Bush Dances - Square Sets

Home | Bush Dance Home

These dances are done in square sets. A square consists of 4 couples, one couple on each side of a square. The couple with their back to the band is number 1, the couple on their right is number 2, and so on around the set. Couples 1 and 3 are the head couples, 2 and 4 are the side couples. Your partner is standing next to you (man on the left, woman on the right), the person on your other side is your corner.

Last update: 9 April 2015


Ainslie Square
By Peter Foster
4 Couple Square
32 bar jig or reel
Medium 

A1 (16) All 4 ladies chain across and back

A2 (4) Men cast: men pull their left shoulders back and move anticlockwise 
       around the outside one place
   (4) Women cast: women pull their right shoulders back and move clockwise 
       around the outside one place
   (4) Men cast again (one more place). This is your new partner
   (4) Set to your new partner

B1 (16) Grand chain halfway, so you meet you new partner in the man's home 
        place. Swing

B2 (16) Promenade once around the set 

The casting in A2 is pretty quick, dancers have only 4 steps to get around to the 
next place. 

This dance was adapted from "Untitled Square" to include a partner change. 

Named for the bush dance workshops, which are held in the Ainslie Hall.

Apple Blossom Square
By Peter Foster
4 Couple Square
32 bar jig or reel
Easy 

A1 (8) Heads advance and retire
   (8) Heads advance, let go of their partner, face the nearer side couple, 
       go through that couple and cast around to place

A2 (8) Everyone do si do partner (right shoulder)
   (8) Everyone do si do corner left shoulder. Stay facing your corner

B1 (16) Turn corner left hand, come back to your partner for a grand chain 
        until you meet your corner again. Take a promende hold with this 
        person, who becomes your new partner

B2 (16) Promenade to the men's home place and swing 

This dance was adapted from Apple Tree Square to include a partner change. 	

Arkansas Traveller
4 Couple Square
32 bar reel
Medium (because of A2) 

A1 (8) Heads advance and retire
   (8) Heads advance and retire again

A2 (4) Heads turn the person opposite by the right hand 
   (4) Heads turn partner left hand
   (4) Everyone turn corner right hand
   (4) Everyone turn partner left hand
   
B1 (16) Swing corner (who becomes your new partner)

B2 (16) Promenade to the man's home place 

Do 4 times, the heads leading twice and then the sides leading twice.

A2 is pretty quick, especially that first turn (you only have 4 steps 
to get to your opposite and turn them all the way around)  

Armstrong’s Waltz
32 bar waltz

A1 (4) Turn corner left hand
   (4) Men right hand star

A2 (2) Partner change left hand
   (2) Women right hand star
   (4) Men give right hand to women's left, turn into ballroom hold

B1 (2) Balance in and out
   (2) Waltz one place around the square
   (4) Repeat the balance and waltz one place (now on opposite sides)

B2 (2) Balance in and out 
   (2) Men solo waltz on to next woman (new partner)
   (4) Waltz new partner to place

Bromyard Square 
Square set
32 bar reel
(adapted from Colin Hume’s dance) 

A1 (8) First couple left-hand turn, the other three ladies chain one place
   (8) Second couple the same (man 2 turns whoever he is with)

A2 (8) Third couple the same
   (8) Fourth couple the same, and you should have your partner back

B1 (16) Men left hand star 3/4 and swing corner (new partner)

B2 (16) Promenade to man's place (slightly more than once around) 


Note: this is my simplified version of Colin’s dance (I just changed the first half and the second half…) 

Keep the set small! And the men need to actively help the women into and out of the ladies chains. 
Also, if you do ladies chains with courtesy turns, then stay in the courtesy turn hold to do the extra turn, rather than doing a left hand turn. 

In A1/A2, each of the women does one solo turn – if one of them ends up doing 2 then something has gone wrong… 

You can do an amusing fudge so that everyone actually does get their partner back at the end of the dance: 
the last time through, when the men star left, say “Men star left until you see your original partner”. 

Buffalo Gals
4 Couple Square
32 bar reel
Easy  

A1 (16) Head women cast and go around the outside: they pull their 
        right shoulder back, go behind their partner and continue 
        clockwise around the outside of the set until they get home

A2 (8) Everyone do si do partner right shoulder
   (8) Everyone do si do corner left shoulder 
   
B1 (16) Swing partner

B2 (16) Promenade 

Repeat with side women casting, then head men (men cast by pulling back 
their left shoulder and going anticlockwise around the outside), 
then side men, then all the women, then all the men. 

You can spice it up a bit with things like "all those wearing black 
shoes, cast".

Camille's Quadrille
By Walter Lenk
Square set
32 bar reel

A1 (16) Heads half right and left, sides (overlapping) half right and left, 
        heads half ladies chain, sides half ladies chain (it's quick!)

A2 (8) Dosido corner
   (8) Swing partner (actually, the one you finished the ladies chain with)

B1 (8) All circle left half way
   (8) Swing corner (new partner)

B2 (16) Promenade to man's place 

Can Can Quadrille
Square set
By Steve Bullock
Music: Can Can (48 bars) 

A1 (4) Head couples pass through, remain facing out
   (4) Head couples can can (see below)
   (4) Side couples pass through, remain facing out
   (4) Side couples can can

A2 (16) Repeat A1 to get back to place

B1 (16) With corner, give right hand and pass by, 
        with the next person (your original opposite) do a left hand turn all the way to face back the way you came.
        Then right hand pass corner, left hand pass partner to face far corner

B2 (16) Do the chain again, this time starting with far corner. 
        At the end of the final left hand pass with partner, all finish in a circle

C1 (12) 3 can can steps
   (4)  Turn around on the spot to face out, take hands again
C2 (12) 3 can can steps
   (4)  Turn around on the spot to face back in

On the repeat, the sides lead the dance

Can can step (takes 4 beats): 
Step onto right foot and swing the left foot across in front, then step on the left foot and swing the right foot
(energetic dancers can do the entire dance with the can can step...) 

Note about the A part: couples can turn around as the next couples start their pass through. 
Alternatively, more experienced dancers can turn while doing the can can

Colonials Quadrille (Canberra version)
4 Couple Square
48 bar reel
Easy  

A1 (16) All circle left and right

A2 (16) Couple 1 visit (in promenade hold, go anticlockwise inside 
        the set, acknowledging each couple in turn) 
   
B1 (8) Heads half right and left
   (8) Sides half right and left

B2 (8) Heads half right and left
   (8) Sides half right and left

C1/C2 (32) Grand chain all the way around the set, swing partner

Repeat 3 more times with each couple in turn leading (when a side couple 
is leading it is the sides who start the rights and lefts in B1/B2)

Colonials Quadrille (Sydney version)
4 Couple Square
64 bar reel
Easy  

A1 (16) All circle left and right

A2 (16) Couple 1 visit (in promenade hold, go anticlockwise inside 
        the set, acknowledging each couple in turn) 
   
B1 (8) Heads half right and left
   (8) Sides half right and left

B2 (8) Heads half right and left
   (8) Sides half right and left

C1/C2 (32) Grand chain all the way around the set, swing partner

D1 (16) Ladies wheel: waist hold with partner, women make a right 
        hand star

D2 (16) Mens wheel: still in a waist hold with partner, come back with 
        the men making a left hand star

Repeat 3 more times with each couple in turn leading (when a side couple 
is leading it is the sides who start the rights and lefts in B1/B2)

Colonials Quadrille (Melbourne version)
4 Couple Square
48 bar reel
Easy  

A1 (16) All circle left and right

A2 (16) Couple 1 visit (in promenade hold, go anticlockwise inside 
        the set, acknowledging each couple in turn) 
   
B1 (8) Heads half right and left
   (8) Sides half right and left

B2 (16) Grand chain halfway

C1 (16) Ladies wheel: waist hold with partner, women make a right 
        hand star

C2 (16) Turn around (as a couple) and promenade home

Repeat 3 more times with each couple in turn leading (when a side couple 
is leading it is the sides who start the rights and lefts in B1)

Four Leaf Clover
4 Couple Square
32 bar waltz, four times through
5 April 2012

A1 (8) Grand chain halfway around (meet partner on opposite side of the set)

A2 (8) Waltz partner home
   
       Now for the cloverleaf movement - see below for more detail

B1 (4) Women cast one place, men star left halfway, change right hand with the one you meet
   (4) Men cast one place, women star left halfway, change right hand with the one you meet
B2 (4) Women cast one place, men star left halfway, take the one you meet (your original corner) in a ballroom hold
   (4) Waltz one place around

Men are now home, women have progressed right


In B1, here is a more detailed description of the  Cloverleaf movement:

Ladies: Cast out clockwise 1 place (3 waltz steps) while…
     Gents: Left-hand star 1/2 way (3 waltz steps)
Cross right-hand with this person (original corner) changing places (1 waltz step)

Ladies: Left-hand star 1/2 way (3 waltz steps) while…
     Gents: Cast out clockwise 1 place (3 waltz steps)
Cross right-hand with this person (original partner) changing places (1 waltz step)

For B2, do the first half of the cloverleaf move again. Then waltz corner to the mans home place


Inspired by Cloverleaf Quadrille by Lucy Stockdale

The Heartbreaker
4 Couple Square
32 bar jig or reel
Easy  

A1 (16) All circle left and right

A2 (16) Couple 1 visit (in promenade hold, go anticlockwise inside 
        the set, acknowledging each couple in turn) 
   
B1 (16) Couple 1 dance the heartbreaker: 1s separate, go through the 
        nearest side couple, go around the outside to meet, then come 
        up through couple 3 to get back to place

B2 (16) All swing partner

A slight variation of Pete Coe's dance.

Jig a Jig Square 
(version of Martyn Harvey's dance)
4 Couple Square
64 bar jig
Medium   

A1 (16) Man 1 weaves around the set, passing partner on the inside, 
        then outside couple 2, inside couple 3, outside couple 4 to 
        place

A2 (16) Woman 1 weaves
   
B1 (8) All do si do partner
   (8) All do si do corner

B2 (16) Balance and swing partner

C1 (8 Men left hand star  
   (8) Men right hand star. Stay in the star and pick up partner (hand 
       hold, not waist hold) for...

C2 (16) Star promenade once around (clockwise). Let go of the star but 
        keep partner's hand, raise it to make an arch. All stand still 
        except couple 1

D1/D2 (32) Couple 1 turn around and tunnel under the arches made by 2, 3 
           and 4. As soon as 1s have passed, 2s turn and follow them etc. 
           When 1s get home they arch, 2s and 3s likewise. Swing if there 
           is time left over

In D1, when the couple turn around they simply turn on the spot, turning 
toward their partner so that they are facing anticlockwise with the man 
on the left, woman on the right. 

Second time through it is the 2s who weave and start the tunnelling etc.

This is a version of the dance by Martyn Harvey (from Thomas Green's dance 
pages). There is the following comment "At a workshop, Martyn Harvey said 
that the second time through the dance, the 1s always tried to follow the 
2s through the tunnels instead of standing and waiting, so it needed to 
be emphasized that they should wait. A suggestion was that couples should 
turn round before tunnelling and go the other way through the arches." 

This version takes up that suggestion, slightly rearranging the dance so 
that the tunnelling still occurs in the "natural" direction (anticlockwise). 
So I tried it out, and then...   
The second time through, couple 1 immediately turned around and tried 
to follow the 2s!

King George Square
by Phil Wilson
4 Couple Square
64 bar jig
Medium  

A1 (8) Set twice to partner (or hold both hands and step kick twice)
   (8) Swing partner

A2 (16) Repeat with corner. Finish in original place
   
B1 (8) All 4 ladies chain across
   (8) Promenade halfway, so the women are back home

B2 (8) All 4 ladies chain across
   (8) Promenade halfway, so everyone is home

C1/C2 (32) Square strip the willow: top men turn right arm 3/4, then 
           turn that woman left arm, repeat until men turn their 
           partner into place

D1 (16) All circle left for 16 steps

D2 (16) Promenade once around

Second time through the side men do the strip the willow, then 
the top women, then the side women.

La Russe Quadrille
Square set

Music: 64 bar reel

A1 (8) Men cast out by left shoulder and go behind their partner and around to the next woman (their “far corner”)
   (8) Set to and swing this person

A2 (8) Men return to place (again going behind their original partner)
   (8) Set to and swing partner

B1 (16) 1s keep swinging

B2 (16) 1s visit the set

C1 (8)  1s and 3s cross (3s arching), partners change places with a California twirl
   (8)  Cross back and change places again

C2 (16) 2s and 4s cross and return

D1 (16) circle left all the way (16 steps)

D2 (16) Promenade back to place

Each couple in turn leads the dance

You can make the dance a bit zippier by doing C1/C2 at double speed, overlapping the rights and lefts (so sides 
cross over on the heels of the tops etc). So everyone then crosses over and back twice

Push and Shove
Author unknown
Square Set
4x48 jig or reel

A1 (16) First couple cross the set, split the threes, separate, and stand behind the side person of their sex. 
        Gently push this side person into the centre and take their place. The people who were pushed 
        into the middle now swing and go to the empty gap in the set (in this case, first place)

A2 (16) The same man (with a different woman) cross the set, split the opposite couple, separate and 
        push new people in to the centre for them to swing to the gap (actually, the same woman gets 
        pushed each time)

B1 (16) Same man (with another different woman) repeats the figure once more.
        All are now reunited with partner, but progressed one place round the set

B2 (8) Corner left hand turn
   (8) Partner dosido

C  (32) Grand chain all the way around the set and swing partner (finish in these progressed positions)


The new number 1 man leads the dance next time

Roll Out the Daryl 
by Peter Foster
4 couple square 
Music: Beer Barrel Polka (48+32)*4
Medium

Nominate one man in the set as Daryl. 
Have the women note their starting position (the women always return to 
their home place each time through the dance)

A1 (8) Daryl couple and couple opposite galop in and out
   (8) Same two couples polka across

A2 (8) Everyone galop in and out
   (8) Everyone polka halfway around

B1 (8) Partner do si do
   (8) Partner right hand turn (actually 1+1/4, but who's counting)

B2 (16) Men star left halfway, pick up opposite woman in a waist hold, 
        star promenade halfway (so men are back to where they started the 
        star), then butterfly whirl in place (butterfly whirl: still in the 
        waist hold, turn as a couple, man moving backwards, woman forwards)

C1 (8) All 4 ladies chain 1 place only
   (8) All 4 ladies chain 1 more place

C2 (8) All 4 ladies chain 1 more place (this is your new partner)   
   (8) With new partner, forward and back, take hands in a circle, Daryl 
       drop left hand and...
	
Chorus ("Roll out the Daryl")

D1 (16) Daryl leads the set out to a line. Then all face partner 

D2 (16) Half reel of 8 (ie until you meet this same person again)

E1 (16) Swing this person, finish in a promenade hold facing back the way 
        you came

E2 (16) Promenade to the *woman's* home place (swing if time left over) 
        Note that in the promenade, Daryl is again leading. On the way home he 
        needs to turn left so that everyone is promenading anticlockwise around 
        their set. The promenade is less than once around (even Daryl only 
        promenades about 3/4 around, the others less)

Repeat 3 more times to get everyone back to their starting position. 

Daryl remains the same man throughout the dance. Note that since Daryl changes 
position, the lead out to a line is done in a different direction each time. 
So this dance is a contender for the title of "the four couple dance that requires 
the most space". 

The lead out should be done by Daryl going directly to his left. Ideally he should 
keep going in a straight line but he may need to deviate in order to avoid other 
sets (or walls). 

The dance can be made a bit less chaotic by having all Daryls in the same position, 
so that all sets lead out in the same direction (for example, make man 4 Daryl, so 
that all sets lead out in the direction of down the hall). Similarly, if you change the 
dance so that you promenade to the man's home place then the lead out is always the same. 
This makes it slightly easier, but I like the chaos of lines going every which way.
(See The Fishermen's Reel for a slightly simpler version)

The tune is the Beer Barrel Polka (pdf). 
Everyone knows the chorus ("Roll out the barrel...") but the verse is much less known. 
It's 48 bars long, which combined with the 32 bar chorus makes for a dance of unusual length. 

Written for Daryl Powell to celebrate his 65th birthday. 

The Fishermen's Reel 
by Peter Foster. Version 7 March 2013
4 couple square 
Music: 4x64 bar jig or reel
Medium

A1 (8) Head couples forward and back
   (8) Heads half ladies chain

A2 (8) Sides half right and left
   (8) Sides half ladies chain

B1 (16) Men left hand star 3/4 (to corner) and swing

B2 (8) All 4 ladies chain across. This is your new partner
   (8) Everyone go forward and back, taking hands in a circle 
       ready to "go fishing"

Go fishing: 

C1 (16) The man who is now in fourth place goes straight down the hall to 
        lead the set out to a line. Then everyone face partner 

C2 (16) Half reel of 8 (ie until you meet this same person again)

D1 (16) Swing this person, finish in a promenade hold facing up

D2 (16) With that same man still leading, promenade up the hall, turn 
        left and promenade around the set, that lead man finishing in 
        fourth place

Men have progressed left one place, women have progressed two places.


This is a simpler version of Roll Out the Daryl, with standard length music. 
Each man gets to lead the figure and the lead out is less chaotic (but do 
try the chaotic version. It's more fun)

The theme is simple: the men are fishermen, the women are fish. The "going 
fishing" symbolises throwing out the line, hooking and landing a fish, then 
the men bring their catch home. Tell this to the dancers at your own peril!

Stour County Quadrille
4 Couple Square
32 bar waltz
Medium 

(numbers in parentheses are bar counts)

Figure 1

A1 (8) Head couples waltz halfway around the outside
A2 (8) Side couples repeat

Chorus

All women turn to face out, take right hands with partner, left 
with corner to make a wavy circle
   
B1 (2) Balance forward and back
   (2) Right hand half turn. Take hands again in a wavy circle, 
       this time with the men facing out
   (2) Balance
   (2) Left hand half turn
B2 (4) Balance and right hand half turn
   (4) Balance and left hand half turn

Everyone is now home


Figure 2

A1 (4) Heads take ballroom hold and slide in and out
   (4) Heads waltz halfway across the set
A2 (8) Sides repeat

Repeat chorus to get home


Figure 3

A1 (8) Heads right hand star halfway, then continue to turn 
       partner right hand on the opposite side
A2 (8) Sides repeat

Repeat chorus to get home


Figure 4

A1 (4) Head ladies chain across by the right hand and turn 
       the opposite man left hand
   (4) Side ladies repeat
A2 (4) Head men chain across by the left hand and turn 
       the opposite woman right hand
   (4) Side men repeat

Repeat chorus to get home


Figure 5

A (16) Starting with corner, everyone waltz chain to the other side 
       (ie balance and turn lady under man's right arm, 4 times)

Repeat chorus to get home


That is 5x32 bars. You can add another 32 bars for a waltz the set and 
waltz the hall.

In this dance, the figures get everyone accross the set, then the chorus 
gets everyone back home. Feel free to mix and match figures (or even 
make up new ones, eg pass through and turn partner right hand).

Any comments - email pfoster@pcug.org.au

Last modified 22 July 2008