Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

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call, "On to the next/' the first couple goes back to their own position and remains there (since they have completed the circuit of the set) and the second couple advances to the fourth and dances with them. Then the caller says, "On to the next and the third follow up." The second couple now dances with the first couple, and the third couple at the same time dances wTith the fourth. In this way each couple goes around the set overlapping with the proceeding couple and stopping at their own home position and waiting for the couples behind them to catch up. As soon as the opportunity offers the fourth folloiv wp and by the time the fourth couple gets back home, all will have been around the set. Thus three grand right and lefts will have been omitted, and they will all join now in a final right and left. It sounds compliĀ­cated, but works out easily. Each couple follows up as soon as there is a couple free for them to dance with. In the figure it works out that all four couples are busy, then only two couples, then four again and so on alternately. It makes the dance more interesting and much shorter when called in this way.
Split-the-Ring Type
There are several dances built on a pattern in which the first couple goes down the center and splits the ring, the lady goes right and the gent goes left. In practically all of these dances, after the introduction, they begin by having:
The first couple balance; The first couple swing, And down the center, And split the ring.
Aside from the direction balance home in which most dancers simply go home (though by rights they should balĀ­ance even here) balance always means to step backward four steps and then forward four steps in our type of Western dance. So, if the first couple balances they face each other and each backs up four steps, then they come together four steps, and swing in the regular way. Then they march down the center and pass between the third couple and separate, the lady going around the outside of the ring to the right and the gentleman to the left, ready to do anything that the call directs them to do.