Class Newsletter #3 - 10/02/16

posted Oct 3, 2016, 7:08 AM by Jim Hunt   [ updated Oct 3, 2016, 7:09 AM ]

Dear Friends,

What a fun night of dancing! Welcome to our new dance friends! Welcome back to those have been gone a few weeks!

Several of you have asked about online resources for square dancing. Below are a couple of my favorites. One is a video version of the calls and one is a view of the foot patterns of the calls. Check them both out. Use the one that helps you the most. We all have different learning styles. What might help one, might confuse another. Use the tools that help you.

Saddlebrook Squares is a club outside of the Tucson, AZ area. They have videos of the square dance calls. There are usually two or three calls in each video. The thing that I like about this site is that you can see what the handholds are and how the dancers relate to each other as they dance a particular call. I would recommend that you pick one dancer and then follow them through the dance sequence.

Saddlebrook Squares (Tucson, AZ):

Taminations is a program written by one of the members of Tam Twirlers in California. It shows a birds eye view of the calls. You can see the formation at the start of the call and the formation at the end of the call. Again, pick one dancer and follow them through the call. You can adjust the speed and show the pattern. There is also a phone app of this program.

Tam Twirlers:

Use whichever one helps you. If neither one helps, don’t use them.

A large part of learning to dance is dancing the same calls multiple times. This builds up muscle memory. At the same time you always have to keep in mind that the calls can be combined in an almost infinite number of ways. Don’t anticipate what a caller is going to say. Listen carefully. React.

Here are two dates that I want you to put on your calendar immediately –

Dates to note:

Friday, October 7, 7:30 – 10:30 p.m., First Friday Fun Fest hosted by the Whirlybirds with Dave Harry, caller. The hall is The Hayloft, 15320 35th Ave W, Lynnwood. Cost is $7/person. This is a dance for new square dancers. It will be an opportunity to dance the calls that you know to another caller. It will be an opportunity to meet other new square dancers too.

Friday, October 28, 7:30 – 10:00 p.m., Masquerade Ball Halloween Level Dance hosted by the Samena Squares. I will be calling. The dance is in our hall, the Juanita Community Club. Cost is included with your lesson fee. This is a Halloween dance. Costumes are encouraged.


The Samena Squares have a great web site – Thank you to Jim Hunt, our Webmaster. There is a button “Just For Students.” There you will find these weekly newsletters as well as a list of dances that you can go to. I will share more information about these as we go along.

I also have a web page – There is a tab “Samena Squares,” where you will find these newsletters.

Have a great week! See you Thursday!

Happy dancing,


Dancer naming:

i. Couple: Two people standing side by side; for universal understanding of square dance commands the dancer on the left dances the boy/man part of commands, the dancer on the right dances the girl/lady part of commands.

ii. Heads, Sides, Couple Numbers: Head couples have their back to or face the caller/music; Sides are the other two couples; Couple numbers – #1 back to caller, #2 to their right, #3 to the right of #2 or face the caller, #4 to the right of #3.

iii. Boys, Girls: Actual Boys and Girls or those dancing the Boy/Girl part of the move.

iv. Leaders, Trailers: In a tandem (one dancer behind another dancer) the one in front is the Leader, the one behind is the Trailer.

1. Circle Left & Right: Join hands in a circle and move left or right as indicated; circles can be made with 2 or more people. CIRCLE LEFT & RIGHT – 8 dancers full around, 16 steps; 4 dancers full around, 8 steps.

2 b. Forward & Back: In a squared set for heads or sides, it is 3 steps and touch then back 3 steps. FORWARD & BACK – 8 steps.

3 a. Dosado: With person you are facing, step slightly left, walk forward to pass right shoulders, slide back to back, back up past left shoulder, slide to face to face start position. DOSADO – with corner/partner 6 steps, across square – 8 steps.

4. Swing: Dancers step toward each other in ballroom dance position; leaning back slightly, walk forward around each other; the boy ends facing the direction of the next call; the girl rolls out to dance position on his right side. SWING – 4-8 steps at callers discretion.

5. Promenade Family:

5 a. Couples: With partner walk together counter-clockwise to home position; right hands joined over joined left hands. PROMENADE – couples full around 16 steps.

5 b. Single File Promenade: Specified dancers walk single file counterclockwise inside the square or where indicated by the caller. SINGLE FILE PROMENADE – 4 dancers inside to home – 8 steps.

5 d. Star Promenade: Dancers in the star put their arm around (or join hands with) the indicated dancer and continue walking together until the next call. STAR PROMENADE – 4 couples full around 12 steps; with backout at home – 16 steps.

6. Allemande Left: Turn toward corner, left arm turn 180 degrees, let go and step through, end back to back with corner, facing partner. ALLEMANDE LEFT – 8 steps

7. Arm Turns: Turn designated dancer by the indicated arm to next call; let go. The turn is 180 to 360 degrees. ARM TURNS – same as ALLEMANDE LEFT.

8. Right and Left Grand Family:

8 a. Right & Left Grand: Start facing partner, take right hands, walk by, offer left hand to next, walk by; continue alternating hands to the 5th hand (should be the dancer you started with). Boys are going counterclockwise; girls are going clockwise. RIGHT & LEFT GRAND – 10 steps.

8 b. Weave the Ring: Same as RIGHT AND LEFT GRAND without hands. Hint: pass same shoulder as the hand you would be using. WEAVE THE RING – 10 steps.

9. Left/Right Hand Star: Indicated dancers step to the center of the formation to join the designated hand in a loose star; walk forward to starting position of next call. It is often a full turn but can be fractionalized. LEFT/ RIGHT HAND STAR – 4 dancers full around 8 steps.

10. Pass Thru: With person you are facing step ahead passing right shoulders. STOP as soon as you pass by. End back to back. Same as 1/2 DOSADO. PASS THRU – 2 steps.

11. Half Sashay Family:

11 c. Ladies In Men Sashay: In any circle of boy/girl couples with the boy on the left and girl on the right circling left, the girls step forward, the boys step to their left and the girls step back to a new empty place. If the dancers are circling right, it is the opposite. Can also be done from a line. For variety, the call can be Men In Ladies Sashay. LADIES IN MEN SASHAY – 4 steps.

12. Turn Back Family:

12 a. ‘U’-Turn back: One of the self-explanatory calls, turn around in place to face opposite direction. If you have a partner beside you it is friendlier and nicer to turn toward your partner, sometimes this is left and sometimes it is right. ‘U’-TURN BACK – 2 steps.

15. Courtesy Turn: Girls (or right hand dancer) sticks out left hand in front palm down, places right hand on hip or does skirt work; Boys (or left hand dancer) offers left hand palm up to girl, place right hand gently on back; gently guide her forward, while backing up, turning as a couple to face opposite direction or the center of the set. COURTESY TURN – 4 steps.

16. Ladies Chain Family:

16 a. Two & Four Ladies Chain: Two (or four) girls step toward the center to make a right hand star; turn 1/2 way; offer left hand to opposite boy for a COURTESY TURN; end as couple facing center of formation. While girls are staring the boys take a step to their right to be in correct position for COURTESY TURN. TWO & FOUR LADIES CHAIN – 8 steps.

16 b. Two & Four Ladies Chain 3/4: Same as above except the turn is 3/4. Can be called with other fractions. TWO & FOUR LADIES CHAIN 3/4 – 10 steps.

18. Lead Right: Directed couples (Heads, Sides), with a couple handhold, will walk forward as a couple to face the couple to the right. LEAD RIGHT – 4 steps

19. Veer Left/Right: Moving as a couple, slide left or right as directed, maintaining facing direction with a small forward motion as well. VEER LEFT/RIGHT – 2 steps.

20. Bend The Line: Couples, as a unit, turn 90 degrees to face center. Like folding a piece of paper. Each end moves forward to meet the other end. The centers need to back up a little to accommodate. This creates new lines facing in. As a couple, you will ALWAYS be facing the other couple that was in your line. BEND THE LINE – 4 steps.

22. Right & Left Thru: From facing couples, give a right hand to the opposite dancer; pull by and join left hands with the one alongside. Finish with a COURTESY TURN to face the couple with which you are working. RIGHT & LEFT THRU – 6 steps.

24. Star Thru: Starting with facing dancers (boy & girl), boy’s right hand and girl's left hand form a momentary arch. The girl ducks through the arch while the boy slides past the girl crossing behind her. Each turn a quarter in the direction of their joined hands. End as a couple side by side. STAR THRU – 4 steps.

36. Trade Family:

36 a. Trades: Boys, Girls, Ends, Centers: Directed dancers change places with the identified person. The person you are trading with may be next to you or somewhere in your line. Every TRADE includes a reversal of facing direction If you meet someone pass right shoulders. BOYS, GIRLS, ENDS, CENTERS – 4 steps;

36 b. Couples: Directed couples change places with the other couple. You may be facing opposite directions or you may be facing the same direction. Every TRADE includes a reversal of facing direction. COUPLES – 6 steps.


Susan Morris
Samena Squares, Mainstream
Cascade Crossfires, Plus
Greater Seattle area

Women In Calling Committee, Callerlab, Vice-Chairwoman