Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

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with his left, releases her to let her go on around behind him, and reaches out with his right hand and takes the on­coming opposite lady. He passes her behind him with his right hand, releases her in the same manner so she can com­plete encircling him, and takes his oncoming partner with his left. As he turns her he puts his right hand behind her waist where her right hand palm upon her hip awaits it and walks with her to whatever position the continuing dance requires.
It all sounds very complicated in words, but is extremely easy on the floor once you get the idea. The gentleman beginners have three favorite ways of muddling up the docey-doe. The commonest error is in forgetting to face always the opposite gentleman, and in turning around or pivoting as they pass the ladies behind them. The second commonest mistake is trying to hold on to their partners while they pass them beyond the opposite ladies. This is, of course, physically impossible, as the resulting tangle will prove. And a few of the gentlemen forget to let go of the ladies as they pass them around behind them. But it would require an arm as long and supple as a boa constrictor to pass anyone completely around behind you without letting go hands.
The ladies, bless 'em, also have their favorite mistakes. Usually they try to turn to the right around the opposite gentleman instead of to the left around their partner as soon as they are released and are passing beyond the oppo­site lady at the beginning of the figure. But if they will concentrate on doing a "left turn" by giving their left hands to their own partners and circling behind them they will have no trouble. Then, often, when they circle their part­ners they seem to think the figure is over and refuse to encircle the opposite gentleman next. They must do a com­plete figure eight, encircling each man.
It often pays as a bit for preliminary practice for the two men to stand stationary, close, and face to face, and pass the ladies behind them in a series of figure eights. They will pass their partners behind them with the left hands and their opposites behind them with their right hands alter­nately over and over again until this essential part of the figure is established. And the ladies will probably never again encircle the opposite first after they have done a dozen or more figure eights around the stationary men.






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