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Note: The original manuscript was fifty-two typewritten pages. If you wish to print this out you may want to adjust the point size in you browser first. I set mine to 8 point type and it printed out at twenty-seven pages.



Howdy Cousin:

Welcome to our first session. Let’s take a little time to find out where we are going and why. You were selected for this course for several reasons, but the most important of these is your interest in square dancing and your apparent willingness to devote a good part of your time to the promotion of this form of recreation.

Let’s start off with a clear picture of what we intend to accomplish in the next six weeks and why that accomplishment is desirable. First let us state that we do not guarantee to make callers or even instructors of you in six weeks or six years. Only time and the greatest teacher of all, experience, can do that and only if you have what it takes.

Have you read Dr. Lloyd Shaw’s list of qualifications for a good square dance caller? Let me review them for you:

1. He must have the voice. Deep and pleasant.
2. He must have had a sufficient training and experience in public speaking that he knows how to enunciate correctly and can be clearly understood.
3. He must have an ear for music in order to be able to do singing calls or to chant.
4. He must be thoroughly familiar with the dances.
5. He must have an infallible sense of rhythm. This should be instinctive.
6. He must have an unerring geometric sense.
7. He should be a natural teacher.
8. He must have the ability to overcome his own embarrassment.
9. He must be clear headed.

Let me add a few which I did not discover in Dr. Shaw’s book and that I consider more important.

1. He must be a natural leader.
2. He must like people.
3. He must be completely sold on square dancing and its recreational values.
4. He must have a special kind of patience
5. He must be a student of human nature and be able to analyze character.

It can be boiled down to this:
He must know how to create good fellowship and this is a big undertaking in a world that has almost forgotten the meaning of the words. Secondly, he must know how to teach people to dance and then he must be an important part of the music and the program itself.

With most of you I imagine that this goes in one ear and out the other. Or, perhaps you are measuring me or other callers that you know by these standards. Or, perhaps you are too concerned with the mechanics of teaching and calling to be too interested in the philosophies involved. Frankly, we do not expect you to be too impressed with the importance of the origins of square dancing until you have worked with a group for a while and begin to see the personal reactions to the program. For that reason we hope that you will keep these notes from time to time, refer to them to refresh your memory on the discussion that will take place during this course. I was so busy the first year of my experience learning new calls and teaching people to put one foot in front of the other that I missed the true value of the program. It is my hope that I will be able to make you aware of these issues from the beginning and that you will discover them much soon for yourself and without any assistance.

It is my intention to give you in the next six weeks the information and opinions that I have acquired in the last two years. This information will do you no harm and it may help you a great deal if you absorb and use it with judgement. You may disagree with me on techniques and methods. Some of you may say as many have, “That ain’t the way I learned it.” My only answer is, “This is the way I learned it.” Some of you may disagree with our purposes. We sincerely hope not. We firmly believe that this course in the promotion of square dancing is the right one and we will argue long and bitterly with anyone that disagrees.

Let’s get on with the course and you will understand what we are talking about.


The History and its Development

The details of its history are for the most part lost and gone forever. Little bits of information have been gathered here and there and pieced together by such men as Dr. Shaw, Ed Durlacker, Herb Greggerson, and many others but they are the first to admit that a large part of their writings are based on supposition and practical reasoning. We can be certain of some things however and this is a brief outline of the developments.

The square of four couples was originally taken from the French and English Quadrille and the early American adaptations of these dances have been revived in the east and are being danced today. Also the courtesy movements such as Honor Partners and Honor Corners and the indispensable allemande left and grand right and left, right and left through, ladies chain and several other figures have been retained in almost all styles of dancing. The history of some of these figures go back more than three hundred years.

These dances were brought to the New England states and as the settlers ventured west they took their dances with them. The Scotch and Irish settlers in Kentucky and the southern states brought their folk dances, the running sets and longways dances, to the new country and as they pushed west they ran into the quadrille dancers and somewhere along the line the two forms of dancing blended into one and the American Square Dance was born.

As the people moved farther west into an untamed country they worked and fought harder for existence and it naturally follows that they played harder. The dancing became more vigorous, faster and more expressive of the good fellowship which was created by the necessity of self entertainment and common hardship. Men and women were either good or bad. Mostly they were good and hospitality stood at the top of the list of mans virtues. The square dances of that time were important social events and many times the only social activity existent. They were valuable because they offered complete release for a time from the problems of existence.

As the dances reached Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California they came in contact with the Spanish and Mexican dances and especially in Southern California we find the result of this influence.

As near as we can determine the first square dances in the San Bernardino and Riverside areas arrived with the Mormon settlers through Cajon Pass. I have traced some of the early dances in the Redlands area and the information though meager indicates that the same complete and joyous relaxation and the good fellowship was ever present.


You are probably wondering as I did why an activity that provides so much enjoyment as square dancing ever lost its popularity and disappeared from the American scene. I believe there were two main causes for this tragedy and I do consider it a tragedy.

Around the turn of the century of the civilization of the west began to shape up. With civilization, came eastern and European settlers and they had not been exposed to the same necessity for good fellowship and self entertainment. Many of them did not know the old dances and no one bothered to teach them. With civilization came churches and the church opposed dancing because it was considered worldly. Square dancing flourished anywhere that people got together even in the saloons and the church condemned anything that came in contact with evil. It is no credit to the thinking of the clergy of the day that their action in opposing the family square dance helped to bring about the commercialized ballroom and night clubs and all of the attendant social and moral problems.

Civilization also brought with it the development of spectator types of entertainment and square dancing was gradually crowded out of the cities and larger towns.

It is important that we understand the significance of one fact in the decline of square dancing.

Wherever there developed sufficient population concentration to permit the profitable operation of commercialized entertainment square dancing was lost. In the more isolated areas square dancing went on and on.

It is my conviction that commercialism will destroy the real values of any form of recreation and especially square dancing. The commercial operation is concerned only with profits. Square dancing is not a profitable enterprise due to the limited number of people that can be accommodated on the floor.


Square dancing is coming back into its own and it is our job to keep it in the right channels and develop the program on a community sponsored basis. Commercial operators are aware of this revival of square dancing and are making plans to take advantage of the tremendous growth and popularity of the program. They will not contribute to the training program that is necessary but will wait until thousands are dancing and then try to enter the picture by employing the most capable callers and musicians and providing a facility. Square dancing is not and never should be a commodity to be sold to the public for the top price it will bring.

A certain amount of commercialism cannot be avoided but we can keep the major part of the program on a community sponsored basis by encouraging self propelled groups and associations such as our own “Cow Counties Hoedown Association.”
This is the consensus of opinion of all the callers with which I have been in contact. Most of the more experienced callers have tried commercial programs and have been convinced by experience that failure is the ultimate result.


The revival of square dancing has followed the original development in so far as style is concerned. Each area has revived the square dancing that was popular in that particular area before the decline of the activity. In the New England states the old dances are being revived just as enthusiastically as they are in the west, but the dances are as different as they were in their conception.

The tempo varies with the style and the area. In the east they dance about 112 steps per minute which would be creeping to us. In the middle west the Texas style holds sway and the Texas influence, spread by such men as Carl Journell, Jimmy Clossin and Herb Greggerson, extends into most of the west even to San Diego and Oceanside in Southern California. The Texas style is most easily identified by the two step to which the entire dance is executed and the time is set at 128 to 132 steps per minute. In Colorado, California and many other parts of the west the Western Cowboy Style is predominant and the tempo steps up to 140 to 150 steps per minute.

In my own investigations I have found that in the period from 1880 to 1920 all three of these styles of dancing held forth in different parts of Southern California. I imagine that this was due to the arrival in California of callers and musicians from all parts of the country and each one brought with him the dances of his area and soon found willing dancers. I find no trace of the Kentucky running sets however. These were the speed demons, dancing at 160 or more steps per minute.

To bring the story up to date we find that the greatest development in Southern California has taken place in the suburban communities of Los Angeles. A great part of the credit for this growth goes to Ray Shaw who has been enthusiastically promoting the activity in that area. Since Ray is a brother to Dr. Lloyd Shaw it is only natural that the Colorado influence would be felt. Dr. Shaw has done a tremendous amount of research on the dances of the old west and the authenticity of his teachings have been proven. It is worthy to note in passing that the development of the program in the Los Angeles area has taken place in the suburban and rural communities with the major portion of the city still unaware of its value.

It is ironical I think that these country dances have developed to so much greater degree in the city than they have in our farming communities. We can boast however, that square dancing never ceased completely in our communities and that they have better opportunity for development and survival here. We should catch up with them in a short time and we may set a pattern for planning the development and preservation of the program for others to follow.


I believe that all of the people of natural geographic and population centers or areas should be able to go from one community to another and be able to step into a set and dance without too much confusion. For this reason it is important that all of the callers and instructors of Southern California cooperate in the development of a limited standardization of the styling. This is the hope of most of the callers of our area and I am serving on a committee of callers to recommend such a standardization of the basic steps. The result of this effort should be completed before the final meeting of this series and the information will be furnished to you. This may necessitate changing some of the techniques that we will learn during this course but as it will serve to promote better dancing in our area it will be more than worth the inconvenience.


As I have said before I called and taught dancing for a year before realizing the importance of the program. I think that many of the top callers are not aware of the real values of the program as an aid to the community and it citizens. I have yet to find one person who has participated in the program for any length of time who will not say “It’s more fun than anything I have ever done.” I have asked the question “Why do you enjoy it so much?” to hundreds and the answers are many. The most common is “I don’t know!” I feel that folk dancing is a necessary part of a balanced life. All of the older nations in the world have their national folk dance. It is as much a part of the culture of each nation as its art, literature, music or religion.

The United States has not discovered its folk dance or possibly it’s just beginning to. There has been a void in our lives for the past 40 years. We have been a nation of spectators. Every sport or recreational activity has been on a basis of competition or exhibition with the development of star athletes or entertainers and the elimination of the mediocre or average participants. No other form of recreation presents an opportunity for participation to so large a number of our people as square dancing. There is no spirit of competition or exhibitionism in square dancing. Eight people get together and each one is striving for perfect cooperation with the other seven to complete a pattern in time with the instinctive rhythm of the music. No one is out to win anything or out do the other fellow.

Having worked with a group of acquaintances in my beginning effort it dawned on me after so long a time that square dancing had a tendency to promote real good fellowship and teaching patience, consideration, kindness, cooperation, tolerance, unselfishness, all of the qualities so important to an ideal personality. By analyzing a little more I discovered that all of these qualities of personality were necessary if a person was to become a good square dancer. I had discovered the spirit of square dancing. The spirit of square dancing is its reason and its purpose. To create good fellowship through promotion of square dancing as a community sponsored activity where the people of the community discover the fun to be had through cooperation as opposed to competition or exhibition.

An ideally executed square dance is a perfect demonstration of democracy. Social, financial or intellectual standing and even sex is of little importance. Good fellowship and complete relaxation and release from the pressures of every day life are of all importance. Here is one golden opportunity for a man or woman to let down their hair, to whoop and holler, let off steam and at the same time to be graceful and poetic through movement and rhythm, the latter being an instructive desire of man since the beginning of his history.

Neil Jacobsen, director of the Recreation Department of the City of Redlands was quick to realize the importance of square dancing as a social recreational activity.

He arranged a square dance for the surrey Days Celebration during the summer of 1948. He planned the affair as a stunt. It was just another part of his conscientious effort to make the celebration a success. He asked and received the cooperation of the Yucaipa Square Dance Club. During the afternoon as four sets of our dancers danced through the soles of their shoes in the hot sun, on asphalt pavement, several hundred people sat in the shade of the trees in Sylvan Park and watched. They wouldn’t dance because they didn’t know how. They wouldn’t go home because they were fascinated. Neil watched their faces, and realized that here was an activity in which they could all participate. He started talking about a Recreation Department sponsored program and didn’t stop in spite of opposition until the program was a reality. In the past few months this program has become of major importance in the Recreation Department and the City as a whole has benefited by its development.

Here then is an activity which contains all of the elements of perfect recreation; wholesome, healthful, relaxing, character building, soul satisfying. However, if the average newcomer to the program was aware of these objectives he would shy away from it, so for their benefit I state the purpose in one simple word. To have “fun”. Let’s not lose sight of this objective It is all important.

The amount of “fun” enjoyed by the people you serve will be your measure of success.


Now for the $64.00 question - - - Where does the caller fit in this picture.

Neil Jacobsen gave me a quotation that describes the callers position perfectly. It was the subject of a lecture that he attended in connection with Recreation work. You have to think about it for a minute to grasp its full significance.

“There go my followers. I must follow them. I am their leader.”

You must be their leader but your job is to get behind and push. You must guide them in the development of their square dance program but they should execute the development.

Those of you who are experienced callers and are at present calling and teaching groups may have some difficult problems. Many groups have started recently and have been spontaneous developments. They have started on the wrong foot and right or wrong they will resist change. It is human nature to resist change. A new pair of shoes, new methods or new philosophies, are uncomfortable until broken in. A new pair of shoes are easily sold because of necessity. New methods or philosophies are a little more difficult to sell because the desirability is not tangible.

If you have problems of reorganization or realignment in your groups and you do not find a solution in the material we will cover, please feel free to ask for help. If we do not have the answer we will surely find someone who has met the same problems and solved it successfully.

Those of you who have not started calling will ask, “Who are my followers?” There is certainly no shortage of raw material. Almost every person you meet is a potential square dancer. Every community agency or organization with or without a facility is a potential sponsor. Your approach then should be to the sponsor. The sponsor should do the promotional work with your guidance. The first question the sponsor is apt to ask is how much profit can our organization or agency expect to make on the activity. Community agencies and organizations have for the most part planned all of their recreational activities on a commercial basis. They immediately see an opportunity to make money from the square dance program and divert it to other organizational use. Their motives are good but the threat to the square dance program is almost as deadly as the commercial operators attitude.

If the square dance program is to develop in the proper channels all community leaders such as recreation directors, school officials, organization leaders, public officials and community minded citizens must be made aware of its values. The best way to accomplish this is to get them in the program. If you select an organization that you would like to have as a sponsor for your program, pick out the leader that you think can exert the most pressure and get them to a square dance. They will soon realize the value of the program and you will have an active promoter on your side. Then you must assist them in setting up a program that will avoid the pitfalls of most organization sponsored social activities.

Most difficult to avoid is the selfish clique. The cliques will be your big problem all through your program but if you start your program with an exclusive group you will have two strikes against you before you start. For this reason we recommend the development of square dance groups open to enrollment to all who wish to attend. We further recommend that you try to adjust the floor space to the membership rather than limit the membership to one certain facility. Facilities continue to be the major limitation of the program as a whole but the pressure of thousands of square dancers will eventually force the development of adequate facilities.

You must assist the sponsor in setting up a self-propelled program with the dancers directing their own activities. This means that you must also assist in the development of leadership. The program will not return a profit to its sponsors but it should be self supporting. If you are successful in teaching the dances and imparting to the dancers the wholesome fun and good fellowship on which we place so much emphasis, the attendance at your programs will soon take care of its cost and provide a small treasury reserve which we believe should be used for the further promotion of the square dance program.

By now you must surely begin to realize the importance of your undertaking. We have made no mention so far of that part of your job that puts you up on the stage with the amplifier bellowing out your voice with commands to the dances. If you have enrolled in this course because you want to be the “big shot” then you must either change your motives or waste your time and money. If you want to be a big shot you are many years too late. The so-called big shots in square dance calling have been building their reputations by doing research, writing books, conducting classes and working to restore this part of our culture for many years. They are the real authorities and while they must surely be please with the public acclaim they have received, I can’t help but feel that their real reward has been the same as mine. My greatest satisfaction has come from watching people come into the program with the kind of personality that has made it difficult for them to get along with their fellows, simply because they have forgotten or never realized the importance of good fellowship. As they learn to dance they have had to learn to be patient, unselfish, considerate and cooperative and I begin to notice the change in their daily life. Many have realized what has happened to them and they have told me and thanked me. My head began to swell, and I began to believe that I was “quite a guy.” Then all of a sudden I realized that it was not Ed Gilmore that had accomplished these small miracles. It was the activity itself. It was the spirit of square dancing.

This person had come to a square dance seeking something different or perhaps because his wife drug him there. My part had been in getting them on the floor and insisting that they let their hair down and whoop and holler and have fun. He had stumbled through the dances and was amazed that anything that looked so silly and simple could be so confusing. It presented a challenge and besides it was different and kind of fun. He determined to have another try and see if he couldn’t master the durn steps. He continued to come and the challenge was always there. There was always new dances and new steps to be mastered. As he learned the dances he was forced to learn the philosophy. He was forced to cooperate with seven other people. He had to be patient with their errors and they with his. The he discovered that the more cooperative he became the greater pleasure he derived and the better he danced. He had discovered the spirit of square dancing. If he realized the effect it had on his personality, he thanked me but he and square dancing had done the job, not me.
My satisfaction came from the realization that I taught well. That I had helped him with a little encouragement at the right time. A little compliment for an usual show of patience. A little joking ridicule at an unusual show of patience.

If my efforts in the promotion and teaching of square dancing have harmed anyone I am not aware of it. I have yet to have a participant come to me with a complaint against its moral or physical effect. My conscience is clear and my enthusiasm for my work is unlimited. What greatest compensation can a man expect from his profession.

Now some of you may say that all that has gone before is a bunch of idealistic baloney, I can assure you that you are wrong. If you need further assurance you will do well to talk to many callers who have discovered these values in the program long before I did. If they had told me these things two years ago I would have save one year of stumbling around in the dark before discovering my real objectives. Those of you who have learned to dance will agree with me I am sure.

Now we know the “what” and the “why” of square dancing and the part the caller takes in the programs and we come to the “how.” This is the part where we are apt to disagree. I have chosen to set this course up to show you how I proceed with the development of a new group. We will conduct a first night class and when we have finished we will invite your criticism so as questions arise in your mind during the session make a mental note of them and bring it on the floor for discussion after we are through. Your notes will serve as your reminder on all methods. If you think you have improvements on the methods I use, do not hesitate to try them. Most of them will probably work.


Your first dance with a new group is perhaps the most important. Their first impression of the square dance activity must be favorable or they will probably stay home next week or go to a show.

The first thing we must do is get them all on the floor and mix them well.

I like the ‘Brown Jug Two Step’ for this because it taught them to two step, it trains them to listen to the beat of the music, to listen to the caller, to do left and right hand turns and to change partners, dancing the position rather than the person. Make them understand that they are there for one reason only. To have fun! Tell them that you know that they think they are making a darn fool of themselves, and put them at ease by making them realize that everyone on the floor is in the same position. Impress them with the importance of listening and being patient with the other fellow.

Now you must demonstrate the dance for them, calling it as you do it.

The next step is to walk them through the two step part of the dance, repeating it until you are satisfied they can do it. If a few here and there don’t seem to get it don’t worry about them as they will probably ‘catch on’ as they start changing partners. If they all seem to be having trouble have them change partners several times, the gents moving ahead one lady and practicing a little with each lady.

Now walk them through the turns several times, then put the two parts together and when they seem reasonably certain of it start the music. You will find that the music usually helps them.

Ladies on outside. Ladies right hand in gents right. Left hands joined under right. Hands held at a level with ladies shoulders with the gent leading the lady.

The Steps -- Starting with the weight on the right foot and stepping first with the left. Close right to left and step left. This completes one two step measure. Now repeat, leading with right foot. Step right. Close left to right. Step right. Repeat for a total of eight two steps alternating left and right and face partner on the last two step.

Join right hands and two step around partners until gent is facing the lady that was behind him. Release partner and join left hand with this lady and two step around her until gents face partners again. Join right hand with partner and two step by her to join left hand with the lady ahead. Turn this lady and the gent does an extra face to place him beside the lady and join right hand above left in promenade position ready to repeat entire figure.

The Calls As I Call Them:

Left close step. Right close step. Left close step. Right close step.
Left close step. Right close step. Left close step and ready now.
Turn your partner with the right hand around.
The lady behind you with the left hand around.
Your right to your pard and pass her by.
Turn the lady ahead and away you fly.
Repeat until they smooth it out and then start substituting ‘Corner Girl’ for the ‘lady behind you’ and ‘Right Hand Lady’ for the ‘lady ahead’. It will familiarize them with the calls and they will automatically begin to associate the calls with the position.

Now we have them dancing. They have mastered a few steps and are beginning to relax. They have been introduced to the social mixer valve of square dancing. Tell them to find their original partner and form their squares.

Don’t let anyone sit down. Have them form a ring with three other couples. Remember you are giving directions to couples now. When you have them all divided up into sets you must get their attention and explain the importance of listening to the calls. You will have to remind them every few minutes of the importance of listening.

Now while you have their attention tell them that they must always remember that the only purpose of square dancing is to have fun. Emphasize the importance of having fun. Warn them against being critical of the other fellow. Never lose your temper and never under any circumstances walk off the floor. There is the unpardonable sin of square dancing.

Now explain the fact that most of the calls are directed to the gents but the ladies must hear them and know her part in the execution of the calls.

Now explain the square. Four couples forming the four sides. Couple number one with their backs to the caller and the counter clockwise numbering of couples two, three and four. Also that couples one and three are referred to as ‘head’ couples or ‘head’ and ‘foot’ couples, and couples two and four as the ‘side’ couples.

Explain that the gentlemen always place their partner at their right side and the meaning of ‘home.’

Explain corner, opposite and right hand lady and the fact that we dance the position and not the lady. Explain the importance of being able to decide immediately which is the right and left hand, foot or lady.

Now we are ready to walk them through the allemande left. Tell them to face their corner. Give corner left hand and walk around her until they face their partner again then release the corner.

Impress them that this completes the allemande left and have them walk through it several times until they are sure of it. Now have them follow the allemande left with a grand right and left. Tell them to just shake hands with each lady and walk by her or they will probably try to turn each one. Have them stop when they meet their partner and teach them how to turn their partner under their arm and promenade. Stress the shuffle step promenade. One step for each beat of the music and sliding the feet. Weight forward and on the toes. You will do well to demonstrate this and show how little effort is used to cover ground.

Teach them to finish the promenade with a whirl and balance and face the center of the set.

Now they are ready to try the ‘buzz step swing’. This must be demonstrated and they must be encouraged to practice it. Stress smoothness and timing and releasing the lady gently.

Now we are ready to do their first square dance. Walk them through. Down the center and divide the ring. Walk each couple through and then dance it.
When you start the music you hit them with their first surprise call.

Honor your partner. (Bow to you partner)
Honor your corner. (Bow to your corner)
All join and circle left.
Break and swing. (Swing your partner)
And promenade and promenade home.

They will probably make a mess of it but it will be a good object lesson on the important of listening.

Now call the dance as described below:

First couple balance-swing.
Down the center and divide the ring.
Lady go right. Gent go left.
Right back home and swing.

Down the center and cut away four.
Do the same as you did before
Everybody swing ---

Down the center and cut away two.
Do the same as you always do
You swing her, she’ll swing you.
Allemande left. Grand right and left, etc.

Now they have completed their first dance and they probably think they are exhausted. Let them rest for awhile then call them up and teach them the Varsovienne.

You will find that the methods used in teaching the ‘Brown Jug Two Step’ will be effective in teaching all couples dances. Analyze each part of the dance and teach them separately until you are certain that they know them, then put the parts together and walk them through a few times then start the music.

The calls for the ‘Varsovienne’ varies greatly with different callers but I like to describe the first steps as sweep step close, sweep step close, cross right left point. When they are fairly sure of the steps I change to, put the left foot out, put the left foot out, left right, left point. (Pause 2 beats) Left right, left point. (Pause 2 beats) Right left, right point, and repeat last two lines to complete chain.

POSITION; Lady at gents right side with lady slightly ahead of gent. Gents right arm behind lady holding her right hand in his right over her shoulder. Ladies left hand in gents left on a level with the right and directly in front of gents shoulder. Caution gents not to rest arm on ladies shoulder.

We are now ready to teach them another square. We will limit our notes now to the calls and description of the dances and the techniques that we have found helpful in certain dances. We will follow the same general procedure in teaching each new dance. I find that after the first dance or two the addition of the ‘talk thru’ before the ‘walk thru’ help. Most the dancers will get a mental picture of the dance and when they start walking thru, the picture becomes fixed in their mind.

The talk thru will be of little use to you, the first dance, however, because they have not started listening yet.

Let’s give them the ‘Texas Star’ next and impress them with the practice of changing partners.

(1) Introduction
(2) Figure
a. Ladies to the center.
b. And back to the bar.
c. Gents to the center and form a star (right hand)
d. With a right hand cross and a howdy-do.
e. And a left hand back and how are you.
f. Pass your own and take the next.
g. Gents swing out and the ladies swing in.
h. Go full around and gone again.
i. Break and swing when you get straight.
j. Everybody swing your mate.
Repeat: 4 times until gents have their original partners.
(3) Repeat figure with gents to the center and back to the bar (a & b)
Ladies to the center and form a star ©

(a & b) Ladies back to back in center of the set and right back to place.
(c & d) Gents form right hand star and circle left.
(e) Reverse direction and form a left hand star
(f) As gents circle right pass your partner and take the next girl in a waist promenade.
(g & h) Gents swing out of the set backwards, go once and a half around and ladies form a star all circling left.
(i) Break and swing your new partner at the gents home positions. After the chorus, when the ladies are working, promenade back to the ladies home position (i)

NOTE: Caution the ladies to go to the center and return to place quickly. Tell gents to note who is right hand lady each time he returns home to swing. This is the lady he will take for the next star promenade.

Do not teach wrist hold star to beginners at the first two or three dances. Do not have ladies take gents back to their home position while learning the dance. Wait until they are familiar with the dance before teaching the confusing little trimmings.

One dance at a time is about all they can stand this first night and this would be a good time to give them an intermission and let them get a little better acquainted.

After intermission get them all on the floor and form one or more big rings and teach the ‘Oh Johnny’.

This should be very easy to teach as they are already familiar with all of the figures used. You will probably do well to review the dos-a-dos more thoroughly than the other figures as they have not used this figure in the squares.

Here are the calls ---
Music -------- ‘Oh Johnny’ --------- Records ----------- Billy Mooney, Album
You all join hands and you circle the ring. (Circle right)
You stop where you are and you give her a swing. (Swing partner)
And now you swing that girl behind you.
Go back home and swing your own right where you find her.
Allemande left with the girl on your left.
Dos-a-dos your own.
And now you all promenade.
With that sweet corner maid.
Singing Oh Johnny! Oh Johnny! Oh!

When you get your squares all set and have their attention remind them to listen. Explain that they are not to anticipate the calls and do a figure before it is called but rather to follow the calls, always two to four counts behind the caller.

Let’s train the ladies to take the initiative now and teach them ‘Birdie In The Cage and Seven Hands ‘Round’.

(1) Introduction
(2) Figure
a. First couple balance-swing
First little lady to the right of the ring.
b. Turn the right hand gent with the right hand ‘round.
c. Back to your pard with the left hand ‘round.
d. The opposite gent with the right hand ‘round.
e. Partner left as you come down.
f. Left hand gent with the right hand ‘round.
g. Partner left you’re homeward bound.
h. Birdie in the cage and seven hands ‘round.
i. Birdie hop out, the crow hop in, seven hands up and gone again.
j. Crow hop out, with a left allemande, your right to your own and a right and left grand.
k. Meet your own and promenade home.
(Repeat for each lady.)

(a to g) Self explanatory. Active lady turns each gent and partner alternately using forearm turns and gents must cooperate by meeting her as the calls are fast.
(h) As active lady rounds partner, she goes to the center of the set and the other dancers join hands and circle left.
(i) Lady exchanges places with her partner and dancers again circle.
(j) all four gents to a left allemande with their corners and go right into a right and left grand.

NOTE: Have the ladies whirl counter clockwise in the center but keep an eye on their partner to make a quick change. Encourage gents to whirl or clown in center but locate their corner girl for the left allemande. Impress gents that the call “Crow Hop’ out with a left allemande, means all four gents turn corners with a left allemande. Finish this one with ‘Break that ring with a partner swing.’

Hold them on the floor and teach them ‘Lady Go Halfway ‘Round Again’.

(1) Introduction
(2) Figure
a. First couple balance-swing
b. Promenade the outside ring, go all the way ‘round with the dear little thing while the roosters crow and the birdies sing.
c. Lady go half way ‘round again and three in line you stand.
d. Forward three and three fall back.
e. Forward three and three stand pat. Gent do-cee around those three, go all the way around those three.
f. Turn the left hand lady by the left hand ‘round.
g. The right hand lady with the right hand ‘round.
h. The opposite lady with two hand ‘round.
i. And now your own with your arm around.
j. Now swing her home and everybody swing.
(3) Chorus Call
Repeat for each couple

(a & b) Self explanatory.
(c) Lady continues around set again and stands on the left side of the opposite gent.
(d) The line of three walk forward and back.
(e) The line of three walk forward almost to the center of the set and the side couples step back to permit number one gent to do a right shoulder dos-a-dos around the line of three. Going to the left he passes right shoulder with the opposite lady and passing behind the line of three he returns to the center of the set between his partner and the second lady.
(f) First gent turns his corner with the left forearm turn.
(g) This first gent crosses the set and turns the right hand (2nd lady) with a right forearm turn.
(h) He now turns the opposite lady (3rd lady) with a two hand swing.
(i) He then takes his partner and swings her across the set to home position using the regular swing position, and as they do all four couples swing and are ready for chorus call.

NOTE: No special tricks on this. I hope you can find some method to teach the gents how to tell their left from their right. I often see experienced dancers turning the wrong lady first or using the wrong hand.

Now they will be tickled pink to get back to their own partner so give them brief rest and teach them ‘Cotton Eyed Joe’.

A description of the steps and the calls I follow are:

Couples face each other in ballroom position and starting with gents left and ladies right.

Heel toe, step close, step ---
Turning to opposite direction using gents right and ladies left.
Heel toe, stop close, step ---
Releasing partner they turn away from each other the gent turning to the left and lady to the right until they face again.
Step close step. Step close step, step close step, stamp. Stamp, stamp, stamp.
Now they do four push steps to the gents left, the ladies right.
Step close, step close, step close, step ---
They reverse direction and do four push steps to the gents right, ladies left.
Step close, step close, step close, step ---

Gent now takes partner in ballroom position and they do four two step around the hall.
Step close step, step close step, step close step, ready now
Heel toe, etc. Repeat

Now form your squares again and teach them ‘Forward Six and Back’. This dance is a good trainer for all of the ‘Forward six and Back’ series.

(1) Introduction
(2) Figure
a. First couples out to the couple on the right and circle four.
b. Leave that lady where she be go to the next and circle three
c. Steal that lady like honey from a bee and on to the last and circle four.
d. Leave that lady and gent goes home alone
e. Forward six and back you go
f. The two gents loop with a dos-a-dos
g. The right hand up and the left lady under
h. Whirl them across and go like thunder
(Repeat e, f, g, and h three more times)
i. Allemande left, etc.
Repeat for each couple)

Calls are self explanatory except (c & g). In (c) caution the gent to change hands as he takes the opposite lady from her partner and goes to the left hand couple. This is necessary in order to place the lady on his right. In (g) the gent forms an arch with the lady on his right as she passes in front of him to the gent on his left. The lady on his left ducks under the arch as she passes to the gent on his right. Make the ladies understand that they pass to a new gent and form a line of three each time (g & h) are called. Do not confuse them with the whirls when they are learning the dance.

Now you are ready to introduce them to hash. Call the last dance using a different change for each couple as listed below or in any order you prefer.

1st couple: ‘Down the Center and Divide the Ring’
2nd couple: ‘Lady Go Half Way ‘Round Again’
3rd couple: ‘Birdie In the Cage and Seven Hands ‘Round’
4th couple: ‘Forward Six and Back’

If you have good luck and have some time left, go ahead with anew dance from the next weeks suggestions. The changes are that the program above will be about all they can handle the first night. You may not complete this much.

If you start losing your crowd, cut your dance and send them home a little early. Whenever possible send your group home before the crowd and their enthusiasm has dwindled. You want them to be sorry that the dance is over instead of being tickled to death to get off of their feet.
Play a goodnight waltz for them but make sure that it is a typical ballroom tempo. If you continue this practice each week they will soon feel the contrast between this pointless meandering and the interesting and graceful couple dances we will use in our program.

The first thing you should do after the dance is to write down a list of the things you have taught during the evening with a provision for keep a record of how many times you will teach it in the next few weeks. You should keep careful records of your groups progress as it will help you improve your methods.

At the first opportunity you should analyze your groups reaction and the progress they made in their first session.

1. Did they have fun.
2. Are they learning the squares.
3. Are they learning the couple dances.
4. Who are your personality problems.
5. How is your facility.
a. Acoustics or public address.
b. Floor condition.
c. Ventilation or temperature.
d. Size.

Consider all of these things and remember that they are your responsibility. Strive to improve everything about your program constantly and above all do not let your ego run away with you because people thank YOU with praise for the values they are receiving from THEIR participation in the program.

Always remember, this program is ‘grass roots recreation’ and you didn’t invent it. It was created by participants and it can be restored only by participants. It was created by the necessity for good fellowship and the same necessity is restoring it now.


Howdy Cousins:

All to your places
Straighten up your faces
Loosen up your belly bands
Tighten up your traces
All get set for another long hard pull.

One of the first problems that you will face in your calling and teaching experience will be “impatience.”

About the second or third dance with a new group, several of your dancers still approach you with a bow in their neck and start giving you some expert advice on how to teach, how to call, and how to handle the group, etc. This is a critical point in your relationship with your group. If you show any resentment to their criticism or treat it too lightly you will make an enemy of your best prospects.

It is human nature to try to put the shoe on the other foot. If they are a little confused on some of the steps they are apt to take the attitude that the fault lies in your methods. They immediately decide that if you would use a different method everyone would grasp the idea quickly.

This is especially true of the more successful people in your group. They have more nerve and are more aggressive and they will be the first to pounce on you and tell you how to do your job. Listen to them and if they have a suggestion that seems practical make a mental note of it and analyze it carefully before you try it. Don’t argue with them privately but the next time that you have the attention of the entire group explain the importance of patience. Tell them that they must be patient with you just as you are patient with them. Tell them they must be patient with themselves and with each other. Explain that the methods you use are the results of experience and that thousands of people have learned to dance by these methods and that they too will soon learn.

Impress them with the importance of not being in a hurry. Improvement and advancement is desirable but first, last and always let’s have “fun”!

Your critics will not resent this little lecture because it is not directed at them personally. Since they are the type of people who think they will see your position in a different light and since they also say what they think, they will become active promoters of the use of patience. As a result what you at first considered a discouraging development will turn into a benefit to the group and your program.

Now to get back to the job of teaching.

You will find it necessary to repeat all of your dances and instructions of the previous dance with the addition of one or two new dances. This repetition of instructions will discourage you more than any other part of your job. It is necessary that you develop the patience to do this and will probably help if you will think back how many times you had to walk thru a new figure before you were sure of it. You cannot teach others to be patient if you are impatient with them.

In their first lesson, you taught them to do the following basic figures:

1. Allemande left
2. Grand right and left.
3. Promenade
4. Swing
5. Dos-a-dos

There are only four more figures that they will have to learn in order to be able to do most of the square dances. They are:

6. Docey-doe
7. Do paso
8. Right and left thru
9. The ladies chain

It will be six to eight weeks before you will be able to teach all of these figures and 10 to 20 weeks before they will be able to execute them on call and with ease.

I recommend that you use only the first five with the addition of the See Saw, for the first three dances and then plunge into the docey-doe, which I consider the most difficult of all of the basic figures. In this weeks notes we are including the calls and instructions for several more dances that use only these first five basic steps. These should supply you with enough material for your first four dances.

To each the See Saw use “All Around the Left Hand Lady” for an ending instead of the “Grand Right and Left” or “Break the Ring with a Corner Swing.”


All around the left hand lady (a dos-a-dos with corner lady)
See Saw your pretty little taw. (A left shoulder dos-a-dos with partner)
Swing your corner like swinging on a gate.
Form a ring and circle eight.
(Last two lines self explanatory except a caution to place corner girl on their right before joining hands to circle eight)
Repeat three times and when they swing with original partner, call,
Promenade eight til you get straight.

NOTE: Do not attempt to teach the ladies to go into the center and back until they have been dancing for several weeks. They need the practice on the dos-a-dos now.

1. Introduction
2. Figure
a. First couple lead to the couple on the right and four in line you travel.
b. Now I’ll swing your girl you swing mine
c. You swing that one while I’m gone and I’ll take yours and travel on.
d. Four in line you travel.
e. Now I’ll swing your girl you swing mine.
f. You swing that one while I’m gone and I’ll take yours and travel on.
g. Four in line you travel
h. I’ll swing your girl you swing mine
i. You swing that one while I’m gone and I’ll take yours and travel on.
Everybody swing.
3. Chorus Call
Repeat three times until they have their own partners back then call an ending.

(a) First couple leads to the right side of couple #2 and standing in a line of four the two ladies hook right elbows and both couples walk forward or clockwise turning as a line of four until #1 gent returns to the center of the set.
(b) Gents release the ladies and turn to face their opposite as the ladies continue to turn until lady #2 is in the center of the set and the first gent swings the second lady as the second gent swings the first lady.
(c) The first gent takes the second lady on to couple #3 and they repeat (a & b).
(f) First gent takes third lady on to couple #4 and they repeat (a & B)
(i) First gent takes fourth lady back to his home position and all four couples swing.

1. Introduction.
2. Figure.
a. First little lady to the right of the ring with a two hand swing.
b. Sashay out and sashay in.
c. Form a two hand ring and home and swing and three little ladies form a ring.
d. Now sashay out and sashay in and form that three hand ring agin’.
e. Back to your pard and give him a swing and four little ladies form a ring.
f. Now sashay out and sashay in and form that four hand ring agin’.
g. Back to your pad and all eight swing.
3. Chorus Call.
Repeat with each lady leading.

(a) The first lady leads to the second lady and they join hands and
(b) Both ladies do a dos-a-dos around their own partner.
(c) They return to the center and join hands again swing once and return to partners and swing once then the first, second and third ladies join hands and swing around once.
(d) All three ladies do a dos-a-dos with their partners and return to center and join hands and swing around once.
(e) All three ladies return to their partners and swing once them all four ladies form a ring and swing around once.
(f) All four ladies dos-a-dos partners and return to center to form four hand ring again and swing around once.
(g) All return to their partners and swing twice.

1. Introduction
2. Figure
a. First little lady march around the inside of the ring.
b. Right back up to your ole’ man and give him a great big swing.
c. Now all you dancers form a line and march around the ring.
d. Here we go marching through Georgia
e. Hurrah ! Hurrah ! you’re going the wrong (right) way
f. Hurrah ! Hurrah ! you’re going the wrong (right) way
g. When you reach your places all, everybody swing
h. Swing ‘em boys, swing ‘em, you’re in Georgia
Repeat: with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th couples.
Note: When dancers form a line, march right around the set with hand on shoulder of person ahead.

1. Introduction
2. Figure
a. First couple out to the couple on the right, circle four hands half way ‘round
b. Inside arch and the outside under (repeat 3 more times)
c. On to the next and circle half and don’t you blunder.
d. Inside arch and outside under
3. On to the next (Repeat thru d)
f. Balance home and everybody swing.
3. Chorus Call
2nd, 3rd, and 4th couples repeat figure.

(b) Couple #2 forms an arch with their joined hands, at same time releasing hands of couple #1. Couple #1 ducks under to center of set and forms arch for couple #4 to duck under as couple #2 turns into their own place. Couple #4 ducks under #1 and forms arch for #2 while #1 turns to face center in 4th couples home position. Continue to arch and under til couples #2 and #4 are in their home positions and #1 is in the center of the set.

Teach the California Whirl, to be used when a couple reverse directions. Have all couples face out with ladies at gents right. Inside hands joined. Explain that this is the position they will be in when they form the arch in the center and walk to the outside. Have them face their partners. Have gents raise their right hand and bring the lady under his arm as they exchange places and face the center of the set. Have them practice this a few times before you start teaching the dance.

Caution them to remember that when they are on the inside of the set they form an arch. When they are on the outside they duck under.

THE FOUR GENTS STAR (As called by Ralph Maxheimer)
1. Introduction
2. Figure
a. The four gents star in the center of the square.
b. Turn the opposite lady and leave her there.
c. The four gents star in the center of the set.
d. Now turn your own you’re not through yet.
e. The four gents star in the center of town.
f. Turn the right hand lady with the left hand ‘round.
g. The four gents star in the center once more.
h. Turn the left hand lady or she’ll get sore.
i. Star right back and the gents you know.
j. Turn your own with a do paso.
k. It’s partner now with the left hand ‘round.
l. Corner lady with the right hand ‘round.
m. Back to your own with the left hand ‘round.
n. And promenade the corner as she comes down.
(Repeat three more times)

All calls are self explanatory. Caution gents to dance the position and not the lady. You will have to teach the do paso and make them understand it is completed when the gents turn their partner the second time with left hand.

1. Introduction.
2. Figure.
a. First and third forward and back.
b. Forward again on the same old track.
c. Turn the opposite lady with the right hand around.
d. Partner left as she comes down.
e. Corners “all” with the right hand around.
f. Back to your partners with the left hand ‘round.
g. And promenade the corners as they come down.
(Repeat with head couples. Repeat twice with side couples)
Calls are self explanatory. Caution all four gents to be ready for call (e).

1. Introduction
2. Figure
a. First couple lead to the couple on the right and circle four.
b. Leave that lady where she be and the gent go on and circle three.
c. Steal that lady like honey from a bee.
d. Take her to the last and circle four. Leave her there get off the floor.
e. Forward six and back
f. Forward two and back.
g. Forward six with a wagon wheel around as you cross over.
h. The gents change over.
i. The right hand up and the left lady under. Whirl them cross and go like thunder.
(Repeat (3) through (i) three times then call an allemande left and grand right and left.)
Repeat entire figure with each couple leading.

If you have taught “Forward Six and Back” you will have little trouble with this dance.

Here is the difference:

(g) The gents take the ladies on their elbows and go forward and join hands as in a two hand swing. The ladies join outside hands and all swing half around and fall back to the opposite side. The two lines of three have simply exchanged places.
(g) The two lane gents exchange place. Now we find that we have rotated the entire set a half. The remainder of the figure is the same as “Forward Six and Back.”


Turn your partner with the left hand ‘round
The corner girl with the right hand round
And now your partner with the left hand round

Calls are self explanatory. Note: It is not advisable to follow the do paso with a partner swing.

Circle four and around you go
Break it up with a docey-doe
Ladies go cee, gents go doe
Walkin’ right around on heel and toe
One more turn and on you go.

Two couples join hands and circle left until active or leading couples are on the outside facing the center of the set. They drop hands. They pass right shoulders with their opposite, the active couple returning to center of the set the other couple returning to place. They face partners. Touching left hand the ladies circle their partner and the gents step forward to meet their opposite lady with right hand as she comes around her partner. Touching right hands the ladies circle their opposite and gents turn to face their partner as she comes around the opposite gent. The gents step forward to meet their partner with left hand and placing their right hand behind ladies waist they turn partners to place. Active couple is now ready to go on to next couple.

The little trick we showed you of having them pass through and swing partners will train them to pass through and to face partner.

I have found that the best results are obtained by teaching the “Right and Left Through” with opposite couples active. Starting with first and third I explain that the two couples are going to exchange places and then explain the steps before they walk through.

Have the two couples advance to meet in the center and touching right hand with their opposite as they pass through passing right shoulder. They face their partners and join left hands and the gents place right hand behind partners waist and turn the ladies until couples face center again.

Now have them do a right and left back to home position. Call it several times for the same couples then teach the figure to the side couples and have them practice a few times then call a dance using the right and left through as a chorus.

I advise teaching the ladies chain with opposite couples active as we did with the Right and Left Through. Explain that the original call was “The Ladies Change” and that it means simply that.

Have the first and third ladies exchange places touching right hands as they cross the set. The opposite gents take the ladies left hands in their left and place their right hands behind the ladies backs and turn them to place. Have them change back to their partners in the same manner. Walk them through the figure several times then repeat instructions for the side couples.

Now have the first and third ladies chain with the lady on their right and then the lady on their left. Now if possible you should teach them “My Pretty Girl.”

Music ------ My Pretty Girl ------ Records -------- Bill Mooney, Album

The Calls ----
a. First couple promenade around the outside
b. Around the outside of the ring.
c. Head ladies chain, right down the center
d. And you chain them back again
e. Head ladies chain the right hand couple
f. And you chain them back again
g. Head ladies chain the left hand couple
h. And you chain them back again

Patter Chorus ---
Oh it’s all around the left hand lady
Oh my what a baby!
See Saw your pretty little taw
The cutest gal you ever saw
Allemande left then with your left hand
Right to your partner right and left grand
Hand over hand around the ring
While the roosters crow and the birdies sing

Sing ---
Now you meet your honey and promenade her
You promenade her to the door
Now you swing your honey until she feels funny
She’s the girl that you adore.
(Repeat for each couple. When 2nd or 4th couples are active remember to call side couple in c, e and g.

In most singing calls the dancers must time the dances. This one is a good example. You will find that in (e) the ladies must go ahead of the calls and chain before you say “the right hand couple” or stop and wait for you.

For this reason I recommend that you do not use too many singing calls with beginners as they will develop the habit of anticipating the calls.


In this session we will begin to work on the actual job of calling a dance. With some of our classmates taking the floor and calling a ‘tip’ we will dance it through and then analyze their failures.

We should give each callers efforts the same consideration that we expect for our own and limit our remarks to constructive criticism. However, do not pull your punches. It is impossible for us to hear ourselves as others hear us and if, as in the case of “B.O.”, even your best friends won’t tell you, you will continue to make the same errors. If you think that one of your classmates needs improvement on any of the following points do not fail to say so.

1. Voice
2. Clarity (Enunciation)
3. Rhythm
4. Timing
5. Style (Chant, singing, commands)
6. Clear headedness
(a) Overcome embarrassment
(b) Memory
(c) Continuity

The above points should be the basis of our criticism of each members efforts. We will make no attempt to judge each others qualifications of personality, leadership, teaching ability, etc.

You must have or develop these qualities before you can be a successful caller and your dancers will be the judges who will decide your success or failure. If they find fault with your efforts they will not tell you so. They will simply stay home or go elsewhere or try to have you replaced.

If you are successful in imparting a feeling of good fellowship to your group the battle is half won. Your own attitude will be reflected in their reactions. If you are friendly, patient, and jolly they will be cooperative. If you are irritable and impatient they will head for the cloakroom. You must either be “in the pink” physically and mentally or a darned good actor before you set out for an evening of calling.

Now let’s get back to our calling efforts.

Considering each point in the order listed we will deal first with the voice. Before the development of public address equipment, the first requirement for a caller was a powerful set of lungs and vocal chords. A bull voice is not only no longer required, but may be a disadvantage. Microphones are delicate instruments and if you shout into them they show their irritation by distorting your voice in reproductions.

The development of microphone technique is more important to the square dance caller than it is to the radio artist. There is no highly skilled radio technician monitoring your program and making up for your lack of technique.

Not only does this little miracle box of tubes, wires and watts do your shouting for you, it also can improve the tonal quality of your voice. If you’re a little on the squeaky side it can oil you up with a few more bass notes or vice versa. A little experimenting with the equipment you must use will be well worth the time.

Now for item number two, clarity. This is all important. “You” must be understood and if your enunciation is poor your dancers will be just as lost as they would be if they could not hear you.

You must separate the command from the patter by emphasis. For example:

Ace of diamonds, Jack of spades
Meet your honey and PROMENADE

Always remember that patter is background, like the music. It is good when used intelligently, but when a callers uses it to ‘show off’ and loses the command, the dancers will be hopelessly lost.

Practice pronouncing each syllable of each word and remember that your lips form the sound into words as it leaves your mouth and don’t strain the words through your teeth.

Now for number three, rhythm.

Watch the foot. If he slaps the floor right on the beat of the music he has a natural sense of rhythm. Most of us have. If the words don’t flow out in rhythm with his foot he is either a genius or there is something radically wrong with the wires between the foot department and the speech department in his gray matter.

In my opinion, if he cannot pat his foot in time with beat of the music then he lacks a natural sense of rhythm and should not attempt to be a caller. He is in the same position as he would be if he were color blind and wanted to be an artist. Make sure that you are in a position to hear the music and keep that food patting and you can’t go wrong.
One more thing about rhythm. There are two rhythms to the square dance music. The first is the basic rhythm of the chords. The second is the rhythm of the melody. That’s in the fiddlers department. The selection of fiddle tunes is important if you are a chant caller. The rhythm of the melody of many of the old jigs and reels is a ‘choppy’ rhythm and though you may time your calls perfectly with the beat of the chords it will have the effect of making you sound off beat, and if you have a sensitive ear it may actually throw you off beat.

Familiarize yourself with the fiddle tunes and difference between four-four and six-eight time. don’t make a practice of using a certain time for a certain dance but rather try and find three or four tunes that fit equally well and you will keep the dances more interesting.

We now arrive at the point where most aspiring callers stub their toe and fall down. Number four, timing.

Timing is closely related to rhythm but should be treated separately. By timing we mean the time allowed between two commands. The time required to execute each figure varies but you will find they are in multiple of four with eight being the most common. It takes eight counts to execute an allemande left, and eight more to do a right and left grand half way around. The dancers should have a four count warning of the next figure. Let’s take an example.

If you have called “Everybody Swing” your dancers should swing twice which takes four counts per swing or eight counts. As they start the second swing you call:

Alle mande left with your left hand, Your
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
Right to your pard and a right and left grand (Pause)
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
Jack of dia monds, ace of spades (Pause)
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
Meet your honey and prom en ade (Pause)
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

Now if you will count you will find that you have used four measures of four-four music or sixteen counts and you are still four counts ahead of the dancers.

They know what to do next and the dance will continue to flow. If you had used one more line of patter or paused for four counts the dancers would meet their partners at the same time you finished your patter and wouldn’t know for sure what was to follow.

Now this may sound like a very simple and easy thing to accomplish but you will find that you cannot always follow a rule in time your dances. In some figures two counts may be sufficient warning, in others you may have to use as many as eight counts. You will have to control your desire to throw in some clever patter at the sacrifice of timing.

You will have a problem with some of your dancers who have not been impressed with the fact that the caller is supposed to be ahead of the dancers. You will start to call an ‘allemande Left’ and the second you say ‘al’ they will throw their partner aside and bang into their corner who is still trying to finish the second swing.

Also, you may be watching one set that is anticipating the call and in trying to keep ahead of them you will race away and leave the other sets or you may be watching a set that has fallen behind and get as far behind as they are.

Holding all of the sets on the floor together by emphasizing the commands is a trick that comes only with practice and it is a part of this very important part of calling, --- timing.


Style is something that cannot be taught. You will develop a style of calling and it will be a natural development. You will probably start out by copying some caller you have heard and admired. As you call you will change and gradually your own personality and voice will find a channel and there it will stick.

You may also start out to be a chant caller and wind up as a singing caller, and if you do, it will be because you have the ability to do both well. Very few callers that I know can sing. They wouldn’t stand up in front of their groups and sing a solo on a bet, yet they are not reluctant to do singing calls.

I consider singing calls a necessary evil. The experienced dancers enjoy them as they provide an opportunity to stop thinking for a few minutes and the beginners enjoy them because they can commit them to memory and forget that new requirement of having to learn to listen. They are an important part of the program so we must do them even if we are off key half the time.

If you can’t sing you may be able to get away with chanting the calls in much the same manner that you would sing a harmony part. This requires a good ear but not a wide range and is much more effective than straining for a high note and never quite making it.

Do not plan on getting by on singing calls alone. It can’t be done in western square dancing. You must learn to do chant or command calls if you expect to call regularly.

Command calls or talking calls are done in exactly the same manner as chant calls except that the voice is not pitched on a musical note. In other words the caller recites the calls in time with the music but not in harmony with it. If you have rhythm you can do this style of calling even if you are ‘stone deaf.’ Several of the most successful callers in the west do not chant.

Most callers prefer to chant their calls so we will try to explain what they do in musical terms. Actually they do about the same thing that the bass fiddler does. They pitch their voice on one of the notes that make up the chord accompanying the melody and either stay on it chanting in a monotone or change back and forth on the other notes of the chord. The chords change and the caller must change with them.

For an example let’s take the tune “Turkey In The Straw.”

If the musicians are playing in the key of C the first three measures of the verses are accompanied by the tonic chord which is the C chord composed of the three notes, C, E, and G. The caller may chant on any one of these three notes or use all three for three measures, or twelve counts, then as the chord changes to the dominant chord for the last measure of the first bar the caller must change with the music. In the last measure the chord is the dominant or in this case the G-7th chord composed of four notes, G, B, D, and F.

The second bar follows the same pattern as the first with three measures of the tonic and one of the dominant.

The chorus has more choral changes starting with two measures of the tonic, then two measures of the sub-dominant, which is F, A, and C.

The fifth and six measures are split with the first two counts in the tonic and the last two in the dominant. The last two measures are in the tonic with one change on the second beat of the last measure in the dominant.

This may sound like Greek to most of you and you will probably be able to chant without knowing what the chords are or when the changes occur. If you have difficulty you will do well to spend some time with your musicians having them play the chords for you until you familiarize yourself with the chord patterns of the tunes you will use.

Now to number six, clear headedness.

Again you must be patient with yourself. Experience is the only remedy for stage fright. You must simply take a deep breath and plunge in. If your mind is busy considering all of the problems of your job you will not have time to be embarrassed. You will find that the larger the crowd the less self conscious you will be. With a large crowd you are not conscious of individuals. You will also find that remembering the calls is easy if you are thoroughly familiar with the pattern of the dance. Association of the calls with the steps and turns will come naturally if you mentally place yourself in the position of the active couples.

Continuity is remembering which couple to call. How many times to repeat a call is a little more difficult. The usual practice is to select one set on the floor and call to them alone. This is good for the beginner caller and will work fine until the set he is calling to gets confused, then he is apt to become as confused as they are.

Some callers count the changes on their fingers, others depend entirely on their memory. Again practice and experience are the best teachers. No matter how long you call or how efficient you become there will be times when you will make mistakes in continuity. Whatever you do never blame the dancers or the musicians for your errors. Ridicule yourself and invite them to laugh at you and all will be forgiven. They are very happy to find that they are not the only ones to make mistakes. REMEMBER, no matter how good you may think you are, and no matter how popular you may become there will always be worlds of room for improvement. When it comes your turn to call take the criticism of your classmates seriously and determine to make your next effort better.


Howdy Cousin:

This weeks notes will be devoted almost entirely to the calls for dances that are popular in this area.

You must use good judgement in the selection of dances for your program. Avoid the use of complicated dances for your beginners. If you push your groups too fast you will make it impossible for them to relax and really enjoy themselves.

With your advanced groups use a well balanced program of advanced and beginner dances. Make a practice of following a complicated dance with an easy one and try to include one new dance on each program.

You will have to push them into the round dances. If your groups react as mine have they will go through a period when the majority would just as soon eliminate the rounds and dance squares all evening. You must try to keep them interested in the rounds. If you will use the progressive form of the rounds as mixers preceding the squares it will not only assist in teaching the rounds but will keep them on the floor in order to avoid being left out of the squares.

Remember that you job is to provide enjoyment for them. If they enjoy a dance use it frequently. If they do not enjoy it just call it once in awhile so that they will be able to dance it whenever necessity demands it.

The following dances are in the beginner or intermediate class and may be used with any of your groups that know the fundamental figures.

First couple balance swing
Down the center and divide the ring
Lady go right the gent go left
Meet your honey at the end of the hall
Dos-a partners one and all
Dos-a corners, don’t you fall
Right back hone and swing and whirl
And all run away with the corner girl.

(Promenade home and repeat three times for the same gent. Precede with the following patter changes to make it more interesting.)

2nd time: Same old gent and brand new girl, down the center and divide the world.
3rd time: Same old mule and a brand new load, down the center and split the road.
4th time: Same old boy and a brand new date, down the center and thru the gate.
Same old gent and a brand new dame, down the center and do the same.

First couple balance swing
Down the center and divide the ring
Right back home and corner swing
Everybody corner swing
Allemande left just one
Promenade the girl you swung.

(Repeat three times for the same gent using the patter changes in variation number)

First couple balance swing
Down the center and divide the ring
Meet your honey with an elbow swing
Everybody elbow swing (right elbow)
The corner girl with the same old thing (left elbow)
Right back home with a biscuit swing.

Down the center and cut away four
Do the same as you did before
Everybody elbow swing
The corner girl with the same old thing
Right back home with a biscuit swing.

Down the center and cut away two
do an elbow swing like you always do
The corner girl with an elbow swing
Right back home and partner swing.

There are many other divide the ring dances which you will want to use but this is all that time and space will permit in these notes and the three we have included will provided you with a good ‘hash’ combination.

a. First couple to the right with a right hand star
b. Circle to the left but not too far
c. The left hand back on the same old track
d. Your right hand back to your lady left
e. Break with the left and pull her thru
f. Turn your partner with the left hand round
g. The corner lady with the right hand round
h. Now your own with the left hand round
i. And on to the next with a right hand star.
(Repeat with each couple)


(i) and circle four as you come down
(j) Now pick up two like pickin’ up sticks
(k) Pick up two and circle six
(l) Six to the center with a right hand star
(Repeat (b) through (h) then substitute)
(i) Circle six as you come down
(j) Drop the gate and make it eight
(k) Circle eight and don’t be late
(l) Eight to the center with a right hand star
(Repeat (b) through (h) then call
(i) Swing on the corner like swingin’ on a gate
(j) Now your own if you’re not too late.

Calls are self explanatory but you will have to watch your timing on this one inserting pauses in the correct places.

(1) Introduction
(2) Figure
a. First couple bow and swing
b. Lead right out to the right of the ring
c. Round that couple and take a peek
d. Back to the center and swing your sweet
e. Out to the side and peek once more
f. Back to the center and swing all four
g. Circle four with a docey-doe.
(Repeat (c) through (g) with 3rd and 4th couples)

(3) Chorus
Couples 2, 3, and 4 repeat entire figure.

After your dancers are familiar with the dance you may substitute the following.
c. Into the kitchen and take a peek
d. Back to the parlor and swing your sweet
e. Into the kitchen and peek once more
f. Back to the parlor and swing all four.

First gent out to the right of the ring
And swing Sally Goodin’, Swing Sally Goodin’
Right back home and swing your taw, Swing your taw
Now to the left and swing that girl from Arkansas
Where the bullfrog married his mother-in-law
Right back home and swing your taw, Swing your taw
Now swing grandma, across the hall
She ain’t been swung since way last fall
Balance home and everybody swing.
(Repeat with first two gents, then first three, then all four)
Note: Gents swing each lady twice.

HOT TIME (Sing call to the tune “Hot Time In the Ole’ Town Tonight”)
(1) Introduction
(2) Figure
First couple lead to the right, circle four hands ‘round
Lead to the next, circle six hands ‘round
Lead to the next, circle eight hands ‘round
There’ll be a hoedown in the hay loft tonight.
Allemande left with the lady on the left
Allemande right with the lady on your right
Allemande left with the lady on the left
A right hand to your partner and a grand right and left
Meet your honey and docey-doe around
Take her in your arms and swing her up and down
Promenade home with the sweetest girl in town
There’ll be a hoedown in the hay loft tonight.
(Repeat: Figure with 2nd, 3rd and 4th couples)
Note: Calls are self explanatory.

(1) Introduction
(2) Figure
a. First couple bow and swing
b. First gent around the outside ring
c. Go all the way around the ring, and
d. Meet your own with the right hand ‘round
e. Turn the corner with the left hand ‘round
f. Back to your own with the right hand ‘round go all the way ‘round
g. Right hand lady with the left hand ‘round
h. Go back home and swing
i. Four gents ‘round the outside ring
(Repeat (c) through (h)
(3) Chorus Call
Repeat with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th couples
Note: Calls are self explanatory.
This dance is more often called with the first gent, then two gents, then three gents then all four.

Some callers call meet your own with the left hand round instead of the right. This is more natural than meeting with the right but this forces you to turn the right hand lady with the right hand and then return to partner to swing. The swing is a right hand figure so in effect you are taking two steps on the same foot which is very unnatural and will break the flow of the dance.

(1) Introduction
(2) Figure
a. First couple balance, first couple swing
b. Lead right out to the right of the ring
c. The two gents swing with an elbow swing
d. Now the opposite lady with an elbow swing
e. The two ole’ gents with the elbow swing
f. Now your own with an elbow swing
g. Circle four and around you go
h. Break it up with a docey-doe
i. On to the next
(Repeat: with 3rd and 4th couples)
(3) Chorus
(4) 2nd, 3rd and 4th couples repeat figure.

(c) Two gents swing once and a half with a right elbow
(d) Both gents swing opposite lady half with left elbow
(e) Gents repeat
(f) Both gents swing partner a half with left elbow

You may substitute:

(c) Swing old Adam with the elbow gee
(d) Now old Eve with the elbow haw
(e) Now old Adam with the elbow gee
(f) And now your own the elbow haw

a. First and third forward and back
b. Forward again on the same old track
c. Split your corner on the outside track, meet you honey at the end of the hall
d. Dos-a-dos your partner
e. All four gents on the corner swing
f. Allemande left just one
g. And promenade that girl you swung
(Repeat three more times for head couples then four times for side couples.

a & b Self explanatory
c. Active ladies and gents separate and walk around their corners and back to meet partners in home position
d. All four couples dos-a-dos partners
e. All four gents swing corners twice and place them on their right
f. Allemande left new corner
g. Self explanatory

a. First couple balance, first couple swing, Promenade halfway round the ring
b. Four hands in line to the center and back to the center again and there stand pat
c. Side couples right and left along the four, Right and left back as you were before
d. Center four with a circle four, Now docey-doe with the gents you know, The lady go si and the gent go doe


a. The first couple step back from each other, then step together and swing. They promenade around behind the 2nd couple and stand to the left of the 3rd couple, with whom they join hands in a line of four.
b. This line takes four steps to the center and then four steps back. They advance to the center again and remain there.
c. Each side couple separates and advances to the center with the lady going down on side of the line of four and the gentleman going down the other. Each gentleman takes the opposite lady by the right hand and passes her. As each couple advances beyond the line of four, the lady puts her hand (left) in her partner’s left, and, with his right hand around her waist he turns her around so as to face the set again. The two couples each separate and return to their places now in the same manner, along either side of the line of four.
d. The line of four bends into a circle of four and executes a docey-doe.

a. First couple lead to the right
b. Around that couple to the outside ring
c. Through that couple and the center couple swing
d. Through that couple to the outside ring
e. Around that couple and opposite swing
f. Now circle four in a four hand ring
g. Break that ring with a corner swing
h. Circle four with a docey-doe on to the next couple and repeat

a. First couple advance to second couple and face them
b. First couple separate the gent going to the left around the 2nd lady and the lady going to the right around 2nd gent. They meet behind couple number two.
c. They return to the center of the set passing between the second gent and his partner and swing
d. Couple number one again pass between second gent and second lady and return to the outside of the set
e. First couple separate and the lady turns to the right and circles 2nd gent. The gent turns to the left and circle 2nd lady. They return to the center and the first gent swings the second lady as the second gent swings the first lady.
f. Gents place the ladies on their right and circle four
g. Gents swing the corner lady who is their original partner
h. Gents place original partner on their right and circle four and docey-doe

There are several variations of this dance and we present here the one that is popular in Southern California at the present time.

a. First and third lead to the right
b. Chase the rabbit chase that squirrel, Chase that pretty girl ‘round the world
c. Now that possum now that coon, Chase that big boy ‘round the moon
d. Circle four with a docey-doe (patter)
e. Once more turn and on you go. (First and third gents take partners across the set passing left shoulder and repeat figure.)

a. Self explanatory
b. The active ladies followed by their partners go between the inactive couple and around the lady. As the active ladies return to the center of the set they do a clockwise turn around each other and as they do the active gents take the lead.
c. The gents followed by their partners pass between the same inactive couple and around the gent and back to the center and circle four with a
d. docey-doe

Note: In the Los Angeles area the following docey-doe figure, originated by Lou Harrington of Rickford, Illinois is used:

Two little ladies dos-a-dos
The gents reverse on heel and two
And swing ‘em high
And swing ‘em low


The two ladies do a simple dos-a-dos once and a half and stand back to back as the gents walk to the right around the outside to meet their partner on the opposite side and swing.

Note: Have couple circle half as in regular docey-doe.

The following list of records are some that I use in teaching. You will find a variety of tempo that will permit you to work with groups of varying ability if you do not have a variable speed record player.

Try to avoid the use of records. There is no substitute for live music. We hope that your association will eventually be able to provide you with a list of musicians but in the meantime ask a few questions around your own neighborhood and you may turn up an old time fiddler who will be very happy to practice up a little and get ‘back in the swim.’

Imperial Album # F D - 9
Cotton Eyed Joe
Spanish Circle
Rye Waltz
Moon Winks
Harley Luse
Veleta Waltz
Under The Bamboo Tree
Glow Worm
California Schottisch
Imperial Album # F D - 24
Hot Time
My Pretty Girl
Oh Johnny
Glory Glory Halleluja
Bill Mooney
Red River Valley
The Old Pine Tree
Sioux City Sue
Buttons and Bows
Imperial 1006 - A
Black Hawk Waltz
Al Toft
Laces and Graces
Folkcraft 1016 - F
Git along Cindy
Folkcraft Mountain Boys
Honolulu Baby
R. C. A. Victor 25-1009-"
Hot Pretzels
Beer Barrel Polka
R. C. A. Victor 12" 35798
Skaters Waltz
International Concert Orch.
Estudiantina Waltz
Columbia 37632
The Westerners
Honeysuckle Schottische

Signature Album # R I
1031A The Devils Dream
1031B Shepards Schottische
1030A Turkey In The Straw
1030B Sailors Hornpipe
1032A Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay
1032B Boil Them Cabbage Down
Riley Shepard
Tempo - 152
Tempo -
Tempo - 146
Tempo - 150
Tempo - 150
Tempo - 152
Capital Album B D - 44
Ragtine Annie
Golden Slippers
Soldiers Joy
The Gal I Left Behind Me
Bake Them Hoecakes Brown
Cripple Creek
Sally Goodin'
Cliff Stone
Tempo - 130
Tempo - 120
Tempo - 130
Tempo - 128
Tempo - 128
Tempo - 130
Tempo - 128
Coast 10: #273

Staff 12" #302-A
Staff 12" #302-B
Staff 12: #303-A
Staff 12: #303-B
Lonesome Train 134
Pine Woods 134
Solders Joy 142
Turkey In The Straw 138
Buffalo Gals 138
Arkansas Traveler 140


This week we will include in our notes some introductions, breaks, endings and patter.

You will find that the use of too much patter or variety of breaks with beginner groups will confused them and detract from their pleasure. Use breaks and patter with judgement and always control your desire to ‘show off.’

With advanced groups use as much variety as possible. Always adjust your program to the ability of your dancers calling to the majority. Avoid holding the program back for a few slow dancers or raising the level for the benefit of a few expert dancers.

Here are a few introductions. There are many more which you will pick up as you go along.

Honor your partner and the lady by your side
All join hands and circle wide
Break and swing with the pretty little thing
Promenade you promenade home.

Two, four, six, eight all join hands
Circle to the left as pretty as you can
The other way back on the same old track
Make those feet go whickety whack
Swing, swing, everybody spring.

Honor your partner and comers all
Circle left and don’t you fall
Circle to the left go all the way ‘round
With the big foot up and the little foot down
Hurry back home and swing ‘em round

All jump up and never come down
Your honey in your arms go round and round
Till the hollow of your foot makes a hole in the ground
And promenade, go promenade

Honor your partners and corners all
And the pretty little girl across the hall
Swing your corner like swingin’ on a gate
And now your own if you’re not too late
And promenade go promenade eight

Honor your partner and corners all
Your left hand round the corner of the hall
Promenade one and promenade all

Honor your partners and the lady by your side
All join hands and circle wide
The other way back single file
Lady in the lead, Indian style
Swing that gall in your front yard
Swing her twice, swing her hard.


Allemande left with your left hand
Right to your partner right and left grand

Allemande left like a hinge on a gate
Right to your pard and right and left eight
Corns in the crib, wheats in the sack
Meet your honey and turn right back
Up the river and around the bend
The other way back your gone again
Now your right you can’t go wrong
Take her this time and promenade along

On the corner with your left hand
God right into a right and left grand
Rope that yearling brand that calf
Meet your honey with a once and a half
Past the oak crook and elbow hook
the more you swing the better they look
Once by the left and once by the right
Treat em all alike if it takes all night
Up on the toe and down on the heel
The harder you swing the better they feel
An elbow swing with each sweet thing
If you like chicken, grab a wing
Meet your own with a right hand twirl
and promenade around the word

Allemande left like swingin’ on a vine
A right and left eight walk down the line
Hand over hand around the ring
Meet with a double elbow swing
Hook by the right then back the other way
Treat ‘em all alike if it takes all day
On your heel and on your toe
Treat ‘em all to a double elbow
First by the right and then by the left
Swing ‘em hard and feel their heft
Twist ‘em right then twist ‘em wrong
Then grab your own and trot ‘em right along

Allemande left with an allemande thar
A right and left and form a star

Make that star to the heavens whirl
A right and left to the second girl
Allemande thar and form a star
Shoot that star and find your own
Turn her under your arm and promenade home

Allemande left and the ladies star
The gents run around but not too far
Allemande left and the gents star
The ladies run around but not too far
Allemande left with your left hand
Right to your pard and a right and left grand

Ladies center and back to the bar
Gents to the center with a right hand star
Turn the opposite lady with an allemande thar
And back up boys not too far
Break that star swing full around
Gents to the center your homeward bound
Turn your pard with an allemande thar
Walk along backwards not too far
Gents swing out the galls sweep in
Grab the gal you meet and swing lin sin
Swing that corner like swingin on a gate
And promenade go promenade eight

Promenade single file, lady in the lead Indian style
Gents step out and turn right back
Promenade ‘round on the outside track
Meet your own with a right hand whirl
Allemande left your corner girl
Pass your own without a twirl
Right hand ‘round the next little girl
Left to your own, go all the way around
And promenade your corners as you come down

First and third forward and back
Forward again with aright and left through
Swing on the corner like swinging on a vine
Swing that next gal down the line
Same two jeans and new calico
Forward up and back you go
Forward again with a right and left through
Swing on the corner like swinging on the vine
Swing the next gal down the line
Allemande left, etc.

Allemande left and away you go
A right and a left and do paso
It’s corners right and back to the bar
Then into the center like Allemande Thar
A left hand swing and away you go
A right and left and a do paso
It’s corners right and back to the bar
Then into the center like Allemande Thar
A left hand swing and there’s your own
Give her a twirl and promenade home

Here are a few examples of docey doe patter you will want to use:

Four hands up and around you go
Break it up with a docey doe
The ladies go cee and the gents to do
One more turn and on you go

Circle four in the middle of the floor
A docey doe as you did before
Some use a shovel some grab a hoe
One more change and one we go

Docey lady and docey gent
Docey lady and on you went
Docey lady and docey doe
One more change and on you go

Circle four and around you go
Break it up with a docey doe
Little bitty heel little bitty toe
One more change and on you go

Circle four and around you go
Docey hi and docey lo
Chicken int he bread pan kickin’ out dough
Once more change and on you go

Circle four with a docey doe
The gents you know
Big pig rootin’ up a little tater row
Take another turn and one you go

circle up four with a docey doe
Walking right around on heel and toe
Cause you ain’t a raggin’ now like you was awhile ago
Make another trade and on you go

There are dozens of others in use and you may want to invent a few of your own. If you do try to use authentic line of patter. Avoid the use or development of new lines that might create a senseless ‘jive talk.’

Now here are a few more dances that are used frequently in our area.

First part same as other Forward Six and Back dances.

Forward six and back you blunder
An elbow hook with the left lady under
A triple duck and go like thunder
Form new lines of three.
(Repeat three more times)

First and third lead to the right
Circle a half and don’t you blunder
The inside arch and outside under
Right and left thru and turn right back
ladies chain in the center of the floor
Wheel the lady back to the place and promenade single file
Lady in the lead Indian style
It’s the spinning wheel so roll it along
The other way back your goin’ wrong
Gents reach back with their left arm
And tie ‘em up like a ball of yarn
With a do paso which will do no harm
Now swing that gal til her colors fade
Then prop her up and promenade

Head gents center, a right hand whirl
A left hand around the opposite girl
Back to center with an arm around
partner left your homeward bound
Your corner lady with the two hand swing
And now your own with the same old thing
(Repeat same with four gents center)
A left hand round the corners all
And right and left around the hall
Meet that girl at your back gate
Promenade eight till you get straight
(Repeat for side gents, head ladies, side ladies)

Honors right and honors left
All join hands and circle to the left
Break and swing and promenade back
First and third forward
And the side divide
Change at the center and swing the sides
First and third forward
And the side divide
Change at the center
And swing the sides
First and third forward and the sides divide
Change at the center
and swing the sides
First and third forward
And the sides divide
Change at the center and swing the sides
Now you’re home and everybody swing
With a left allemande and a right hand grand
Meet your partners and promenade

First and third go out to the right
With a right and left thru
And a right and left back
Then a two ladies chain
And chain right back
Now dos-a-dos and form a line
turn that line like a weathervane
Box the compass and brace the main
It’s cloudy in the west and looks like rain
Keep on goin’ til you’re home again
Now dos-a-dos as you were before
Circle four with the couple you know
Then (docey-doe, circle eight or ???)

1. Everybody swing his prettiest gal and promenade, boys, promenade
2. a. First couple out to the right
b. Change and swing and take her right along
(Repeat (be) eleven more times)
3. Now you’re home and everybody swing
Now allemande left with your left hand
Right had to partner and right and left grand
Promenade eight when you come straight
(Repeat 2. for 2nd, 3rd and 4th couples)

For variety in the repetitions of (b) it is sometimes called:
Change and swing with the carry-o-swing

or alternate between the two phrases.

First couple lead to the couples on the right
Sashay partners two by two
A resashay with a right and left thru
And swing that girl behind you
(Repeat then circle four with a docey-doe)

1. Everybody swing his prettiest gal and promenade, boys, promenade
2. a. First couple out to the couple on the right
b. And a four and a half
c. Right and left four and the center couple swing
d. Right and left six and the center couple swing
e. Right and left on and the center couple swing
f. Right and left back and the center couple swing
g. Now circle four with the odd couple oh,
Around and around and a docey-doe
h. Now on to the next
(Repeat 2. from (b) changing (g and h) to:
Balance home.

3. And swing ‘em all day
Allemande left in the same old way
Hand over hand and a right and left grand
Meet your partner and promenade
(Repeat 2 and 3 for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th couples)

This is sometimes called as follows:

Right and left through and center two swing
Right and left through and center two swing
Right and left through and center two swing
Right and left through and center two swing
Now lead to the foot
With a circle four and a docey-doe

1. All jump up and never come down
Swing your honey around and around
Till the hollow of your foot makes a hole in the ground
And promenade, boys, promenade
2. a. First couple out to the couple on the right
b. And dive for the oyster
c. Dive for the clam
d. Dive for the sardine
And take a full can
e. Four hands up and here we go
Round and around and a docey-doe
f. and on to the next
(Repeat 2, beginning with (b). Repeat again changing last line:)
Balance home
3. And everybody swing
Now allemande left with your left hand
Right had to partner and right and left grand
Promenade eight when you come straight
(Repeat 2 and 3 entirely for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th couples)

1. Honors right and left
All circle left - - -
Couples swing and promenade to place
2. a. First couple balance-swing
And lead right out to the right of the ring
b. The lady round two
c. And the gent fall through
d. The gent around two
e. And the lady fall through
f. Four hands up and here we go
Around and around and a docey-doe
g. And on to the next
(Repeat again changing the last line to:)
And now go home
2. And swing ‘em all day
allemande left in the same old way
Now right and left grand around the ring
Hand over hand with the dear little thing
Meet your partner and promenade
(Repeat 2 and 3 entirely for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th couples)


This week’s notes will be devoted entirely to round dances. Do not make the mistake, that many callers have, of skipping over the round dances.

The square dances are the main attraction of your program but it is not complete and will not survive without the rounds. The round dances provide relaxing intermissions between the squares and at the same time improve your square dancers by teaching them to be more graceful and improve their rhythm and timing.

Before your start to teach the following dances refer back to your notes for the first class and follow the same procedure in teaching each new round dance.

There are many other round dances that are fun to do and you should take every opportunity to learn them and dance them yourself. Remember, you cannot teach these dances unless you know how to dance them yourself. You must demonstrate them and your dancers will copy your way of dancing.

Music: Under the Bamboo Tree
Position: Facing partner, ballroom position. Stand apart. Gents back to the center of the hall.

(a) Forward, close Forward, close
Two chassez steps to gents’ left
(b) Back, close Back, close
Two chassez steps to gents’ right
(c) Forward close, back and turn
One chassez step forward and one chassez
Step back, pivoting on gents’ right
And ladies’ left gents facing forward
and lady facing backwards standing to gents’ right
(d) Walk two, three, four
(Take four walking steps, gent walking forward and lady walking backwards. Turn to again face partners on last step)
(e) Two step (eight two steps then repeat)
(Gents may twirl partner on the last two steps or twice for the 7th & 8th two step)

Music: Git Along Cindy
Position: Open ballroom position. Facing forward
(a) Walk, two, three, four
Starting with gents’ left and ladies right
Walk forward four steps
(b) Balance forward, balance back and turn
Step forward on gents’ left and lean forward and dip, then back on gents right and dip and face partner.
(c) Draw, draw, draw, turn point.
Draw same as chassez except closing foot is pointed back at right angle to stepping foot and heel is drawn to instep. On third draw pivot on gents’ right and point with left
(d) Walk, two, three, four
Same as (a)
(e) Balance forward, balance back
Same as (b)
(f) Rock, rock, rock, and ready
Balance forward on gents left and back on right turning clockwise. Repeat again finishing by facing forward again and separating ready to repeat entire figure.

Music: Glow Worm
Position: Stand side by side inside hands joined at shoulder lever facing forward gent inside

(a) Walk, two, three, touch
Starting on gents left and ladies right, walk three steps, pause and touch inside foot to floor (gents right)
(b) Walk, two, three, touch
Repeat starting with gents right and ladies left and touching outside foot
(c) Grapevine forward swing
Step forward on gents’ left turning to face partner. Step back of left with right and to the left again with left and swing right foot across in front of left dipping left knee for the pause.
(d) Grapevine back swing
Repeat in opposite direction starting with gents right
(e) Cross over turn and point
Starting with gents left, exchange places as in the California Whirl gent turning partner under his right arm crossing over with three turning steps. Left, right, left and point right
(f) Cross back, turn and point
Repeat (e) starting with gents’ right and ladies left
(g) A two step, a two step and a whirl and a whirl
Starting on gents left do two two steps and two whirls. Gent twirls lady with his left hand and on completion of second whirl he again takes her left in his right and both face forward ready to walk again.

NOTE: The following part of the glow worm was worked out by Dr. Shaw and his Cheyenne Mountain Dancers and we will include the calls as I call them but not the instructions.

Walk two three hop
Slide slide slide dip
Walk two three hop
Slide slide slide dip
Twirl and twirl and twirl and dip, step
A two step and two step and twirl and twirl

Music: Black Hawk Waltz
Position: Ballroom position gent facing forward

(a) Balance forward and back
And waltz in a line
(b) Balance forward and back
Waltz turn close Waltz turn close
(c) Balance forward and back
Waltz in a line
(d) Balance forward and back
Twirl the lady and join both hands


(a) Cross over, Cross over
Cross over, step, step, point
(b) Cross over, Cross over
Cross over, step, step, point

Repeat (a & b) stepping together on last count ready to balance again and repeat verse.

Music: Night of Gladnose, The Cattle Song
There are many waltzes that work equally well.

Step swing and back
Step swing and back
Step pause step pause
And slide and slide
Step pause step pause
Three little steps and bow
And waltz four waltz steps

There are several variations of the above dance but the one we will use in this class is the one that has been danced in this area for many years.

Music: Any fast schottische, some polkas
Position: Varsovienne position. Gents inside. Lady and gent start on same foot.

(a) Front, side, back two three
Swing left foot across in front of right and touch toe to floor. Swing back and touch again to left. swing left behind right and step on left. Step to the right on right foot. Swing left in front of right and step on left. Swing right around in front of left.
(b) Front side back two three
Repeat (a) with opposite foot
(c) Front, side, back two three
Repeat (a)
(d) Front, side, back two three
Repeat (b)
(e) Walk, walk, turn two three
Walk two steps, left right then three quick turning steps left, right, left. Lady and gent both turn in place, gent remaining on inside
(f) Walk, walk, turn two three
Walk two steps backwards, right, left, then three quick turning steps
right, left, right, and face forward again
(g) Walk, walk, turn two three
Repeat (e)
(h) Walk, walk, turn two three
Repeat (f)

We will dance some variations on this in class

Music: Laces and Graces
Position: Side by side, inside hands joined. Gents on inside

(a) Front side, back and pivot
(b) Step swing, step swing
(c) Slide, slide, slide, slide
(d) Walk, two, three, four

Repeat (a) through (d)

(e) Two step swing in and out
(f) Two step around the hall.
Do eight regular two steps

We have given you ten round dances in this course. There are many more that you will want to teach and we recommend that your purchase Dr. Lloyd Shaws ‘Round Dance’ Book. Published by the Caxton Printers Ltd., Caldwell, Idaho.

You cannot successfully teach a round dance unless you know it yourself. Take every opportunity you have to go to dances and learn new squares and rounds.

Well Cousins, this winds up our first attempt at helping other callers find their way. We hope you have benefited as much as we have from the experience.

As we told you at the very beginning we do not expect you to walk out of this class and say “I am a square dance caller.” Only time and experience can accomplish this.

After listening to your calling efforts and watching your reactions to our discussions I am more than ever convinced that square dancing is indeed an unusual activity. Your enthusiasm and graceful acceptance of criticism is an indication of your sincerity of purpose.

Some of you will make good callers. Some of you will not even make the attempt because you know that you are lacking in some of the qualifications of personality or technique. Some of you will make the attempt and will be disappointed when the dancers pass judgement on you and you discover that they do not have the same high opinion of you that you have of yourself. The best safeguard against this disappointment is to make a careful analysis of your abilities and personality. Try to see yourself as other see you and strive to overcome those faults that will stand in your way.

Most of you who fail will do so because of lack of personality. You can correct and improve your calling technique with practice but you won’t have the opportunity to practice if your personality rules you out.

Our desire to help you does not end with the classes. If you have problems that you think we can help you with don’t hesitate to ask for that help.

Always remember, you are SERVING the people in your program and the amount of FUN they have will be your measure of success.

Now hurry up cousin don’t be late
Meet your honey at the old back gate
That’s all there is, there ain’t no more
So promenade right off the floor.

Cousin Ed

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