Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

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cuss each type briefly. Before doing this we should mention one other New England contribution that became trans­planted in the Western dance. There are two figures that regularly recur in the old New England dances. They are found over and over again in the Quadrilles, Longways dances, and Circle dances. They are the right and left through and the ladies chain. While they do not very often occur in the Western dance, the ladies chain being especially rare, they do merit a description; and, once learned, your group can widen the variety of its dances. Ford's Novelty Two-Step, for instance becomes great fun with a group who are familiar with these two simple figures.
In the right and left through two couples advance to each other, each lady, of course, being on the right side of her gentleman. Each dancer gives his right hand to the oppo­site (who, of course, is of the opposite sex as well) and passes beyond—the two couples passing through each other. Each'gentleman then takes his lady's left hand in his left hand, and putting his right hand behind her waist, turns her around him to the left while he stands as a pivot. Then the two couples pass through each other again, giving opposites right hands as they do so. Then giving left hands to part­ners, the gentlemen again turn the ladies to place. Right hands to opposites and left hands to partners give it the name right and left through. Experts usually leave out the handshake, but beginners find it a help. This means that the dancers pass each other on the left side. Incidentally, in all passing, whether individuals, couples, or long lines, it is customary to pass on the left side of your opposite instead of on the right side as we are accustomed to do in modern American traffic. The old English custom of passing on the left prevails in our dancing as it still survives in modern London traffic. Perhaps it carries the roots of our dances back to the time when armed men passing in narrow lanes kept their sword arms toward each other for safety's sake and passed on the left.
In the ladies chain two couples face each other. Each gentleman passes his lady toward the other lady. The two ladies take right hands in passing each other and then give their left hands to the left hands of the opposite gentlemen. The gentlemen put their right hands behind the ladies' waists and turn them completely around to the left as they themselves pivot in position. Each gentleman now passes

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