holly sprig Ceilidh Dance Notes

Last updated: December 22, 2018

This document comprises an extract from my MS 'Word'-produced dance-calling aide memoir - exported as 'html' so that I can access it remotely.  (Also, a rather less-abridged version, here.)

Dances are roughly ordered alphabetically.  About a dozen American Square Dances have been separated out at the end because they exhibit a number of differences from conventional ceilidh dances.

The instructions below have been plagiarized from a number of different sources (hence their inconsistent presentation) - but often they're just documented after actually doing the dance…  'n' not only do dances evolve, often their precise interpretation can be 'flexible', to accommodate local conditions.

Ceilidh music categories:  jig (“didley-dee”), reel, hornpipe (step-hop)…  occasionally polka (triple-step, pause), rant (double-reel).  Usually, tunes comprise 32 bars (64 beats or steps)- so four, 8-bar phrases, designated A1, A2, B1 and B2, i.e. four groups of 16 beats = 64 beats in total.  Some dances are 48 bars…  and rarely 16 bars.  Dance tempos are roughly 32 bars in 32 seconds - equating to a bar per second or two beats or steps per second.

For most dances, I've made a few suggestions for recorded accompaniment - together with the music's tempo (expressed as its repeat period) - but the flexibility and atmosphere provided by live accompaniment makes it far more suitable.  Tune titles are presented below in italics.  ('Welcome to the Dance', WttD, is a compilation Compact Disc set by the EFDSS.)

Col,  November 2018


Apple Tree Square

Music: 32-bar jig/reel.  37s: Tiger Moth - La Bastringue;  35s: Adam Agee & Jon Sousa - *The Maids of Holywell/Cor Pheait/… Reel set;  33s: The Gothard Sisters - Celebration Reel, Patrick Street - The Shores of Lough Gowna/Contentment is… (jig) set, Corrina Rose Logston - Charleston No. 1, Session Tunes - The Silver Spear/Gilbert Clancy's/… (reel) set;  32s: Liz Carroll - The Silver Spear/The Earl's Chair/The Musical Priest, Yo-ghurt - The Musical Priest, Jenna Reid, Aly Bain and Friends - *Fiddle Blast, Patrick Street - Killanin's Fancy/… Portobello/… (reel) set;  31s: Andrew Vogts - Rosin on the Gourd, Boxing Reel;  29s: Eliza Carthy - Mrs Capron's Reel;  31s jig: The Dunne Family - Strike the Gay Harp/Jimmy Ward's (jig) set;  29s: John Carty - Munster Buttermilk/Old Favorite/Jimmy Ward's/… (jig) set, Danú - E Minor Jig/Jimmy Ward's;  28.5s: Celtic Fiddle Festival - Jimmy Ward's/Morning Star/… set.

Form: Four couples in a square.

    * * *
A1:  Head couples ('1's and '3's) go forward and back; '1's cross-trail: '1's cross the set to pass between '3's - changing places with each other as they go (lady in front), separate and go back to place round the outside.

A2:  All do-si-do corner, do-si-do partner.

B1:  Allemande left with your corner;  give right hand to your partner and start a R-L Grand chain.

B2:  When you meet your partner, do-si-do and promenade home.

Repeat – with sides leading.

Arkansas Traveller

Music:  Traditional, 48-bar reel.  WttD CD 1, - 15 Arkansas Set [48-bar];  53s: Noel Hill - Duke of Leinster;  50s: Blazin' Fiddles - *Fiddle Cushion.

or 32-bar:  36s: 2nd South Carolina String Band - Arkansas Traveller;  33s: Geslison-Groberg - Arkansas Traveler Set… , Tom Anderson - Soldiers Joy, Lazy Farmer - (rant) Arkansas Traveller.

40-bar:  39s: Dominique Dupuis - *Say Old Man.

Running step - “1-2-3-hop”?

Form:  Longways, proper, “as many as will” – best with an even number of couples (but not essential).

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.

    * * *
48-bar Main Figure:

A1:  Join hands along the line, lead forward and back.  (4 bars)

A1:  Change places (passing right shoulders) with your partner - & turn Cw. 180º (to the right).  (4 bars)

A2:  Repeat back to home place.  (8 bars)

B1:  In fours: make a right hand star.  (4)

B1:  Star left.  (4)

B2:  '1's swing in the centre.  (8)

A3:  '1's (man crosses to lady's side) lead down, turn as a couple (Cw.), lead home and cast down a place to the next '2's.  (8)

B3:  Full 'right and left through' with the new couple.  (8)

or 40-bar:

A1:  'Balance' to each side once (feet-together jump, kick the right foot to the left, jump/bounce, then kick the left foot to the right) and cross-over & turn.  Repeat to get back home.  (8 bars)

A2:  R. hand star, l. hand star.  (8 bars)

B1:  '1's swing.  (8)

B2:  '1's lead down, turn as a couple, lead back and cast down a place.  (8)

C1:  Full 'right and left through'.  (8)

Alabama Jubilee

Music:  32-bar reel, Bluegrass.  31s: Bela Fleck - Rocky Road (2 + 32 bars), Kenny Baker - Black Mountain Rag;  29s: The Newton Boys or Kentucky Colonels - Alabama Jubilee;  26s: Leahy - Alabama Jubilee/Bowing the Strings… .

Form:  One big circle (so, not a square dance).  All face-in, lady on man's right.

    * * *
A1:  All join hands and move 4 steps into the middle - and out 4 steps, repeat.

A2:  Allemande left with neighbour (corner); do-si-do partner once-and-a-half…  and hold out right hand.  5 + 8 + 3 steps

B1:  Allemande right with the hand coming towards you, who'll be your new partner.  End facing back towards your original partner; swing original partner.  Both end-up facing Acw. round the circle.

B2:  Promenade Acw. c. 10 steps round the circle.  Men move-on to their new partner…  all reform the circle and face in.  16 steps.

Mrs Arrowsmith

Author: Gordon Potts

Music:  Polka or Hornpipe.  41s: Stömp - Scan Testers;  39s: Blazin'Fiddles - President Garfield's;  35s: Corrina Rose Logston - Honeycat Hornpipe;  Brian Roe - Egan's Polka; 33s: Ghurt-Yo-ghurt - Sean Ryan's Polka set;  32s: Art Stamper - Barndance Polka, Ronan Hardiman - *Irish Polka.

Form: Four couples in a square.

    * * *

A1:  Head couples take one hand with partner and 'forward' four steps into the middle of the set and 'back'.

Head couples forward and out, taking their 'opposite' between their adjacent side couple (who'll need to separate slightly)…  and back to place.

A2:  Sides 'forward & back' four steps.

Side couples forward and out, taking their 'opposite' between their adjacent head couple (who'll need to separate slightly)…  and back to place.

B1 & B2:  Four-Ladies' Chain: the ladies right hand star, men circulate Acw. round the outside to the next position.  When the ladies encounter their partner (after completing c. 5 steps, ¾ circle), they 'peel-off' to meet him by the left hand and he courtesy turns her, Acw., around him. (c. 3 steps)

Repeat the star and courtesy turn a further three times (by which time men will have completed a circuit).


Reel of Ballymore

Leslie Haworth

Music:  32-bar jig.  'WttD', CD 2 - 01 RoB;  reel: Mick O'Brien & C O'R - Rolling in the Ryegrass set  (16 bars in 20s);  33s: Angelina Carberry - *Dermot Grogan's/Hardiman's;  32s: Trinculo - Drummond Castle/Shorty's Revenge and Any Jig Will Do;  31s: Natalie MacMaster - Mahone Bay Jig;  30s: Adam Agee & Jon Sousa - An Giorra … (The Hare in the Corn)/… set, Liz Carroll - *The Champaign Jig Goes to Columbia, Open House - Devil's Jig/The Trip to Bantry/… set.

Form:  Big circle mixer.

Difficulty: 2

    * * *
A1:  All into the middle for 4 steps and back out.  (4 bars)

Repeat.  (4 bars)

A2:  Promenade partner ('Gay Gordons'-style) 8 steps anti-clockwise, then, remaining in-hold, all turn back.  Men move-on to promenade the woman in front, 8 steps clockwise - this is his new partner (ladies have moved-on one place… or men have moved-back one place).  End the promenade with partners facing - men facing out, ladies facing in.  (8 bars)

B1:  Facing your new partner, the person beside him/her on your diagonal left is your left-person and the person the other side is your right-person.  (The left-person was your previous partner.)

You're now going to Allemande these three people.  Walk a tight figure-of-eight: give right hand to pass your new partner, everyone turns their right-person halfway with the left hand to face their partner again.  Then, after passing their partner with right hands to face their left-person, everyone turns their left-person halfway with the left hand to face their partner again.

B2:  Long swing with partner (alternatively: 'balance' and swing).

Belfast Duck

Music:  16-bar hornpipe, WttD 1 - 20 Belfast Duck (16 bars in 23s);  49s (for 32 bars): Altan - *Dance of the Honeybees;  41s: Stömp - Scan Tester's.

Form:  a large circle, men inside… or longways, duple i.e. '1's and '2's proper.  Step-hop (vigorous) or slow walk (gentle).

Difficulty: 1.

    * * *
A:  In fours, circle left, 8 steps;  circle right, 8 steps. (8 bars)

B:  Taking inside hands, lead down the room (or Cw.) with two slow walking steps (easiest to start on the outside foot); take both hands and do two chassés (side, close, side) down.

Ditto up the room - or Acw..

Ditto down the room.

Ditto up the room but '1's, stationary, make an arch and '2's either reverse, or turn to face forward, under it - so progressing.


Summary of B:

Down 2, chassé down 2, up 2, chassé up 2.

Down 2, chassé down 2, '1's arch and '2's pass under - so progressing.

There's a tendency for the whole set to move down the room.

Blaydon Races

Music:  32-bar march.  30s: 'Welcome to the Dance' ('WttD') CD 2 Greensleeves County Dance Band - 20 Blaydon Races/Tramp, tramp, tramp/Home Boys Home (.wma), Woodley Yeomen - 13 B. R. (mp3), 2nd South Carolina String Band - *Cripple Creek/Old Joe Clark/… .

Form:  circle or concentric circles.

    * * *
A1:  Join hands, go into the middle and back.  8 beats

A1:  Repeat (middle and back).  8 beats

A2:  Ballroom hold: a double chassé in, double chassé out, and swing/polka two turns.  16 beats

B1:  Cross-hand promenade (man towards the centre) eight steps.  During the last few steps, men move-on to the lady in front.  16 beats

B2:  'Balance': feet-together jump then, with weight on the l. f., swivel hips to kick r. f. to the left, jump, swivel hips to kick l. f. to the right, jump, kick r. f. to the left, right.  8 beats

B2:  Couples cross-hand swing.  (Men finish with the new lady on their right.)  8 beats

Restart: into the middle again.

The Bonny Breastknot

Music:  32-bar reel.  'WttD' CD 1, Woodley Yeomen - B. B.;  36s: Liz Carroll & Doyle - *Ricky's White Face/Boys … ;  35s: Corrina Rose Logston - *Highlander's Farewell, The Elderberries - *Torn Jacket/Boy in the Boat/Toss … set;  34s: Máiréad Nesbitt - The Butterfly, Eliza Carthy - Scan Tester's Country Stepdance/… (hornpipe);  33s: Altan - The Curlew/McDermott's/Boxty, Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Le Printemps, Arty McGlynn - Walter Sammon's Grandmother/Concertina … set;  32s: Jenna Reid, Aly Bain and Friends - *Fiddle Blast, Liz Carroll - Lost Indian;  31s: Blazin' Fiddles - *Miss Johnstone/Rannie MacLellan/… set.

Form:  Three-couple longways set.

    * * *
A1:  '1's lead down between the two ladies, separate (man down/lady up), cast round one person.  They meet in the middle, without taking hands, go between the men, separate, cast round one person to lines of three across ('2's facing down and '3's facing up).

A2:  In those lines, 'balance':  feet-together jump, swivel hips and kick to the left with right foot, jump/bounce, kick to the right with the left, jump/bounce and kick to the left, jump, kick to the right, etc..  On the start of the next phrase, the first couple leap to their left to stand between the other two people of their gender.  This leap/jump counts as the first balance of another batch of feet-together jump, kick to the left, jump, right, jump, left, right.

B1:  '1's right-elbow half-turn partner, left with their first 'corner'.  Right three-quarters turn with partner, left with their other 'corner'.

B2:  '1's meet (it doesn't matter on which side they end up) and gallop down and back to third place (progressed); all swing partners.

Borrowdale Exchange

Music: 32-bar reels.  mp3 - 13 B. E. is lo-res;  36s: Sláinte - Scully's Reel, Deanta - Scarta Glen Road set;  34s: Liz Carroll - Ronan Boys;  33s: Crannog - Red-Haired Lass/Blacksmith/Tulla, The Gothard Sisters - both The Bandit and Celebration Reel;  Chieftans - *Ladies' Pantalettes (speeds from 34s to 30s per 32-bars).

Formation:  3-couple (with the lady on the man's right) in a circle.  Scatter mixer.

Difficulty: 1

    * * *
A1 (8 bars):  All circle left 8 steps… and back.

A2 (8 bars):  All advance into the middle four steps and back; do-si-do partner.

B1 (8 bars):  Right-hand star holding hands with person opposite and nobody else.  Finish by raising hands into an arch.
Undo the star:  keep holding hands - the lady whose hand is lowest goes under the arches (made by the other two couples) first, then the next lady.

B2 (8 bars):  Promenade (or polka) around the room for 4 bars… then form new, 3-couple sets.

Bottoms Up

Music:  32-bar jig. 33s: Crowdie House - *Blue Bonnets, Patrick Street - *The Shores of Lough Gowna/Contentment is … set, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas - Alien Ceilidh;  32s: Tiger Moth - Oats and Beans and Barley Grow, Trinculo - *Drummond Castle/Shorty's … , Sean Mcguire - *Erin's my Home/Larry O'Gaff;  29s: Danú - Jim Ward's, Howie MacDonald - Dan R's Favourite/etc..

Form:  5-couple longwise set.

    * * *
A1:  Bottom couple join hands, ladies thread the needle - twice if spry enough.  Both the top two men need to 'unwind' their arch together.

A2:  Men thread the needle - twice if spry enough.

B1:  Heads join hands to make a circle of ten, circle left & right.

B2:  Bottom couple gallop up to the top, where the top couple place their hands on the waists of the bottom couple, and the foursome gallop to the bottom - the original top couple go to the very bottom place.

Bridge of Athlone

Music:  48-bar jig.  'WttD' II, CD 2, Greensleeves Country Band - B o A/Rakes of Kildare/… Pipers set;  46s: Jon Boden et al. - *Bridge of Athlone;  53s: Greg Joy and various artists (faster) - *Blarney Pilgrim;  42s: Threepenny Bit - Coffee Zycanthos.

Form:  longways, four or five-couple sets.  Standing opposite partner, men have their left shoulder to caller, ladies with right shoulder to caller.

    * * *
Bars 1-8
Everyone joins hands in their lines and dances forward-and-back four steps each time (4 bars).  Passing partners by the r. shoulder, the men, keeping their hands joined and raising their arms above head-height, take eight steps to cross to the ladies’ side while the ladies duck under the men's arch (to the left of partner) to cross to the men’s side.  All half-turn to the right.

Bars 9-16
Repeat back to places.

Bars 17-24
1st couple in each set gallop down the set for 8 steps and back for 8 steps.

Bars 25-32
1st couple followed by the other three couples cast-off down the back of their own sides and make an arch at the bottom.  The other couples pass through the arch and lead to the top of the set.

Bars 33-40
All now make a two-handed arch with their partner.  1st lady comes up under the arches while the 1st man goes up the outside of the set behind the men’s line.  Then the 1st man goes down under the arches while the 1st lady casts down to the bottom of the set behind the ladies.

Alternatively: 1st couple arch up the set over the men - lady in the centre - and back down the set over the ladies.

Bars 41-48
Everybody swing.

Repeat for the other three/four couples.

Boston Tea Party

Music:  32-bar reel or jig;  36s: Dublin City Ceili Band - Behind the Bar/… /…;  34s: Patrick Street - Killanin's Fancy set;  33s: Paddy Glackin - The Last House in Connaught/The Gooseberry Bush, Altan - The Curlew/McDermott's/Boxty;  32s: Art Stamper - *Goodbye Girls I'm Going to Boston, Martin O'Connor et al - *The Cooley Set, Kilfenora Ceili Band - Three Reels (Medley), The Gothard Sisters - *The Landing;  31s jig: The Dunne Family - Strike the Gay Harp/Jimmy Ward's;  30s jig: Adam Agee & Jon Sousa - An Giorra… (The Hare in the Corn)/… set.

Form:  5 or 6-couple longwise.

    * * *
A1:  The top couple gallop down, two-handed, between the lines to the bottom of the set.

They arch up over the ladies’ line - man in the middle.

A2:  At the top of the set they arch down over the men - man stays in the middle.

They return, two-handed, up the middle to the top and, still holding inside hands, face down the set.

B1:  All couples, except the '1's, face up the set.  The top couple ‘duck and dive’ down the set.

B2:  The top couple, now at the bottom, make an arch…  the new top couple, followed by the rest, cast-out, through the arch and back to place.  Swing.

Chain Double Quadrille

Music:  48-bar jig (96 beats for 'once through').  50s: ITMA Staff - Humours of Ennistymon/ … Moher/… Ocean;  48s: Steeleye Span - The Mooncoin Jig;  47s: The Elderberries – Banish Misfortune;  44s: Eliza Carthy - Zycanthos Jig set.

Form:  Double Sicilian.  (Need a wide room…  and at least 32 dancers.)  Two adjacent couples face another pair of couples in an extended, double-spoke of a wheel.  The first 32 beats can be danced with a travelling step, the remainder is 'walked'.

    * * *
The middle four people r. h. star, then return to left arm turn their partners one and a half times so they end-up changing places.  8 beats + 8 beats

The middle four people, who were the outer four people, r. h. star, then return to left arm turn their partners one-and-a-half times to finish back in their original place.  8 beats + 8 beats

'Balance' - two-footed jump, then jump onto l. leg, kick with right leg, then left leg, twice to partners and swing.  8 beats + 8 beats

Ladies' Chain across the set, Ladies' Chain down the set (the line).  8 beats + 8 beats

Ladies' Chain across the set, Ladies' Chain down the line.  8 beats + 8 beats

Holding hands down the line, forward and back.  8 beats

Forward and cross through (couples part and pass to the left of the facing couple) to the next set.  8 beats

Country Bumpkin

Author:  Michael Barraclough

Music: 32-bar, versatile.  37s: Tiger Moth - La Bastringue;  35s reel: Sláinte Mhath - *The White Crow;  34s reel: Celtic Music (Various) - Maid Behind …/Gravel Walk, Tom Doherty - The Three Sisters Reel;  33s: Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Le Printemps;  32s reel: Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Reel À Tido/La Rachoudine, Danú - The Stone in the Field/The Walls of Liscarroll;  31s reel: Andrew McNamara – *The Humours of Tulla (16-bar)/The Skylark/Roarin' Mary;  31s jig: The Dunne Family - Strike the Gay Harp/Jimmy Ward's;  29s: Danú - E Minor Jig/Jimmy Ward's;  28.5s: Celtic Fiddle Festival - Jimmy Ward's/Morning Star/… set.  Reel/jig set starting slowly, speeding to 31s: Waxies Dargle - Parting Glass/Brown Gate/… .

Formation: Longways, 5 or 4 couples.

    * * *
A1:  Lines forward and back.  4 bars

A1:  Men arch, couples cross over - passing by the right shoulder.  4 bars

A2:  '1's gallop down, two-handed, to the bottom of the set and back up.  8 bars

B1:  The '1's, facing each other - the rest facing 'up', start a Grand Chain - initially by passing by the right hand, then carrying on down the opposite line - the others follow.  When they meet at the bottom, the '1's make an arch.  8 bars

B2:  The 2nd couple lead their remaining line outside the arch, up through it and back to progressed places… and swing if there's time.  8 bars


Music: 16-bar jig.  32s: Celtic Ensemble - Blackthorn Stick/Jack Walsh/Kildare, Malachy Doris - Cock O' the North, Old School Band - Sharer's Gem or Sarsaparilla (31s);  31s: Patrick Street - Portarlington/Billy McCormick's/… set, Séamus Egan - Garrett Barry's/The Hag at the Churn;  15.5s: Alasdair Fraser & Paul Machlis - Calliope House/Cowboy Jig;  15s: Patrick Street - *Mrs O'Sullivan's/Calliope House;  29s: Candleford Ceilidh Band - Devon Jig, The Drowsy Lads - Blackthorn Stick/Connaughtman's Rambles/… set.

Form:  Circle.  For more than five couples.  Couples face Acw., men on the inside - as normal - so that each couple is a 'spoke' in a wheel.

    * * *
Promenade (holding partner's left hand [infront], and man placing his right arm over his partner's shoulders) three steps forward (half-second paces), half-turn Cw. (Gay Gordons-style - still holding both hands), four steps back.  (4 bars)

Promenade three steps forward, half-turn Acw., four back - returning back to place.  (4 bars)

Everyone faces Acw. around the circle - holding 'adjacent' hands only.  Couples pull together (springing 'in' with a little leap…  or alternatively a Pas de Basque step), spring out, in, man feeds his lady across (she rotates Acw.) in front of him to his l. hand - they've swapped places.  (4)

Couples all pull together, spring out…  then make an arch with their 'inside' arms for the lady to duck Cw. under, offering her free hand to the following man - who collects her with his l. hand, and places his r. arm over her shoulders as he slides back to the 'inside' position.  (4)

Cotton-Eye Joe - Circle Dance

Music:  16-bar (32 step) Bluegrass.  Patrick Street (Arty McGlynn) - *Martin Rochford's Reel set (slow - speeds up);  35s: BucketBoy - Kitchen Girl/June Apple;  17s: Crannog - The Red Haired Lass, Gerry O'Connor - Mountain Road;  16s: Andrew McNamara - The Humours of Tulla, The Kilfenora Céilí Band - *Don't Hold Back (The Ashplant set);  31s: Bruce Molsky, Rednex (29s) - C.-E. J..

Form:  Two, adjacent, concentric circles - all the men face Acw. in the inner circle, ladies face Cw. in the outer circle.

Source: YouTube.

Sounds impressive on suspended wooden flooring.

Link/brace right hands (palms vertical, at chest height, facing oneself) with one's partner.

    * * *
A:  With the right foot, stomp, stomp, chassé right, i.e. 'side-close-side'.  Swap hands whilst crossing in front of one's partner.  (2 bars)

A:  With the left foot, stomp, stomp, chassé left, and swap hands.  (2 bars)

A:  Repeat.  (4 bars)

B:  For the last 8 bars, either Allemande right to turn one's partner once Cw..  (4 bars)

B:  Advance 8 steps forward to partner the next-but-one person.  (4 bars)

B:  Allemande left one's partner 1½ Ccw., Allemande right the next person (your new partner) a turn, ready to restart facing around the circle.  (8 bars)

Cumberland Square Eight

Music:  64-bar reel.  35s: Boden et al - C. S. E.;  32s: WttD CD 2, Greensleeves Country Band - C. S. E.;  33s: Brittany & Natalie Haas and Friends - *Liz Carroll's E-B-E Reel, Jim Macleod Band - My Love she’s but a Lassie Yet.

Form:  Square set

    * * *
A1:  Heads gallop across the set in a ballroom hold (men back-to-back) and return (women back-to-back).

A2:  Sides do the same.

B1:  Heads right hand star, left hand star.

B2:  Sides do the same.

C1:  Heads make a basket: grip both opposite's hands (ladies' underneath men's) - men may need to 'interlock' hands.  The ladies bow, go forward under the men's arms and, still holding hands, raise back up - keeping their arms up.  Men lower their arms behind the ladies' backs, and duck their heads under their ladies' arms.  All circle left.

C2:  Sides do the same.

D1:  All circle left for 16 steps.

D2:  Promenade back to place.

Repeat - but with 'side' couples leading.

The Dashing White Sergeant

Music:  32-bar reels, c. 31s: Crowdie House, and Shoestring - The Dashing White Sergeant, The Chieftans - *Ladies Pantalettes (speeds-up from 34s to 30s per rpt.).

Form:  One big circle of sets each comprising three people facing three people i.e. a man between two ladies or lady between two men.  (If there are more than two surplus ladies, one of them can replace one of the men in a two-man 'threesome'.  The ousted man can then make an additional 'threesome' with two surplus ladies.)

    * * *
1-8:  Join hands in a circle of 6 and circle round to the left for 8 steps (4 bars) and then back to the right.

9-12:  The person in the middle of the threesome turns to the person on their right and sets to them, then, by the right hand (variation - both hands), turns them around Cw. once.  The other partner stands still.

13-16:  Repeat with the other partner.

17-24:  Dance a reel of three, passing right shoulder with 1st partner to start.  (Variation: cup r. elbows to turn 1st partner, then l. elbow with 2nd partner, then 1st partner, then 2nd partner.)

25-28:  In lines of three, advance two skip-steps and retire…  alternative: forward, stomp, stomp, stomp… back, stomp, stomp, stomp.

29-32:  Both lines dance forwards, one line (say '1's) raise their hands in an arch and the other line dancing underneath (passing opposites by the right shoulder).

Dance-on to meet and repeat with the next advancing set of three.

If the room's not wide enough for the large circle, the dance can be done in lines.  On alternate 'goes', a threesome will be left spare at each end… they just turn around, as individuals, to face towards the rest of the dancers, miss the circling (1–8), then carry-on as normal.

Danish Double Quadrille

Music:  64-bar marches.  'WttD' CD 2 (4-bar intro.) 03 D. D. Q.

Form:  Double Sicilian - 2 couples side-by-side facing 2 couples.

Difficulty: 2

    * * *
A1:  All four couples, in their set, circle left for 16 steps (twice as long as you'd expect).

A2:  Circle right for 16 steps - back to place.

B1:  The outside two couples take inside hands, and lead between the others towards the middle of the big circle and back.

B2:  The inside two couples likewise lead to the outside of the circle and back.

A3:  Right and left through in fours… and back.

A4:  In fours, circle left 8 steps and then right.

B3 and B4:  each couple dance (polka-step? pas-de-bas?) right round the opposite couple 2 or 3 times, then go half-way round again to progress and form a new line ready to restart.

The Devil’s Dream

Music:  32-bar American reel.  WttD CD1 (2-bar intro.) - 05 Devil's Dream;  35s: Bucketboy Bluegrass Band, Bryan Sutton (33s) - *Kitchen Girl;  34.5s: Caladh Nua - *By Heck;  30s: Ray Price - D. D.;  29s: unidentified bluegrass band (fiddle, banjo, guitar) - D. D.;  28s: Leahy - D. D..

Form:  Longways, duple improper (Improper Contra) - “As many as will”.

Take 'hands down the line' in fours.

    * * *
A1:  '1's (improper) face down the centre and lead (all the way) down while the '2's face up and go up the outside.  4 bars

All turn (towards partner) alone and lead back to give their neighbour e.g. '1' man with '2' lady, a nearest short-arm half-turn.  4 bars

A2:  '1's, facing down, go down the outside.  While '2's go up the middle.  4 bars

All turn alone and lead back - where men give their neighbouring lady a ¾ turn (so progressing) into…  4 bars

B1:  Ladies' Chain across the set… and back.  4 bars + 4 bars

B2:  Promenade neighbour across the set - passing to the right of the oncoming couple.  (Ladies could add a flourish by twirling Cw. under the man's l. arm as she half-circles around him.)  Half 'right and left through' (back into 'progressed' place).  'End' couples need to swap sides (and change their designation).  Note the new contrary dancer (i.e. new neighbour).  4 bars + 4 bars

Dorset Four Hand Reel

- performed pretty rarely, socially, after the 1980s.

Music:  2 x 64 + 8 bars, AABB + 8 final swing; rant, WttD II - 06 Dorset Four Hand Reel.wma;  67s: Blowzabella - D. F. H. R..

Form:  cross-ways 2-couple set, ladies back-to-back in the middle facing out towards their partner.

    * * *
A1:  Reel of four, all start by passing right shoulders.  After 1¾ circuits (10 places), men are in the middle facing each other – and with a new partner.

A2:  Men 'set' to each other i.e. pas de basque (3 steps) - twice to each side.

A2:  Men turn to their partner and 'set' to her.

B1:  Reel of four, all leading with right shoulders.  Stop when ladies are back in the middle facing each other (after 10 places).

B2:  Ladies 'set' to each other - twice to each side.

B2:  Ladies turn to their partner and 'set' to him.

Walking reel, walking reel with hands, (or: step-hop reel, step-hop reel with hands), ranting reel (“heel” stepping), ranting reel with hands.  Each reel ends-up with 'inners' having swapped with previous 'outers'.

Final 8 bars – swing partner.

Eightsome Reel

Music: Lively reels, played 40 bars for the first time through, plus 8 lots of 48-bar repetitions (phrased 24+24), plus a final 40 bars (464 bars: 40 + 8 x 48 + 40). Neizvesten – Eightsome ReelThe De'il Amang the Tailors (MacKay) is commonly used for the first and last 40 bars; other possible tunes:  Soldier's Joy, Mrs MacLeod of Raasay/The Fairy Dance, The Mason's Apron.

Formation: Square, lady on the man's right. 1st couple have their backs to the band.


1-8:  All join hands to circle round to the left for 8 steps (four bars) and back.

9-12:  Ladies join right hands in the middle, partners join-in putting right hands around their partner's waist, and all wheel in a big star.

13-16:  Swing round (couples still holding around the waist) so the men join left hands in the centre, and dance back with a left hand star.

17-20:  Face partners and set twice.

21-24:  Turn partner twice.

25-40:  Giving right hand to partner, dance a grand chain around the set (keep going in the same direction then give left hand, right, left… until you get back to place).  If you get back early, swing until the end of the phrase.

    * * *
Main Figure - repeat 8 times

1-8:  1st lady goes into the centre of the set and 'set's while the other seven circle round to the left and back.

9-16:  1st lady sets to partner, turns him, sets to opposite man and turns him.

17-24:  1st lady dances a reel of three with partner and opposite man, giving left shoulder to partner to start. (Variation – lady turns partner, opposite man, partner, opposite man).

25-32:  Repeat bars 1-8.

33-48:  Repeat bars 9-24 with side men.

Repeat figure with, in the centre, 2nd lady, 3rd lady, 4th lady, 1st man, 2nd man, 3rd man, 4th man.


Repeat the 40 bars of the start of the dance.

The Foula Reel - pronounced 'Fooler'

Music: 32-bar jig!  39s: Spaelimenninir - Da Shaalds o' Foula, Steamboat Quickstep (31s), or good to a step-hop tune.  WttD CD1, The Ranchers - 07 Jigs: Lady Mary Douglas/Jump at the Sun/There Came a Young Man or The Falconers - Foula Reel;  34s: The Kilfenora Band - Jig It/… set; 33s: Ale Möller – Unst Bridal March/Maggie O'Ham/Foula Reel - after 2m08 (but slow until 3m19).

Form:  4-couple longways.

Difficulty: 2 - the poussette can be unfamiliar.

    * * *
A1 and A2:  '1's lead down the middle of the set.  At the bottom they turn with a right short-arm or cupped-elbow (no thumbs!) to 'Strip the Willow' back up (“right arm to your partner, left arm to the line” i.e. the opposite gender).

B1:  Back at the top, '1's make an arch (with the man inside) and carry it down over the men's heads, then back over the ladies' heads.

B2:  Poussette – All couples take two hands.  The 1st couple poussette to the bottom of the set: the 1st man pushes his partner (4 steps) while all the other men initially pull their lady.  The 1st couple weave their way down the set alternately pushing and pulling, weaving in and out, passing each other couple in turn as they go to and fro' down the set.

Four around Four

Music:  32-bar jig.  'WttD' CD 1 - 07 jigs;  33s: Patrick Street - The Shores of Lough Gowna/Contentment is … set, Brendan Carey Block - *Wing Commander Donald MacKenzie, Mark Arrington - Kesh Light Jig set;  31s: Séamus Egan - Garrett Barry's/The Hag at the Churn;  (15.5s:) Alasdair Fraser & Paul Machlis - Calliope House/Cowboy;  30s: The Bothy Band - The Kesh Jig/Give Us a Drink/… set, Danú - Brown Eyed Bridget;  29s: Blazin' Fiddles - Braehead Cottage.

Form:  Four-couple longways.  Easy.

    * * *
1-8:  Lines hold hands.  First woman pulls her line around the outside of the men.

9-16:  First man pulls his line around the ladies.

17-24:  Top couple gallop to the bottom and back.

25-32:  Top couple cast out, form an arch at the bottom, all pass under, and swing.

next 1-8:  New first woman pulls her line around a new line of men.

Goathland Square Eight

Music:  32-bar rant.  35s: 'WttD' CD1 - 03 G. S. E.;  38s: Trinculo - Old Mrs Wilson.

Form:  4-couple square set, rant step throughout except for A2 and swing.

Sing (during A1):
Old Mrs Wilson how d'you do?
Very well thank you - how about you?
Some folk laugh and some folk cry
But you'll never do the dance if you never try

    * * *
A1 (4 bars):  Holding hands, circle left

A1 (4 bars):  circle right

A2 (2 bars):  '1's and 3s cross, '3's arching, '1's dipping

A2 (2 bars):  '2's and '4's cross, '4's arching, '2's dipping

A2 (2 bars):  '1's and '3's return, '1's arch

A2 (2 bars):  '2's and '4's return, '2's arch

B1 (4 bars):  Grand chain (start with right hand to partner)

B1 (4 bars):  halfway round - swing partner

B2; (4 bars):  continue grand chain (passing partner, but offering one's left hand to the next dancer)

B2 (final 4 bars):  meet partner and swing

repeat from start…

The Heartbreaker

Music:  32-bar jig/reel or Charleston (Barry Goodman-style).  50 bars per minute (bpm): Mrs Mills, Viscounts (54 bpm) or Don Reno (60 bpm) - Five Foot Two, French Charleston Orchestra - Ain't She Sweet (53 bpm);  The Belgrade Dixieland Orchestra - Yes Sir, That's My Baby (61 bpm).  32s reel: Natalie Macmaster - The Beaumont Rag.  For slower Charleston, use a swagger-step.

Jig:  29s (so slow it by c. 10%):  Black Donald - *Stool of Repentance.

A 64-bar finale:  32 bars in 31s: Michael Holliday - *Swanee (8-bar intro, then from 0m08 to 1m09).

Form:  Four-couple square.

    * * *
All holding hands, circle left for 8 steps (ranting - if proficient).  (4 bars)

Circle right for 8 steps (back to place).  (4 bars)

Three couples - not the Head couple - make a single-handed arch with their partner.  The Head couple 'Split the Heart':  they dance in to the middle of the set, then, as individuals, dance out the set - each through their adjacent arch, round the outside of the set to meet and join hands at the bottom, back in under that arch and cross the set (where the lady can, if she wishes, half-twirl backwards, Acw., under her partner's l. arm) back to place.  (8 bars)

‘Four-Ladies' Chain’:  ladies right hand star for half-a-turn, peeling-off to circle Acw. around the opposite man, so they meet with left hand.  The man then leads the lady round him or leads (while stationary) the lady behind him, swapping her to his r. h. - returning her to…  (4)

Ladies continue their Four-Ladies' Chain back to their partners (where, if she's inclined, the lady can raise her left hand to twirl backwards, Cw., under it).  The man half-turns her - gliding into…  (4)

…everyone do-si-do their corner/neighbour, then do-si-do their partner (… and swing).  (8)

Repeat:  Circles, then the next couple Acw. 'Split the Heart'.

To progress occasionally: for the 'return' Ladies' Chain, call “Ladies continue circling to the third man round”.

Hullichan's (Hooligan) Jig

Music:  6/8 or 9/8 jig – but 64 bars in total.  33s: Dave Swarbrick - Hullichan's Jig/!Chorus Jig (both are very short, Chorus is too fast);  30s: James Keane – *The Geese in the Bog.

Form:  Sets of two couples crossways, ladies in the middle standing back-to-back facing their partners. - M-L l-m

Preparation: as proceedings can get a bit boisterous, each set should have men of similar physique i.e. size and weight.

    * * *
1-8:  Pas-de-bas your partner for 16 beats i.e. 8 bars

9-16:  Link righgt arms and turn partner (see below) for 16 beats (ensure that all dancers are proficient at the swing hold described below), but men finish facing each other in the centre of the set. - L-M m-l

17-24:  Men pas-de-bas each other 16 beats, ladies admire.

25-32:  Men link arms/elbows and swing each other for 16 beats, but finish facing their opposite lady. - L-m M-l

33-40:  P-d-b new partner for 16 beats.

41-48:  Link arms and swing new (original 'opposite') partner for 16 beats, but ladies finish facing each other in the centre of the set.

49-56:  Ladies p-d-b to each other for 16 beats, men admire.

56-64:  Ladies link arms and swing each other for 16 beats, but finish facing their original partners. - m-l L-M

Repeat - as desired.

The secure 'swing' or 'turning' hold:  link right elbow with one's partner's, put your left hand behind your back (palm facing outwards – as is natural).  With one's right hand, grip one's partner's left hand i.e. the one behind one's partner's back.

Jack's Maggot

Music:  32-bar reel.  Own tune:  33s: Tasker's Chance - Newcastle/Jack's Maggot.

or: 40s (then 32s): Adam Agee & Jon Sousa - *John Brennan's/Man of the House;  34s: Sharon Shannon - Bonnie Mulligan, Séamus Egan - Poultry in the Parlour/Rolling in the Ryegrass.

Form:  longways, duple, proper. “As many as will”.

Take hands, four from the top.  Couples with their backs to the stage are '1's.

    * * *
A1:  1st man crosses down between the two ladies, passing second woman by the right shoulder.  They hey (so top lady faces down the line) - ending with the man back in his place.

A2:  1st lady goes down between the two men, passing second man by the left shoulder.  They hey (so top man faces down the line).

B1:  (In pairs of couples) right hand star, left hand star back.

B2: 1st corners cross (with right shoulder leading), 2nd corners cross.

B2:  Hands-4 (circle left) half-way round, 1st couple cast outside '2's, into '2's place while 2nd couple lead up.

Maid of the Mill

Music:  32-bar reel.  35s: Adam Agee & Jon Sousa - *The Maids of Holywell/Cor Pheait/… Reel set;  34s: Tom Doherty - The Three Sisters Reel, Máiréad Nesbitt - *The Butterfly;  33s: 33s: Brittany & Natalie Haas and Friends - *Liz Carroll's E-B-E Reel, Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Le Printemps; 32s: Malachy Doris - *Bonnie Kate, Celtic Music - Doherty Reel set, Natalie MacMaster - Catharsis, Kilfenora Ceili - Sheehan's/Merry Blacksmith/…, Blazin' Fiddles - **Fashion, Leahy - *Seamus Coynes;  31s: Andrew Vogts - The Rosin on the Gourd, The Demon Barbers - Kiss Me Quick, My Mammy's … .

Form:  Longways, “As many as will”. Take hands - four from the top.

    * * *
A1:  '1's r. h. turn (palm-inward Allemande) twice.  Then they cast around '2's to stand between them - to make a line of four, all facing up.

A2:  All four abreast walk three steps forward ('up' the set), kick, still facing up - three reverse steps, kick, three steps forward, kick, three steps back, kick.

B1:  Holding hands in circles of four, left (Cw.) eight steps, right eight steps.

B2:  R. h. star, then l. h. star back.

Restart the dance from a progressed place, i.e. the '1's move down the set to their next '2's.

Mouth of the Valleys

as written (and 'called') by Gordon Potts

Music:  32-bar, versatile, reel is good.  38s (“Plenty of time – try some creative twirling”): Angelina Carberry - Pluckin' Mad;  37s: Danú - *Cameron Highlander, Liz Carroll - both *Ricky's White Face and Smokies in Arbroath;  34s: Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy - *Whistler of Rosslea (initial rpt.: 42s), Jerry Holland - *Horse Tigers/Billy Macleod's, Keith Smith - *The 9lb Chicken, Solas - *Sproggies, Caladh Nua - *By Heck, Neil Gourley - *Heights of Muingbhatha;  33s: The Gothard Sisters - The Bandit, Celebration Reel, Ashley & D MacIsaac - Silver Spear set;  32s: Kevin Griffin - *Green Mountain, Malachy Doris - *Bonnie Kate, Lissa Schneckenburger - Melissa without the “Me”/Eric's… .  Reel/jig set starting slowly, speeding to 31s: Waxies Dargle - Parting Glass/The Brown Gate/… .

Form:  Five/six couples in a circle - all facing in.

    * * *
A1:  Men dance/walk a figure-of-eight:  first Cw. around their partner (r. h. lady) then Acw. around their neighbour (l. h. lady);  8 bars

A2:  Ladies dance/walk a figure-of-eight:  first Cw. around their partner (l. h. man) then cross-over to go Acw. around their neighbour (r. h. man);  8 bars

B1:  Men half-turn their partner with either a 'short' right arm, i.e. a forearm grip, or 'cupped' elbow - but no thumbs!) - then half-turn their l. h. lady with a left arm, half-turn their r. h. lady again, then, offering their left hand back to their l. h. lady (their new partner).  Men (only) curl Acw. to face Acw. around the circle - placing their r. arm over their new partner's shoulders;  8 bars

B2:  New couples promenade (Acw.) around the circle…  roughly back to place.  8 bars

Nottingham Swing

Music:  16-bar hornpipe (e.g. a 32-bar hornpipe played without the usual repeats).  'Welcome to the Dance' (WttD) CD 2, Greensleeves Country Band - Philebelula All the Way/Paddy McGinty's Goat/Country Gardens;  28s: Déanta - (0m22) *King of the Blues;  25s: Ardan - *The Boys of Bluehill/Off to California {from Dancing With The Celts}, Altan - *Dance of the Honeybees;  23s: Jon Boden - 10 Nottingham Swing (FSCD002, 2005), John Carmichael Band - Canadian Barn Dance.

Formation:  longways, as many as will, duple, proper.  'Step-hop'.

Difficulty:  Moderate.

    * * *
Take hands in fours from the top two couples.

A bars 1-4:  1st man and 2nd lady meet to turn by right elbow.

A bars 5-8:  1st lady and 2nd man meet to turn by right elbow.

B bars 9-12:  '1's take two hands to chassé two steps down the set and two steps back, then cast outside the '2's.  All the 1st couples have progressed down a place.

B bars 13-16:  all swing (cross-hand hold).

End couples sit-out one turn and change their designation from a '2' to a '1' - or vice versa.

Orcadian 'Strip the Willow'

Music:  Often 6/8 or 9/8 double jigs.  33s: Altan - The Curlew set;  32s: Waxies Dargle - Father O Flynn/Irish Washerwoman/Blackberry Blossom; 30s: Brendan Mulhaire - Hag with the Money, Leahy - Wedding Day;  29s: Spinach for Norman - Road to Dublin/The Foxhunters Jig/Drops of Brandy set.

Slip Jigs: 35s: Altan - A Fig for a Kiss, Anne Marie Hildebrandt - Sixpenny Money/The Creel of Turf, McNamara Family - The Barony Jig/The Leitrim Quickstep/Moll Roe;  32s: Dave Swarbrick - *Sheagh of Rye;  31s: Natalie Macmaster - *David's Jig, Eileen Ivers - *The Humors of Ballyloughlin/Knocknagow;  30s: Noel Hill & Liam O'Connor - Foxhunter's Slip Jig, James Keane - *Geese in the Bog.

Reels: 35s: Kevin Burke - Bus Stop Reel set, Natalie Macmaster - Olympic Reel….

    * * *
The Orcadian Strip the Willow dance comprises a linear, continuous, double Strip the Willow for 'as many as will'.  Each top couple commence half-a-dozen bars after the previous top couple.  Couples can join, or leave, the dance as desired, at the bottom of the line.

OXO Reel

Music: 32-bar jigs/reels.  36s: Jon Boden et al - 11, OXO Reel (FSCD002, 2005);  35s: unidentified – (0m04) OXO Reel.

Formation:  6-couple longways, duple, proper.

Difficulty: 1

    * * *
A1:  Lines go forward and back.  Tops gallop to the bottom.

A2:  Lines go forward and back.  Original '2's gallop to the bottom.

B1:  Top two couples circle left; bottom two couples circle right; middle two right hand star - OXO!  Then back the other way.  (8 steps + 8 steps)

B2:  2nd couple (now at the bottom) gallop to the top; all swing.

Panshanger Sicilian Circle

by Barry Goodman

Music:  32-bar polka or jig.  32s: Tiger Moth - Oats and Beans and Barley Grow;  30s: Danú - Brown-Eyed Bridget;  29s: Blazin' Fiddles - Braehead Cottage;  28s: Reelroad - *Maurice Manley's/Egan's Polka [6¾ min long];  27s: Green Lands - Maurice Manley's/Ballydesmond Polka/Bill Sullivan's Polka.

Form:  Sicilian Circle.

In circles of four, holding hands:

    * * *
1-4:  Circle left eight quick-ish steps.

5-8:  Still holding hands, circle right.

9-12:  Do-si-do partner.

13-16:  Do-si-do opposite.

16-24:  Ladies' chain.

25-26:  '1's arch and '2's duck under.

27-28:  '2's arch and '1's back under.

29-32:  '1's arch and '2's duck under to progress-on to the next couple.

Pat-a-Cake Polka

Music:  16-bar polka.  'Welcome to the Dance' (WttD) CD 1 - 19; The Blue Mountain Band - Nick Nack Paddywack/Little Brown Jug/Polly Wolly Doodle/So-so Polka;  2nd South Carolina - Buffalo Gals (vocals);  Geslison-Groberg - Cotton-Eye Joe (16 bars in 17s).

Form:  Couples in a circle: the men face Acw., ladies face Cw. - or, if space is limited, two concentric circles - ladies on the outside facing in, their partners facing out.

    * * *
With both arms stretched out to the side, hold hands with partner.

Men 'heel-toe' with their left foot, ladies with their right foot.  'Heel' into the circle (or, if space is limited, Acw. around the circle) and 'toe' (heel by ball of outer foot) … repeat.  4 beats in total.

Slide/chassé 4 times (8 steps) to man's left i.e. into the middle of the circle (or Acw. round the circle).  4 beats

With outside foot, 'heel-toe' twice towards the outside (or Cw.).  4 beats

Slide/chassé 4 steps - back to place.  4 beats

Clap right hands with partner three times (fast-ish), clap left hands with partner three times.  4 beats

Clap both partner's hands three times, clap own thighs/knees three times.  4 beats

Either progress:

Right elbow turn once.  4 beats

Continue-on, passing one's partner (men go Acw.) to the next person round.  4 beats

or: keep the same partner and polka around.  8 beats

Variation:  Change Places (using about five steps)- cross to the left of partner while also turning Acw. (so back-to-back) once as you pass, then march on-the-spot - hands on hips, raise alternate feet.  8 beats in total.

La Russe Quadrille

Music:  64 bar reel.  32s: 15 'WttD' CD 2, Greensleeves Country Band - 15 La Russe;  34s: Boden - 01 La Russe (FSCD02, 2005), Sharon Shannon - *Woodchoppers or *Bonnie Mulligan, Tiger Moth - Larousse, Patrick Street - Killanin's Fancy set, Caladh Nua - *By Heck, Arcady - *The Sally Gardens/Miss McLeod's/… /Spear set;  33s: Matt Molloy - London Lasses/Farewell to Ireland, Session Tunes/Natalie MacMaster/Sláinte/Elderberries/MacIsaacs (32s) - *Silver Spear.

Form:  4-couple square.

    * * *
A1:  All pass their partner by the left shoulder i.e. men pass outside ladies, to meet the next person of the opposite gender - who should be coming towards them, for four 'balances' ('jump and a kick'): (clasping that person's outstretched hands with intermeshed fingers aids stability when kicking enthusiastically) feet-together jump, skew the hips to the left, hop on the left while kicking the right foot to the left, jump/bounce, skew the hips right, hop on the right while kicking the left to the right, repeat the kick to the left, jump/bounce, kick to the right… and swing.  To end the swing, the man rolls the lady off his right arm towards her home position, rather than just dumping her.

A2:  Face partner (who should be oncoming), (for stability, clasp partner's hands - intermeshed fingers) 'balance' (kick r. f., jump then kick l. f.) twice…  and swing.

B1:  The leading couple ('1's) keep swinging, others drop-back to place.

B2:  '1's promenade inside the set, successively greeting (nodding/bowing) '2's, '3's and '4's, ending in place.

A3:  '1's and '3's cross, leading couple, '1's, dipping, '3's arching.  At the far side, ladies turn Acw. under their partner's arm to change place and direction; cross back ('3's dipping), then ladies turn under-arm to change places with their partner again.

A4:  Repeat A3 i.e. the 'dip and arch'.

B3:  All join hands, circle left all the way (16 steps).

B4:  Promenade (anticlockwise) back to place.  Linger holding left hands to half-turn the lady ready for her to advance for the 'balance' with the adjacent man.

Repeat for '2's (but '2's & '4's cross first), '3's, and then '4's ('2's & '4's cross first again).  Finally both '1's & '3's dance B1 and B2 at the same time, then both 'sides' do B1 & B2 together.

Note:  To enliven A3 and A4, the 'passive' couples could, if they're very nifty, cross close on the heels of the 'working' couples.

Lucky Seven

Music:  32-bar jigs/reels, 'WttD' CD 2 Greensleeves Country Dance Band - 11 Lucky Seven, or 34s: Sharon Shannon reels - *The Woodchoppers, *Bag of Cats or *Bonnie Mulligan, Gerry O'Connor - *Mountain Road/Ash Plant/Josie McDermotts, La Famille Arsenault - *La Reel Mon Oncle Albert/Whiskey Before Breakfast;  33s: Abrams Brothers - Nashville Skyline Rag, Arty McGlynn - Walter Sammon's Grandmother/Concertina Reel/Brendan … ;  31s (reel): Rún - *Road to Lisdoonvarna, Ceilidh Minogue - King's Reel/… Laoish/Janine's … /… set, The Demon Barbers - *Kiss Me Quick My Mammy's … .

Form: circle mixer.  Avoid having multiples of six couples.

Difficulty: 1

Start standing side-by-side with your partner (lady on the right) and all holding hands in a circle.

    * * *
A1:  All Circle Left for 8 steps. 4 bars

A1:  Four steps in, four steps out.  4 bars

A2:  Do-si-do neighbour (not partner); do-si-do partner.  8 bars

B1:  Grand chain:  everyone face partner, all the men go anticlockwise (Acw.), all the ladies go clockwise.  Take right hands, count “One” and pass partner, hold out left hand to next person, count “Two” and go past, etc..  8 bars

B2: Swing the seventh person.  Taking a crossed two-hand hold with your new partner (one person crosses their arms and the other takes their hands), swing clockwise round for 16 steps.  8 bars

When dancers are proficient, call “Swing the eighth person”.

Sir Roger de Coverley

Music:  (in 9/8) AABBCC Triple jig (or Slip jig).  36s: Flautist - Sir Roger de Coverley, or Blowzabella's faster version;  35s: Mark Arrington - *Foxhunter's Slip Jig set;  32s: Rún - *Hardiman the Fiddler;  29s: Street Fiddlers - Nead Na Lachan (The Foxhunter's Jig).

Form:  5-couple longways - can employ a running step.

    * * *
First corner (top man, bottom lady) skip (or run) towards each other and turn by a right arm hold e.g. linked-elbow or short forearm or cupped-elbow - no thumbs!, or right hand… then they retreat.  The second corner (top woman and bottom man) advance and turn by a right arm hold.  The finishing couple can make a slow, wide cast to clear the way for the following couple until returning through their own place.  16 bars

Then: corners turn by left arm,  16 bars
corners turn by two crossed hands,  16 bars
corners do-si-do (pass back-to-back, Cw. round each other).  16 bars

Top couple ‘strip the willow’ to the bottom, i.e. a right, cupped-elbow/short-arm swing with partner for one-and-a-half turns then left cupped-elbow/short-arm swings down the opposite line (alternating with right arm swings with partner down the middle).  16 bars

Top couple gallop up the middle to the top, cast-out, dance to the bottom followed by the rest, top couple meet, arch and the rest pass through it.  16 bars

Thady you Gander (Irish Trot)

Music:  32-bar jig.  Candleford Ceilidh Band - T. Y. G..

Form:  4-couple longways, (skipping-step or step-hop).

    * * *
Top couple join hands and dance to bottom.  (4)

Couple cross over (lady under man's arm), each return on outside.  (4)

Top lady leads the men around her partner and down the back of the ladies.  (8)

Top man leads the ladies around his partner and down the back of the men.  (8)

Top couple turn once-and-a-half by the right elbow then both short-arm or cupped-elbow swing down the set to 'Strip the Willow'.  (8)

Restart when the top couple reach the bottom (on their own side).

Thread the Needle

Music: 32-bar jig.  John McCusker - [All the] Blue Bonnets [Are Over the Border] (very slow - speeding to 31s per 32 bars) or 33s: Crowdie House - *Blue Bonnets, Mark Arrington, Michael O'Donoghue (32s) - Haymaker's Jig;  32s: Jimmy Blair and his Scottish Dance Band - Lord Rosslyn's Fancy, Dave Swarbrick - *Sheagh of Rye/Friar's Breeches;  30s: Open House - Devil's Jig/The Trip to Bantry/… set, Natalie Macmaster - Jig Party;  29s: Blazin' Fiddles - Braehead Cottage;  28s: Altan - The Blue Idol;  27s: Rapalje - *John Joe Gammon's/Tripping Upstairs/… .

Form:  3 (or four)-couple longways.

    * * *
1-8: Thread the Needle:  Join hands along the lines.  Bottom couple also hold hands at the end to form a 'horseshoe'-shaped set; the top two men (1st and 2nd men) raise their hands to make an arch; top lady leads everyone through the arch - curving left down the back of the men's line, round the set and back to place.  Both the top two men need to unwind their arch by turning under and through it together.

9-16: Repeat 1-8 with the top two ladies making the arch and the men curving right…  when everyone has passed through, both the top two ladies unwind under their arch together.

17-24: All circle left (men just continue their movement).  All circle right.

25-32: First couple, slip down the middle (four steps, two-handed) and back, then, followed by the others, cast to the bottom of the set, and make an arch for the others to lead up the set to their advanced places.

When confident, for bars 1-8, men can walk round clockwise once - so ladies encounter and duck through the mens' arch twice (so, two lines are going through the arch simultaneously).  The last two men (1st and 2nd) need to 'unwind' their arch twice.

T. A. G.

Roger Whynott

Music:  March (32-bar single reel).  35s: Caladh Nua - *By Heck;  34s: Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy - *Whistler of Rosslea (initial rpt.: 42s), Sharon Shannon - *Miss Thomson's/The Derry Reel set, Knot Fibb'n - Merry Blacksmith/Father Kelly's/… , Patrick Street - Killanin's Fancy/… set;  33s: 2nd South Carolina String Band - *Cripple Creek/Old Joe Clark/… ;  32s: Kevin Griffin - Green Mountain, Jenna Reid, Aly Bain and Friends - *Fiddle Blast;  31s: Mick Foster - Brian O'Kane's March, Ceilidh Minogue - King's Reel/… Laoish/Janine's … /… set.

Form:  4-couple longways.

Difficulty: 2

    * * *
A1:  The top couple lead down the centre; come back and cast out (the second couple don't 'assist').

A2:  As the top couple cast, all the men raise their left arm and follow the 1st man into a left hand star while all the ladies follow the 1st lady into a right hand star.  As each couple meet at the bottom, they cross to the other star – the lady crosses in front of her partner to join the left hand star… while men join the right hand star.

B1:  As partners meet at the bottom again, they swap stars back into ladies doing the right hand star while men do the left hand star.

B2:  As the tops meet yet again at the bottom, they lead everyone up to the top and cast…  others follow.  The tops make an arch at the bottom and the others go through.  Couples can swing if there's time.

It helps if the stars are close together to allow easier swapping between them… and dancers stay in stars as long as possible before swapping-over.

Three Around Three

Music:  polka.  34s: Craig Duncan - Grandfather/Clarinet Polka set, Mary Duff (dulcimer) - Jenny Lind/Three Around Three;  29s: Reelroad - *Sean Ryan's Polka;  33s jig (skip): Donegore Tradition - Off She Goes;  28s (for last few times through): John Doonan - Smash the Windows/Off She Goes (Humpty Dumpty) set.

Form:  three longwise couples.

    * * *
Top lady pulls the line of ladies upwards and around the back of the men's line.  (8)

Top man pulls his line around the ladies' line.  (8)

Top couple cast to middle place, & swing.  (8)

Old tops right-hand star with couple above them (old 2nd).  (No left-hand star back.)  (4)

Old tops dive under an arch made by the 3rd couple.  (4)

The new top lady needs to be ready to re-start.

Virginia Reel

This is an adapted version (for Americans) of the English dance, Sir Roger de Coverley.


40-bar (5 x 16 beats) reel.  43s: Kenny Thomson - High Society;  42s: Colin Dewar - Virginia Reel Medley.

32-bar: 34s: The Rankin Family - *Mairi's Wedding (vocal content) (Michael's from 2m09, but “in your own time”);  32s: Melodian Band - V. R. Medley (>9mins long), Geslison & Groberg or Black Rose - Virginia Reel (lively, 2 second intro., then 8 x 31s).

Form:  Longways 4 or 5 couples.

    * * *
A1: 1-4  2nd corner couple only (top lady and bottom man) advance 3 steps and all 'clap-clap', repeated by 1st corner couple, i.e. 2nd in, 'clap-clap', 1st in, 'clap-clap'.

A1: 5-8  2nd corner couple take 3 steps to reverse out, all 'clap-clap', repeated by 1st corner i.e. 2nd out, 'clap-clap', 1st out, 'clap-clap'.

Alternative for A1:
1-4 (involving all couples i.e. no 'passive' couples) all advance 3 steps, all 'clap-clap' and retire 3 steps, 'clap-clap'.

5-8 repeat.

A2: 9-12  All advance, single turn partner with hooked right-elbow.  If the music is Black Rose, all can kick-up heels!

A2: 13-16  All hook left-elbow to turn back.

B1: 17-20  All turn partner Cw. with both hands (4 bars).

B1: 21-24  All do-si-do (passing by the right shoulder)(4 bars).

B2: 25-32  Head couple join hands and chassé (8 side-slips) down set… and back.

B3: 33-40  Head couple cast-off to the bottom where they make an arch, others follow, through the arch and return up the set (having progressed a place).

Alternatives for A1-B2:

    * * *
A1:  Head lady and foot man hook by right-elbow and turn (8 steps)…  while remainder 1, 2, 3, 'clap-clap', then 1st corner… and remainder 1, 2, 3, 'clap-clap'.

A2:  Head lady and foot man left-elbow turn…  then 1st corner.

B1:  Head lady and foot man do-si-do passing right shoulders…  then 1st corner.

B2:  Head lady and foot man do-si-do passing left shoulders…  then 1st corner.

Alternative for a 64-bar dance (32-bar reels twice through):

From bar 25 (B2):  Head couple join hands and chassé (8 side-slips) down the set, the couple then Strip the Willow up the set, cast, & arch at the bottom for the rest of the set to duck under and return to progressed place.

Waves of Tory

Music:  polka/jig.  48-bar for 5 couples or 64-bar for 7 couples.  (Often AAB AAB [48 bars] - for 5 couples; AAB AABBB [64 bars] - for 7 couples).

48-bar jig (5 couples):  WttD 1 CD1, 11 WoT, 48s: Steeleye Span - Mooncoin, 46s: Jon Boden - Bridge of Athlone…;  44s: Blowzabella - *Horizonto;  42s: Threepenny Bit - Coffee Zycanthos.

32-bar jig (twice thru' - for 7 couples): 32s: Michael O'Donoghue - Haymaker's Jig;  31s: Olive Hurley - Shandon Bells;  Sean McGuire - Larry O'Gaff set (3 x 64).

Form:  Longways set of 5 or 7 couples (need an odd number for the 'waves').

Step: Jig or walking step.

    * * *
A1: 1-4  Hold hands in lines, four steps forward and four steps back.

5-8  Couples 1 & 2 and couple 3 & 4 r. h. star, 5 r. h. turn.

A2: 9-12  Lines forward and back.

13-16  Couples 1 & 2 and couples 3 & 4 l. h. star, couple 5 l. h. turn.

B1: 17-24  Top couple two-handed slip-step gallop eight steps down and eight steps back.

B2: 25-32  At the top, they cast out, the remainder follow.  At the bottom of the set, the top couple make an arch for the rest to pass under.

C1 & C2: 33-48 or, for 7 couples, A1, A2, B1, B2: 33-64

There's now a new top couple.  Everybody remember their new position, face down, except the original top couple - and hold hands.  The original 'tops' start a ‘ dip and dive' i.e. alternately 'duck under' and 'arch over' approaching couples.  Each other couple either push apart to ‘arch’ or pull together to ‘dive’, moving forwards until they join in (by following the couple in front).  At the ends, couples can either turn about individually… or (as an embellishment), since their inside arms are already raised (arched), the lady can swap places with the man using a California Twirl (to stay on his right).  They then continue the wave by 'diving' under the arch made by the oncoming couple - back to their places.

Alternative Waves of Tory

Music: 5 x 48-bar jig.  'WttD' CD 1, 11 WoT.

Form:  Longways set of 5 or 7 couples.

    * * *
A1:  Men join hands, ladies join hands.  Lines of men & ladies advance 4 steps toward each other & retire. (4)

Lines advance & pass through by right shoulder (8 steps). (4)

A2:  Advance & retire. (4)

Advance & pass left shoulder. (4)

B1:  Swing partner. (8)

B2:  Top couple cast off: men following the man, ladies follow the lady.  The top couple form a two-handed arch at the bottom of the set and the others, following, pass through and up to the top of the set. (8)

The original top couple finishes as the bottom couple.

B3:  Holding inside hands, new top man turns his lady under his arm, faces down the set and they 'duck and dive' with the set: they pull themselves close to pass under the arch made by the 2nd couple, push apart to go over 3rd, under 4th, etc..  They turn again at the bottom of the set (with a California twirl) to continue the 'waves' again - going under, then over, until they reach the top of the set again.  They then wait for the others to complete i.e. back to where they started the 'waves'. (16)

Repeat as required until everyone has been the top couple.

Weaver's Galopede

Music:  32-bar jig.  32s: Jimmy Blair and his Scottish Dance Band - Lord Rosslyn's Fancy, Trinculo - *Drummond Castle/Shorty's Revenge;  31s: Caitlin Warbelow & Friends - *Father Kelly's/Reconciliation/… /… set *March/Sporting Paddy/Wing Commander Donald MacKenzie's/Road to Errogieg set,  30s: Danú - Brown-Eyed Bridget; (reel:) Jenna Reid, Aly Bain and Friends - *Fiddle Blast;  29s: Altan - The Wedding Jig.

Form:  5-couple longways.

    * * *
A1:  All hold hands to make a horseshoe, the top two men make an arch and the women 'thread the needle'.

A2:  Still holding hands, the top two women make an arch and men 'Thread the Needle'.

B1:  The top couple gallop down… as they pass, the rest cross with right hand; top couple gallop back up, the rest cross back with left hand.

B2:  Top couple gallop down again and the rest cross with right hand; all swing, ending-up back on their own side.

The Willow Tree

Music: 48-bar jig 4 or 8 times through.  47s: Spiers & Jon Boden - Morgan Rattler;  44s: Blowzabella - *Horizonto, Eliza Carthy - Zycanthos Jig set;  42s: Threepenny Bit - *Coffee Zycanthos.

0r 48-bar reel: 54s: Keith Smith - Clutha, Noel Hill - Duke of Leinster;  50s: Mark Arrington - Sweets of May, Blazin' Fiddles - *Fiddle Cushion;

Form:  8-couple longways set.  Difficulty: 2

    * * *
A1 (1-8):  Top couple take two hands and slip to the bottom at a gallop; 1st man takes bottom woman with two hands and slips back to the top, leaving 1st woman behind.

A2 (9-16):  1st woman and bottom man slip up the set at a gallop; bottom man returns with his own woman.

B1 and B2 (17-32):  End couples 'strip the willow' to the middle (i.e. past 3 couples), then form an arch of four in the middle of the set (the 4th and 5th couples need to make a space between them in the middle of the set).

C1 and C2 (33-48):  Sides cast (top six people cast down, bottom six cast up), in through the side arches - out through the end-arches, back to place; swing if there's time.

The Wizard's Walk

By Ruth Ungar

Music:  32-bar.  Wizard's Walk by Jay Ungar.  Folk Godalkanje - W. W. after 32s & 1m05 (unstructured after 1m38), Snowflake? (also Craig Duncan);  Celtic Spring - W. W.. {after 1m10 & 1m41}.

Form:  Sicilian circle - i.e. a large circle comprising alternate couples facing each other.

Demonstration at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s_Kj7YDP9M

    * * *
A1:  In circles of four, '1's facing Cw., '2's facing Acw., starting on l. f. circle left half-way (4 steps/beats); balance (step forward on the left, small 'stomp' on the right while pulling together into the ring - raising hands to chest height), withdraw for two beats. (4 beats).

A1:  Repeat the circle left and balance, to get back to place.

A2:  In circles of four - starting with neighbour - grand chain (r. hand first - men go Cw.) 4 places, i.e. chain right round, then smoothly gypsy Cw. (passing right shoulders) 1½ times round your neighbour.

B1:  In circles of four, balance (lean back, pull inwards) and swing partner (in a ballroom hold) - the '2's will probably be closer to the centre of the circle.  Finish facing a new couple (so progressing) with whom you'll be dancing for the next circuit i.e. '1's face Cw. and '2's face Acw.

B2:  Wizard's Walk (a bit like a longways 'reel of three' - but where, throughout the 'Walk', participants don't generally change the direction in which they're facing): everyone walks forward, '1's separate (twirling outwards - if there's enough space) - and go down outside the '2's (that they've just met – and who'll be moving forward, in and up towards them), meet (with an inward twirl) and continue down to split the next '2's (who'll be moving out and up) - '1's now separate (with a twirl again - if desired) and back up outside those '2's (who'll also be backing), meet and back up through the middle of the '2's (whom they met at the beginning of the 'Walk') with whom they now form a new, four-person circle to restart the dance.

Wring out the Dishrag

Music:  32-bar polka.  35s: Brian Roe - Sean Ryan's Polka;  34s: Craig Duncan - Grandfather/Clarinet Polka, unidentified - Shiftin' Bobbins;  33s: Fred Hanna - Siege of Ennis/Banks of Inverness;  32s: Art Stamper - Barndance Polka;  30s: unidentified or Reelroad (29s) - *Sean Ryan's Polka.

Formation:  Sicilian circle.  For 20 people or more.

Difficulty: 3

    * * *
A1:  In fours, circle left eight steps…, then circle eight right.  8 bars

A2:  Still holding hands, '1's (couples facing clockwise) make an arch and '2's pass under it, turn away from each other, raise (and twist) their still joined hands over their own heads to end ('1's lower their arch in front of themselves) with all facing-in - making a 'clover leaf'.  Then the '2's, facing clockwise, turn towards each other and make an arch, '1's pass under it and turn away from their partner to unwind ('wring out the dishrag').  8 bars

B1:  Right hand star, left hand star.  8

B2:  Take four steps forward, four steps back and pass on (to the left - if a normal Sicilian Circle) or polka-off to find a new couple ('scatter' version).  8

Zig Zag

Music:  32-bar jig or reel.

Jig:  34s: Celtic Fiddle Festival - Old Apples in Winter, Déanta - The Lansdowne Lass set;  33s: Patrick Street - *The Shores of Lough Gowna/Contentment is... set;  32s: Arty McGlynn - The Humors of Kilclogher;  31s: Candleford Ceilidh Band - Devon Jig set, Bothy Band - Strayaway Child;  30s: Monster Ceilidh Band - AJ's Jig/MacArthur Road.

Reel:  42s (slow enough for a 'swagger' step): Johnny Cash - Casey Jones, The Cajun All-Stars - Cousin Lilly;  41s: John Carty - The Warbling Robin, Liz Carroll & John Doyle - Lost in the Loop;  40s: Lost Bayou Ramblers (Cajun-style) - Renee Stomp, *Bayou Perdu (vocals), Lacassine Special;  39s: The Cajun All-Stars - Newz Reel;  36s: The Balfa Brothers - Indian On A Stomp, Liz Carroll & John Doyle - Ricky's White Face;  35s: Caladh Nua - *By Heck, The Elderberries - *Torn Jacket/Boy in the Boat/Toss … set;  34s: Graeme MacKay - The De'il Amang The Tailors set (suitable for a sprightly 'walking' step), Tom Doherty - The Three Sisters Reel, La Famille Arsenault - *La Reel Mon Oncle Albert/Whiskey Before Breakfast, Howie MacDonald & MacIsaac - Old Time Wedding Reel Medley;  33s: Liz Carroll & John Doyle - The Chandelier, *Fremont Center (32s), Adam Agee & Jon Sousa - John Brennan's/… /… set (starts with 40s rpt.);  32s: Séamus Egan - Mason's Apron (a double reel - for which a 'walking' step is suitable), Howie MacDonald & MacIsaac - *Mason's Apron Medley;  31s: Caitlin Warbelow & Friends - *Father Kelly's/Reconciliation/… /… set, March/Sporting Paddy/Wing Commander Donald MacKenzie's/Road to Errogie set.

Form:  Sicilian Circle - alternate couples facing each other.  For ten couples or more.

    * * *
A1:  Men cross the set by pulling 'l. h. through' with the opposite man  (2 bars, 4 beats); men continue in the same direction pulling 'r. h. through' with the man approaching from the adjacent set.  All the men have now changed sets.  (4 bars in total i.e. 8 beats c. 4s.)

All l. h. star in new sets.  (4 bars)

A2:  Ladies follow their men - but they use their r. h. to cross with the opposite lady, followed by l. h. pull-through to the next set.  (4 bars)

All r. h. star in new sets.  (4 bars)

B1:  Ladies' chain across.  (4 bars)

…and back again.  (4 bars)

B2:  Allemande left your 'opposite' (who's also your 'neighbour').  Dance a two-couple R-L Grand Chain (starting with your partner, pass four hands).  When back to place, swing your partner.  (8 bars)


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'.

Music is usually 32-bar reels, played in Bluegrass style.

Texas Star

(A 'breakdown' style of square dance.)

Music:  35s: Mark O'Connor - Say Old Man, John Hartford - Squirrel Hunters;  34s: The Sons of the Pioneers - Oh Susanna - some vocal content, The Steeldrivers - Whiskey Before Breakfast (start at 8s, dance-proper is at 28s);  32s: Chance McCoy & the Appalachian String Band - Twin Sisters, Cranberry Rock, Red-headed Fiddlers - *Texas Quickstep, Abrams Brothers - Soldier's Joy Medley, Frank Blevins & Rattlers (intro. from 2s until 25s) - *Fly Around my Pretty Little Miss, Jones, Nelson & Miller - Possum on a Rail;  Tommy Jarrell - Susannah Gal;  31s: Chance McCoy et al. - Shelvin Rock;  30s: Benton Flippen - *Fly Around my Pretty Little Miss;  29s: Art Stamper - Martha Campbell, Raph Stanley etc. - Mississippi Sawyer, Chance McCoy et al. - Jimmy Johnson, Dance All Night with a Bottle in your Hand (28s)(minor vocal content).

Form:  Square dance (American)

(As 'called' by Phil Jamison on YouTube.)

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

“All four ladies go… in to the middle” (3 steps and clap neighbors' hands), ladies reverse out (“and back to the bar”).  (8 beats, 4s)

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

…then turn back for a l. hand star (grip l. wrists) 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 (where, optionally, the lady can turn Cw. once - still holding both hands initially).  (16 beats)

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

The Break… (between main figures) or 'chorus'
“Join hands that's what you do and circle to the left… other way back”.  (c. 20 beats)

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

Couple 1 go 'R & S':  all join hands, 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' their arch together);

“'4s' 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

Music:  reel.

24-bar:  26s: Rattle on the Stovepipe - *Chinquapin Hunting;  24s Four Men and a Dog - Barlow Knife;  22s: Hammer & String - *Say Old Man, Can I Have Your Daughter?

12-bar:  9.5s: Hobart Smith - Pretty Polly.

32-bar:  36s: Bluegrass Album Band - Misty Morning;  34s: Bruce Molsky - The Bucking Mule, Govannen - *Billy in the Low Ground/Blackberry Blossom, The Grascals - Old Dangerfield, Chance McCoy and Appalachian String Band - Waynesboro;  32s: Corrina Rose Logston - Smokey Mountain Rag, Richard Durrant - Billy in the Low Ground, Kevin Griffin et al. - The Green Mountain/… Westport/… Oranmore set, The Nashville Bluegrass Band - Old Timey Risin' Damp;  31s: Art Stamper - Jenny Lind, Sweet Dixie, Full Cord - Cluck Old Hen, Mason Williams - Ragtime Annie;  30s: Hot Buttered Rum - *Old Dangerfield, Broken Circle Breakdown Bluegrass or Krüger Brothers - Reuben's Train;  29s: Soggy Bottom Boys - *Angeline the Baker, Art Stamper - *Martha Campbell;  28s: Buffalo Gap (live at 'Clifftop 2015') - June Apple, Nora Brown & Stephanie Coleman - Last Chance.

48-bar:  47s: Brittany Haas et al. - Five Miles From Town;  39s: Hobart Smith - *Cripple Creek.

Form:  Start as one large circle (- even though it's an American square dance).

Circle left.  (16 beats)

Swing partner.  (8 beats)

Promenade Ccw.  (8 beats)

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

…ladies continue circling Ccw, - men turn and go the other way around.  When you meet, “Swing your own”.  (c. 20 beats)

Find another couple…  “Lost and found in the middle of the floor”.  (c. 4 beats)

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

(As couple-facing-couple:) Right hand Allemande half-turn around your 'opposite' person (“Turn your opposite by the right hand around.”),

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

r. hand half-around with opposite,  (5 steps)

l. hand with partner,  (5 steps - so c. 20 beats 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. 46 steps/beats)

Move-on to the next couple to repeat the figure…  inner couples move Cw., outers move Ccw..  (c. 2 steps/beats)

“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

Music:  Bluegrass reel.
32-bar:  34s: Amey Alvey & Brad Leftwich - Indian on a Stump, The Grascals - Old Dangerfield;  33s: Bryan Sutton and Friends - Kitchen Girl, Brittany Haas - Smith's Reel;  32s: Glenn Sutton - Bonny Bluegrass, Chance McCoy and Appalachian String Band - Cranberry Rock, Corrina Rose Logston - Smokey Mountain Rag;  31s: Mason Williams - Ragtime Annie, Corrina Rose Logston - Sandridge, Chance McCoy et al. - Indian Ate a Woodchuck, Shelvin Rock, Andrew Vogts - Rosin on the Gourd, Art Stamper - Sweet Dixie;  30s: Foghorn Stringband - Lost Girl;  29s: Chance McCoy et al. - Jimmy Johnson.

20 bar:  22s: Dirk Powell - *Sally Ann.

24 bar:  22.5s: Bruce Molsky - *Last of Harris.

36 bar:  36s: Pete Sutherland & Brad Kolodner - Five Miles From Town.

40 bar:  42s: Glenn Sutton - Green Bluegrass;  40s: David Holt & Josh Goforth - *Billy Wilson.

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.

As called by Bob Dalsemer at: https://vimeo.com/9716623.

    * * *
Main Figure (comprises c. 56 bars or 38)
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 will then need to 'unwrap' - by turning Cw. once).  “Insides arch and outsides under, 'Dip and Dive', you go like thunder” … until couple 1 are in the middle ('sides' have swapped places).  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 swings (10 bars)…  or couple '3's arch and '1's simply dive thru' and move-on. (2 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 until couple 1 are in the middle (sides have now swapped back to their original places).  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 - 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

32 bar:  34s: Brittany Haas – John Brown's Dream;  33s: Brittany Haas - Smith's Reel;  32s: Glenn Sutton - Bonny Bluegrass, Corrina Rose Logston - Smokey Mountain Rag;  31s: Mason Williams - Ragtime Annie, Corrina Rose Logston - Sandridge, Chance McCoy et al. - Indian Ate a Woodchuck, Shelvin Rock, Andrew Vogts - Rosin on the Gourd, Art Stamper - Sweet Dixie.

20 bar:  22s: *Dirk Powell - Sally Ann.

36 bar:  35s: Pete Sutherland & Brad Kolodner - *Five Miles From Town.

40 bar:  42s: Glenn Sutton - Green Bluegrass;  40s: David Holt & Josh Goforth - *Billy Wilson.

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

As called by Bob Dalsemer at: https://vimeo.com/9696710

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

Circle left eight steps, “the other way back, single file, ladies in front”; partner swing, corner swing, promenade partner round the ring “promenade them two-by-two”. (8 + c. 10 bars)

    * * *
Main figure  (c. 36 bars)

First couple go over 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 do-si-do”: “turn partner by the left and around you go”(3), "opposite right and around you go”(2), partner left (3), opposite right (2) “and one more change and around you go”/“and all four change and on you go”, partner left.  (2)

The man curls round Acw. so that he can promenade (r. arm over shoulders?) his partner back home.  Both men should commence this figure back-to-back, “back home you go”.  (3)

Everybody cross-hand swing partner (once around), “partner swing” (2), everybody cross-hand swing corner (once around) (2), promenade partner around the ring.  (8)

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

Third couple go out to the right… etc..

Fourth couple… etc..

Arkansas Traveler

Music:  Reel (the basic figure consumes c. 20 bars).  20-bars in 22s: Dirk Powell or 21s: Craig Duncan - *Sally Ann.

Form:  American Square.

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

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

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

'Corners all' right hand around.  2 bars  (c. 5 steps)

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

Promenade the corner, Ccw., when she comes down.  6 bars  (c. 12 steps)

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… for which 'calling' needs to react to dancers' progress rather than music phrasing.)

Music:  American reels - Bluegrass;  36s: Bucketboy Bluegrass - Kitchen Girl;  35s: John Hartford - Squirrel Hunters;  34s: Chance McCoy et al. - Waynesboro;  33s: Bryan Sutton - Kitchen Girl, Bill Monroe - Ashland Breakdown, Brittany Haas - *Fisher's Hornpipe/Smith's Reel, James Last - Boil Them Cabbage Down;  32s: Art Stamper - Miss Spencer's Reel, Goodbye Girls… , Corrina Rose Logston - Smokey Mountain Rag, Bruce Molsky - Forked Deer;  31s: Corrina Rose Logston - Laughing Boy, Andrew Vogts - *Rosin on the Gourd, Mountain Heart - Barn Dance;  30s: The Broken Circle Breakdown or Krüger Brothers - *Reuben's Train, Mike Scott - *Sally Goodin, Bruce Molsky - Last of Harris (24 bars in 22.5s);  29s: Ricky Skaggs - *Montana Slim (loose 32-bar), Chance McCoy & Appalachian String Band - *Indian Ate a Woodchuck;  28s: Chance McCoy et al. - Dance All Night with a Bottle in your Hand (some vocal content), Bruce Molsky - I Get my Whiskey from Rockingham (some vocal content).

20-bar:  21s: Craig Duncan - *Sally Ann.

24-bar:  26s: Rattle on the Stovepipe - *Chinquapin Hunting;  22s: Hammer & String - *Say Old Man, Can I Have Your Daughter?

36-bar:  36s: Pete Sutherland & Brad Kolodner - *Five Miles From Town.

48-bar:  47s: Brittany Haas et al. - Five Miles From Town;  39s: Hobart Smith - Cripple Creek.

(As called by Bob Dalsemer on YouTube.)

Form:  square.

    * * *
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 thru”.

The Rout (not dissimilar to 'Chain Double Quadrille')

Music:  Basic main figure takes 32 bars.  48 bars when 'R-L thru's are included.

32-bar:  34s: Govannen - *Billy in the Low Ground, Amy Alvey & Brad Leftwich - Indian on a Stump;  33s: Mark O'Connor - Tennessey Wagoner;  32s: Kevin Griffin et al. - The Green Mountain/… Westport/… Oranmore set, The Steeldrivers - Whiskey Before Breakfast, Crooked Still - *Angeline the Baker  (some vocals).

48-bar:  52s: Rattle on the Stovepipe - *Chinquapin Hunting.

40-bar:  40s: David Holt - Billy Wilson.

Form:  American square.

As Called on YouTube by Tony Parkes to Glise de Sherbrooke.

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 through's (shown below in a paler, italic font)

Head couples lead to the couple on their right.  2 bars

They circle left, then break the circle after a half-turn to open-out to form a line - so, two longwise, two-couple lines face each other.  2 bars

Into the middle and back.  4 bars

'Right and Left through' across the set, finish with a courtesy-turn.  4 bars

With the same two - Chain those ladies across the set - finishing with a courtesy-turn.  4 bars

Face down the line, ladies' chain, courtesy-turn.  4 bars

With the same two - 'Right and left thru' down the line, courtesy-turn.  4 bars

Chain those ladies across the set, courtesy-turn.  4 bars

Same two - 'Right and left thru' across the set, courtesy-turn.  4 bars

'Right and left thru' down the line.  4 bars

Same two - Chain those ladies down the line.  4 bars

Courtesy-turn twice around… and Promenade Ccw. (“around the town”).  8 bars

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

A hash Break figure:  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, 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)

R-L thru' across the set.

Ladies' chain down the line.
Ladies' chain across the set.

R-L thru' down the line.

Ladies' chain across the set.

R-L thru' down the line.
R-L thru' across the set.

Ladies' chain down the line…   (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

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

Form: American Square dance.  (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 rock-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”.

Arcadian ('Cajun)

Two-Step footwork - all shuffle steps, upper body relatively stiff.
Man: (8 beat) Left, right (close), left, close the right to left (& tap); change direction, right, close the left to right, right, close left to right (& tap).

Change direction: left, close the right, change direction right, close the left, right.

or Change direction and raise right arm for lady to spin Cw. under it: left, close right, left, close right, change direction right, close, right, close left behind right.