Country Dances - Circle/Square/Crossways

Last updated:  December, 2020

Alabama Jubilee

Music:  32-bar reel.  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 the square dance), lady on man’s right - all facing-in.

A1:   All join hands and move four steps into the middle…  and four steps out, repeat.

A2:   Allemande left with neighbour, do-si-do partner once-and-a-half…  forward to the next person - holding out right hand.  5 + 9 + 2 steps

B1:   ½ 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 anticlockwise (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.

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/Road to Ballymac (reel) set;  32s: Liz Carroll - *The Silver Spear/The Earl’s Chair/The Musical Priest, Ghurt-Yo-ghurt - The Musical Priest, Jenna Reid, Aly Bain and Friends - *Fiddle Blast, Patrick Street - Killanin’s Fancy/… Portobello/… (reel) 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 (men go Acw. round the circle, ladies go Cw., by pulling past alternate people using alternate hands).

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

Repeat – with sides leading.

The New Mrs Arrowsmith

Author:  Gordon Potts

Music:  Hornpipe or Polka.  45s hornpipe (step-hop): Patrick Street - Down by the Old Fairy Fort/The Whistler… ;  41s hornpipe: Stömp - Scan Tester’s;  35s: Corrina Rose Logston - Honeycat Hornpipe;  16 bars in 21s: Nightingale - Newmarket Polka/Trip to Dingle;  34s: Craig Duncan - Grandfather/Clarinet Polka set;  33s: Ghurt-Yo-ghurt - Sean Ryan’s/Irish Polka set;  32s: Art Stamper - Barndance Polka, Ronan Hardiman - *Irish Polka;  30s: Doc and Merle Watson - Guitar Polka.

Form:  Four couples in a square.

A1:   Head couples take a hand with partner and lead ‘forward’ four steps in to the middle of the set and ‘back’.
Head couples forward, then separate - taking their ‘opposite’ by the hand and turning to pass between their adjacent side couple (who’ll need to separate slightly)…  then each return to place.

A2:   Sides ‘forward & back’ four steps.
Side couples forward, separate and out, taking their ‘opposite’ between their adjacent head couple (who’ll need to separate slightly)…  and then each return to place.

B1:   The four ladies ‘right hand star’, men cast out (Acw.), circulate round the outside to the next man’s place.  When, after completing ¾ circle - c. 5 steps, the ladies encounter their partner, they ‘peel-off’ to meet him by the left hand and he courtesy turns (or Cw. twirls) her Acw., around him. (c. 3 steps)

B2:   Repeat the ‘star’ and courtesy turn then, either:
repeat it one last time (by which time couple should have returned to place).
or, to ‘progress’, men circulate two places round (ladies continue to ¾-circle).

Reel of Ballymore

Leslie Haworth

Music:  32-bar jig.  Welcome to the Dance, ‘WttD’, CD2, 01 The Ranchers - Reel of Barrymore;  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

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) eight steps anti-clockwise, then, remaining in-hold, all turn back.
Men move-on to promenade the lady in front, eight steps clockwise - she 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 on the other side is your right-person.  (The left-person was your previous partner.)
You’re now going to Allemande these three people.  Give right hand to pass your new partner, turn the right-person halfway with the left hand.  Pass partner by the right hand, turn the left-person halfway by the left hand to return to partner again.

B2:   Long swing with partner (alternatively: Balance & Kick twice and swing).

Belfast Duck

Music:  16-bar hornpipe;  23s:  WttD, CD1, 20 Woodley Yeomen - Belfast Duck;  24s:  Banter-Bellowhead - Kafoozalum;

32 bars:  49s:  Altan - *Dance of the Honeybees;  41s:  Stömp - Scan Tester’s.

Form:  a large circle of couples - men form an inner circle facing out…  or longways: duple, proper.  Step-hop (vigorous) or slow walk (gentle).

Prep.:  From the top, hold hands in fours.

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

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

Ditto up the room - or anticlockwise (Acw.).

Ditto down the room.

Ditto up the room but ‘1’s, stationary, make an arch and ‘2’s pass under it - so progressing.

On reaching an end, swap designation and ‘wait-out’ a turn.


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.

Blaydon Races

Watch at:

Music:  32-bar march.  30s: ‘Welcome to the Dance’ (‘WttD’) CD 2, 20 Greensleeves County Dance Band - Blaydon Races/Tramp, tramp, tramp/Home Boys Home (.wma), Woodley Yeomen - 13 B. R. (mp3), Cheviot Ranters - Blaydon Races/Keep You Feet Still Geordie Hinny/Whenever Ye Can Yer Sure Tae Find a Geordie;  33s: 2nd South Carolina String Band - *Cripple Creek/Old Joe Clark/… .

Form:  circle or concentric circles.

A1:   Join hands, go into the middle and back;  4 bars
repeat.  4 bars

A2:   Double-handed or ballroom hold: double chassé in, double chassé out;  4 bars
crossed-hands swing two turns.  4 bars

B1:   Promenade (hands in front) Acw. eight steps.  During the last few steps, men move-on to the lady in front.  8 bars

B2:   Balance & Kick;  repeat;  4 bars
cross-hand swing (men finish with the new lady on their right).  4 bars

Restart:  into the middle again.

Borrowdale Exchange

Music:  32-bar reels.  Boden et al - 13 B. E. (mp3 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:   All circle left eight steps…  and back.

A2:   All advance into the middle four steps…  and back;
do-si-do partner.

B1:   Hold Right-hands across, 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:   Promenade (or polka) around the room for 4 bars…  then form new, 3-couple sets.

The Carousel

Author:   Bill Wolding

Music:  reel.  36s: Country Fiddle Band - Miller’s Reel;  35s: Dominique Dupuis - Reels des Naufrages, The Elderberries - Torn Jacket/Boy …/Toss …;  34s: Wild Asparagus - The Big Reel/Rare, Fahey’s/Woman …/Sligo …;  32s: Natalie MacMaster - Three Reels, The Lost and Nameless Orchestra - Dizzy Molly/Julia Delaney/… McNeil, Hotpoint Stringband - Irish Reel/… Laxdale;  31s: Mean Lids - Waterbound;  30s: The Green Lads - *Road to Errogie.

Form:  Sicilian Circle (couple facing couple).

A1:   Do-si-do person opposite;
do-si-do partner.

A2:   Hold hands in circles of four.  Balance in, out…  twice;
circle left eight steps.

B1:   Balance in, out…  twice;
circle right.

B2:   With arm around one’s partner’s waist (or linked-elbows), balance forward and back once;
Men link left elbows to form a line and swing the line ½-around;
Men release elbows, couples continue rotating a further ½-turn to face the next couple.


B2:   Circle left eight steps, ‘crash thru’ (going to the left of one’s ‘opposite’) on to the next couple.

Chain Double Quadrille

Music:  48-bar jig.  50s: ITMA Staff - Humours of Ennistymon/…Moher/…Ocean;  48s: Steeleye Span - The Mooncoin Jig;  47s: The Elderberries - Banish Misfortune;  45s: Kevin Burke - *The Humours of Ennistymon/Old as the Hills;  44s: Eliza Carthy - Zycanthos Jig/… Foot/… set;  42s: Threepenny Bit - *Coffee Zycanthos.

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’.

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

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 & Kick to partner, repeat… 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 each pass thru’ to the left of the facing person) to the next set.  8 beats

La Champenoise/Chapelloise

A simple, progressive, two-hand, circle dance.

Watch at:

Music: 16-bar jig/gigue - Own tune.  33s-27s: Die Irrlichter, Duivelspack, Les Genoux - *Chapelloise;  15s: Blazin’ Fiddles - *Thursday Night in the Caley.

Form:  Circassian Circle.  Cercle Circassien.  For more than six couples.  Couples face Acw., men on the inside - so that each couple is a ‘spoke’ in a wheel.

A:    Promenade (‘Varsouvienne’-style  i.e. the man places his right arm over his partner’s shoulders and they hold both hands), three steps forward (start on r.f., half-second paces), half-turn Cw. - still holding both hands, three steps back, touch/close.  (4 bars)

{"Hommes à gauche/interieur.  Dans le sens antihoraire: marche, marche, marche, tourn, recule, recule, recule, touch/pause."}

Variation: the man faces Cw. round the circle - holding the lady’s extended l. hand with his right hand, and extending his left arm to hold her right hand, he then walks backwards (starting on l.f.) for three steps.  They then both half-turn Acw. - so they’ll need to extend their r. arms instead - and he walks forward.

Promenade three steps forward (start on l.f.), half-turn Acw., three back - returning back to place - close.  Variation continues:  the man’s first few steps are backwards, the lady under-arm twirls her last few steps back to place.  (4 bars)

{"Dans le sens horaire: marche, marche… etc.."}

B:    Everyone faces Acw. around the circle - holding adjacent hands only.  Couples pull together with either a little leap & ‘tap’ or a Pas de Basque, then spring apart - again with a P. de B..  The man then feeds his partner across (she rotates Acw.) in front of him to his left-hand side, as he slides right (across to the outside) - so they swap places.  (4)

Couples pull together, spring apart…  then make an arch with their ‘inside’ arms for the lady to duck Cw. under, offering her free, left hand to the following man.  He collects it with his left hand as he slides back to the ‘inside’ position and she completes her Cw. rotation allowing him to place his r. arm over her shoulders.  (4)

{Les couples s’approchent, s’écartent, s’échange de place. "Tirer près ensemble", "Side, touch", "Change de place - la fille passe devant le garçon, face-à-face", "En sa proche", "La fille passe en sous."}

Circassian Circle

A simple, progressive, two-hand, circle dance.

Music:  32-bar jig.  The Irish Washerwoman.

Form:  Circassian Circle.  Couples, lady on the right, face the centre.

A1:   Forward four steps & back, repeat.

A2:   Ladies three steps in, clap, and back; men three steps in and kick.  Return to the next lady round.

B1:   Swing.

B2:   Promenade (cross-hands - r. hand to r. hand - or 'Gay Gordons'-style) Acw. this lady.  Finally, twirl the lady ¾ Cw. to face in.

Circle Waltz (mixer)

Music:  WttD, CD2, 13, Greensleeves County Dance Band - I Belong to Glasgow/ … /Two Lovely Black Eyes/ …;  60Bpm: Foster & Allen - Oslo Waltz

Watch at:

Form:  Circassian circle.  Take hands round the circle.

A:    Balance in, balance out; the man, stepping back slightly, feeds neighbour across into partner’s place to reform the circle.  Repeat three, further times.

B:    Hold both hands with the fourth person (partner).  Sway in, sway out, sway in and turn away from partner (man Acw., lady Cw.) to finish facing out.  Take hands and repeat outwards - sway out, sway in, sway out and turn.  Take ballroom hold: two chassé steps in and two out.  Waltz around the circle, then reform the circle to restart.

Cotton-Eye Joe  (Circle mixer)

Source:  YouTube.

Sounds impressive on wooden floor-boards.

Music:  16-bar, Bluegrass polka.  17s: Geslison & Groberg - Cotton-Eye Joe;  31s: Bruce Molsky, Rednex (29s) - C.-E. J..

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

A:    Brace/link right hands (vertically, at chest height, palm-to-palm) with one’s partner.  With the right foot, stomp, stomp, chassé right, i.e. ‘side-close-side’ - swapping hands whilst crossing in front of one’s partner.  (2 bars)

With the left foot, stomp, stomp, chassé left - swapping hands.  (2 bars)

Repeat.  (4 bars)

For the last 8 bars, either:

B:    Allemande right one’s partner.  (4 bars)

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


B:    Right elbow-turn one’s previous partner once Cw., left elbow-turn one’s current partner ½ Ccw., right elbow-turn the next person (your next partner) once, ready to restart - facing around the circle.  (8 bars)

Cumberland Square Eight

Watch at:

Music:  64-bar reel.  35s: Boden et al. - C. S. E.;  33s: Jim Macleod Band - My Love She’s But a Lassie Yet/Rae Horrick’s Reel/…;  32s: WttD CD2, 17 Greensleeves Country Band - My Love She’s But a Lassie Yet, The Cheviot Ranters - My Love She’s But a Lassie Yet/Caddam Woods/Rose Tree.

Form:  Square set.

A1:   Heads galop 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:  Men grip hands behind the ladies’ backs, ladies place their hands on men’s shoulders.  or: ladies two-hands across, men two hands across (over ladies), men lower arms behind the ladies’ backs and duck under. All four 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.

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.  (4 + 4 bars)

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

A3:   Right and left through in fours…  and back.  (4 + 4 bars)

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

B3 & B4:   Each couple dance (polka-step? pas-de-bas?) around the opposite couple two or three times, then go half-way round again to progress and form a new line ready to restart.  (16 bars)

The Dashing White Sergeant

Music:  32-bar reels.  32s:  The Jingbang Ceilidh Band - The Dashing White Sergeant/Kate Dalrymple/Barrowburn;  31s: Crowdie House, and Shoestring - The D. W. S., The Chieftans - *Ladies Pantalettes (speeds-up from 34s per rpt. to 30s).

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 could replace one of the men in a two-man ‘threesome’.  The ousted man could then make an additional ‘threesome’ with two surplus ladies.)

1-8:   Join hands in a circle of six and circle round to the left for eight 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 half-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:   One line (say ‘1’s) raise their hands in an arch, both lines dance forwards, ‘2’s duck underneath - passing to the left of their opposites.

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

If the room’s not wide enough for a 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 back towards the rest of the dancers, miss the circling (1–8), then carry-on as normal.

Dorset Four Hand Reel

Tends to be performed more for ‘display’, than socially.

Music:  2 x 64 + 8 bars, AABB + 8 final swing; rant, WttD II - 06 Dorset Four Hand Reel;  33s per 32 bars (sprightly!): Blowzabella - D. F. H. R. set.

Form:  cross-ways 2-couple set, ladies back-to-back in the middle facing out towards their partner  i.e. M-L l-m.

A1:   Hey (reel of four), all start by passing right shoulders with partner.  Finish after 1¾ circuits (10 places) with men in the middle (facing each other).  l-m M-L

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:   Hey again.  Finish with ladies back in the middle.  M-L l-m

B2:   Ladies ‘set’ to each other - twice to each side.

B2:   Ladies turn to their partner and ‘set’ to him.

So, first time through: walking reel, then 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 the 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 + 8x48 + 40).  The De’il Amang the Tailors is commonly used for the first and last 40 bars.
52s (for 48 bars): Jim McCloud Band - Eightsome Reel;  50s: Gordon Pattullo Band - Eightsome Reel.

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 eight steps (4 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:  Couples Swing round (men-backing, 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.

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

Main Figure - repeated 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 two-handed, sets to opposite man and turns him.

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

25-32:  Repeat bars 1-8.

33-48:  Repeat bars 9-24, but with 2nd and 4th men - start the reel by passing left shoulder.  1st lady retires.
Repeat figure with, in the centre, 2nd lady, 3rd lady, 4th lady, 1st man, 2nd man, 3rd man, 4th man.

Final Chorus

Repeat the 40 bars at the start of the dance.

Goathland Square Eight

Music:  32-bar rant.  35s: WttD, CD1, 03 - Orange and Blue - 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:   Holding hands, circle left, (4 bars)

A1:   circle right. (4 bars)

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

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

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

A2:   ‘2’s and ‘4’s return, ‘2’s arch. (2 bars)

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

B1:   halfway round - swing partner. (4 bars)

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

B2:   meet partner and swing. (final 4 bars)

Repeat from start…

The Heartbreaker

Author: Peter Coe

Watch us doing it at: - video by SHOCC organiser, Ian Nichols.

Music:  32-bar jig/reel or Charleston (Goodman/Steamchicken-style).  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).  For slower Charlestons, one could use a swaggering gait.  For a finalé: 63 bpm:  Michael Holliday - *Swanee (from [0m38] 1m40 up to 2m43).

Reel:  39s: Sam Bartlett - Rumblestrip;  32s: Natalie Macmaster - The Beaumont Rag.

Jig:  32s: Craig Duncan - *Drummond Castle/Lads of Dunse/The Stool of Repentance;  29s: Black Donald - Stool of Repentance.

Form:  Four-couple square.

A1:   All holding hands, circle left for eight steps (ranting - if proficient),  (4 bars)
Circle right for 8 steps (back to place).  (4 bars)

A2:   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, leave the set - each through their adjacent arch, round the outside to meet at the bottom, where they join hands, duck under that arch and cross the set back to place.  (8 bars)

B1:   Four-Ladies’ Chain:  ladies right hand star for half-a-turn, peeling-off to meet the opposite man by the left hand.  The man then courtesy turns her (or, as a flourish, the lady meets him with an underarm Cw. twirl - ‘Swat the Flea’ - he then checks her forward trajectory, ready to guide her back) to…  (4)
…continue the Four-Ladies’ Chain, back to her partner (where, if inclined, the lady can raise her partner’s left hand with her left hand to twirl backwards, Cw., under it).  The man half-turns her around him - gliding into…  (4)

B2:   …everyone do-si-do their corner, then do-si-do their partner.  (8)

Repeat:  Circle, then the next couple Acw. ‘Split the Heart’ etc..

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

Hullichan’s (Hooligan's) 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);  64s: Gordon Pattullo’s Band - Hullighan’s Jig;  30s: The Jingbang Ceilidh Band - Hullichan’s/The Curlew/Skyeman’s/Troy’s …;  James Keane - *The Geese in the Bog.

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

Preparation:  Each set should have men of similar height and physique - as swinging can get a bit enthusiastic.  Demonstrate a Pas-de-Basque step.

1-8:   Everyone Pas-de-bas (P-d-b) their partner for 16 beats i.e. 8 bars

9-16:   Link right elbows (see * below) 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 P-d-b 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. -  m-L l-M

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:  facing in opposite directions, link right elbows with one’s partner, both 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.

Lucky Seven

Music:  32-bar jigs/reels, ‘WttD’ CD 2 Greensleeves Country Dance Band - 11 Lucky Seven (The Happy Cavalier/Three Scamping Rogues);  34s reel: Sharon Shannon - *The Woodchoppers, *Bag of Cats or *Bonnie Mulligan, Gerry O’Connor - *Mountain Road/Ash Plant/Josie McDermott’s, La Famille Arsenault - *La Reel Mon Oncle Albert/Whiskey Before Breakfast;  33s: Kristin Scott Benson - The Woodchoppers Reel, Abrams Brothers - Nashville Skyline Rag, Arty McGlynn - Walter Sammon’s Grandmother/Concertina Reel/Brendan … ;  32s: Cheviot Ranters - Davy Knick-Knack/Toland Dance/Aiken Drum;  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 a six-couple set.

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, 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 the 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 “Now swing the eighth person”.

The Mouth of the Valleys

as written (and called) by Gordon Potts

Music:  32-bar, reel.  38s (“Plenty of time for some creative twirling.”): Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Loch Leven Castle/… /Goat Island …/… set, Lissa Schneckenburger - The Old Maid of Galway, Angelina Carberry - Pluckin’ Mad;  37s: Liz Carroll - both *Ricky’s White Face and Smokies in Arbroath;  34s: Máiréad Nesbitt - The Butterfly Reel, Jerry Holland - *Horse Tigers/Billy Macleod’s, The Brock McGuire Band - *The Moving Cloud, Keith Smith - *The 9lb Chicken, Solas - *Sproggies, Caladh Nua - *By Heck, Nathan Gourley - *Heights of Muingbhatha, Katie Grennan - Reels - Traditional;  33s: The Gothard Sisters - *The Bandit , Malachy Doris - *Bonnie Kate/… Monaghan, Ashley & D MacIsaac - Silver Spear set, Tune Makers or Shaskeen Céilí Band - *Bucks of Oranmore, We Banjo 3 - Road to Eirogee/President Garfield set;  32s: Kevin Griffin - *Green Mountain/… Westport/… Oranmore, Lissa Schneckenburger - Melissa without the “Me”/Eric’s Birthday… .

Form:  Five/six couple Circassian circle - everyone facing their partner.

A1:   Men dance/walk a figure-of-eight:  first Cw. around their partner then Acw. around their neighbour (the lady behind).  (8 bars)

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

B1:   Men turn their partner half-around by either a ‘short’ right arm, i.e. a forearm grip, or a ‘cupped’ elbow - but no thumbs!, half-turn their neighbour by the left arm, and half-turn their partner again by the r. arm.
Offering their left hand back to their neighbour (their new partner), men curl ½ Acw., placing their r. arm over their new partner’s shoulders - so everyone faces Acw. around the circle.  (8)

B2:   New couples promenade (‘Varsouvienne’/ 'Gay Gordons'sh-style) around the circle - roughly back to place - to face one’s (new) partner in a re-formed circle.  (8)

Panshanger Sicilian Circle

by Barry Goodman

Music:  32-bar polka or jig.  32s jigs: Tiger Moth - Oats and Beans and Barley Grow, Alban Fuam - The Wishing Well/Apples in Winter/… set;  21s for 16 bars polka: Nightingale - Newmarket Polka/Trip to Dingle;  38s for 32 bars: Lissa Schneckenburger - Jamie Allen;  32s polkas: Art Stamper - Barndance Polka, Ronan Hardiman - *Irish Polka;  31s polka: Sláinte - Britches full of Stitches/Munster Bank/Bill Sullivan’s set.

Form:  Sicilian Circle. 

In circles of four, holding hands.  Cw.-facing couples are ‘1’s.

A1:   Circle left eight quick-ish steps,
Still holding hands, circle right.

A2:   Do-si-do partner,
Do-si-do opposite.

B1:   Ladies’ chain,
‘1’s arch and ‘2’s duck under.

B2:   ‘2’s arch and ‘1’s back under,
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);  15s: Sham Rock - Tell Me Ma;  14.5s: Gaelic Storm - Tell Me Ma (some sing-along vocals).

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.

A:     With both arms out-stretched to the side, hold hands with partner.

‘Heel-toe’:  ‘Heel’ into the circle (or, if space is limited, Acw. around the circle), ‘toe’ - heel by ball of outer foot…  repeat;  4 beats, 2 bars

Slide four times (eight steps) to man’s left i.e. into the middle of the circle (or Acw. round the circle),  2 bars

With outside foot, ‘heel-toe’ twice towards the outside (or Cw.),  2 bars

Slide four steps - back to place.  2 bars

B:    Clap right hands with partner three times (fast-ish), clap left hands with partner three times,  2 bars

Clap both partner’s hands three times, clap own thighs/knees three times.  2 bars

polka around keeping the same partner.  4 bars

or progress:
Right elbow turn once.  2 bars
Continue-on, passing one’s partner (men go Acw.) to the next person round.  2 bars

Variation:  Change Places crossing to the left of partner while also half-turning a ½-turn Acw. (so pass back-to-back - using about five steps), then march on-the-spot - hands on hips.  4 bars.

La Russe Quadrille

Watch at:

Music:  64-bar polka.
32-bar:  64-bar: 34s: Boden - 01 La Russe (FSCD02, 2005)
32-bar: 35s: Cheviot Ranters - Call of the Pipes/Barren Rocks… set;  Tiger Moth - Larousse.  32s: Cheviot Ranters - La Russe/Good Humour/Come Let Us Dance and Sing.

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, balance (‘set’ to the right, then left)… (4 bars) & swing.  (4 bars)

A2:   Return back to place with a Cw. twirl - passing to the left of partner.  (2 bars)  Face partner, ‘set’ (2 bars) & swing.  (4 bars)

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 (with a rant step - leading couple, ‘1’s, ducking, ‘3’s arching).  (At the far side, couples could ‘California Twirl’ to change place and direction.)  Cross back (‘1’s arching).

A4:   Repeat A3 i.e. the ‘dip and arch’.

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

B4:   Promenade (ranting, 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, ‘3’s, and then ‘4’s.  Finally both heads (‘1’s & ‘3’s) dance B1, B2 and A3 at the same time (‘1’s cross first again)…, then both ‘side’ couples do B1, B2 and A3 together.

Note:  To enliven A3 and A4, the ‘passive’ couples could, if they’re very nifty, cross (‘2’s dipping first) close on the heels of the ‘working’ couples.

Suicide Square

Watch at:  (a relatively relaxed execution)

Music:  32-bar double-jig (for the galop).  32s: Old School Band - Shearer’s Gem/Whittle Springs, Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Maureen’s Fancy/The Ceili Jig/The Swinging Jig, Dave Swarbrick - The Swallow’s Tail/Rakes Of Kildare/Blackthorn Stick;  31s: Whapweasel - Badunga, Kennedy’s Kitchen - Girls of Banbridge/Willie Coleman’s, Joe Burke, Michael Cooney & Terry Corcoran - Father O’Flynn/Haste To The Wedding;  30s: The Gothard Sisters - Midsummer Jigs;  29s: Fiddler’s Dram - Darley’s Jig, Blazin’ Fiddles - Braehead Cottage;  28s: Banter - Jump at the Sun.

Form:  One big circle/square.

1-8   Everyone in ballroom hold - the head ends of the room galop eight steps across the room and back.  (8)

9-16  Sides do the same.  (8)

17-24  Two-handed Balance & Kick twice,  (4)
Swing your partner.  (4)

25-32  Men form an inner circle facing out, women form an outer circle facing in, everybody circle left.  (6)
Face a new partner and take ballroom hold.  (2)

Sybil’s Roundabout

Watch at:

Music:  32-bar jig.  38s: Seelyhoo - *Sarah MacFadyen/Farewell …;  35s: Sláinte - Celtic Jig/Leitrim Fancy (or 54bpm Charleston: The Viscounts - Five Foot Two).

Form:  Couples in a large circle - men on their partner’s left.  All hold hands, facing in.  Progressive.  Can also, with minor modification, be performed as a Contra.

A1:   Walk four steps in to the center of the circle, and retire (four steps back-out),
walk four steps in again, then the lady retires, the man just half-turns to face her.

A2:   Do-Si-Do partner,  (4 bars)
Chassé left twice (or, for more enthusiastic events, four galops i.e. a ‘Side-close’ per beat - for four beats), (2)
chassé right twice or four galops; (2)  end with your partner diagonally to your left.

B1:   Take left hands with your partner and right hands with the person on your right diagonal (to form a wavy line),
Balance the ring/line (four beats: pull/step forward, tap/kick…  lean/step back, tap),  (2 bars)
Allemande left a ½-turn with your partner to change places,  (2 bars)
Balance the new ring,  (2)
Allemande right your new partner ½-turn to change places with them.  (2)

B2:   Allemande left your third partner ¾-turn to return to your second partner,
swing (ballroom hold, buzz step) your second partner.
Fall-back into a circle to repeat.

Wring Out the Dishrag/Dishcloth / Dive for the Oyster

Watch at:  with a slightly ‘busier’ B1.

Music:  32-bar polka.  16 bars in 21s: Nightingale - Newmarket Polka/Trip to Dingle;  35s: Brian Roe - Sean Ryan’s Polka;  34s: Craig Duncan - Grandfather/Clarinet Polka  {Grandparents Polka};  32s: Art Stamper - Barndance Polka.

Formation:  Two-couple (improper) sets - for as many as will …  or a Sicilian circle - ideally for ten couples or more.

Difficulty:  3

A1:   In fours (two-couples) holding hands, circle to the left eight steps…  (4 bars)
Swap to a star left (grip right wrists at waist height).  (4)

A2:   Star right eight steps  (4)
circle right eight steps.  (4)

B1:   Still holding hands, ‘2’s (couples facing anti-clockwise) make an arch and ‘1’s pass under it, turn away from each other, raise (and twist) their still joined hands over their own heads.  All, now facing-in, lower their crossed-hands in front of themselves - making a ‘four-leaf clover’.  Admire!  (4)
The ‘1’s, now facing Acw., turn towards each other - without releasing hands - and raise an arch, ‘2’s pass under it and turn away from each other to unwind i.e. ‘Wring out the dishrag’.  (4)

B2:   Polka-off to find a new couple (‘scatter’ version - so need to designate new ‘1’ & ‘2’s) or, for the Sicilian Circle form, take four steps forward, four steps back,  (4) ‘2’s arch for ‘1’s to pass under and move-on Cw..  (4)

Zig Zag

Music:  32-bar jig or reel.

Jig:  34s: Celtic Fiddle Festival - Old Apples in Winter/Knocknagow Jig;  33s: Patrick Street - *The Shores of Lough Gowna/Contentment is… set;  32s: Arty McGlynn - The Humors of Kilclogher;  31s: The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra - *Jake’s Jig/Going to the Well for Water/… set, Candleford Ceilidh Band - Devon Jig set, Bothy Band - Strayaway Child.

Reels:  42s (slow enough for a ‘swagger’/‘strut’ step): Johnny Cash - Casey Jones;  39s: Liz Carroll - Old Maid of Galway, Sam Bartlett - Rumblestrip;  37s: The String Sisters - *The Crow’s Visit;  36s: We Banjo 3 - *Good Time, Old Time set;  35s: Caladh Nua - *By Heck, We Banjo 3 - Road to Eirogee/President Garfield, The Elderberries - *Torn Jacket/Boy in the Boat/Toss … set;  34s: Graeme MacKay - The De’il Amang The Tailors set, La Famille Arsenault - *La Reel Mon Oncle Albert/Whiskey Before Breakfast;  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, Caitlin Warbelow & Friends - *Father Kelly’s/Reconciliation/… /MacArthur Road set, Becky Tracy - *Folan’s/Corner …/Red-haired Lass set, Brittany Haas & Friends - Bill Malley’s/*The E-B-E Reel;  32s: Alasdair Fraser & Haas - Calliope House/MacArthur Road/Frank’s Reel -> Natalie Macmaster - Three Reels, Altan - Drowsy Maggie/… /… , Séamus Egan - Mason’s Apron (a double reel), Randal Bays - Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie.

Form:  Sicilian Circle - couple-facing-couple.  For ten couples or more.

A1:   Men cross their set by pulling ‘l. h. through’ with the opposite man (4 beats, 2 bars);  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.  (2 bars)
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’, dance a two-couple R-L Grand Chain (starting with your partner, pass four hands) back to place.  (5 bars)
When back to place, Swing your partner.  (3 bars)