angeline the Baker;
34s:  Studio Musicians – Turkey in the Straw, The Sons of Pioneers - *Oh Susanna, Govannen - *Billy in the Low Ground, Ron Block - *Devil in the Strawstack, Tom and Matt Turino - Scavanger’s Delight, Devil in the Details, The Grascals - *Old Dangerfield, The Great Bear Trio - Weedwalker/Winchells Falls, Chance McCoy & Appalachian String Band - *Greasy Coat, Michael McGoldrick, Lunny & Molsky - *Sail Away Ladies/Walking in The Parlour, Amy Alvey & Brad Leftwich - Indian on a Stump, Brittany Haas - John Brown’s Dream, John Reischman - Walk Along John to Kansas;
33s:  Kenny Baker - Smoky Mountain Rag, Art Stamper – Old Arkansas, Bryan Sutton - Kitchen Girl, Duck River, Smith’s Reel, Mark O’Connor - Tennessee Wagoner, Jim Hendricks - Mountain Dew, Empty Bottle String Band - *Booth Shot Lincoln, Bill Monroe & the Bluegrass Boys - Ashland Breakdown, Matt Turino - Jane’s Birthday, Abrams Brothers - Nashville Skyline Rag, We Banjo 3 - Road to Errogie/President Gardfield;
32s:  Art Stamper - Miss Spencer’s Reel, Goodbye Girls, I’m Going to Boston, Corrina Rose Logston - Smokey Mountain Rag, Chance McCoy & the Appalachian String Band - Twin Sisters, Cranberry Rock, Roy Acuff & Smoky Mountain Boys - Black Mountain Rag, The Steeldrivers - Whiskey Before Breakfast, J. T. Perkins - Bill Cheatum, Martin Simpson et al. - Gather the Owls, Kevin Griffin et al. - *The Green Mountain/… Westport/… Oranmore set, Mean Lids - Waterbound, Water Tower - Red Prairie Dawn, The Nashville Bluegrass Band - Old Timey Risin’ Damp, Jones, Miller & Nelson - Possum on a Rail, unspecified - Sweet Sunny South, Crooked Still - *Angeline the Baker (some vocal content);
31s:  Richard Durrant - Billy in the Low Ground, Mason Williams or Various Artists - Ragtime Annie, Corrina Rose Logston - Laughing Boy, Bela Fleck – Rocky Road (2 + 32 bars), Hawktail - Abbzug (40s->31s), Bruce Molsky - John Brown’s Dream (some vocal content), Cotton-Eye Joe, Chance McCoy & the Appalachian String Band - Indian Ate a Woodchuck, Shelvin Rock, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper - Jerusalem Ridge, Aubrey Haynie - *Foolin’ Around, Foghorn Stringband - Grigsby’s Hornpipe, Art Stamper - *Jenny Lind, Sweet Dixie, Studio musicians - Flop-Eared Mule, Full Cord - Cluck Old Hen, Corrina Rose Logston - Sandridge, Mountain Heart - Barn Dance;
30s:  Mike Scott - *Sally Goodin, New Grass Revival - *Casey Jones, Steeldrivers - Angelina Baker, Broken Circle Breakdown Band, Krüger Brothers - *Reuben’s Train, Hot Buttered Rum - *Old Dangerfield, Water Tower Bucket Boys - Greasy Coat, Kenny Baker – Black Mountain Rag, The Bluegrass Album Band - Brown County Breakdown, Benton Flippen - Fly Around my Pretty Little Miss, Foghorn Stringband - Lost Girl, Craig Duncan - Ragtime Annie, Frank Blevins & Rattlers - Susannah Gal (FAmPLM?)/Old Aunt Betsy (both have some vocal content);
29s:  Aubrey Haynie - Hamilton Special, Bill Monroe & the Bluegrass Boys - Tallahassee, Jim Mills - “Reuben”, Soggy Bottom Boys - Angeline the Baker, Chance McCoy & the Appalachian String Band - Jimmy Johnson, Aubrey Haynie - Bill Cheatham, The Kruger Brothers - Angeline The Baker, Charlie Moore - Maple Sugar Reel, Art Stamper - Martha Campbell, Newton Boys or Kentucky Colonels - Alabama Jubilee, Uncle Earl - Julianne Johnson;
28s:  Aubrey Haynie - Bill Cheathem, World’s Greatest Bluegrass Banjos - Farewell Blues, Andrew Vogts - *Sadie at the Back Door, Blue Ridge Boys - Sandy River Belle, Brittany Haas et al. - *Giardian Angel, Art Stamper - Red Apple Rag, Lost Mountain - Possum on a Rail, Uncle Earl - Walkin’ in My Sleep, Chance McCoy et al. - Dance all Night… (some vocal content), Iron Mountain Band - Sugar Hill (some vocal content);
27s:  Bruce Molsky - Johnson City Rag, Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys - Big Sandy River, Nora Brown & Stephanie Coleman (at Pewter Sessions) - *Last Chance.

9.5s:  Hobart Smith - *Pretty Polly.

17.5s: Corrina Rose Logston - *Highlander’s Farewell, 17s:  Ron Block - *Devil in the Strawstack;  16s:  Mike Kerin et al. - Chicken Reel, The Bog/Foghorn Stringband - Nancy Rowland, Georgia Jays - *Devil in the Strawstack;  15s:  Gordon Terry - The Chicken Reel.

22s:  *Dirk Powell – Sally Ann;  21s:  Craig Duncan - Sally Ann;  19s:  Adam Hurt - Say Old Man (I Want Your Daughter).

26s:  Rattle on the Stovepipe - *Chinquapin Hunting;  24s:  Four Men and a Dog - Barlow Knife, Aubrey Haynie - Make a Little Boat, Mickey Raphael (Harmonica) - Oh Susanna;  23s:  Uncle Earl - Backstep Cindy;  22.5s:  Bruce Molsky - Last of Harris;  22s:  Hammer & String - *Say Old Man, Can I Have Your Daughter;  21s:  Various - The Humpback Mule;  20s:  Hobart Smith - Cripple Creek.

26s:  Brittany Haas & Friends - Shove the Pig’s Foot… /*Rebel Raid.

35s:  Pete Sutherland & Brad Kolodner - *Five Miles From Town, Ricky Skaggs - Montana Slim;  34s:  Aubrey Haynie - Creeks a Risin’;  31s:  Aubrey Haynie - Cherokee Shuffle.

42s:  Glenn Sutton - Green Bluegrass;  40s:  David Holt & Josh Goforth - *Billy Wilson;  38s:  Randall Franks, Fairchild, Shuler - Down Yonder.

47s:  Brittany Haas with Lauren Rioux & Avril Smith - Sullivan’s Hollow/Five Miles From Town;  39s:  Hobart Smith - *Cripple Creek.

Bluegrass Oddities:
8 bars in 8.8s:  Matt and Tom Turino - Cuiver River Shiver27ish-bar in 26s:  Balsam Range - *Backdraft.
Bill Monroe & the Bluegrass Boys - Crossing The Cumberlands (46s - step-hop).

Arcadian (’Cajun) dance

Music tempo: c. 95 beats per minute.

Like so many dances, the chasée forms the basis of Cajun dancing.

Something simple to start: man chasées slightly forward and to the left then chasées right; lady follows him:  she chasées right, slightly backwards, followed by chasée left - anticlockwise around the floor.

Two-Step footwork - in 4/4 time, all shuffle steps, upper body relatively stiff.
Man: (8 beat) Move left foot diagonally left, close the right to the left, left, close the right to the left (or behind the left) with a tap (or kick diagonally to the right); change direction, move diagonally right with the right foot, close the left to the right, diagonally right, close left to right with a tap/kick-left.

Lady’s twirl:  man spreads legs, couple two-handed lean back, pull together, then lady twirls Ccw. under man’s left arm.

A fun variation:  (man’s footwork is simply chasée left, followed by chasée right, rpt.)  Starting face-to-face (perhaps after completing a lady’s Ccw. spin), the lady holds the man’s right hand with her left and she rotates half Ccw. to the left of her partner so that she’s standing beside him, facing the same way, on his right, with her left arm wrapped in front of her.  He places his left hand behind his back so that his partner can hold it with her right (wrapped in front of her).  They’re now side-by-side, both holding each other’s hands - right to left.  Still holding his partner’s r. hand, the man then releases his r. hand so that he can twirl once Ccw., passing in front of her.  They end up side-by-side again - but now he’s on the lady’s right.  She holds her left hand behind her back and he holds it with his right which is wrapped in front of him.  Repeat ad infinitum.

Cajun Music
42s: The Cajun All-Stars - Cousin Lilly;  40s: Lost Bayou Ramblers - Bayou Perdu;  39s: Jesse Lege and Friends - Mamou Hot Step;  36s: The Balfa Brothers - Indian On A Stomp.

Programme (novice, varied):
Broken Sixpence: Caladh nua - *By Heck, Sharon Shannon - Woodchoppers/Reel des Voyageurs.
The Heartbreaker: Mrs Mills (50 bpm), Bing Crosby (51 bpm), Viscounts (54 bpm) - Five Foot Two, Swanee.
Cotton Eye Joe: Geslison & Groberg, Rednex. - boarding!
Foula Reel: 33s: Comhaltas Eireann - Lark in the Morning, 32s: Ranchers - 07 Jigs, Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Maureen’s Fancy/… /Swinging Jig (double jigs) set, 31s: Drams - Strip the Willow.
Country Bumpkin: 35s reel: Sláinte Mhath - *The White Crow; 33s jig: Mark Arrington - *Kesh/Haymakers.
Champenoise: Duivelspack, Les Genoux - Chapelloise.
Mouth of the Valleys: 38s: Celtic Fiddle - Loch Leven; 33s: Solas - *Sproggies, The Gothard Sisters - *The Bandit.
Chuck the Budgie: Great Bear - The Gardener, Perpetual e-Motion - Flying Tent.
Zig Zag: 36s: We Banjo 3 - *Good Time, Old Time set, 33s: Tidal Wave - **Reel a Bruce/Terrebonne/du Nord set, Banjo & Fiddles - *Irish Set, Alasdair Fraser & Paul Machlis - *Tommy’s Tarbukas, The Retrospectacles - *Farewell to Tchernobyl/Tommy’s Tarbukas.
Bouquet Waltz: Hawktail - Abbzug, Uncle Earl - Backstep Cindy.
Waves of Tory, 5 couple, 48-bars: CD1 WoT, 44s: Eliza Carthy - Zycanthos Jig; 42s: House Band - Zakynthos Jig, Threepenny Bit - Coffee Zycanthos.
Georgia Rang-Tang (24-bar): 26s:  Rattle on the Stovepipe - *Chinquapin Hunting.
Dip ‘n’ Dive (c.50-bar!): (16 bars in 20s) Mick O’Brien & C O’R - *Rolling in the Ryegrass set; (20 bars in 22s) Dirk Powell - Sally Anne; 17.5s:  C. R. Logston - Highlander’s Farewell, Ron Block - 0m20 Devil In The Strawstack.
Orcadian Strip the Willow:  Reels:  35s:  Dom Dup - Naufrages, 32s:  Westburne/Renwick;  34s:  Sha Sha - Bag of Cats;  33s:  Solas - Sproggies;  32s:  Brit - E-B-E Reel, Pet Mil - Banshee;  31s:  Bud Sys - Ride the Wheel;  31s:  Gothard - Landing.
Jigs:  Leahy - 0m39 Wedding Day; 32s:  Trinc - Drummond;  31s:  Nat Mac - Davids .