American Square Dances of The West
& Southwest - online instruction book

With Calls, instructions, diagrams, steps & sheet music

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
American Square Dances
based upon a definite time value, which must be observed by the dancers and the caller. Circling half around the set requires eight beats of music but only seven steps. The eighth beat is used to either reverse the circle, or, to break their circle and go into the next movement, as directed by the call.
In the Western dance, the circle is always to the left. Often the dancers are directed to circle left half around and then re­verse, back to the right, to place. In the reverse movement, the dancers usually release hands and dance back to place single file, to the call of "Break and trail," or, "Back to the right, single file."
Circle easily and naturally, with no aff ected positions or move­ments of the hands or arms. There should be no "pulling" or gripping of the hands. Each person is dancing as an individual, with hands joined, not grasped. If the dancers indulge in Httle sideward movements, "switching the bustle," etc., the timing will be lost and the movements will require more than sixteen beats of music for a complete circuit of eight dancers.
The time required for a complete circuit of four dancers is eight beats of music, and twelve beats of music for a formation of six dancers, with half of this time required for a half circuit.
A very important timing rule for circle movements is that whenever one couple leads to another and they are directed to circle half around and then break their circle and dance another movement which requires the dancers to directly face their opposites, the half circle then requires eight beats of music in­stead of four for the movement, four beats being necessary to break the ring and "square off" with the opposite couple. Such a movement is only possible in a formation of four dancers. If this timing rule is not observed, the dancers will be rushed and will not be given sufficient time to properly dance the figure called.
The timing given for all circle movements includes the time required to dance to the next couple and form the circle, except when dancing with the couple who is across the set, in the Opposite position. In such cases, four additional beats of music

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III