Contra and Square Dances by Peter Foster

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Updated 15 July 2016. Added the following:

Minor update 9 Aug 2015. Added Gypsy Stalker

Another small modification 9 Apr 2015. Added the following:

Here are some of my contra/square/circle dances. See also my sicilian circle dances. Comments are welcome - email pfoster@pcug.org.au

Contras


10:45 to Bungendore

Peter Foster - 16 Sep 2007
Duple improper
Level: Easy
 
A1 (16) Gypsy and swing neighbour
 
A2 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Swing partner
 
B1 (8) Right and left
  (8) Ladies chain
 
B2 (8) Balance the ring and petronella roll one place right
  (8) Left hand star 3/4

Written for Rob Mahony.

For Rob's birthday, he had a contra dance party on a train. Dancing in a moving train is definitely an interesting experience!

The dance was written during lunch and first danced on the return journey, so perhaps a more accurate title would be "14:30 to Canberra".


50 Grades of Hey

Peter Foster - 18 Feb 2015
Duple improper
Level: Medium
 
A1 (16) Men OR women figure 8 (see note)
 
A2 (8) Those doing the figure 8 pass left in the middle to start a half hey
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
B1 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (8) Swing partner
 
B2 (8) Women pass right to start a half hey
  (8) Ladies chain

In A1, men do the figure 8 by going clockwise around the person on their right (their previous neighbour, to say goodbye), then anticlockwise around their new neighbour (to say hello)

Women do the figure 8 by going anticlockwise around the person on their left (their previous neighbour, to say goodbye), then clockwise around their new neighbour (to say hello)

Either way, the figure 8 starts with the person you did the final ladies chain with, by walking in front of them.

The caller needs to specify each time whether it is the men or women who do the figure 8. Adventurous callers may even like to try “couple 1 do the figure 8” (so it’s men on one side of the set, women on the other). Good luck!

While it looks straightforward, the figure 8 can be a bit disorienting. It seems easy enough to walk around 2 people and finish where you started, but dancers tend to get themselves lost, especially at the ends of the set. Also, dancers can get confused as to who they are dancing with this time. That is why I suggest actually saying "goodbye" to the old and "hello" to the new.

P.S. Given the name of the dance, it may be approriate that the dance ends with chaining the ladies...


A Balancing Act

Peter Foster - March 1989, amended January 2006
Becket, double progression (clockwise)
32 bar reels - needs to be in fairly clear 2 bar phrases, as some of the moves cut across the "normal" 4 bar phrase
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Long lines forward and back
  (8) Men allemande right 1+1/4 to make a long wavy line down the middle of the set
 
A2 (4) Men balance in line
  (8) Men allemande right 1+1/4, take left hand with neighbour to make a wavy line across the set
  (4) Balance in line
 
B1 (4) Allemande left half way to bring the ladies in to the centre
  (8) Women allemande right 1+1/4 to make a long wavy line down the middle of the set
  (4) Women balance in line
 
B2 (8) Starting with right shoulder to partner, half hey for 4 on the right diagonal (NOT the people you have been balancing with - the four people in the hey are the ladies who are holding left hands and their partners) (note: if no-one is on the diagonal, stay put!
  (8) Swing partner, finish facing across at another new couple (not the couple you did the hey with)

The hey is a bit confusing: you balance in line with a couple, but then the hey is with a different couple. And after the final swing, you finish facing yet another new couple (heck, maybe this would be better as a single progression).

This was the first contra I wrote.


Avenues and Alleyways

Peter Foster - 24 Oct 2007
Formation: Becket (clockwise, single progression)
Preferable to have more than one set
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through up and down to a new neighbour (progression)
  (8) Neighbour allemande right once around to long wavy lines, men facing out
 
A2 (4) Balance in line
  (4) Allemande left (once around)
  (8) Swing original neighbour
 
B1 (9) Men pass left shoulder to start a 5/8 hey
  (7) With partner, allemande right once or 1/2 to wavy lines across the set, men facing down. Take hands with the adjacent sets to make long wavy lines across the hall
 
B2 (4) Balance in line
  (4) Allemande left (once around)
  (8) Swing partner

Notes

1. "Avenues and alleyways" refers to the two sets of long wavy lines, one up and down the hall (avenues), the other across the hall (alleyways). A single set can still do the dance, but if there are multiple sets then the adjacent sets should join the wavy lines across the hall at the end of B2

2. In B1, the 5/8 hey is a bit unusual: after a normal half hey, the men do one more pass to finish facing their partners (on the man's side). Then the allemande right takes up the rest of the music, to finish in wavy lines across the hall.

3. When doing the allemande right into the wavy lines, it doesn't actually matter if the allemande is 1/2, or 1, or 1+1/2 times around, either way you still end up swinging the correct person. If everyone does it as written then the wavy lines alternate men and women, which is nice but not essential. But telling the dancers that it doesn't really matter will probably only confuse them more.


Another Safe Production

Peter Foster - 6 May 2008
Duple improper
Level: Medium-Easy
 
A1 (8) Right hand star
  (8) Neighbour allemande right 1+1/2
 
A2 (6) Men allemande left once around
  (10) Swing neighbour
 
B1 (8) Give and take, men take the women
  (8) Swing partner
 
B2 (8) Ladies chain
  (8) Left hand star, look for new neighbours

Al's Safeway Produce by Robert Cromartie is a good dance with one aesthetic flaw: the neighbour swing comes after the partner swing. This dance is basically a slight rearrangement to fix this. I also changed the circle left to a give and take, in order to reduce the clockwise rotation and to increase the partner interaction.


Balance and Swing Through

Peter Foster - 11 June 2013
Improper
Level: Easy-Medium
 

Begin with the last figure, neighbour dosido 1+1/4, to get into a wavy line

A1 (8) Balance right and left, men swing through to new wave
  (8) Balance right and left, women swing through
 
A2 (16) Neighbour gypsy and swing
 
B1 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Swing partner
 
B2 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through
  (8) New neighbour dosido 1+1/4 to wavy line

Swing through: allemande right 1/2, those in the middle allemande left 1/2

A1 is from Heyllamande by Jim Hemphill


The Banks of the Condamine

Peter Foster 6 Sep 2014
Duple improper
 
A1 (8) Women allemande right 1+1/4
  (8) Swing partner (on the man's original side)
 
A2 (8) Long lines forward and back
  (4) Go forward again, take neighbour by right, next by left to a long wavy Line down the middle of the set
  (4) Balance forward and back, then drop left hands and face down the hall in couples (see note)
 
B1 (8) Down the hall in couples
  (8) Turn alone and return
 
B2 (8) Right hand star 3/4 (so all back where you started)
  (8) Swing neighbour - women look for next woman for the restart

After the balance in A2, face down the hall holding neighbour with right hand in right. Some couples have the woman on the right, some have woman in the left – don’t try to “correct” this! Note that the balance is forward and back (rather than right and left) so that you get on the appropriate side of your neighbour

Optionally (but recommended), also take neighbours left hands to make the low promenade hold (both hands in front). This also makes the turn alone a bit more fun

After the down the hall and back, the front couple turns inward to make the right hand star with the couple behind. It is obvious which couple turns, as you make the star with the couple that includes your partner

This dance has an aesthetic flaw in that the neighbour swing comes after the partner swing. You may prefer to start with B2 and make it a becket

The Condamine is a river in Queensland. The name of the dance is taken from the name of a well known folk song, although the tune is not suitable for the dance. The long wavy line and the down the hall and back are supposed to symbolise the meandering and flow of the river, in some suitably obscure way

This dance commemorates our new contra dance venue in Condamine Street


Becky's Waltz

Peter Foster - 10 April 2008
Becket, single progression (anticlockwise)
Music: 32 bar waltzes
 
(Figures in parentheses are bar counts)
A1 (2) Go forward, take neighbour with both hands
  (2) Men bring neighbour back with them, take ballroom hold
  (4) Waltz with neighbour halfway around the other couple, finish on the other side of the set (women are now home)
 
A2 (8) Rights and lefts all the way around (2 waltz steps for each hand). Finish in long wavy lines, left hand with neighbour, men facing out
 
B1 (2) Balance forward and back
  (2) Allemande left neighbour 3/4 to wavy lines across the set, men in the middle
  (2) Balance forward and back
  (2) Allemande left neighbour 3/4 to long wavy lines, men facing in
 
B2 (2) Balance forward and back
  (2) Men cross to partner while women turn around, take ballroom hold
  (4) Waltz on (anticlockwise around the outside) to a new couple

In A2, note that the rights and lefts is with hands all the way. It is NOT right and left over and back, it is more like a mini grand right and left.


Birthday Galop

Peter Foster - 25 May 2012
Becket, double progression (even numbers required)
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Right and left
  (8) Slice left (see below), leaving one couple out at each end
 
A2 (8) Those spare couples galop to the centre of the set
  (8) And galop back to place
 
B1 (8) Other couples, circle left 3/4 and pass through
  (8) Swing new neighbour (everyone is in again at this point)
 
B2 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Swing partner

To do the slice left: take neighbours inside hand and go forward 3 steps on the left diagonal to meet them, then push off directly back to finish facing them

In B1, the end couples take two hands and sashay to the middle and back. Although they tend to come up with lots of variations (eg making arches, or even swapping ends!)

This Galop move is from Gallop Speed by Chris Page. See also Melbourne Cup, for another dance with this move.

Oh, and the name comes from the date the dance was written (my wife's birthday)


A Bit of Give and Take

Peter Foster 7 July 2014
Double contra (4 face 4)
 
A1 (6) Women right hand star halfway
  (10) Swing neighbour, finish facing across
 
A2 (16) Give and take (men take), swing this neighbour, finish facing up and down
 
B1 (16) Give and take (women take), swing partner
 
B2 (8) In a ring of 8 people, circle left halfway
  (4) Balance the ring
  (4) Pass through

After each time through the two couples swap places in their line.

In A1, the men may twirl the women (clockwise) into a swing hold

If you don’t like the right hand star to swing, you can instead do the following:
A1 Men star left halfway to neighbour swing
A2 Give and take (women take)
B1 Give and take (men take)
B2 Circle halfway and balance the ring, then pass through left shoulder

The give and take bit was inspired by Pam Gainsford's Delight by Noreen Grunseit


Butterfly Fly Away

Peter Foster - 8 Dec 2011
Becket
Level: Medium-Easy
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through
  (8) Swing new neighbour
 
A2 (8) Women left shoulder dosido while men orbit clockwise to the other side (basically start by doing a pass through)
  (8) Partner allemande right about 1+1/4 to put the men in the middle
 
B1 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2. Retain left hands and...
  (8) Pick up neighbour in waist/shoulder hold, star promenade to the other side. Should be time for a butterfly whirl
 
B2 (2) Women allemande right 1/2, retain right hands and...
  (6) Pick up partner in waist shoulder hold and star promenade to the other side. Butterfly whirl and...
  (8) Melt into a swing to finish


Butterfly Rings

Peter Foster - 17 June 2013
Becket (anticlockwise)
Level: Medium
 
A1 (16) Men allemande left 1+1/2. Retain left hands and pick up neighbour in waist/shoulder hold. Star promenade to the other side and butterfly whirl in place
 
A2 (16) Women allemande right 1+1/2, retain right hands and pick up partner in waist/shoulder hold. Star promenade to the other side and butterfly whirl in place
 
B1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through up and down (progression)
  (8) Swing new neighbour
 
B2 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through across the set
  (8) Swing partner


A Cast of Stars

Rob Mahony, amended by Peter Foster 2 Oct 2007
Duple improper
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2 (actually 1+1/4)
  (8) Swing partner (on woman's side)
 
A2 (8) Right and left
  (8) Ladies chain
 
B1/B2 (32) Cast of stars (see below)

The cast of stars

This is a continuous movement for the four dancers. Essentially, there is a right hand star that goes around 4 times, but the dancers are continually dropping out and joining back in. Here is a blow by blow description:

  (4) Men cast over their left shoulder (to where the women were) WHILE women right hand turn just over half way
  (4) Women cast left WHILE men right hand turn just over half way
  (8) Women join in to make a right hand star (hands across hold) and go around once. Everyone is now on the other side of the set.
 
  (16) Repeat the above to get everyone back onto the correct side

The women always join in the star in *front* of their partner. Note that, in the part where the women cross and then cast left, their path is exactly the same as in a ladies chain.

The original dance, by Rob Mahony, is as follows: A1 Balance and swing neighbour, A2 Ladies chain across and back, B1/B2 Cast of stars


Crisscross

Peter Foster - 20 May 2010
Duple improper, double progression (both ways!)
Note: must have multiple sets (won't work with just one longways set)
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Long lines forward and back
  (8) Swing (new) neighbour
 
A2 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2 OR women allemande right 1+1/2 (see below)
  (8) Swing partner
 
B1 (4) Pass through to meet a new line coming toward you...
  (4) If you meet another line then pass through again into next set. If you are at the edge of the room then California twirl
  (8) Ladies chain
 
B2 (8) Left hand star once around
  (8) Look away from the star to a new neighbour and swing (if you are at the end of the set then swing partner and swap sides)

In this dance you progress along the set and also into the adjacent set. You may also find yourself changing direction - keep alert!

It's a double progression so no-one is out at the top of the set. Make sure that people swing the correct neighbour in A1 (everyone swings a NEW neighbour, not the one they swung at the end of the dance)

It's a double progression in both directions, so this is actually a double double progression

The progression depends on whether the men or women do the allemande in A2. You need to alternate them, otherwise the progression becomes a bit poor (2 men allemandes in a row puts many couples back where they started, while a womens allemande leaves 2 couples stationary). Recommend alternating men and women, eventually leaving it to dancer's choice


Christmas Hornpipe

Peter Foster - December 2011
Duple proper
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (4) Woman 1 balance forward and back to man 2
  (4) Woman 1 balance forward and back to man 3 (ie next man along the line. It is actually a shadow)
  (8) Those three people circle left, finish in original place
 
A2 (4) Man 1 balance forward and back to woman 2
  (4) Man 1 balance forward and back to woman 3
  (8) Those three people circle right, finish in original place
 
B1 (8) Everyone go down the hall as couples, turn alone
  (8) Return, couple 1 cast one place as the 2s move up
 
B2 (16) With same couple, right and left over and back

My variation on this dance. The first half gives lots of amusement to the band, as the number 1s try to attract the attention of the third couple.


Daisy Chain

Peter Foster - 24 May 2013
Improper
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Neighbour allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Ladies chain
 
A2 (8) Women allemande right 1+1/2
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
B1 (8) Pass through, swing through (see below)
  (8) Swing partner
 
B2 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (8) Neighbour allemande right 1+1/2 to progress

Another dance similar to Delphiniums and Daisies by Tanya Rotenberg

B1- Pass through, swing through: this is a pass through to a wavy line (ie women take left hands as they pass, men turn right and take neighbours right hand), followed by allemande right halfway, then men allemande left halfway


Devil's Nightmare

Peter Foster - 17 Aug 2011
Duple improper
Level: Medium-Easy
 
Start with 1s in the middle facing down, 2s on the outside facing up
A1 (8) 1s down the middle, 2s up the outside
  (8) Turn alone and return, allemande neighbour 1/2 with handy hand
 
A2 (8) 1s down the outside, 2s up the middle
  (8) Turn alone and return
 
B1 (16) Neighbour balance and swing
 
B2 (8) Long lines forward and back
  (8) 1s swing in the middle

The first half of this dance is from Devil's Dream.

Note your neighbour before you start - it's easy to come back to the wrong person...


Dixie Supertwirl

Peter Foster - 24 May 2011
Becket
Level: Easy-medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through
  (8) Swing new neighbour
 
A2 (8) Right and left
  (8) Couple 1 (the one nearer the band) do a half figure 8 through couple 2, finish between couple 2 in a line of four facing down (man-man-woman-woman), couple 1 in the middle
 
B1 (16) Down the hall and dixie twirl (see below), Then come up the hall and bend to a circle
 
B2 (8) Balance the ring and petronella turn one place
  (8) Swing partner

Dixie Twirl: with everyone still holding hands, centre couple raise their joined hands to make an arch. The two women go under the arch while the two men go clockwise around the outside. The effect is that the line wheels around from facing down to facing up, with the right hand person still on the right of the line.

The Dixie Twirl move is usually done in a line that alternates men and women, so one couple goes under the arch. In this dance it is the two women who go under the arch, so it is a more souped up California Twirl.


Don’t Blame Me

Peter Foster - 5 June 2012
Duple improper
Level: Medium
 
Start with the last figure, dosido 1+1/4, to get into a wavy line
A1 (4) Balance in line
  (8) Half hey (pull by neighbour’s right shoulder to start), finish in a wavy line
  (4) Balance in line (note that this balance is at the end of the phrase)
 
A2 (8) Half hey again
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
B1 (16) Give and take (men take) and swing partner
 
B2 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through
  (8) New neighbour dosido 1+1/4 to a wavy line

In the hey in A1, women should take left hands as they pass. This makes it easy to remake the wavy line

Based on Take Some of the Credit by Chris Page (which was in turn based on Take All of the Credit and None of the Blame by Larry Edelman and Nancy Donahue)

Here is another version, where the main figure is done with partner:

Becket

A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through
  (8) Swing new neighbour
 
A2 (8) Long lines forward and back
  (8) Women allemande left 1+1/2 to a wavy line across the set
 
B1 (4) Balance in line
  (8) Half hey, finish in a wavy line
  (4) Balance in line
 
B2 (8) Half hey
  (8) Swing partner


Double Trouble

Peter Foster - 6 Feb 2008
Duple improper
Level: Hard-medium
 
A1 (8) Mirror allemande 1+1/2 (1s through the centre)
  (8) 2s half figure 8 through the 1s
 
A2/B1 (32) 2s turn double contra corners
 
B2 (16) 2s balance and swing, face up (to a new couple)
 
C1 (8) Mirror allemande 1+1/2 (2s through the centre)
  (8) 1s half figure 8 through the 2s
 
C2/D1 (32) 1s turn double contra corners
 
D2 (16) 1s balance and swing, face down (to a new couple)

An alternating dance with double contra corners.

Each time, the active couple turns partner by the right 3/4, then corner by left once around

The alternating makes this dance a bit confusing. Note also that when the 2s are doing the corners, they are doing it from the "wrong" side (at that point, everyone is improper).


Dropping In For a Swing

Peter Foster - 30 May 2013
Becket
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) On the left diagonal, ladies chain (if no one there, don’t move)
  (8) With the couple across (a shadow), promenade across, into a wavy line of 4, neighbour left hand, women right hands in the middle
 
A2 (4) Balance forward and back
  (4) Walk forward to a new wavy line
  (4) Balance forward and back
  (4) Allemande left 3/4
 
B1 (16) With original neighbour, gypsy and swing (this is the neighbour you promenaded in A1)
 
B2 (4) Balance the ring
  (4) Men cross passing right shoulders
  (8) Swing partner

The only thing you do with your partner is a swing – women start by leaving their partner, then not see him again until he suddenly sneaks up behind for the final swing

After the men cross in B2, they can tap their partner on the shoulder, to remind them to turn around


Easynella

Peter Foster - 18 April 2013
Improper
Level: Easy
 
A1 (16) Neighbour balance and swing
 
A2 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (8) Partner swing
 
B1 (8) Right and left
  (8) Ladies chain
 
B2 (8) Balance the ring and petronella turn one place to the right
  (8) Balance and petronella turn again, turning a bit extra to face new neighbour

An easy dance that includes the petronella move


Elevenses

Peter Foster - 11 November 2011
Duple improper
Level: Medium
 
A1 (16) Neighbour dosido and swing
 
A2 (8) Circle left halfway and pass through up and down
  (8) Circle left halfway and pass through up and down
 
B1 (8) Right hand star 3/4
  (8) Swing partner
 
B2 (8) Ladies chain
  (8) Left hand star

End effects are virtually non existent - if you find yourself out the end of the set then you can quickly cross over, but it doesn't really matter if you don't, as the swing in B1 will straighten you out again.

Beware of dizziness - the first 3/4 of the dance is fairly clockwise, which is why it starts with a dosido and swing rather than a gypsy and swing

The dance is named for the date that it was written (11/11/11)


Enid's Other Delight

Peter Foster, version June 2010
Formation: Becket
Level: Medium-Easy
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through
  (8) Swing new neighbour
 
A2 (8) Ladies chain
  (8) Left hand star
 
B1 (8) March single file around the major set (anticlockwise, ladies in the lead)
  (8) Turn alone and return (men in the lead)
 
B2 (8) Right hand star
  (8) Swing partner

Notes

In A2, be careful not to turn the star too far.

This dance is a variation of Enid's Delight by Philippe Callens, to include some swings. I have come up with many versions of this dance over the years. This is the one I like best.


Final Swing

Peter Foster - 19 March 2009
Formation: Becket (clockwise, double progression)
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through up and down to a new neighbour
  (8) Swing this new neighbour (at the end of the set, swing your partner and swap sides)
 
A2 (8) Long lines forward and back
  (8) Swing next neighbour (everyone is in again for this swing)
 
B1 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2. Stay in the middle and face partner ready for...
  (8) Half hey, start by passing partner right shoulder
 
B2 (16) Gypsy and swing partner

Use as a final dance for the evening: there is good partner interaction and swinging 2 neighbours each time through means that you will likely meet everyone in the set.


Flip and Cross

Peter Foster, version 12 Aug 2010
Formation: Becket (clockwise)
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through up and down to a new neighbour
  (8) Swing this new neighbour
 
A2 (16) Hey, men pass left to start. Finish in long waves, right hand with neighbour, men facing in
 
B1 (4) Balance in line
  (4) Women flip right, men cross (all box circulate) to form new wavy lines, holding partner's right hand with the men facing out
B1 (4) Balance in line
  (4) Men flip right, women cross
 
B2 (4) Balance in line
  (4) Women flip right, men cross
  (8) Swing partner

The box circulate was used in Steve Schnur's 24th of June, Don Lennartson's 24th of October, and Tom Lehman's 24th of August and The 24th, Once More. Only that last one has 2 swings, but it is a bit difficult. So I put together an easier 2 swing dance.

This dance has gone through a number of versions, none of which were written on the 24th, so I had to come up with another name.


Flirty Again

Peter Foster - January 2009
Duple improper
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (16) Gypsy and swing neighbour
 
A2 (8) Give and take, women take the men (men resist a bit!)
  (8) Swing partner
 
B1 (8) Right and left
  (8) Ladies chain
 
B2 (16) Ladies pass right to start a whole hey (finish facing new neighbour)

A slight adaptation of Another Flirty Attempt by Marian Hepburn (it's also awfully similar to Gypsy Hey, below)


Friends Without Benefits

Peter Foster - 18 April 2013
Improper
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Neighbour allemande right 1+1/2
  (8) Half hey (men pass left shoulder to start)
 
A2 (16) Neighbour gypsy and swing
 
B1 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Partner swing
 
B2 (8) Ladies chain
  (8) Left hand star

Adapted from Bashful Bachelor by John Coffman


Gypsy Hey

Peter Foster - Feb 2006
Duple improper
Level: Easy-Medium (lots of "hands off" moves)
 
A1 (16) Gypsy and swing neighbour
 
A2 (2) Men pass left shoulder
  (6) Gypsy partner
  (8) Swing partner
 
B1 (8) Right and left
  (8) Ladies chain
 
B2 (16) Hey, ladies start passing right. Finish facing a new neighbour

Written in the car while on a short drive to my parents place.


Gypsy O’Star

Peter Foster - 31 May 2013
Becket
Level: Medium-Hard
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through
  (8) New neighbour swing
 
A2 (4) In waist shoulder hold, men take left hands and star promenade only a few steps
  (4) Men roll the women in to a gypsy star (men holding left hands, women right hands), all facing neighbour
  (8) Turn the star clockwise 3/4 (women forwards)
 
B1 (4) Balance the star (in and out)
  (4) Women slide right as in Rory O'More (men need to drop out…)
  (4) All taking left hands, balance the star again (in and out)
  (4) Men slide left as in Rory O'More and take right hands, women take left hands again to make another gypsy star, all facing partner
 
B2 (8) Turn the star clockwise 3/4 (men forwards)
  (8) Swing partner

When men roll their neighbour into the gypsy star, remember to let go of your neighbour...

The star promenade is only a few steps, so that after the roll to a gypsy star you are facing your neighbour more or less across the set. The women then immediately push the gypsy star back the other way, finishing on the side of the set with neighbour (on the opposite side from the neighbour swing)

During the Rory O’More slides, the others must not turn around, just let go of hands and then put the same hand back in to make the next star

Suggest a slide rather than a twirl (less chance of collision – it’s a bit crowded in there)

For the star in B2, men’s hands should be underneath the women’s, to allow for a smooth transition to the swing

The roll to a gypsy star is from Broom in the Trunk by Luke Donforth


Gypsy Stalker

Peter Foster - 5 Aug 2015
Improper
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Slice left (see note)
  (4) All go forward again, women take left hands, men take right hands (mens hands underneath) to make a gypsy star
A2 (4) Balance in and out
 
A2 (8) Gypsy star clockwise 3/4 (men forward, women backward)
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
B1 (8) Right and left
  (8) Women start a gypsy once around, after they start the men follow their partner across the set
 
B2 (16) Partner gypsy and swing

Slice left: holding partner's inside hand, advance toward the couple on the left diagonal, then back directly away from them so you are facing them across the set.

In B1, the men follow their partner to the other side, in preparation for the final gypsy and swing. This following of partner is a bit stalker-ish, allowing for a lot of fun.

That stalker move (the gypsy with the men following) is from The Gypsy Chase by Joy Greenwolfe


Half Nelson

Peter Foster - 29 June 2013
Becket, double progression
Level: Medium
 
Men, note that your new neighbour is on your left diagonal
A1 (8) Long lines forward and back
  (8) Men allemande left 3/4, with next man allemande right 1/2
 
A2 (16) (New) neighbour balance and swing
 
B1 (8) Right and left (with shadow)
  (8) Women allemande right 3/4, with next woman allemande left 1/2
 
B2 (16) Partner gypsy and swing

This is double progression, so there is no waiting out at the top. If there is a spare couple at the bottom, the man and woman re-enter the dance separately

The allemande sequence is from Nelson Madness by Jan Larsen. In that dance, only the men did it. I wanted both men and women to get to do it


Hangover

Peter Foster - 12 Dec 2011
Triplet (all proper)
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) First lady cast down while third gent cast up, both partners following to opposite end of set
  (8) All six circle left halfway (now in order 123 with 2s improper)
 
A2 (8) All 3 ladies chain, one place around
  (8) All 3 ladies chain, another place around
 
B1 (8) All 3 ladies chain, one final place around
  (8) Dosido the one you just courtesy turned, finish facing them
 
B2 (8) Grand right and left for four hands, starting right hand (finish in order 312)
  (8) 1s (now in the middle) swing and finish proper

The 1s can keep swinging while the others start the dance (this is the hangover). Just make sure that you finish proper in time for the circle.

Note: the grand right and left is fairly quick, with 8 beats to pass 4 people. Dancers should maintain the shape of the set.

For the ladies chains, you may prefer a zestier dance by going two places each time, rather than just one place (there are three ladies chains, so either way you finish back where you started)


The Happy Meeting

Peter Foster - 13 Oct 2008
Becket (clockwise)
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Right and left
  (8) On the right diagonal, ladies chain (if no-one there, stay put!)
 
A2 (6) Promenade across the set (the ladies who chained will pass right shoulder, although you don't finish facing that couple)
  (10) Swing neighbour
 
B1 (8) Long lines forward and back
  (8) Circle left (with shadow and neighbour)
 
B2 (2) Men lead neighbour along the line
  (6) With next couple, circle left 3/4
  (8) Swing partner

Note that during the long lines, your shadow is opposite. Make sure that this is the case, especially when you get towards the end of the set.

This dance is based on Rendezvous by Dan Pearl.


Hazelnut Coffee

Peter Foster - 11 June 2013
Improper
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (16) Women pass left to start a whole hey
 
A2 (16) Neighbour balance and swing
 
B1 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (8) Partner swing
 
B2 (8) Ladies chain
  (8) Mad robin, women go in front first, moving left

The progression: As the mad robin is completed, dancers look in direction of progression. Ladies would be moving inward and right, continue in this direction to start the hey with next lady. Similarly the gents will be moving back and to the left, continue in this direction and pass your next neighbour outside before looping into the hey

Adapted from Macadamia Nut by Jim Hemphill


Heatwave

Peter Foster - 5 Feb 2009
Becket
Medium-Easy
 
A1 (8) Circle right 3/4 and take left hand with neighbour to a wavy line across the set, men in the middle
  (4) Balance in line
  (4) Pass through to a new wavy line (this is your new neighbour. But don't swing them yet)
 
A2 (4) Balance in line
  (4) Walk forward to a new wavy line
  (4) Balance in line
  (4) Allemande left 3/4 to previous neighbour
 
B1 (16) Gypsy and swing this neighbour
 
B2 (8) Give and take (women take)
  (8) Swing partner

Couples reaching the end of the set in A1 should immediately cross over so they can join in for the second half of A2


Henry’s Circle

Peter Foster - 3 June 2013
Sicilian Circle
 
A1 (8) Partner dosido
  (8) Swing neighbour, finish facing the other couple, with the woman on the right (so facing partner)
 
A2 (8) In circles of 4, circle left 3/4
  (8) Swing partner
 
B1 (8) Ladies chain
  (8) Left hand star
 
B2 (8) Single file march, women in the lead (inner and outer rings)
  (8) Turn around and return (look for your partner for the restart)

Based on Heiner’s Circle by Heiner Fischle


Hey, a Gypsy

Peter Foster - 20 May 2013
Improper
Level: Easy
 
A1 (16) Neighbour gypsy and swing
 
A2 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Partner swing
 
B1 (8) Right and left
  (8) Ladies chain
 
B2 (8) Left hand star
  (8) Neighbour gypsy left shoulder, finish facing new neighbour

Last time: B2 Circle left 3/4 and swing partner

The key to this dance is the final gypsy left into a new neighbour gypsy right, which is a bit like a hey. But make sure the dancers don’t rush that bit.


Highly Flung

Peter Foster - 7 June 2013
Becket
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through to a new neighbour
  (8) Neighbour allemande right 1+1/2
 
A2 (8) Men pass left shoulder to start a half hey
  (8) Swing neighbour, finish facing down in a line of 4
 
B1 (16) Go down the hall, turn as a triple (man in the middle swap the two ladies while the other man turns alone), return
 
B2 (16) Invert the line and swing partner

To turn as a triple: the man with a woman on either side turn as a threesome so that the women swap places: man makes an arch on his right hand side and the women swap over, left hand woman going under the arch. The lone man on the other end simply turns alone

Invert the line: Man 2 (the man on the end of the line) makes an arch with lady 1; lady 2 leads her neighbour under the arch and they swing on their opposite side as man 2 and his neighbour walk to the opposite side to swing

This dance is adapted from The Arcadian Fling by Jim Hemphill

See also Multi Hat Syndrome, for another dance with the invert the line move


Horse of a Different Colour

Peter Foster 11 January 2014
Becket
 
A1 (8) Slice left
  (8) Ladies chain, but twirl into ballroom hold
 
A2 (4) Galop across the set, men passing back to back
  (4) Turn away from neighbour to meet next neighbour (behind you)
  (4) Galop across with this next neighbour
  (4) Turn away to meet the neighbour you first galoped
 
B1 (16) Balance and swing neighbour
 
B2 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (8) Swing partner

To do the slice left: take neighbours inside hand and go forward 3 steps on the left diagonal to meet them, then push off directly back to finish facing them

End effects:

Note that you do the galop with your neighhhh-bours (can’t write the whinnying sound, but you know what I mean)

The galop sequence is from Cream Coloured Ponies by Keith Wood


Leap Day

Peter Foster 24 Feb 2016
Duple improper
 
A1 (8) Neighbour allemande right 1+1/4 to a wavy line across with the women in the middle
  (4) Balance in line (right then left)
  (4) Rory O'More slide to the right
 
A2 (8) Neighbour allemande left 1+1/4 to long wavy lines (men facing out, women facing in)
  (4) Balance in line (left then right)
  (4) Rory O'More slide to the left (now all back where we started)
 
B1 (9) Women pass left to start just over a half hey (women pass a second time in the middle)
  (7) Swing partner
 
B2 (10) Circle left 1+1/4 (now all back where we started)
  (2) Pass through
  (4) Pass through again (double progression)

In B1, after doing a normal half hey, the women pass left in the middle one more time to go to their partner

The leap day theme is that various moves are augmented (the allemandes, hey, circle and even the final pass through). This makes it a fun dance to walk through, emphasising the “just a bit more”. Also, after calling “one more time”, then do an additional time through, to again do just a bit more!

It’s actually a fairly ordinary dance, with no neighbour swing and little partner interaction. But for a dance that is only done once every 4 years, you can probably get away with it.

Finally, an obscure trivia question: the dance was written on 24 February of a leap year. What is the significance of this date?


Look Before You Leap

Peter Foster 29 Feb 2016
Duple improper
 

Begin in long wavy lines, right hand with neighbour, men facing out

A1 (4) Balance in line (right then left)
  (4) Rory O'More slide to the right
  (4) Balance in line (left then right)
  (4) Rory O'More slide to the left
 
A2 (8) Women pass left to start a half hey
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
B1 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Swing partner
 
B2 (8) Ladies chain
  (8) Left hand star, finish in long waves (right hand to new neighbour)

Similar to Leap Day. This is certainly a better dance, but does not have the “extended” moves

PS It’s also very similar to Camp Sertoma Slide by David McMullen


Look But Don't Touch

Peter Foster - Feb 2006
Duple improper
Level: Medium
In this dance, the only person you touch is your partner!
 
A1 (16) Hey along the side, left shoulder start (see below)
 
A2 (16) Promenade partner anticlockwise around the major set, turn as couples and return
 
B1 (8) Ladies pass *left* to start a half hey
  (8) Swing partner (on man's side)
 
B2 (8) Pass through, california twirl partner
  (2) Men pass left shoulder
  (6) Right shoulder gypsy neighbour, finish facing new neighbour

The hey along the side is done as follows: Pass neighbour left shoulder, gypsy next neighbour by right, pass original neighbour by left, gypsy previous neighbour by right, come back to original neighbour for the third time (dancers wrap around the ends as necessary). Dancers should make a conscious effort to keep level with their partner, who should be directly across the set.

In A2, pick up your partner in a promenade hold and go slightly out to your right (gents passing left shoulder). This should flow easily from A1.

In the promenade around and back, you need to remember your current neighbours so you can come back to them.

Couples waiting out on the end should participate in A1. They will have finished the dance on the "wrong" side (not yet crossed over), but from there they can immediately join in, starting by passing each other left shoulder (while the others are passing their neighbour by the left shoulder).

A1 is from Carol Ormand's dance "Jurassic Redheads". My original version had the hey with your neighbour and 2 next neighbours, but when I saw Carol's dance I thought it was much nicer to do the hey with your next and previous neighbours (it also flows better into A2). Thanks Carol!

P.S. I have since found that Bill Pope has a similar themed dance, "Look, Don't Touch". However, in Bill's dance the "hands off" is limited to your opposite sex neighbour.


Lost on Mount Stromlo

Peter Foster - 22 Nov 2015
Sicilian circle - same sex (see note)
Level: Medium
 
A1 (16) Balance and swing neighbour 1
 
A2 (8) Rights and left
  (8) Left hand star
 
B1 (8) Men OR women allemande left 1+1/2 (see note)
  (8) Swing neighbour 2, finish facing the middle of the room, woman on the right as usual
 
B2 (8) To the middle and back, then make a circle of 4
  (4) Balance the ring
  (4) Pass through to a new (opposite sex) couple

Notes

To make the same sex sicilian circle, first make a normal sicilian circle. Then those on the outside swap places with neighbour. You then have a same sex partner, facing 2 opposite sex neighbours, women are facing clockwise, men anticlockwise. This formation was previously used in Laurie’s Reel by Jane Sekulski.

Either the men or women swap sides during the dance. In B1, if the men do the allemande then the women swap sides. And vice versa (so alternate it).

In B2, when making the ring of 4, the couple nearer the middle simply turn alone, do NOT turn as a couple! They may like to go into the middle, then turn alone, so they are facing the other couple on the way back

The name comes from a run that I did that morning, on the trails around Mount Stromlo. Except I misread some signs and ended up in the middle of nowhere, not finishing the race


Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

Peter Foster - 11 June 2013
Becket
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Ladies chain
  (8) Mad robin with neighbour (men behind to start)
 
A2 (8) Mad robin with new neighbour (again, men behind to start)
  (8) Swing this new neighbour
 
B1 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2, stay in the middle for…
  (8) Pass partner right to start a half hey
 
B2 (16) Partner gypsy and swing

Caution the dancers not to rush the two mad robins (note that the path taken is like a hey for three on the side)

A1/A2 is from Mad Robin Migration by Jim Hemphill


March of the Penguins

Peter Foster - 21 June 2013
Becket
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (4) Women allemande right just halfway
  (8) Neighbour allemande left 1+1/2 to a wavy line with men in the middle
  (4) Balance in line (suggest balancing forward and back)
 
A2 (8) Drop hands, then in the direction you are facing, march around the set (men clockwise in the middle, women anticlockwise around the outside)
  (8) Turn around and return
 
B1 (16) Neighbour balance and swing
 
B2 (8) Women pass through, NEXT men allemande (see below)
  (8) Swing partner

B2: Start a pass through, but the NEXT men take left hands as they pass and allemande left about 3/4 to return to the side they just came from.

To explain this move, I suggest having everyone start a pass through until all are in a line in the middle. Then have the women continue to pass through and turn to their right as the NEXT men allemande left 3/4. This brings everyone facing their partner for the swing. After the partner swing, finish facing that new couple

The single file march is also in Middlesex March (Tony Parkes) and Brown Bag Reel (Donna Calhoun), although neither of those have neighbour swings


Melbourne Cup

Peter Foster - May 2012
Duple improper, double progression
Level: Medium-easy
 
A1 (16) Balance and swing (new) neighbour
 
A2 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (8) Swing partner
 
B1 (8) Slice left: forward to the couple on your left diagonal, then straight back to face them across the set (one couple will pop out at each end)
  (8) Ladies chain
 
B2 (8) End couples galop to the centre of the set
  (8) And galop back to place

The Melbourne Cup is Australia's biggest horse race. Feel free to rename the dance to a more local race

See also Birthday Galop


Men at the End

Peter Foster - 4 June 2013
Becket (sort of)
Level: Medium-Hard
 

Begin in a line of 4, all facing down

A1 (8) Down the hall, then “men at the end”: turn alone or as couples such that the men finish on the ends (so those on the left turn alone, those on the right turn as couples)
  (8) Return and bend the line, facing across at a same sex person
 
A2 (16) Women (or men – see below) start double contra corners…
 
B1 (16) …and complete the double contra corners. Finish on the side, next to partner
 
B2 (8) Slice left: forward to the couple on your left diagonal, then straight back to face them across the set
  (8) Swing partner, finish facing down

Alternating dance – the women and men take turns doing the double contra corners. Note that all 4 corners are opposite sex (except possibly at the end of the set)

With your 3rd and 4th corners, one is your partner, the other a shadow

A note for the caller: if there is a neutral couple at the top then it is the men who do the contra corners. If there is no neutral couple then the women do it.

Suggest having an odd number of couples. Then there will always be a full set of corners to turn

For another alternating dance with double contra corners, see Double Trouble

Contra corners with a same sex person opposite is also done in Precket for Kara by Erik Erhardt, and Alone at the End by Al Olson.


Mish Mash of Moves

Peter Foster - 5 March 2016
Formation: Becket, double progression
Level: Medium-Hard
 
A1 (8) On the left diagonal, ladies chain
  (8) On the right diagonal, ladies chain (to a shadow)
 
A2 (4) With the couple across, women cross right shoulder...
  (12) ...and swing neighbour. Finish facing down in a line of 4
 
B1 (8) Down the hall, man with 2 women turn as a triple (see below)
  (8) Return, bend to a circle
 
B2 (4) Dip and dive: couples facing up make the first arch...
  (4) ...then the other couples arch (while the end couples california twirl)
  (8) Swing partner

Turn as a triple: the man who is between 2 women does right hand high, left hand low to swap the women while turning around. The solo man does a turn alone

When the line of 4 is coming back up the hall, I suggest that the middle couple make their arch. Then the end people can bend around and go through that arch, with everyone moving continuously (it's also then clear who makes the first arch)

A dance designed to finish with a dip and dive to a partner swing. What happens is that you lose your partner immediately at the start, then don't see them again until they suddenly appear in front of you after the dip and dive


Mohr is Better

Peter Foster - 16 June 2011
Formation: Becket
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through up and down to a new neighbour
  (4) New neighbour allemande right 3/4 to a wavy line with men in the middle
  (4) Balance in line
 
A2 (4) With neighbour, allemande right 3/4
  (4) With next neighbour, allemande left once around
  (8) Swing original neighbour
 
B1 (8) Men pass left shoulder to start a half hey
  (4) Men allemande left 1/2 to wavy line, men in the middle, right hand with partner
  (4) Balance in line
 
B2 (4) With partner, allemande right 3/4
  (4) With shadow, allemande left once around
  (8) Swing partner

Inspired by A1 by Rick Mohr. Also very similar to Avenues and Alleyways


Monophobia

Peter Foster - 2 July 2013
Becket
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Moving left to a new couple, circle left 3/4
  (8) Swing neighbour, finish facing down in a line of 4
 
A2 (8) Go down the hall, middles turn under to make a cozy line
  (8) Return, middles duck under to make a cloverleaf
 
B1 (4) Balance in the cloverleaf
  (4) Unwind to an outward facing circle (just turning on the spot, do not let go of hands)
  (8) Circle 3/4 anticlockwise (follow your left hand)
 
B2 (16) Swing partner (feel free to twirl into this swing)

Monophobia is the fear of being alone - in this dance you are never alone, you are always in contact with someone

Based on Fuzzy Cozy by Linda Mrosko and others


Multi Hat Syndrome

Peter Foster - 24 April 2013
Becket
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Promenade and shift: promenade across, but in the courtesy turn move around one place to face the next couple (anticlockwise around the major set)
  (8) With this new couple, ladies chain. Finish facing down in a line of 4, with neighbour, woman on the right
 
A2 (8) Down the hall
  (8) Turn alone and return
 
B1 (16) Invert the line (see below) and swing neighbour
 
B2 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (8) Swing partner

Invert the line: Man 2 (the man on the end of the line) makes an arch with lady 1; lady 2 leads her neighbour under the arch and they swing on their opposite side as man 2 and his neighbour walk to the opposite side to swing

This dance is adapted from Double Hat Syndrome by John Coffman (but the “invert the line” move is by Jim Hemphill)

See also Highly Flung, for another dance with the invert the line move


Pieces of Eight

Peter Foster, Version March 2006
Duple proper
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Couple 1 half figure 8 (through couple 2)
  (8) Woman 1, man 2 half figure 8 (across the set)
 
A2 (8) Women half figure 8 (through the men)
  (8) Couple 1 half figure 8 (across the set)
 
B1 (16) Everyone balance and swing partner
 
B2 (8) Ladies chain
  (8) Couple 1 half figure 8

In all the half figure 8's, woman 1 has precedence.

The half figure 8 is not used much in contra. This may be because it leaves half the people standing still and feels like a "fix up" move, i.e. a move that is done just to get people where you need them. This dance makes the half figure 8 into a theme. Mind you, the final half figure 8 is a bit of a fix up, but it provides a thematic farewell to this couple and flows perfectly into the start of the dance with the next couple.

The original version was written in Jan 1990 as a Scottish Country dance. It has been modified to include a partner swing.


Pushover

Peter Foster - 15 Nov 2010
Becket
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through
  (8) Swing new neighbour
 
A2 (8) Right and left
  (8) Ladies chain
 
B1 (16) Push off hey, women start with a push (see below)
 
B2 (6) Women allemande right once around
  (10) Swing partner

Push Off Hey:

(4) Women meet on the left diagonal and push back on the left diagonal to where their partner was
  WHILE the men slide (or loop) to their right, to where their partner was
(8) Men pass right shoulder to start a half hey
(4) Men meet on the left diagonal and push back on the left diagonal to where their partner was
  WHILE the women slide (or loop) to their right, to where their partner was

At the end of the push off hey, you are on the side with your partner, women on the right


Rang Tang Contra

Peter Foster
Becket (clockwise)
Level: Easy-medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through
  (8) Swing new neighbour
 
A2 (8) Long lines forward and back
  (8) Circle left 3/4
 
B   Partner allemande right
    Men pass by left shoulder
    Neighbour allemande left
    Men pass by right shoulder
    Partner allemande right
    Men pass by left shoulder
    Neighbour allemande left
    Men pass by right shoulder
    Swing partner

The repeated allemandes and men crossing (starting in B) is called the Georgia Rang Tang. The phrasing is a bit loose, the swing at the end will end up being about 12 counts

See also Rang Tang Mixer in the circle mixer section


Reel Nice

Peter Foster - 27 June 2013
Improper
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Right hand star
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
A2 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (8) Swing partner
 
B1 (16) Women pass right to start a whole hey
 
B2 (8) Ladies chain
  (8) Left hand star, look for new neighbours

A straightforward dance with some nice transitions


Rings and Twirls

Peter Foster - Feb 2006
Duple improper
Level: Medium
 
A1 (4) Balance the ring
  (4) With neighbour, do a (wrong) hand California twirl
  (4) Reach across your joined hands, joining free hand with partner to form cloverleaf, balance the cloverleaf
  (4) California twirl with partner, then join free hand with neighbour to form a ring
 
A2 (4) Balance the ring
  (12) Swing neighbour
 
B1 (8) Gents pass left shoulder to start a 5/8 hey
  (8) Swing partner (on ladies original side)
 
B2 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (4) Balance the ring
  (4) California twirl

Variation (it fits in with the rings and twirls theme, but I'm not sure that the dance needs another balance the ring):
B1 (4) Balance the ring
  (4) Petronella turn one place right
  (8) Swing partner (on ladies original side)

The first half of the dance is from Retronella, by Rick Mohr


Rory O'Hey

Peter Foster - 30 Oct 2007
Becket
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and take right hand with neighbour to make a wavy line across the set, women in the middle
  (4) Balance in line
  (4) Pass through to progress, make a wavy line with new couple
 
A2 (8) Balance the wave, slide to the right (as in Rory O'More)
  (8) Balance again (starting to the left), slide to the left
 
B1 (8) Half hey (start by pulling by neighbour right shoulder)
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
B2 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Swing partner


Rotunda

Peter Foster - version 28 May 2013
Improper
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Rotunda (rotate and go under): circle left halfway, then the couple at the top go under an arch made by the other couple. Finish facing a new couple
  (8) Rotunda again (with new people - this time the other couple will be going under), returning to original couple
 
A2 (4) Balance the ring
  (12) Swing neighbour
 
B1 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Swing partner
 
B2 (4) Balance the ring
  (4) Petronella twirl one place
  (4) Balance the ring
  (4) California twirl to face a new couple

This is a (better?) alternative to the original becket version (the original went as follows: Star left 3/4 to a new neighbour swing, down the hall and return, double rotunda, petronella and swing partner)

Origins of "Rotunda": during a committee meeting, the discussion turned to beginners and how, to beginners, most calls are meaningless. One of us then made a bunch of nonsense calls as an example. One of them was "double rotunda", and this became a bit of a catchcry for the rest of the meeting. So of course I had to come up with a rotunda move and put it into a dance.


The Seven Year Itch

Peter Foster - Jan 2006
Becket, double progression (anticlockwise)
Level: Hard
 
In this dance, you spend nearly the whole time away from your partner
A1 (8) On the right diagonal, "half gypsy" this neighbour by the left shoulder (ie advance toward them for 3 steps, do a tight left shoulder half gypsy in 2 steps, then back away for 3 steps). Finish facing this same couple. (If no-one is on the right diagonal then simply go to the end of the set and face in with the woman on the right)
  (8) Left hand star 3/4, finish facing a new neighbour (neighbour 2). Remember this new neighbour, you will come back to them soon
 
A2 (16) Grand right and left around the major set: right hand, left hand, right hand. With the next person, turn left all the way, then grand right and left the other way for 2 hands (right hand, left hand) to the person you started with (neighbour 2)
 
B1 (16) Gypsy and swing this neighbour
 
B2 (8) Give and take (ladies take the men)
  (8) Swing partner

This dance tells a bit of a story:
The man goes out with his partner
The man wanders away to check out some other people
He eventually chooses one, after a final once over
His partner decides that enough is enough and drags him home

The dance can be made single progression by doing the initial "half gypsy" (and subsequent star) with the couple across. However, the end effects are much messier.


The 75% Solution

Peter Foster - 30 Nov 2011
Becket
Level: Medium-Hard
 
A1 (8) Circle right 3/4
  (4) Neighbour allemande left 3/4. Women take right hands to make a wavy line of 4
  (4) Balance in line
 
A2 (4) Women allemande right 3/4 to a long wavy line down the middle
  (4) Women balance in line
  (8) Women move forward and swing neighbour
 
B1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through to a new couple (you pass by your partner and face a shadow)
  (8) Star right 3/4 with this couple
 
B2 (8) With the next couple, star left 3/4
  (8) Look away from the star and swing partner

All moves are 3/4, hence the name. The first time I tried this dance, after the walkthrough I asked how confident people were about doing the dance. One wag responded "about 75%"

The pass through in B1 tends to confuse people - note that you pass by your partner, so you and your partner end up in different stars

In the second half of the dance, if you find yourself out at the end then quickly swap over and face in (so the woman is on the right as usual). Note that this popping out at the end tends to happen unexpectedly.


Shoot the Stars

Peter Foster - 8 April 2013
Becket (progressing right)
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
A2 (8) Star left
  (8) Note that 1st couple are the couple above: 1st man, followed by his partner, cast around 2nd couple (below), so they are progressed. Everyone is now improper
 
B1 (8) Star right with the next couple
  (8) 1st man, followed by his partner, again cast left (so they go around the same couple they went around last time)
 
B2 (8) Star right 3/4 with another new couple
  (8) Swing partner

Note that each of the 3 stars is with a different couple

A2/B1 is from Shoot The Moon by Lynn Douglas. This dance adds a neighbour swing. And another star


Something Simple

Peter Foster - 10 May 2010
Duple improper
Level: Easy
 
A1 (16) Neighbour balance and swing
 
A2 (8) Long lines forward and back
  (8) Ladies do si do 1+1/2
 
B1 (16) Partner gypsy and swing
 
B2 (8) Ladies chain
  (8) Left hand star

I was looking for an easy dance to start the evening so I quickly threw this one together. It probably already exists. (And indeed, the first 3/4 is the same as Marion's Delight by Carol Kopp)


Slightly Easier

Peter Foster - Oct 2005
Becket
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left
  (8) Ladies chain
 
A2 (4) Promenade across
  (12) Swing neighbour
 
B1 (8) Long lines forward and back, roll to swap (gents roll ladies)
  (8) Left hand star
 
B2 (4) Pick up partner in promenade hold, promenade anticlockwise one place around the major set
  (12) Swing partner

Note: after the star left in B1, everyone will be in the middle of the set. Dancers should take their partners in a promenade hold and move slightly out to the right, passing the other couple on their left (this is the natural way to go after the star left). They then continue anticlockwise around the major set, to the next place.

To get from promenade to swing, gents should turn the ladies out under their joined left hands and then pull into a swing.


St Margaret’s Reel

Peter Foster - 12 Dec 2008
Triple minor, 1 and 3 improper, triple progression
Level: Medium
 
A1 (16) Balance and swing: 1s with 2s, 3s with partner
 
A2 (8) Circle left halfway
  (8) Swing a different person: 1s swing 3s, 2s swing partner
 
B1 (8) Circle left halfway, finish in long lines
  (8) Long lines go forward and back
 
B2 (8) 1s do a mirror allemande with the 3s (once around, 1s through the middle to start)
  (8) 1s do a mirror allemande with new 2s (below) 1+1/2 to progress (this is a same sex allemande, 1s go through the middle to start)

This is triple progression, so no one is ever out at the top of the set


Star Swing

Peter Foster - 29 Jan 2010
Formation: Becket
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Star left 3/4, turn away from the star to face a new neighbour
  (8) Swing this new neighbour
 
A2 (8) Right and left
  (8) Do si do partner (across the set)
 
B1 (8) Circle left once around
  (8) Do si do neighbour (on the side)
 
B2 (8) Star right 3/4
  (8) Women turn in and swing partner

Re-enter with the woman on the left.

Make sure that the initial star does not turn too far (call the swing slightly early).


Star Wars

Peter Foster - 4 May 2010
Formation: Duple improper. Need to have more than one set
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Right hand star
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
A2 (8) Circle right 3/4 and pass through across (left shoulder), finish facing the couple in the adjacent set
  (8) Left hand star with this couple
 
B1 (8) Right hand star with original couple
  (8) Swing partner
 
B2 (8) Ladies chain
  (8) Left hand star, finish facing new neighbours

The date inspired me to write a Star Wars themed dance. All I had to do was to come up with an unusual way to use stars. The result certainly fits that description.

Note the left hand star with the adjacent set: if you mess this up, you can cause 2 sets to break down, rather than just one. Think of this as the Death Star.

The interaction between the sets means that the sets need to be fairly close together, so I suggest having one more set than usual. Also, after getting into improper formation, have the couples take hands across the room, to ensure that the sets are aligned correctly

In A2, note that the circle is to the right and the pass through is by the left shoulder, across the set. Yes, this is not a common move.

Oh, and in case you're wondering what the date has to do with Star Wars: "May the Fourth be with you"


Supernova

Peter Foster - 18 June 2012
Duple improper
Level: Medium-Hard
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4, with partner slide along to a new couple
  (8) With new couple circle left 3/4 and turn alone to face original neighbours
 
A2 (16) Balance and swing neighbour
 
B1 (8) Pass through, swing through (see note)
  (8) Swing partner
 
B2 (8) Balance the ring and petronella turn
  (8) Balance the ring and california twirl

Pass through, swing through: this is a pass through to a wavy line (ie women take left hands as they pass, men turn right and take neighbours right hand), followed by allemande right halfway, then men allemande left halfway


Symmetrical Farce

Peter Foster - 4 April 2013
Duple improper – alternating dance
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Mirror dosido neighbour (1s in the middle)
  (8) Mirror allemande neighbour (should be time to go twice around)
 
A2 (16) 1s swing in the middle. Finish between the 2s in a line of 4
 
B1 (8) Down the hall
  (8) Turn alone and return. Stay in a line of 4, all facing up
 
B2 (16) Double figure 8 (see below). Finish in progressed positions
Double figure 8:
1s cross over (woman in front of man) while the 2s cast
Then 2s cross up through the middle while the 1s cast
Then 1s cross up through the middle while the 2s cast
Then 2s cross up through the middle while the 1s cast

Note that in the double figure 8, the end people start by casting as the middle people are doing their cross. Then the middles follow the same sex person

At the end, if the 1s stay on the outside (facing a new couple) and the 2s finish on the inside, then the 2s can start the dance next time through (so 2s will swing in the middle and the line will come up the hall).

It probably flows better by always having the 1s start the dance, but making it an alternating dance makes it more symmetrical. And more farcical.


Three's Company

Peter Foster - 17 March 2009
Formation: Duple improper
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left once around
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
A2 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Pass partner right to start a half hey
 
B1 (16) Gypsy and swing partner, finish facing down in a line of 4
 
B2 (8) Down the hall, turn as a threesome (see below)
  (8) Return, bend, centre couple make an arch and the 1s go through the arch to progress

Turn as a threesome

The man with a woman on either side turn as a threesome so that the women swap places: man makes an arch on his right hand side and the women swap over, left hand woman going under the arch. The lone man on the other end simply turns alone. The result is that you go down the hall with your partner and return with your neighbour.


To Your Corners

Peter Foster - 16 May 2013
Duple improper, double progression
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) In a line of 4 with couple 1 in the middle, go down the hall. 1s turn as a couple, end people turn alone
  (8) Return and hand cast (all now proper, 1s progressed)
 
A2 (16) 1s turn contra corners
 
B1 (6) 1s dosido in the middle
  (10) 1s swing the neighbour below (second progression)
 
B2 (8) Long lines forward and back
  (8) 1s swing in the middle (including the new 1s at the top of the set)

A double progression dance with contra corners. The double progression means that you will turn contra corners with 2 new neighbours each time. And the quicker progression allows more couples to become active

It is preferable to have odd numbered sets. This has 2 advantages:

  1. For the contra corners, all active couples have a complete set of corners
  2. You will swing half the neighbours on the way down the set, then the other half on the way up


Too Right

Peter Foster - 19 April 2012
Becket
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
A2 (8) Men pass left shoulder to start a half hey
  (8) Neighbour allemande right 1+1/2, finish in long wavy lines, men facing out
 
B1 (8) Balance right and left, then do a Rory O'More slide to the right
  (8) Balance right and left, then do a Rory O'More slide to the right again
 
B2 (3) Neighbour allemande left 1/2
  (3) Men cross by right shoulder
  (10) Swing partner

Rory O’More spins, but to the right both times.


Turn and Wave

Peter Foster - 2 Dec 2015
Duple improper
 
A1 (8) Neighbour allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Ladies chain
 
A2 (4) Women walk forward to a long wavy line down the middle
  (4) Women balance in line
  (8) Women walk forward and swing neighbour
 
B1 (4) Men walk forward to a long wavy line down the middle
  (4) Men balance in line
  (8) Men walk forward and swing partner
 
B2 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Neighbour allemande right 1+3/4 to progress

Half the dance is allemandes, half is waves (and swings). Hence the name


Two Bites of the Cherry

Peter Foster - 11 June 2013
Duple improper
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Neighbour allemande left 1+1/2 to next neighbour
  (8) Swing that next neighbour
 
A2 (8) Cross trail (pass through by right shoulder, then pass neighbour by left shoulder)
  (8) Original neighbour swing
 
B1 (6) Men pass through, women allemande (see below)
  (10) Swing partner
 
B2 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (8) Neighbour allemande right 1+1/2 to progress

B1: Start a pass through, but the women take left hands as they pass and allemande left about 3/4 to return to the side they just came from.

To explain this move, I suggest having everyone start a pass through until all are in a line in the middle. Then have the men continue to pass through and turn to their right as the women allemande left 3/4. This brings everyone facing their partner for the swing

The name of the dance comes from the fact that you swing 2 neighbours each time, but it’s only single progression. So you swing each neighbour twice


Up and Down and Back and Forth

Peter Foster - 17 Nov 2009
Formation: duple improper, double progression
Level: Medium-Hard (alternating dance)
 
A1 (4) Circle left just halfway
  (12) Swing neighbour
 
A2 (4) Pass through
  (12) Swing a different (previous) neighbour. Everyone is now back where they started
 
B1 (8) Long lines go forward and back
  (8) 1s swing in the middle, finish facing down between the 2s
 
B2 (8) Down the hall and bend the line, take partner's hand (let go of the other couple)
  (4) 1s arch, 2s dive, to progress to a new couple, then...
  (4) 2s arch, 1s dive, to progress to another new couple (double progression)
 
C1 (4) Circle left just halfway
  (12) Swing neighbour
 
C2 (4) Pass through
  (12) Swing a different (previous) neighbour
 
D1 (8) Long lines go forward and back
  (8) 2s swing in the middle, finish facing up between the 1s
 
D2 (8) Up the hall and bend
  (4) 2s arch, 1s dive to progress
  (4) 1s arch, 2s dive to progress again

This dance has no difficult moves but it is still a bit tricky: going down the hall, and staying there, is a bit unusual! And when it's the 2s that swing, they need to remember to face up for an up the hall. The constant changing to a new neighbour is also disorienting - note that in the up/down the hall, you are *not* with the neighbour you have just swung (you are actually back with your original neighbour).


Waiting For Him

Peter Foster - version 11 May 2009
Becket
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through
  (8) Swing new neighbour
 
A2 (8) Half hey, men pass left to start
  (8) Allemande right with neighbour, finish in long waves, right hand with neighbour, men facing in
 
B1 (8) Balance right and left, slide (or spin) right as in Rory O'More
  (8) Balance left and right, slide (or spin) left
 
B2 (4) Men cross by right shoulder, women turn over their right shoulder
  (12) Swing partner

Note: I was aiming to create a 2 swing dance that had Rory O'More spins with neighbours in long waves. When it was done I noticed that it had some similarities to Tom Lehmann's dance "Waiting for Her". While it was not based on that dance, I decided to give it a related name (presumably, the "waiting" refers to the end of the dance where the women are waiting for the men to cross the set: in Tom's dance, it is the women who cross while the men wait for them).


The Well Oiled Machine

Peter Foster - version 29 Aug 2011
Becket, single progression (anticlockwise)
Level: Medium-Hard
 
A1 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
A2 (8) Slice left: forward to the couple on your left diagonal, then straight back to face them (you will be facing your shadow. A spare couple is shifted to the end of the set, facing up or down)
  (8) With the same couple, circle left 3/4 and pass through to a new couple (will be facing another shadow). Take hands in a circle of 4
 
B1 (4) Balance the ring
  (4) California twirl (across the set), take hands in a new circle
  (4) Balance the ring
  (4) Petronella turn, face a new foursome
 
B2 (4) Balance the ring
  (4) Petronella turn, finish facing partner
  (8) Swing partner

Note that everyone is dancing throughout B1/B2: if a couple is momentarily out at the end they need to quickly swap sides (if they are on the ball they can do a balance and swap as the others do the balance and twirl/turn).

To do the slice left: take neighbours inside hand and go forward 3 steps on the left diagonal to meet them, then push off directly back to finish facing them. This push off is with a shadow, that is, it will always be the same person.

"The Well Oiled Machine" refers to the last half of the dance, which is supposed to symbolise the meshing of gears with clockwork precision, resulting in being reunited with your partner. If the dance breaks down, the alternative title is "Piston Broke".


The Whirligiggin’ Gypsy

Peter Foster - 28 June 2012
Duple improper
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Men take left hands, women right hands to make a gypsy star. Go clockwise 3/4 (women forward, men backward)
  (8) Swing partner (on the woman's side)
 
A2 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Swing neighbour
 
B1 (8) Circle left 1/4, pass through up and down and california twirl neighbour (the neighbour you just did the pass through with)
  (8) Circle left 1/4, pass through across and california twirl neighbour
 
B2 (16) Repeat B1

The entire B part is the whirligig. Note that after the circle 1/4, you always face your partner, then pass by your partner

The gypsy star is easy to get into: after the final california twirl everyone reaches for the new couple with their spare hand. This automatically makes the gypsy star (incidentally, women appreciate a gypsy star in which the *men* go backward!)

The whirligig is from Whirligiggin’ Around by Cis Hinkle


The Women’s Turn

Peter Foster 18 Oct 2012
Becket
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4 and pass through to a new neighbour
  (8) Swing this new neighbour
 
A2 (8) Balance the ring and petronella turn
  (8) Balance the ring and petronella turn
 
B1 (8) Women allemande left 1+1/2 (note – women, not men!)
  (8) Pass partner right to start a half hey
 
B2 (16) Gypsy and swing partner

There are a number of dances in this collection with the sequence men allemande left 1+1/2, half hey, gypsy and swing partner. In this dance it is the women who do the turn in the centre


Woomera

Peter Foster - Sep 2006
Duple improper
Level: Medium
 
A1 (4) Balance the ring
  (12) Swing neighbour
 
A2 (8) Balance and petronella roll one place
  (8) Swing partner (on mans side)
 
B1 (8) Right and left
  (8) Ladies chain
 
B2 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (8) Ladies chain up and down, extra half courtesy turn to face new couple

The dance is slightly harder than it looks, due to the change in orientation in B2.

Note the sequence ladies chain/circle/ladies chain on the other axis. This reminded me of Gene Hubert's dance "Boomerang", which has the sequence pass through across/circle/pass through up and down. For this new dance a related name seemed appropriate. "Woman's Boomerang" looks a bit silly, but the similar sounding "Woomera" fits the bill beautifully (a woomera is a hooked stick, used by Australian aborigines to throw spears). A pronunciation note: the oo in woomera is short, as in "look".

(P.S. I have another dance, "called "Throwing Sticks", that includes both sequences, but I haven't yet tried it out yet)


Zig Zag Contra

Peter Foster - 2 Feb 2010
Becket
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Circle left 3/4
  (8) As couples, weave the set, zig-zagging first to the left and right past neighbour couple #1, then to the right and left past neighbour couple #2
 
A2 (8) Circle left with neighbour couple #3
  (8) Balance the ring and california twirl to face the previous couple (neighbour couple #2)
 
B1 (4) Balance the ring
  (12) Swing neighbour
 
B2 (8) Men allemande left 1+1/2
  (8) Swing partner

Squares


All Chain

Peter Foster 1 Aug 2012
Square
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Heads forward and back
  (8) Heads ladies chain. Then heads face the side couple on their right for...
 
A2 (8) Right and left with this couple
  (8) Start the All Chain figure (see below)
 
B1 (16) Continue the All Chain figure for 2 more passes
 
B2 (16) Promenade halfway (to the man's home) and swing

All Chain: Women do a 4 ladies chain while the men trade places by the right hand to courtesy turn whatever lady comes his way. Note that the men continue in the same direction around the set. Men do a total of 3 passes, finishing opposite from where they started the dance

Do heads, heads, sides, sides. When the sides are leading they face their right hand couple, so then the men will be going in the other direction.

Note that in the transition from right and left to the All Chain, the lead women have a bit further to go to get into their right hand star. Also in the All Chain, the men need to wait until the women have started their right hand star before they can do their right hand change.


The Cauldron

Peter Foster - 23 May 2013
Square, 64 bar figure
Keep partner, progress as couples
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Heads forward and back
  (8) Sides forward and back
 
A2 (8) Heads right and left
  (8) Heads ladies chain
 
B1 (16) With corner, dosido and swing, finish facing across the set in 2 lines of 4
 
B2 (8) Lines go forward and back
  (8) Cross trail (see below)
 
C1 (16) With the one you meet, dosido and swing (for the sides it’s their partner, for the heads it’s their opposite)
 
C2 (16) Promenade to a longways set (see below)
 
D (32) Cast off, progressive grand right and left, and swing partner (see below)

This is a keeper, so you finish with your original partner, but progressed to the next place around the square. For the final swing, make clear that you mean the ORIGINAL partner

B2: the cross trail is like a right and left without hands: pass through by the right shoulder, then men turn right and women turn left, and pass that person by the left shoulder. Alternatively, just do Right and Left. then the next move (the dosido and swing) is done with the next person around (could call them your corner, but for some people it is their original partner, so that may cause some confusion)

C2: the couple in couple 1s place are the leaders (but note that they are not actually partners). Everyone promenades halfway around, then when the leaders get to the bottom they come straight up the middle, everyone else still following them to finish in a longways set, men on one side and women on the other. All stay facing the front, ready for the next move

D: for the cast off, leaders separate, going behind their own lines, and all follow the leader. When the leaders meet down the bottom, they start a progressive grand right and left. Everyone will meet their original partner at the same time (after going about 3/4 around the set). Then everyone swing partner and square up in progressed positions

The promenade probably won’t finish quite in time, but that doesn’t matter: it can finish while the cast is starting, so everyone gets to keep moving continuously

The D part is from Teakettle by Ron Buchanan


Down the Hall

Peter Foster - 19 July 2012
Square
Level: Medium
 
A1 (10) Head couples right hand star 1+1/4 and stay in he middle (but see the note below)
  (6) Couple 1 left hand star just 1/2 with couple 4. Finish as a line of men (facing down) facing a line of women (facing up), all facing partner
 
A2 (8) Lines forward and back
  (8) Swing partner, finish facing down in a line of 8
 
B1 (8) Down the hall, turn as couples
  (8) Return, bend to a circle
 
B2 (16) Swing corner and square up in progressed positions

Women are stationary, men have progressed left one place.

Here is a slightly different start:

A1 (10) Head couples left hand star 1+1/4
  (6) Couple 1 right hand star just 1/2 with couple 2. Finish as a line of men (facing up) facing a line of women (facing down), all facing partner

(Note that after the swing you still face down for the line of 8)

This then results in the men being stationary while women progress right one place

Sequence: 8 times in total, alternating the 2 starts (so after 4 times through you are reunited with your partner on the opposite side of the set. Feel free to do a break at that point)

The start of the dance is rather confusing. It's easy to turn the stars too far or not far enough. It's also easy for the wrong couple to star with their side couple. Emphasise that it is couple 1 who do both stars


Magical Mystery Tour

Peter Foster - March 2007
Grid square
Level: Medium-Easy
 
A1 (8) Forward and back
  (8) Do si do partner
 
A2 (~6) Grand right and left: counting partner as 1, continue to person number 3 (but see the notes below for an essential variation)
  (~10) Swing
 
B1 (~6) Promenade to the WOMAN'S home
  (~2) All 4 ladies chain to their partner. Dancers will now be across the set from where they started
  (8) Do an additional half courtesy turn to face the couple behind you (in the adjacent set). Take hands four with this couple
 
B2 (4) Balance the ring
  (8) Pass through into a new square
  (8) Swing partner, finish facing into the new square

Notes (lots of notes - read them all before trying this dance!)

Dance a square and finish by progressing (with partner) into a new square. You will keep your partner, but dance in squares all over the hall.

To set it up have each square join hands in a ring, then line up the squares in rows and columns. Make sure they're straight, with no gaps. Spare couples can also be accommodated: they just stand around the edge somewhere and join in at B2.

Note that the timing in B1 is a bit sloppy. The promenade is less than halfway around, so it doesn't take very long. However, well behaved contra dancers like to take the full 8 steps so that they start the next figure on the beat. For this dance, that doesn't work very well: there is 16 steps to do a short promenade, a ladies chain and an extra half turn. In order to fit, the dancers must be instructed to do the ladies chain as soon as the promenade is done. Emphasise this point.

Each time through, the dancers will finish on the opposite side of the set and progress in that direction, so that they progress either up and down the hall or across the hall. BUT... (here's the good bit) in A2 there is a simple variation to swap the heads and sides: grand right and left to person number 4 (rather than number 3). This results in a slightly longer promenade but a shorter ladies chain (the ladies chain is then only one place around, the call is "ladies chain to partner"). Since this swaps the heads and sides, couples will then progress on the other axis. Note that the timing of B1 will then be slightly different, but again it all fits into a 16 count phrase.

The first few times through the dance, the caller can specify the number of hands in the grand right and left, either 3 or 4 (I suggest the sequence 3, 3, 4, 3, 3, 4 etc). After people are comfortable with the dance and no longer need prompting (so the caller can shut up), each individual set can decide for themselves how far they will go (ie someone in each set simply shouts out "third person" or "fourth person"). This gives a nice erratic progression. (Incidentally, if you are feeling courageous, try calling out "second person". This results in a very short promenade and a long ladies chain. It also rotates the set, but in the other direction. The very last time the caller can say "fifth person". Guess what that does).

Ideally, the number of sets should be enough to make a nice solid block (eg 9 sets arranged 3x3 or 12 sets arranged 3x4 or 15 (3x5) or 16 (4x4) etc). Then any additional couples can promenade around the outside and come in at a fairly random location. This, together with each set individually deciding how they will progress, makes for a wonderfully wild progression, truly a "magical mystery tour".


Nelly Bly variation

Peter Foster - 13 June 2012
Square
Level: Easy
 
A1 (8) Couple 1 separate and go around the outside
  (8) Couple 1 dosido behind couple 3
 
A2 (8) Couple 1 continue going around the outside, pass each other at home
  (8) Everyone dosido corner
 
B1 (16) Swing this corner (new partner - feel free to do a balance and swing instead)
 
B2 (16) Promenade to the man's home

Sequence: couple 1, sides, couple 2, break (with progression), couple 3, heads, couple 4, all

The original Nelly Bly has swing corner, then promenade partner. That feels a bit odd to me, so in this one you stay with your corner and get a partner change. Of course, a partner change makes it a bit trickier to give everyone a go at leading the figure, hence the fairly unusual sequence. Note that the break also needs to have a partner change, which gets you back to your original partner (I usually use forward and back; swing corner, swing the next; swing the next, swing the next; swing the next, promenade; forward and back)


Petronella Square

Original by Becky Hill. Variation by Peter Foster 21 June 2012
Square
Level: Easy-Medium
 
A1 (8) Heads right and left. Stay in the middle for…
  (8) Heads swing opposite and face the nearest side couple (you are facing your far corner)
 
A2 (8) Balance the ring, twirl to the right one place (as in Petronella)
  (8) Repeat the balance and Petronella turn
 
B1 (16) Balance the ring again, swing corner
 
B2 (16) Promenade to the man’s home

The promenade is just under once around. If you would prefer a slightly longer promenade (just over once around) then promenade to the woman's home instead


St Patrick's Hangover

Peter Foster - 18 March 2006
A square dance figure
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Heads promenade halfway around the outside while sides forward and back
  (8) Swing corner, finish in head lines
 
A2 (8) Lines forward and back
  (8) Everyone right hand star with couple opposite
 
B1 (8) Centre four people left hand star while others go halfway around the outside (clockwise, single file, women in the lead) to change ends
  (8) Swing a new corner (the end people have swapped ends, so those in the star have a new corner to swing)
 
B2 (16) Promenade to the gents home (slightly more than once around)

Do with the heads leading twice, then the sides leading twice (when the sides lead, make side lines rather than head lines).

>From the name of the dance, you can probably figure out the date it was written...


Star Chase

Peter Foster - 28 June 2012
Square
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Heads dosido opposite, finish facing the side couple (all facing corner)
  (8) Right hand star with the couple you are facing
 
A2 (8) Heads left hand star while sides chase clockwise halfway around the outside (men in the lead)
  (8) Right hand star with the side couples (will be the other couple)
 
B1 (8) Heads left hand star while sides chase clockwise halfway
  (8) Swing corner (new partner)
 
B2 (16) Promenade to the man's home

The star-chase move is easy for the women, they simply follow the man in front of them

St Patrick's Hangover also uses the star-chase sequence (or half of it anyway)

Circle Mixers


Larry's Other Mixer

Peter Foster - May 2007
Circle mixer
Level: Easy
 
A1 (8) Everyone to the middle and back
  (8) Partner do si do
 
A2 (8) Partner allemande right
  (8) Corner allemande left. This is your new partner
 
B1 (8) Pass this new partner left shoulder and keep going in a single file march (men clockwise in centre, women anticlockwise on the outside)
  (8) Return
 
B2 (16) Swing

In A2, the left hand turn with corner can be either 1 or 1+1/2. If you go 1+1/2 then you will swap places with that person so your single file march will be in the other direction (and with men on the outside, women on the inside).

I walk through the dance twice, first doing the single turn, then the 1+1/2 turn. It is then dancer's choice, each time through, whether to turn once or 1+1/2 (in practice, dancers do a quick right hand turn, then turn left hand several times around).

Based on Larry's Mixer, by Larry Jennings


Larry's Grand Mixer

Peter Foster - May 2007
Circle mixer
Level: Medium
 
A1 (8) Everyone to the middle and back
  (8) Partner allemande left
 
A2 (8) Allemande right with corner, who becomes your new partner
  (8) Do si do this new partner
 
B1 (16) Grand right and left and return: starting with new partner, do three passes of a grand right and left (right hand, left hand, right hand). With the next person, left hand turn all the way and face back the way you came. Then grand right and left in the other direction (right hand, left hand) and finish facing your new partner.
 
B2 (16) Swing

As in Larry's Other Mixer, the right hand turn in A2 can be either 1 or 1+1/2. This will likely result in meeting some same sex people in the grand right and left.

A variation of Larry's Other Mixer


Lost and Found

Peter Foster - 5 July 2014
Circle mixer
Level: Easy
 
A1 (8) Into the middle and back
  (8) Partner dosido, finish facing partner
 
A2 (16) Pass partner by right shoulder to a single file march, men on the inside going anticlockwise, women on outside going clockwise, for 16 steps
 
B1 (16) Swing the one you meet (new partner)
 
B2 (16) Promenade

If you don't find anyone for the swing then go into the middle, where you will then find a new partner. So the middle of the circle becomes a kind of lost property office

Adapted from Chris & Lisa Found Each Other by Grant Goodyear


Rang Tang Mixer

Peter Foster
Scatter mixer, couple facing couple
Level: Easy-medium
 
A1 (16) Promenade to find a new couple
 
A2 (16) Circle left (for 16 steps)
 
B   Neighbour allemande right
    Men pass by left shoulder
    Partner allemande left
    Men pass by right shoulder
    Neighbour allemande right
    Men pass by left shoulder
    Partner allemande left
    Men pass by right shoulder
    Swing neighbour, who becomes your new partner

A scatter mixer version of Rang Tang Contra. I actually prefer this one over the contra.


Rory O'Mix

Peter Foster - 1 Dec 2011
Circle mixer
Level: Easy-medium
 
A1 (8) Women to the middle and back
  (8) Men to the middle, turn around and return to make a wavy circle (holding left hand with partner, right hand with new partner)
 
A2 (8) Balance right and left, slide or spin right (as in Rory O'More)
  (8) Balance left and right, slide or spin left
 
B1 (6) With original partner, allemande left once around
  (10) Swing new partner
 
B2 (16) Promenade this new partner

Note: I have since come across two very similar dances: Rings of Spring by Chris Ricciotti and Mash-Up Mixer by Chris Page

Zia Formation Dances

Zia formation is a combination of both square and contra in a single dance. The simplest has a single square, with a contra set extending from each side (or think of it as 2 intersecting contra lines, with a square at the intersection). If there are more people then you can have multiple contra lines, intersecting to make multiple squares.

The dance is designed so that the same calls apply to both the contra and the square. Dancers progress along the contra line until they reach the square. The square rotates one place so that couples progress to a different contra line.

Zias are usually double progression. This means that the square appears each time through the dance. Also, since double progression also progresses dancers more quickly through the contra lines, it means that dancers get lots of goes at the square. This is highly desirable, as the whole point of a zia is to experience both contra and square in a single dance.

Bob Isaacs has a document about Zia dances. There is a link to this document at the Callers Mailing List.

There are 2 issues with Zia dances:

  1. They tend to have slightly unorthodox choreography. For example, swings are in the middle of the set, and ladies chains are along the set
  2. There is a bit of a "shadow" effect: since couples follow each other around the set, you tend to keep meeting the same couples in the contra lines

The dances in this section address both of these problems:

  1. The contra still feels like a normal contra. That is, figures are done as they are normally done in contra. So swings are on the side of the set, ladies chains are across the set
  2. To reduce the shadow effect, there is a bit of variation built into the square, so that it does not always progress the same way. So you may progress one place clockwise, while a following couple may progress across the square


Organised Chaos

Peter Foster 23 Oct 2013
Zia formation, double progression
 
A1 (16) Corner gypsy and swing
 
A2 (8) Promenade (see note)
  (8) Ladies chain
 
B1 (8) Forward and back
  (8) Swing partner and square up
 
B2 (4) Balance the ring
  (4) Gate (see note)
  (4) Balance the ring with the new couple
  (4) Pass through

The dance starts with a corner gypsy and swing. In the contra, "corner" actually means "neighbour". You may prefer to use neighbour instead, as long as those in the square know what it means

In A2, the contra people promenade as normal, across to the other side. In the square, the promenade is about half way round. It’s actually either 3/8 (so the women end up opposite to where they started) or 5/8 (so the men end up opposite to where they started). It is actually preferable to have the dancers mix it up a little, so that sometimes it goes just under halfway, and sometimes it goes just over halfway

In B2, the gate is done as follows: Drop hands with the others, just retain partner’s hand. Then the woman acts as a gatepost, turning more or less on the spot as the man moves forward and to the right (clockwise) about a quarter of the way around. This leaves you facing out, facing the couple in the next set, ready for the balance and pass through.


Suburban Mayhem

Peter Foster 24 Oct 2013
Zia formation, double progression
 
A1 (8) Women turn left 3/4 OR men turn right 3/4 (see note)
  (8) Swing the one you meet (far corner or neighbour)
 
A2 (16) Ladies chain, over and back
 
B1 (8) Circle left 3 places
  (8) Swing partner and square up
 
B2 (16) "Square the set" and progress (see note)

A1: In the square, this is a star 3/4 around to your far corner. In the contra this is an allemande once around to a neighbour swing (but calling it as 3/4 should not confuse people)

B2: The "Square the Set" move is from Irish set dancing. Here is a description for the square set. The contra is the same, except they do it as a half set so they have less distance to travel:

Note that the square progresses differently according to who starts the figure in A1: if the men start the figure then the square progresses straight ahead, but if the women start then the square progresses to the right. So couples will get shuffled a bit better, reducing the shadow effect


The Rail Yard

Peter Foster 6 December 2013
Zia formation, double progression, mixer! (in the square part)
 
A1 (8) Women turn left 3/4 OR men turn right 3/4 (see note)
  (8) Swing the one you meet (far corner or neighbour)
 
A2 (8) Ladies chain (for those in the square, this is your new partner)
  (8) Circle left 4 places
 
B1 (16) Balance and swing partner
 
B2 (16) "Square the set" and progress (see note)

In this zia, the contra is normal, keeping your partner. But in the square you pick up a new partner, to dance with during the next contra bit. In A2, the ladies chain leaves you with your new partner – remember who it is!

A1: In the square, this is a star 3/4 around. In the contra this is an allemande once around to a neighbour swing (but calling it as 3/4 should not confuse people)

A2: The circle left 4 places is either all the way (contra) or halfway (square)

This dance is very similar to Suburban Mayhem, above. See that dance for a description of the "Square the set" figure

The name refers to a train switching yard, where trains are separated into carriages, which are then recombined into different trains. Which perfectly describes the mechanics of this dance


Rumpus Room

Peter Foster 20 November 2013
Zia formation, double progression
 
A1 (16) Circle left and swing neighbour (corner)
 
A2 (16) Ladies chain, over and back
 
B1 (16) Women take right hands (allemande or star), pick up partner and star promenade, butterfly whirl into a partner swing. Finish the swing squared up
 
B2 (4) Lead to the right to meet a new couple from the adjacent set
  (4) Circle left halfway
  (4) Balance the ring
  (4) California twirl

In the contra, the moves are normal:

In the square, it doesn’t matter much how far the circle and star promenade go. Depending on how far they go, the square progresses either straight ahead or to the right