Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

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natural for each man to swing the opposite lady around be­hind him with his right hand and then swing his partner with his left and lead her on to the next couple. This simple form still survives, you will remember, in the Form a Star with the right hand cross which you danced earlier in the evening, except that the circle four was omitted, and the men were not back to back.
Later, it seems natural that the four would circle while all facing in, and a new movement would be required before they could conveniently swing their opposites with their right, and the more complicated it was the more fun it would be. So we find a form where each gentleman passes his lady beyond the other lady (that is, each lady passes between the opposite couple) from her partner's right hand to his left, then the two gentlemen swing in and pass each other back to back, dos-a-dos, still holding their partners by the left hand and continuing their pivots while keeping hold. They are now in a position and swinging in a direction which makes it inevitable to swing the opposite with the right and, of course, to finish by swinging partners with the left. This, to me at least, traces the evolution of the French dos-a-dos to the Western docey-doe with complete satisfaction.
Start very simply and very slowly, if you would save time. Let two couples stand holding hands in a circle of four, each gentleman's partner in his right hand, and the opposite lady in his left. Now let each gentleman break his hold with the opposite and pass his lady from right to left so that she passes between the opposite gentleman and his partner, of course, breaking holds with her partner to be able to do this, and then the gentleman takes her left hand in his left; that is, each gentleman passes his lady's left hand from his right hand to his left in such a way that at the moment of break between his two hands she passes beyond the opposite lady, and the opposite lady passes between him and his own lady. Now he continues the motion by passing her around behind him with his left hand, she, of course, doing a left turn. He must not turn with her, but must keep facing the opposite gentleman all the while. As she gets behind him he must, of course, let go her hand. Otherwise he would have to pivot around with her, and that would spoil everything. She con­tinues encircling him, and as she comes around to his side she is in a position to be taken by her right hand by the opposite gentleman. So each gentleman passes his lady behind him

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