Basic and Mainstream Square Dance figures

References below from

Remember that the numbering of the side couples is opposite to Scottish/Ceilidh: If couple #1 is at the north, couple #2 is at the west, i.e. to couple #1's right.

In an original couple, the person on the left is the "boy"; the person on the right is the "girl". In some clubs they prefer "lead" and "follow" to emphasize that anyone is allowed to do either role, but the calls still say "boy" and "girl".

Couples 1 and 3 are collectively known as the "head couples". Couples 2 and 4 are collectively known as the "side couples".

Normal stance when "home" is for each couple to hold nearer hands (boy's right hand, girl's left). People/clubs differ as to the appropriate height of the handhold.

Basic figures are 1 through 51 (Ferris Wheel); Mainstream figures are 52 (Cloverleaf) through 68 (Recycle).

  1. Circle Left / Circle Right (hands joined)
  2. Forward & Back -- advance and retire, with end people touching free hands (palms) to opposite person at head height. Various terminology used in calling this (e.g. "up to the middle and back").
  3. Do Sa Do -- back-to-back
  4. Swing -- somewhat like ballroom hold but right hip to right hip, i.e. you're kinda beside each other, and you walk forward. Some people/clubs do a more ballroom-hold (contra) type of swing.
  5. Promenade
  6. Allemande Left -- turn corner with left forearms and end facing your partner
  7. Arm Turns
  8. Right and Left Grand
  9. Left / Right Hand Star -- like right-hands-across except touch palms at head height, and backing out when you get home is ok.
  10. [Named Couple] Pass Through (e.g. "heads, pass through") -- pass opposite couple right-shoulder (without turning -- still facing the same way)
  11. Half Sashay:
  12. Turn Back:
  13. Separate -- like casting -- note that this is at a late bit in the video series and teaches it in a much more sophisticated way than is applicable at the time we learn it in Grant's class.
  14. Split Two
  15. Courtesy Turn
  16. Ladies Chain:
  17. Do Paso -- forearm-turn your partner by the left, corner by the right, partner by the left, and then if there is no other call end with a courtesy turn (it seems a Thar is often called here, since you need some way to get in to a Thar).
  18. Lead Right -- named couples (e.g. heads) go into the middle each to face one of the other couples (e.g. sides), with man leading and veering to his right, while woman doesn't move as far and pulls right shoulder back.
  19. Veer Left / Veer Right -- each of two facing couples walks diagonally forward to have all four in a line; or if already in a line, walk diagonally forward to be past each other and in a column again.
  20. Bend the Line -- from a two-couple line, drop hands between the two couples, and the outer people walk forwards while the inner people walk backwards, so as to be facing the couple you were previously in a line with.
  21. Circulate
  22. Right and Left Through -- kinda like half-rights-and-lefts (R&L two changes) except the left handing is a courtesy turn
  23. Grand Square -- very cute -- you need to watch the video. The cited video starts with showing the sides and heads separately; it's shown all together at 2m53s.
    Note that the reversing is not automatic; it's very common, but he has to call it. However, if he doesn't call anything, you reverse.
    Also note that you can start it from more positions than those shown in the video. The general rule is that if you are facing someone right in front of you (as opposed to across the square), you begin by backing up, else you begin by moving forward. You can even start with all backing up and it can work, if you have two lines facing each other and the centre two of each line turn to face each other.
    In any case, each person's individual path along the floor describes a square.
  24. Star Through -- man's right hand, woman's left hand, star briefly with just the person who is facing you, with position change like a pull-by, woman goes under the arms, end up facing inward beside each other. "Slide Through" is without hands.
  25. California Twirl -- couple trades places and faces the other direction by raising their joined arms (as opposed to their free-hand arms) and the woman goes under.
  26. Walk Around the Corner (aka All Around Your Left Hand Lady, or Walk Around Your Left Hand Lady) -- both walk RSh around corner and face partner
  27. See Saw (aka "See Saw With Your Own") -- walk in a circle around your partner LSh, but man backs in slightly rather than doing a "polite turn".
  28. Square Through (1,2,3,4) / Left Square Through (1,2,3,4) -- rights-and-lefts except that the last one is a pull-by instead, i.e. you continue facing the way you were going for that last edge. "Left square through" is L&R instead of R&L but we haven't done this yet. If they just say "Square Through", that means "Square Through Four". "Square Through One" is just a pull-by.
  29. Circle to a Line -- with two couples circling, caller says "men break, [???]" and the outer (at the moment) couple slides left, while the inner man doesn't break but goes forward into a line with the other couple and raises his right arm so that his partner goes under and out into the same line, now in a line of four all facing in.
  30. Dive Through -- from couple facing couple where one of the couples is more in the centre (e.g. if all four couples are in couple facing couple along a line) -- centre couple makes an arch, outer couple passes through the arch and remains facing forward, while centre couple advances and does a partner trade (california twirl no hands).
  31. Wheel Around -- gate halfway around but with the person on the left (usually the man) backing up.
  32. Thar
  33. Slip the Clutch -- from a Thar, drop left hands, men start moving forward, women stop. Most commonly followed by allemande-left your corner (for which the men move forward one woman).
  34. Shoot the Star -- from a Thar, men drop right hands (to each other) and trade with the woman in their left hand, so men are on the outside and women are on the inside.
  35. Box the Gnat -- much like a California Twirl except it's with the opposing person (and end in each other's place). So there's much more travelling than the California Twirl. And it's right hand in right. And you end facing each other rather than side-by-side (this can be important for interpreting the meaning of the next call).
    A left-handed version is called "Swat the Flea", but this is no longer part of the Callerlab basic programme.
  36. Trade
  37. Ocean Wave Family
  38. Alamo Ring Formation
  39. Swing Through / Left Swing Through -- from a wave, drop left hands and turn halfway round by the right (re-joining hands into a wave); then those who can turn halfway round by the left. In left swing through, turn halfway round by the left first, then those who can turn halfway round by the right. (If the handedness of the swing through matches the handedness of the wave, as it usually does, then it's the outer couples who turn first, then the middle two people.)
  40. Run / Cross Run
  41. Pass the Ocean -- pass through, then turn towards your partner and step to a wave.
  42. Extend
  43. Wheel and Deal -- from a line of two couples, each couple turns 180 degrees so that they end up facing each other. But how this works depends on the makeup of that two-couple line:
  44. Double Pass Through -- from a column of four couples facing inwards, just pass through two couples
  45. First Couple Go Left/Right, Next Couple Go Left/Right
  46. Zoom -- centres separate and cast; outer couples (who are facing in) advance to centres' places. So the inner and outer couples have changed places, still facing the same way.
  47. Flutterwheel / Reverse Flutterwheel
  48. Sweep a Quarter -- after another call, keep going another quarter way in the direction you were going. Called as "sweep a quarter more".
  49. Trade By -- from a column of four couples with centres facing inwards and outer couples facing outwards, the centres pass through one couple whereas the outsides do a Partner Trade (which is a no-hands California Twirl)
  50. Touch A Quarter -- with the one you're facing, butterfly-hold right hand in right, and pass each other and each turn 90 degrees to your right, still holding hands, and if available, then joining a left hand with another couple to form a wave.
  51. Ferris Wheel -- like Wheel and Deal but from two lines of two couples facing opposite directions -- and the inner couples pass each other so as to face each other.

  52. Cloverleaf -- From couples in a column with everyone facing out, cast and join the opposite-end person and come in the sides; the middle couples follow and join the other middle couple, also coming in the sides behind the leading people.
  53. "Turn Through" -- right forearm turn your partner, all the way around, ending facing away from them.
  54. Eight Chain Through
  55. Pass to the Centre -- from a wave in the middle and a couple facing inwards on each side, everyone does a pass through, and the outer couples (now inside) keep facing the way they were going, whereas the former centre couples (now outside) then do a partner trade.
  56. Hinge
  57. Centres In (or "Put Centres In") -- The centre couples step inbetween the outside couples, who spread apart to make room.
  58. Cast Off Three Quarters -- like a cast and "gating" combined -- if partners are opposite-facing, just each walk forward three quarters of a circle. If partners face the same direction, one partner pivots (the outer one, if in a two-couple line) and the other walks around them.
  59. Spin the Top -- From an ocean wave, turn right hand half way round, then the new centres (original ends) turn three quarters by the left hand while the new outside two (original centres) walk forward one quarter circle to meet the wave.
  60. Walk and Dodge -- from two ocean waves, you either walk forward one place or you slide into your neighbour's place. If you see someone's back, you walk forward into their place; otherwise, you slide to the side. In either case you remain facing the same direction.
  61. Slide Through -- like a Star Through without hands -- pass the person in front of you and turn inward.
  62. Fold -- named people step forward and inward turning 180 degrees to face the person formerly beside them. (Or might be facing their backs or whatever.)
    Cross Fold -- similar but skip over one person, thus going to the person in the line other than the person you're with.
  63. Dixie Style to an Ocean Wave -- From couple facing couple, women do (diagonal) right hand pull-by as men turn to their rights and step forward a bit to get the oncoming woman's left hand and trade (so the men end up in the middle, all in a left-handed ocean wave).
  64. Spin Chain Through -- see video
  65. Tag the Line -- from an ocean wave, turn towards the centre of the wave, and single-file double pass through.
  66. Half Tag [the Line] -- as Tag the Line, but only pass one person (i.e. moving halfway down the line), so as to meet another person and butterfly-hold them.
  67. Scoot Back -- from two right-hand-in-right couples in parallel lines: the people facing inwards turn each other all the way around with their right hand to end up in their original partner's place, while the others fold into their partner's places. So the formerly-out-facing people are now facing in, and vice versa.
  68. Recycle -- From a wave, men cross-fold and women follow them and end up beside them. Alternately put, women U-turn back and then everyone does wheel and deal.
Other videos relating to material at about this time: