2023-24 Lessons Blog

Note: Week 22 calls completes the list of Mainstream calls that will be presented in class.   Happy dancing!

2/29/24 - Week 22 Calls

SPIN CHAIN THRUFour part call from Parallel Waves, Eight Chain Thru, or other applicable formations. (1) Right Arm Turn 1/2; (2) Centers Cast Off 3/4 by the left (ends wait unless given an additional call); (3) Very Centers Trade; (4) Centers Cast Off 3/4.   Ends in Parallel Waves.

TURN THRU: From Facing Dancers or a R-H Mini-Wave.  Right Arm Turn 1/2 then (drop hands) and Step Thru. This is an “Allemande RIGHT"

Facing couples rule:  Any formation with facing couples can execute any call starting with a wave formation, by stepping to the wave first.  (example:  Spin chain thru from facing couples).

Ocean wave ruleSome calls that normally start from facing couples (or facing lines) can be done when the dancers are in an ocean wave (or a tidal wave)(example:  right and left thru from a wave -  In this case, the dancers have already stepped forward toward each other and are ready to complete the remaining action of the directed call.)


2/22/24 - Week 21 Calls

EIGHT CHAIN THROUGH (3, 4, 5, etc): With the one you are facing do a right hand walk by; left to the next; outfacing couples ALWAYS do a COURTESY TURN. Continue the number of hands indicated. Eight hands you end up exactly where you started. Can be any number of hands, 1-8. 

DIXIE STYLE TO A WAVE – from facing lines or facing couples, the right-hand dancer steps forward and to the left, forming a tandem.  Lead dancers right pull by and left touch ¼ with the other trailing dancer.  The new centers join right hands to become centers of a left hand ocean wave.

WALK AND DODGE - from a box circulate formation, each dancer facing into the box walks forward to take the place of the dancer previously directly in front of them.  Meanwhile, the dancers facing out slide over (“dodge”) into the position vacated by the walking dancer previously beside him/her.   


2/15/24 - Week 20 Calls

TAG THE LINE - In, Out, Right, Left : Drop hands, face center of the line pass (right shoulder) all the people (2) and listen for the next command, In, Out, Right, Left or something else. 

HALF TAG: Like tag the line, except the dancers stop walking forward when the original center from each side of the line meets the original end from the other side. If started from a four person line, the ending is a right hand box circulate formation; from longer lines the ending is a right hand column formation. 

CLOVERLEAFTurn away from partner, walk in 270-degree circle to face adjacent wall to where you started. Like a four-leaf clover or a highway cloverleaf. 

CENTERS IN : Couples with backs to center of the set step in between the outside couples 

WRONG WAY GRAND: Same as RIGHT AND LEFT GRAND except in opposite direction. Still starts with the right hand. 


2/8/24 - Week 19 calls

SHOOT THE STAR: The same as ALLEMANDE LEFT using the existing forearm grip. Turn half and on to the next call 

BOX THE GNAT: This is one of the few moves that actually require a boy and a girl. With the person you’re facing join Right hands (by the fingertips. Boys palms up girls palms down). Raise the joined hands Girls turn left face under the forming arch, boys step across behind the girls. Both end in the others starting position and facing direction. Right hands joined. 

SLIDE THROUGH: With the dancer you are facing pass thru, boys turn 1/4 right and girls turn 1/4 left. ALWAYS! If a boy is facing a girl they end up as partners side by side. If a boy is facing a boy they end up holding right hands in a mini-wave. If a girl is facing a girl they end up holding left hands in a mini-wave 

CROSS FOLD: from a wave formation, the ends fold in front of the opposite pair of dancers

REVIEW: CROSS RUN (week 12), FOLD (week 17), RECYCLE (week 17), WHEEL AROUND (week 12)


2/1/24 - Week 18 Calls

Allemande Thar: (Formation) At the end of any left arm turn the centers or designated dancers form a right hand star by joining hands on wrists (fireman’s carry) to form a back-up Star. 

Allemande Left to an Allemande Thar: Go right and left and the four boys Star. After the ALLEMANDE LEFT you give a Right hand to your partner and pull her by, take the next with a Left forearm grip and turning about half the four boys make a Thar Star (boys backing up and girls walking forward). 

Slip The Clutch: In a Thar Star, the centers keep their star and let go of the outsides and start walking forward. The outsides let go of the centers and continue walking forward. Walk forward the designated distance to complete the next command. 

Cast off 3/4: In a mini-wave using your joined hands, turn 3/4. In a line the center dancers walk forward using the ends as a pivot 3/4 or 3 walls or 5 steps. 

Spin the Top: End and adjacent center dancer turn half; new centers of the wave CAST 3/4 and ends move up 1/4. 

Walk & Dodge: In-facing or designated dancers walk straight forward; other dancers slide in to the empty space. 


1/25/24 - Week 17 Calls

Fold: Designated dancer steps forward turns to stand in front or behind the nearest dancer; the other dancer stands in place. 

Recycle:  from a wave formation, the ends fold in front of the opposite pair of dancers (cross fold) while the centers follow the adjacent end, adjusting to finish side-by-side in Facing Couples.  Do not hold hands during this call 

Review:  Wheel and Deal from lies facing out; Zoom


1/18/24 - Week 16 Calls

TOUCH 1/4: With the person you are facing, touch right hands and with hands joined turn one quarter 

SCOOT BACK: from a box formation, in-facing dancers step forward and join adjacent (right) forearms, turning 180° to end in the position vacated by the dancer who was facing out.  Meanwhile, each out-facing dancer performs a Run into the position vacated by the adjacent dancer who was doing the forearm turn.  The final positions are identical to those from a Partner Trade. 

SINGLE HINGE: A hinge is half of a Trade.  From a mini-wave formation*, each couple turns 90° around the center of the couple in a half-trade.  The ending formation is a wave of 4 dancers. (*Mini-wave formation - two couples each in a mini-wave.  A mini-wave is 2 dancers facing in opposite directions.)

COUPLES HINGE: As couples in a two-faced line, walk forward until two-faced line has turned 1/4. Centers of the two-faced line hold hands and act as the pivot 


1/11/24 -  Week 15 Calls

(Review only)


1/4/24 - Week 14 Calls

ALAMO RING: (Formation) A circle of 8 dancers forming an OCEAN WAVE. Dancers have alternating facing directions (in, out, in, out, etc.) 

ALAMO RING – BALANCE: In an Alamo Ring step forward a small step then step back. 


12/28/23 - Week 13 Calls

SEE SAW: Each dancer walks forward and around the partner keeping left shoulders adjacent, then steps forward to face the corner. This is NOT a DOSADO.   (Usually accompanies / follows Walk Around Your Corner).


12/21/23 - Week 12 Calls

DO PASO:  Turn partner by the left arm (let go) and corner by the right arm, (let go), COURTESY TURN partner to end at home or promenade. Can end in any other formation with a left arm turn like ALLEMANDE THAR. 

WALK AROUND THE CORNER: Dancers face their corners. Walking forward and around each other while keeping right shoulders adjacent, dancers return to their original position, with their backs toward their corner. This is NOT a DOSADO 

FERRIS WHEEL: From a Two Faced Line; The couples facing IN step straight forward till the centers can touch adjacent hands (forms a new two-faced line in the center) then they do half of a Couples Trade and Bend The Line to face the adjacent couple. The OUT-FACING couple (with an imaginary adjacent couple) does half of a Couples Trade and the Bends to face the Center of the set. 

HALF SASHAY: Partners exchange positions.  No turning is involved during the call. Give a slight tug on each other to start the movement. The Female/right hand dancer slides forward to the left, then backward to the left; the Male/left hand dancer slides backward to the right, then forward to the right.  Half Sashay is not a Rollaway.

WHEEL AROUND:  Done by a couple. As a unit, they turn to their left half way around (180 degrees) to face the opposite wall.  A common use of Wheel Around is when couples are promenading. The caller will ask either the heads or the sides to Wheel Around and face the other couples, using words like "Heads Wheel Around and make lines". 

CROSS RUN:  Designated runner steps forward moving in a half circle across the center line to end in designated open position. Ends become centers and centers become ends. The runee without turning around slides into the open position. 

SWEEP ONE QUARTER:   At the end of a sweeping turning motion continue sweeping one quarter more in the direction you were moving. 


12/14/23 - Week 11 Calls

SINGLE FILE PROMENADE: Specified dancers walk single file counterclockwise inside the square or where indicated by the caller 

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. 

BACKTRACK: Designated dancers roll out (away from center) and walk around the set in opposite direction until next call; the others continue in the direction they were going. 


12/7/23 - Week 10 Calls

FLUTTER WHEEL: With the couple you face, the Right hand dancers step forward for a right arm turn, picking up the opposite dancer and bringing them back with them. 

REVERSE FLUTTER WHEEL: With the couple you face, the Left hand dancers step forward for a left arm turn, picking up the opposite dancer and bringing them back with them. 

CIRCLE TO A LINE: : Starting with facing couples, in your foursome circle half way, the left hand dancer now on the outside of the circle drops hands with the girl on his left and continues to lead to his left, the other dancers unroll into a line of four. The girl on the end should walk forward to end of line under the arm of her partner. 


11/30/23 - Week 9 Calls

STEP TO A WAVE:  From facing couples, dancer advance, dividing couples and join hands, forming an ocean wave

DOSADO TO A WAVE: After a DOSADO, step slightly to the left and forward, touch RIGHT hands (centers touch LEFT hands too) to end in an OCEAN WAVE. 

SPLIT/BOX  CIRCULATE:  From any formation that consists of two four-person boxes, Split Circulate means that the dancers should circulate in each box. The circulate path is entirely within each box -- no dancers move from one box to the other.  The most common case is parallel waves. For a Split Circulate, to get to the next spot in their circulate path, the leaders in each half of each wave flip over into the other spot in their own half of the wave. The trailers simply walk forward without turning, into the spot in front of them.

SINGLE FILE CIRCULATE: In a column, each dancer moves to the next spot on the circulating path. 

WHEEL & DEAL: From lines with all four dancers facing out, the right hand couple wheels toward the center of the line to end in front of the other couple; the left hand couple wheels toward the center of the line to end behind the other couple. From two faced lines, both couples wheel toward the center of the line to end facing each other. 

ZOOM: With two couples in tandem, the lead couple rolls away from each other 360 degrees to take the place of the trailing couple; the trailing couple steps straight forward into the empty spot. Couples can be in tandem facing in or facing out. ZOOM 


11/16/23 - Week 8 Calls

DOUBLE PASS THRU: Couples in tandem (one behind the other), individually pass by two people. 

FIRST COUPLE GO LEFT (RIGHT), NEXT COUPLE GO RIGHT (LEFT): A directional call, first couple wheels as a couple to the left; the next couple wheels as a couple to the right to all end facing the opposite direction. Listen closely. It can be the opposite, first right, next left. 

TWO & FOUR LADIES CHAIN 3/4: Same as TWO & FOUR LADIES CHAIN, except the turn is 3/4. Can be called with other fractions. 


11/9/23 - Week 7 Calls

PASS THE OCEAN: Facing couples PASS THRU, Face your partner and Step to an OCEAN WAVE 

EXTEND: From an OCEAN WAVE across the center of the square, those in the wave step straight ahead and form a new wave with the outside dancers. The centers (those in the original ocean wave) stay centers; those on the outside (ends) stay ends. For smooth dancing all dancers move forward half the distance toward those they are facing. 

NAMED DANCERS TRADE: 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. 

COUPLES TRADE: 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. 

Partner TRADE: Directed dancers change places with their partner. Every TRADE includes a reversal of facing direction. 

TRADE BY: Couples in the center facing each other PASS THRU while the outfacing dancers do a PARTNER TRADE to face in. 

NAMED DANCERS CIRCULATE: Named dancers can be boys, girls, centers or ends. The indicated (active) dancers move along the circulate path to the next position. 

COUPLES CIRCULATE: As a couple move to the next couples place in the square; if you are looking at someone’s back step straight ahead; if you are looking out of the square as a couple move around the corner to the place of the next couple. 

ALL 8 CIRCULATE: As an individual dancer move to the next position on your circulating path. For example, if you are a center in an ocean wave, you remain a center. If you are the end in an ocean wave, you remain an end. 


11/2/23 - Week 6 Calls

DIVE THRU: Inside couple raise joined hands to form an arch while the outside couple ducks through the arch into the center. The archers step forward and immediately CALIFORNIA TWIRL to face back in. 

SQUARE THRU, 1-4: Starting position is any two couples (BG, GB, GG, BB) facing each other; start with right hand walk by and turn one quarter in (toward center of foursome); left hand walk by and turn one quarter in; continue the given number of hands until the last one; last hand walk straight ahead; there is no turn.


10/26/23 - Week Five Calls

This week was mainly review of calls already introduced.  

ROLLAWAY: Dancer on right steps forward and rolls to face dancer on left and continues to roll to the left side of the other dancer, a 360-degree turn. Use your hands to steady the dancer doing the roll. In a circle, unless stated otherwise, the ladies do the ROLLAWAY.

SPLIT TWODesignated or active dancers go as a couple between the two dancers in front of you and carry out next call. The other dancers or inactive dancers slide apart to let them through and then slide back together. Options for next call include: 

Around 1 To A Line: Move around the number of dancers indicated by the call and stop to make lines, usually of 4 dancers 

Around 1 Into The Middle: Move around the number of dancers indicated by the caller and step into the middle of the square. 


10/19/23 - Week Four Calls

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. 

WEAVE THE RING: Same as RIGHT AND LEFT GRAND without hands. Hint: pass same shoulder as the hand you would be using. 

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. 

OCEAN WAVE: A 3 or 4-dancer line where the dancers are facing in alternating directions (in, out, in, out). Common is a RIGHT HAND WAVE. Less common would be a LEFT HAND WAVE. A mini-wave is 2 dancers facing in opposite directions. OCEAN WAVE – this is a formation 

SWING THRU:  Those that can, TURN HALF BY THE RIGHT (TRADE RIGHT) then those that can, TURN HALF BY THE LEFT (TRADE LEFT).  This call  usually starts from an OCEAN WAVE.  If needed, move to an OCEAN WAVE formation as you perform this call.

RUNS: Boys, Girls, Ends, Centers: Designated dancers move forward and around another dancer as directed. This always results in a change of facing direction (180 degrees for the runner). The person being run around (runee) slides sideways to the vacated spot of the runner 

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. 


10/12/23 - Week Three Calls

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. 

SEPARATE AROUND 2 (or 1) IN A LINE:  Active couple turn your back on your partner and move away from each other around the set and around as many people as directed by the caller.  Move around the number of dancers indicated by the call (passing right shoulders) and stop to make lines, usually of 4 dancers. 

SEPARATE AROUND 1 (or 2) AND COME INTO THE MIDDLE: Active couple turn your back on your partner and move away from each other around the set and around as many people as directed by the caller. Move around the number of dancers indicated by the caller and step into the middle of the square. 

CALIFORNIA TWIRL:  With the joined hand of your partner, raise hands to form a momentary arch. Turning towards each other the girl goes through the arch (under) while the boy steps across behind her to become a couple facing the opposite direction.

10/5/23 - Week Two Calls

FORWARD AND BACK (squared sets):  In a squared set for heads or sides, it is 3 steps and touch, then back 3 steps. 

FORWARD AND BACK (facing lines):  Join hands in a line and move forward 1 step, touch and move back 1 step. 

ARM TURNS:  Turn designated dancer by the indicated arm to next call; let go. The turn is 180 to 360 degrees (Allemande Left is one example)

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. 

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 

CHAIN DOWN THE LINE:  Starting position is a two-faced line with the girls in the center holding right hands; girls trade with the right hand (the star part); offer their left hand to the boy for a COURTESY TURN; while girls are trading boys take a step to their right to be in correct position for COURTESY TURN. 

LEAD RIGHT (/ LEAD LEFT):  Directed couples (Heads, Sides), with a couple handhold, will walk forward as a couple to face the couple to the right (/ LEFT). 

VEER RIGHT (/ VEER LEFT):  Moving as a couple, slide RIGHT (or LEFT) as directed, maintaining facing direction with a small forward motion as well. 

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. 


9/28/23  -  Week One Calls

Home position:  Four couples arranged in a square facing in, aligned with the caller and usually the walls of the dance hall.  Dancers dancing the men's part are on the left in each couple.  

Couple designations:  #1 (Head couple) closest to caller, with backs to caller; #2 (Side couple) to the right of couple #1; #3 (Head couple) to the right of couple #2;  #4 (Side couple) to the right of couple #3.  Couples #1 and 3 face each other, likewise couples #2 and 4.


CIRCLE LEFT/RIGHT: Dancers join hands to create a circle and step in the direction specified.   The call, CIRCLE, by itself, means that dancers step to the left.

DOSADO: Facing dancers move forward and to the left, slide to the right moving back to back, and then back up to end facing each other.

ALLEMANDE LEFT: Dancers face their Corners and (gently) holding left forearms, arm turn until they see their original partner, then let go of their Corner and step forward.  

ALLEMANDE RIGHT: Technically, this call does not exist on any list.  The "official" wording is simply, TURN PARTNER BY THE RIGHT.  In class, it's easier to say, "TURN PARTNER BY THE RIGHT - IT'S AN ALLEMANDE RIGHT."  This is an ALLEMANDE LEFT action done with the RIGHT FOREARM with the ORIGINAL PARTNER.

COURTESY TURN: The man takes the lady's left hand in his left hand while the lady places her right hand in the small of her back.  The man places his right hand in the lady's right hand. Working as a couple, they turn toward the left, with the lady walking forward and the man backing up, until they face the center of the formation.

PROMENADE: Dancers hold right hands, the man steps forward and to the left (toward the center of the square) and the lady turns to face the same direction as the man.  While holding right hands, both dancers hold left hands UNDER their right hands, and then dance back to the MAN's home position.  

LEFT-HAND STAR/RIGHT-HAND STAR: Dancers place the designated hand into the center of their formation.  This is a Star.  Then, dancers maintain the Star and move forward as directed.

RIGHT AND LEFT GRAND: Dancers face their partner if necessary.  The men face promenade direction and ladies face reverse promenade direction. Everyone gently shakes right hands and lightly does a pull by with their partner.  Dancers continue moving forward alternating hands with the dancer in front of them until they meet their original partner. The original partner is dancer number 5.

SIDES FACE GRAND SQUARE: This call takes 32 beats of music to complete.  The Side couples individually turn and directly face their partners.  All dancers will EITHER backup three steps OR go forward three steps.  On the fourth beat, all dancers face IN.  (They turn towards the person next to them.  That person could be nearly adjacent OR six feet away.)  Then, dancers repeat this action moving forward or stepping backward until they return to their home position.  This is beat 16 of the call and is the halfway point.  Here, dancers DO NOT TURN.  Instead, dancers reverse direction and repeat the action of three steps and turning IN (towards Center) until they get home.

LADIES CHAIN: Ladies gently shake right hands and pull by.  The lady then offers her left hand to the man in front of her and dancers blend into a Courtesy Turn.  Ends with Facing Couples.

FOUR LADIES CHAIN: Ladies make a right-hand star (fingertip-to-fingertip) and turn the star halfway.  The ladies then offer their left hand to the man in front of them and dancers blend into a Courtesy Turn.