Figures such as the ones below stay within the 24 basics recommended by
CALLERLAB and still add variety to a program. The patter figure was adapted
from an old standard called the Lazy H.
Lazy H Figure
First Couple Bow & Swing ... Down the Center & Split the
Ring ... Around one to a Line of Four ... Line of four Forward & Back
... Forward again and stand pat
(The line stops in the middle between the side couples)
Sides Right & Left Thru down the Line
(The man goes down one side and the lady down the other and courtsey turn
on the end)
Right & Left Back ... Center four Circle Four ... Everybody
home & everybody Swing ... Promenade ... etc.
Jack Murtha uses the following routines in
his dance programs. Notice that each of the figures has the dances moving
in an easily identifiable big pattern.
Head Couples Promenade 1/2 ... 2 Ladies Chain ... Same Two Promenade
1/2 ... Pass Thru ... Courtesy Turn ... Pass Thru ...Promenade 1/2 ... Lead
Right ... Split 2 ... Separate ... Around 1 to a Line ... Pass Thru ...
U Turn Back .. Pass Thru ... Left Allemande
Heads Promenade 1/2 ... Circle four 1/2 and 1/4 more ... Pass Thru ... With
the outside 2 circle 1/2 and 1/4 more ... Back away to a line of four ...
Pass Thru .. Courtesy Turn ... 2 Ladies Chain ... Pass Thru ... Courtesy
Turn ... Circle 1/2 and 1/4 more ..
The following figures illustrate the clever
use of Roll Away With a 1/2 Sashay. Notice the excellent use of helper
words and Forward & Back to insure dancer success. The source for these
dances is Mike Seastrom.
Heads Pass Thru ... Separate Around 1 to a Line ... Boys Roll Away
1/2 Sashay ... Girls Roll Away 1/2 Sashay ... Centers Only, Roll Away 1/2
Sashay ... All Roll Away 1/2 Sashay ... Lines Forward & Back ... Pass
Thru ... UTurn Back ... With the Lady on Your Right, Roll Away 1/2 Sashay
... Same girl, left allemande
1 & 2 Ladies Chain ... 3 & 4 Ladies Chain ... New Side Ladies Chain
... Heads Pass Thru ... Separate ... Around 1 to a Line ... Boys Only, Roll
Away 1/2 Sashay ... Girls Only, Roll Away 1/2 Sashay ... Centers Roll Away
1/2 Sashay ... Everybody Right & Left Thru ... All 8 Join Hands, Circle
Left ... Left Allemande
All 4 Ladies Chain Across ... Couple #1 Walk Across & Split Couple #3
... Go Around 3 & Make 2 Lines of 3 ... Couple #3 Walk Across the Set
... Separate ... Around 2 to a Line of 4 ... All Forward & Back ...
Centers Pass Thru ... Split Two ... Around 1 to a Line of 4 ... 4 Boys &
4 Girls Forward & Back ... All Join Hands, Circle Left ...
1 Boy with a Girl on His Right, Roll Away 1/2 Sashay ...
2 Boys With a Girl on Their Right, Roll Away 1/2 Sashay ...
3 Boys With a Girl on Their Right, Roll Away 1/2 Sashay ...
All 4 Boys, Roll Away 1/2 Sashay ... Everyone Allemande Left
One of the tools used in calling squares
in a limited basics dance program is to place the dancers in unusual formations.
The following patter figure and singing call figure use the idea of movemnets
performed on the diagonal rather than in the typical squared with the wall
Figures like these should be called only after the dancers are experienced
enough to follow the instructions and not try to adjust the square to fit
the walls. A walk-thru is strongly recommended.
Head Men & Corner Ladies Forward & Back ... Pass Thru ...
Separate Around 2 to a Line ... Turn the opposite 1/2 Right ... Pass Thru
... UTurn Back ... Turn the Opposite 1/2 Right ... Pass Thru ... Face Your
Partner ... Right & Left Grand
The singing call figure below is from an old singing call named "Trail
of the Lonesome Pine." The music is still available on LS-505. The
firgure has a strong traditional flavor if you like to sing cowboy music
many people will recognize the tune and often sing along.
Head Men Take Your Corner to the Middle and Back ... Same Four Circle
Left ... Left Hand Star to Home ... Right Hand Around Your Partnerr ...
Left Hand Around Your Corner ... Partner DoSaDo ... Corner Swing ... Promenade
Clark Elliott sent in a singing call used
by Ed Gilmore years ago to the tune of "Everywhere You Go"
on Mac Gregor 2306. I've altered the call in one place to make it conform
to the CALLERLAB CDP list. In the break, the Right Arm Turn was originally
a Box the Gnat.
Allemande Left on the Corner & Weave Around the Ring.
Everywhere You Go ...
Turn Partner Half by the Right, and Weave the Wrong Way Round,
In & Out Around You Go ...
Swing Your Partner Round & Round, Swing Her High & Low
Allemande Left on the Corner Come Back & Promeno
Everywhere You Go, You Know She'll Always Dance With You ...
Ladies Center Back to Back & The Men Go Round the Ring
All the Way Back Home & Then ...
Turn Partner Once & a Half ...
The Men Back to Back & the Girls Go Round the Ring ...
Turn Partner By the Left a Full Turn Around ...
Swing the Corner Girl & Promenade Around ...
Everywhere You Go
You Know She Will Always Dance With You - - -
Who' On First
One of the largest challenges in maintaining a long term CDP will be to
provide interesting square dances that stay within the recommended 24 basics.
One way to meet this goal is to use dances that have a gimmick that is different,
but does not really add terminology that the dancers must remember.
These dances should be walked thru before being called. The dancers will
have the opportunity to see how the figure works. They will then have a
higher level of success in performing the dance. Part of the procedure should
be an understanding between that caller and the dancers that the caller
will not expect the dancers to remember how to dance the gimmick figure
after the party is over.
A good example of such a gimmick is a old figure that was popular for a
time about 20-25 years ago called Who's On First. It is a take off on the
old Laurel and Hardy routine about baseball.
As the routine progresses, different people are in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th
positions in the square. It makes the people think a little and usually
produces a lot of laughter as people scramble around and try to remember
where they are.
From a static set, on the call of Who's on First, the #1 couple walks across
the set into the #3 position and does a U-turn Back. As they are doing this,
every other person in the set slides one position (1/8) to the right or
to the left. Everyone is now in a new position.
Now call Who's on Second, and the new #2 couple crosses the floor to step
into the #4 slot and U-turn Back. The routine proceeds with Who's on Third
and Who's on Fourth and then repeats with Who's on First and Who's on Second
The routine call also easily be called directionally or with a combination
of both. For example. You could call.
Who's on First ... #1 Cross the set & U-turn Back.
Who's on Second ... new #2 cross the set and U-turn Back and so on.
Any six consecutive numbers will result in the set being back in order in
a static square. This means if you start with #2 then you proceed to #3,
#4, #1, #2, #3. Problem point - On the first , third and fifth times the
square will end up with everyone in 1/2 sashayed position. The couple going
across the square will sometimes attempt to put the lady back on the right
hand side rather than doing a U-turn Back.
Any three consecutive numbers will result in a setup with everyone with
the opposite person and in 1/2 sashayed position. A getout from here could
be Heads Pass Thru & U-turn Back ... Side Pass Thru and U-turn Back
... All Four Ladies Chain ...
Another way to add variety is to work around a theme that is different,
but still doesn't require the use of new terms that the dancers must remember.
A good example is a directional call to put the ladies or the men in the
center back to back. While it is a good idea to quickly demonstrate the
idea, the dancers will recognize that it is something to be enjoyed for
one dance and the next time it is used they will be re-introduced to the
concept with another quick walk-thru
The first figure is from "Dancing
for Busy People". The second figure comes from a bunch sent by
Decko Deck. The third is adapted from Dick Ledger's material.
Four men turn the corner Left Hand Around ... Put the ladies in
the center back to back* ... Men Promenade Single File around the outside
... Turn this same lady once and a half ... Put the men in the center back
to back ... Ladies Promenade Single File around the outside ... Turn the
same man by the Left Hand Around ... Swing your partner
* The ladies/men step into the center of the set and face out so that all
four people are back to back.
Several other variations can be built around the same theme. For example
the men or the ladies could be asked to turn the oppsite or the right hand
person once around before coming home.
Four Ladies Chain Across ... Chain Back ... Put the Ladies in the
Middle Back to Back ... Men Promenade Outside ... Turn Your Partner by the
Left Turn Your Corner by the Right Partner Left ... Corner Promenade ...
Allemande Left ... Put the Ladies Back to Back ... Men Promenade Around
the Outside ... Allemande Left Once and a Half and put the Men in the Center
Back to Back ... Ladies Promenade Around the Outside ... Allemande Left
... Grand Right & Left ...
The following square dance routines were
contributed by Ken Kernen to "Dancing for Busy
People". They put the dancers in slightly unusual positions that
should provide challenge and variety once the dancers have become comfortable
with the more standard routines and drills.
Side Ladies Chain ... Heads Roll Away, 1/2 Sashay ... Sides Pass
Thru ... Courtesy Turn ... All 8 Circle Left ... 4 Ladies Forward &
Back .. Pass Thru and U-turn Back... All 8 Circle Left ... 4 Men Forward
& Back ... Men Pass Thru... Separate Around One ... Ladies Pass Thru
... Left Allemande
Heads Right & Left Thru ... Same Ladies Chain ... Sides Roll Away 1/2
Sashay ... Circle Eight ... 4 Ladies Pass Thru ... U-turn Back ... Ladies
Pass Thru ... Separate & Behind Men You Stand ... Men Pass Thru ...
Head Ladies Chain ... Sides Right & Left Thru ... All Four Couples 1/2
Sashay .. Heads Lead Right & Circle 4 ... Head Men Break to a Line of
4 ... Right & Left Thru ... Roll Away to a Right & Left Grand
Four Ladies Chain 3/4 ... Side Ladies Chain Across ... Heads Promenade 1/2
...Lead Right ... Pass Thru ... U-turn Back ... Right & Left Grand
Flo Cadwell called two very interesting singing
call routines during the CDP dance on Sunday afternoon at the 1994 CALLERLAB
Convention. They were very good examples of how a very simple gimmick can
add spice to a routine. She prompted each of the routines to a excellent
singng call tune. She did it so well I suspect many people did not realize
she wasn't singing.
Heads Right & Left Thru ... Same Ladies Chain ... Sides Forward
& Back ... Sides Lead Right ... Circle to a Line ... Lines Forward and
Back ... Just the Men Walk Forward & Swing the Corner ... Promenade
Right Hand Lady Progression
Head Promenade Half ... Right & Left Thru ... Same Ladies Chain
... Sides Lead Right ... Circle to a Line ... Lines Forward & Back ...
Just the Ladies Walk Forward & Swing that Man ... Promenade
Star Promenade is featured
in the following singing call routines. They were picked up from Les Henkel's
book "A Treasure of Dances."
Singing Call - Intro/Brk/End
Join hands Circle Left ... Allemande Left ... Right Hand Around
Partner ... Men Star Left ... Star Promenade your partner ... Ladies roll
out, turn around & Promenade the other way ... Same two DoSaDo ....
Allemande Left ... Promenade home
Singing Call Figures
4 men Star Right inside let's walk around & then ... Back with
a Left Hand Star it's the other way around my friend ... Pickup corner arm
around Star Promenade in style ... Back out at home & join hands you'll
circle 'bout a mile ... New corner Left Allemande ... Swing new partner
... Promenade the land
Corners all Left Allemande ... Partner DoSaDo ... Men Star Left once around
... Partner Star Promenade ... Men back out & ladies in, Star Promenade
we're gone again ... Back out at home & corner Swing ... Promenade home
Heads/sides go Forward & Back Same 2 Right Hand Star Left Hand Star
... Pickup corner arm around Star Promenade All back out & Circle Left
(2 men - 2 ladies)
Swing the nearest lady ... Promenade home
The following square dance figure was picked
up from Dennis Riley of Yucaipa, CA. It has a "traditional" flavor,
but really uses just three basics. The active gent can really 'ham' it up
when he choses who he will 'cheat' with or swing his partner.
1st couple bow & Swing1st lady Lead to the Right of the ring
Circle up 3
2nd gent Cheat (swing the 1st lady) or Swing (swing his partner)
Two ladies lead on to the right of the ring & Circle Four (with
3rd gent Cheat (swing one of the two visiting ladies) or Swing
Three ladies Lead on to the Right of the ring & Circle 5 (with couple
4th gent Cheat or SwingFour ladies Lead to the Right of the Ring & Circle
five (with gent #1)
At this point we are half way through the routine.
Circle around & don't leave that gent all alone, he won't cheat he'll
swing his own (#1 lady stays with her partner)Three ladies Lead
Right & Circle four Circle around & don't leave that gent all alone,
he won't cheat he'll swing his own (#2 lady stays with her partner)
Two ladies Lead Right & CIrcle 3 Circle around & don't leave that
gent all alone, he won't cheat he'll swing his own (#3 lady stays with
her partner)#4 lady Lead Right & Swing.
Now that the men have had a chance to choose which ladies they wish to swing,
have the #1 gent Lead Right. The ladies now choose who to 'cheat' or 'swing'.
This dance can also be successfully used with other levels of square dancing.
The following routines rotate the square
one position counterclockwise. Like all gimmicks they are fun to put in
once in a while, but don't use them too often.
Sides Right & Left Thru ... Heads face right & Right &
Left Thru ... Square your sets like that ... 4 Ladies Chain ... All Forward
& Back Rollaway a Half Sashay ... Sides Face Grand Square -- just 8
steps ... Bow to partner, etc.
Just add a little more variety the next routine rotates the set one position
Sides Right & Left Thru while Heads Promenade 3/4
Sides Circle four 3/4 back out & square your set
One of the advantages of using only a limited
number of basics is the ability to walk thru an interesting pattern before
attempting to dance the pattern. All three of the following dances would
require skilled recreational square dancers if they were called without
a walk-thru because they are not Standard Applications.
4 Ladies Chain ... Heads/sides Pass Thru ... Both turn left/right
Single File Promenade around 2 to a line ... Diagonal head Ladies Chain
... Diagonal side Ladies Chain ... Swing your partner ... Promenade home
The following pattern can easily be adapted to fit a 64-beat singing call.
Heads/sides Right & Left Thru with a full turn ... Separate
around 1 ... Into the middle & turn the opposite 1/2 right ... Star
Right ... To the corner Left Allemande
Stars from two facing lines of four are unusual. This figure will almost
always require a walk-thru the first time. It is also a good figure for
a workshop tip at a recreational square dance level.
Heads/sides Pass Thru ... Separate around 1 to a line ... Go up
to the middle & back ... Make two Right Hand Stars (One with men, one
with ladies) ... Turn them twice, exactly twice ... Back out, join hands
and Circle Left (2 men - 2 ladies) ... Those who can, Left Allemande ...
Others Roll Away 1/2 Sashay ... All Right & Left Grand
Here are two singing calls out of the Wagon
Wheel Records collection. Each of them is a little unusual and both
of them can be adapted to other records you currently own. The Wagon Wheel
records each have Bob Ruff singing the CDP version on the flip side. Try
them, you will like them.
If They Could See Me Now
Record: Wagon Wheel WW915
Singing Call Intro/Brk/End
4 Ladies Promenade (single file) inside (8) ... Partner Swing
(8)All Circle Left (8) Allemande Left (6) Right & Left Grand (10)DoSaDo
(6} partner ... Promenade (16)
Ladies center back to back (4) ... Men Promenade (single file)
outside once around (16) ... Left Arm Turn partner (6) ... Right Arm Turn
corner (6) ... Courtesy Turn partnerMen center back to back (4) ... Ladies
Promenade (single file) outside once around (16) ... Pass partner Promenade
the next (12)
Record: Wagon Wheel WW913
Singing Call Intro/Brk/End
Circle Left once around (16) ... Allemande Left (6) ... Partner
DoSaDo (6) ... 4 Men Promenade (8) ... Swing partner (8) ... Promenade (16)
#1 (#2,#3,#4) couple down center & Split the opposite couple
Separate around three to home (12) ... DoSaDo partner (6) ... All 8 Circle
Left (8) ... Promenade Single File (6) ... Allemande Left (6) ... Grand
Right & Left (10) ... Partner DoSaDo (6) ... Partner Promenade (8)