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These are several types of circle dances: big circles have everyone facing in with the man on the left, woman on the right (these are usually mixers, changing partner each time through). Sicilian circles have a couple facing a couple around the room, so you progress with your partner on to a new couple. A double circle has men on the inside facing their partner on the outside (these are also usually mixers). In a big circle your partner is next to you, your corner is on you other side. This page includes big circles and double circles, the sicilian circles are on another page.
Last update: 23 February 2020
Ainslie Galop Peter Foster 22 May 2018 Circle, all facing in 32 bar jig or reel A1 (8) Everyone to the middle and back (8) Everyone into the middle again, men turn to face partner and take partner with 2 hands. Everyone come out, men moving forwards, women backwards A2 (8) Galop 8 steps along line of dance (to the man's left, woman's right) (8) Dosido partner left shoulder B1 (8) With the person on the right diagonal, dosido right shoulder (new partner) (8) Swing this new partner B2 (16) Promenade
Bakers Mistress 64 bar jig, 4 times through Peter Foster 12 Sep 2017 8 couples in a circle, all facing in, numbered anticlockwise 1 to 8 This is a variation of Bakers Wife, using the Double Strip the Willow figure A1 (16) Couples 1 and 5 promenade CLOCKWISE around the inside of the set. Finish slightly short, so that man 1 is in front of man 2, man 5 is in front of man 6. Couples 1 and 5 now drop hands and face their partner (women are back to back in the centre) A2 (8) 1 and 5 pass partner with right hand to face the next person along the line (so the 2 men meet each other in the middle, the 2 women face an opposite sex person on the outside). Turn that person by the left arm and finish facing your partner. Finish slightly further around so that the women are standing in front of the next woman around (so woman 1 stands in front of woman 2, woman 5 stands in front of woman 6) (8) Pass partner by the right, turn the next person by the left arm and finish facing your partner, again finishing slightly further around, so the men are standing in front of the next man around B/C/D1 Repeat the above, working all the way around the inside of the circle D2 (16) All swing partner, 1 and 5 swinging back out to their original place Note that you NEVER turn your partner, you only PASS your partner by the right to meet the next person for a left arm turn. There is a gap in the circle (where the working couples were). An extra big step is needed here to get to the next people
Bakers Wife 8 couples in a circle 8x32 bar jig Medium This is basically a strip the willow in a circle Couples are numbered anticlockwise 1 to 8 A1 (16) Couples 1 and 5 swing into the centre (crossed-hand hold). Finish in a line of 4 between couples 2 and 6. (48) Lady 1 and man 5 strip the willow: they turn man 2/lady 6 by the left, then their partner right, and so on around the set. Man 1 and lady 5 are the pins: they turn each other left arm in the centre, then their partner by the right If the couples co-ordinate correctly, they will form a lovely straight line that rotates around the inside of the set Next time through: A1 (16) Couples 2 and 6 swing in while 1 and 5 are swinging out. (Lady 2 and man 6 are the strippers) After 4 times through each couple has had a turn. Then do it again with the stripper/pin roles reversed. Optionally, add 8 bars at the very end to allow everyone to finish with a swing.
Blackwattle Reel Circle, all facing in 32 bar reel Easy A1 (16) All holding hands in a circle, advance and retire twice A2 (4) Turn partner right hand (4) Turn corner left hand (4) Turn partner right hand (4) Turn corner left hand B1 (8) Partner do si do (8) Partner do si do left shoulder B2 (4) Face partner, everyone step to their right and honour partner (4) Move on to a new partner (men anticlockwise, women clockwise) (8) Swing new partner
Cincinnati Reel 32 bar reel Mixer Form a double circle with the men on the inside facing their partners on the outside. Your partner is facing you. Your left corner is the opposite sex person diagonally to your left, your right corner is diagonally to your right. A1 (8) Do si do partner (8) Turn left hand corner by the left hand A2 (8) Do si do partner by the left shoulder (8) Turn right hand corner by the right hand. Stay with this person (they are your new partner) B1 (16) Balance and swing this new partner B2 (16) Promenade
Circassian Circle part 2 Circle of couples, everyone facing in 32 bar jig or reel Easy A1 (16) All holding hands, advance and retire A2 (8) Women only, advance (clap on the 4th step) and retire (8) Men only, advance (clap on the 4th step) and retire. Come back to your corner B1 (16) Swing corner (new partner) B2 (16) Promenade
Doubleska Polka (also called Star Polka and Sternpolka) 48 bar tune of the same name Easy There are 3 parts to the dance: Polka A (32) All polka around the hall Promenade B (32) Promenade around the hall in the waist-shoulder hold. Men place their left hand on the left shoulder of the man in front. At the end of the promenade the men throw their partners into the centre Clap C (32) Men clap hands as follows: clap their hands together twice, then with their nearer hand clap with the men on either side once. While the men continue this clapping sequence, the women make their way to the outside (they are not allowed to duck, they must carefully time their exit!) Once on the outside they go around clockwise. At the end of the C music the men turn around and find a new partner, ready for the polka Finish the dance on the polka
Infinity Circle mixer 1 May 2017 A1 (16) Women figure 8 around their partner and corner (see note) A2 (16) Men figure 8 around their partner and corner B1 (8) Everyone to the middle and back (8) Swing corner (new partner) B2 (16) Promenade around the circle Note The figure 8 starts by going in front of your partner, continuing around until you get back to where you started, then go in front of your corner, again continuing around until you get back to where you started. The figure 8 looks straightforward, but in practice it seems to be a bit disorienting. Perhaps remind the dancers that you start by going in front of the person you just did the promenade with. This dance was quickly put together at the dance class of 1 May. It was Heritage Week, so the other caller was doing some dances of historical significance. I went the other extreme, writing some brand new dances
Jingle Bells Circle mixer, double progression Variation 5 Dec 2015 Music: Jingle Bells (the verse as well, not just the chorus) A1 (8) Promenade ("Dashing through the snow...") (4) Men turn out to pick up the woman behind (4) Promenade with this new person A2 (8) To the middle and back (suggest staying in promenade hold) (8) Dosido partner. Stay facing them for the Jingle Bells bit: B1 (8) With partner, clap along with the rhythm of Jingle Bells as follows: “Jingle Bells” [just clap your hands] “Jingle Bells” [clap behind your back] “Jingle all the…” [clap in front again] “…way!” [clap your partner’s two hands once with your own] (8) Swing your partner B2 (8) Face your corner and clap as above (8) Swing your corner (who becomes your new partner) The second half is from a dance I came across a while ago. Note that the dance is double progression, so you do the Jingle Bells bit with 2 new people each time
Jubilee Jig by David Johnson Circle of couples, everyone facing in 32 bar jig Easy A1 (16) All holding hands, circle left and right A2 (4) Men go in to the middle, take hands and make arches (4) While the men retire the women go in under the arches. Women now make arches (4) While the women retire the men go in under the arches. Men clap on the 4th step (4) Men retire B1 (16) Grand chain: starting with your partner as 1, grand chain to number 7, who becomes your new partner B2 (16) Swing your new partner The grand chain in B1 does not need to always be to number 7. The caller may vary it, resulting in shorter or longer grand chains and a correspondingly longer or shorter swing. I like to arrange it so that the last time through, people are reunited with their original partner (you know, the one they asked to dance and then lost during the walkthrough). This requires a bit of quick thinking (and counting) by the caller, but dancers are always surprised and pleased to suddenly get their original partner back just in time for the final swing.
Moving Along by Ray Dawson 32 bar reel Mixer A1 (16) Go into the middle and back, twice A2 (8) Right hand turn partner, then pass them by the right to move on (8) Left hand turn next person, then pass by left to move on B1 (8) 2 hand turn the next person, then pass them by the right to move on (8) Do si do next person, then pass them by the right to move on B2 (16) Swing this final person Gets you round the circle pretty fast! Before starting the walk through, clarify what “move on” means (men move on anticlockwise, women clockwise)
Muffin Man Jig Double circle, men on the outside, women on the inside 32 bar jig Easy A1 (16) Men holding hands, women holding hands, everyone advance and retire twice A2 (16) Circle left and right (men and women will be going in opposite directions) Note: to make progressive, only circle right for 7 so that you finish facing a new partner B1 Clapping sequence with your partner: (4) Your knees twice, partner's right hand twice, (4) Your knees twice, partner's left hand twice, (2) Your knees once, partner's right hand once, (2) Your knees once, partner's left hand once, (4) Clap above your head, behind your back, above your head B2 (16) Swing partner For B1, the call is: Knees, knees, right, right, Knees, knees, left, left, Knees, right, knees, left, Above! Behind! Above! And swing! Double circles usually have the men on the inside. For this dance it doesn't really matter if the men are inside or outside. Since men generally have longer arms, I suggest that they be given the outside circle.
Quakers Wife 8 couples (numberered anticlockwise 1 to 8) in a double circle, men on the inside, women on the outside 32 bar jig Easy A1 (8) Right hand turn partner (8) Left hand turn partner (48) Couple 1 take inside hands and walk between the 2 circles. Couple 2 fall in behind, then couple 3 etc. When couple 1 get back to their original place they separate and stop. Each couple in turn, as they reach their original place, also stops. Continue until all get back to place Next time through couple 2 leads etc. Works best with 8 couples: more than 8 and it takes too long to complete the figure, fewer than 8 and the double circle is a bit too spaced out. The lead couple do not need to do a plain walk, they may do any sort of step they like: they can hop, polka, moonwalk, do wheelbarrows, whatever. The other couples copy whatever the lead couple does. Have fun!
Sacristan Circle of 4 to 8 couples 32 bar jig or reel Easy A1 (16) All holding hands, circle left and right A2 (16) Men left hand star (for 16 steps) B1 (16) Men pick up a new partner and star promenade for 16 steps B2 (16) Swing new partner Alternate with the women making the left hand star. For fun, try calling "one person from each couple make a left hand star". In this case, remind them to pick up an opposite sex partner. This is a minor variation of Sacristan (from Brian Scowcroft's site).
Slinky Mixer 32 bar reel Peter Foster 24 March 2019 Circle mixer, men on the inside, women on the outside, all facing partner A1 (8) Left shoulder dosido with partner (8) With the new person on your right diagonal, right shoulder dosido. Finish facing this person - this is your new partner A2 (8) Pass this new partner by right shoulder, turn right, go forward slightly (men clockwise around the outside, women anticlockwise around the inside) to meet a new person, face this person and pass right shoulder (so now the men are back in the middle, women on the outside), turn right and go forward slightly to meet your partner again (8) Repeat B1 (16) Swing partner B2 (16) Promenade. At the end, release right hands and men stay in the middle, then you can pull into the left shoulder dosido to restart A2 is the slinky figure. All the dancers are walking a clockwise circle around 2 people: their partner and the person on their right diagonal (have dancers note who these people are before walking the figure). Perhaps a better way to describe it is a half gypsy with partner, then a half gypsy with the next person, finish facing your partner. And repeat Incidentally, the slinky figure also provides a "sneak preview" of your next partner, which is nice. Adapted from Slinky Reel by Arthur Kingsland
Swings and Roundabouts Peter Foster 7 March 2018 32 bar jig or reel Formation: Two circles, with most couples on the outside and a smaller number on the inside. Everyone is facing in, women on the right of their partner A1 (8) Everyone to the middle and back (in 2 separate circles) (8) Partner dosido A2 (8) Corner left shoulder dosido (8) Corner left hand turn, retain this hand and take right hand with partner to make a wavy circle, men facing in (except that those in the middle just go directly to partner) B1 (16) Those in the middle, swing partner WHILE those on the outside: B1 (4) Balance forward and back (4) Half right hand turn to remake the wavy circle, women facing in (4) Balance forward and back (4) Left hand turn 3/4 to promenade hold (this is your new partner) B2 (16) All promenade, again in 2 separate circles. Those on the inside make their way to the outside and fall in behind some couple. Then tap those people on their shoulders to tell them that they are a new middle couple. The couples so tapped move in to form the new inner circle In B2, couples in the middle should make a bee line to the outside, to give enough time to effect the changeover B1 is the swing (in the middle) and roundabout (on the outside). Some people may not get many turns in the middle, but that’s okay: what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts. Incidentally, if you want a simpler dance, do it in just one circle and call “swings” or “roundabouts” as appropriate
Victoria’s Waltz By Peter Foster 32 bar waltz Mixer A1 (2) All holding hands in a circle, balance forward and back (2) Men take the lady on their left and pass her across to place her on his right (2) All holding hands in a circle, balance forward and back (2) Women take the man on their left and pass him across to place him on her right (it’s the same man who just passed her across) A2 (2) All holding hands in a circle, balance forward and back (2) Men again take the lady on their left and pass her across to place her on his right. This is your new partner (4) Two hand turn partner once around, open out standing next to your partner, facing anticlockwise around the room, men on the inside, women on the outside B1 (2) Two waltz steps forward, turn on the spot (turning towards your partner) and take their other hand (2) Two waltz steps backward (so still going in the same direction) (4) Repeat the other way: two waltz steps, turn on the spot, two waltz steps back. Then take a ballroom hold B2 (8) Waltz on Written for my daughter
Woaf 32 bar waltz Mixer Formation: Circle (single file), like the over the shoulder promenade hold except the men are standing behind partner, everyone facing anticlockwise around the circle A1 (2) 2 sliding steps sideways toward the middle of the circle (2) 2 sliding steps back out (1) Peek at each other over woman's left shoulder (1) Peek over the other shoulder (2) Woman turn under (in place), left hands joined, woman turning anticlockwise A2 (4) Slide in and out again (4) Keeping hands joined, woman travel anticlockwise around the man, who stays still B1 (8) Repeat A1 B2 (4) Slide in and out (2) Peeks again (2) As in A2, woman goes anticlockwise around the man but finishes behind him. Then drop hands and take hold of a new partner Note that the woman does not see who her new partner is until the peek in A1
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