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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: 10 February 2018
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
Four Sisters Square Dance Square, numbered anticlockwise 1234 4x64 jig or reel For the four sisters at the Monday dances (Sarah, Bec, Phoebe and Naomi) A1 (16) Woman 1 goes into the middle and shows off as the others circle left and right around her. She stays in the middle and faces partner for... A2B (48) (Strip the willow type sequence): Woman 1 turn partner right, corner left, partner right, opposite left, partner right, far corner left, partner right. Then turn opposite WOMAN left 1+1/2 so that they both finish with their opposite men for a swing. C1 (8) All circle left halfway and swing corner C2 (16) Open out in waist-shoulder hold, men take left hands to star promenade to the men's home, butterfly whirl in place D1 (8) All 4 ladies chain across (8) Ladies chain on the diagonal to return to partner D2 (8) Everyone into the middle and back (8) Swing partner Next time woman 2 starts etc Butterfly whirl: still in waist/shoulder hold, turn as a couple, man going backwards, woman forwards. In this dance you will probably go twice around
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
Lost In Space By Peter Foster 15 Aug 2016 Square, 64 bar figure Keep partner, each couple leads in turn A1 (16) Couple 1 visit the set A2 (16) Head men cross the set and swing their opposite lady B1 (16) All circle left about halfway and swing corner. Square up (head men are now home) B2 (8) Ladies chain on the diagonal to original partner (8) Forward and back, taking hands in a circle C1 (16) Man 1 lead the set out to a line C2 (16) Face partner and do a half reel of 8 D1 (16) Swing partner, finish facing back the way you came in promenade hold D2 (16) Promenade back to original place, couple 1 in the lead (when you get back to where your square was, turn left to promenade around in the usual anticlockwise direction) Repeat for each couple in turn (of course, when 2 or 4 lead, it is the side men who cross in A2) The diagonal ladies chain may be confusing, but it is always to your partner, which makes it easier. The name comes from the fact that you will be going all over the room, visiting each wall in turn, and will need to find your way back to the right place This is another dance with the lead-to-a-line/reel/swing/promenade sequence (the others are Roll Out the Daryl and The Fishermen's Reel). This is probably the best one, being the easiest (you keep both your partner and your original position) and having some fairly organised chaos with leading out in each direction in turn
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 If you repeat the dance, suggest having the women lead the second time. That is, woman 1 repeats the push and shove bit, with different men. Note that the dance then progesses in the other direction For a 3 couple version of this dance, see Push and Mini Shove on the Other Formations page
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).
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Last modified 22 July 2008