Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

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Symmetrical Type
This is a type of dance in which each couple does the same figure at the same time, giving a complete symmetry to the set. It is at its best in such dances as Four Gents Lead out to the Right of the Ring and Ladies to the Center and Back to the Bar. And in most of the dances of this type there is the same progression of ladies or gentlemen around the ring, so each will have a new partner for the four repeĀ­titions of the dance. This progression is achieved in one of the three ways described in the preceding section.
Another type of symmetrical dance starts with:
The first and third couple Forward and back.
(This is suggestive of the New England Quadrille.) After taking four steps toward each other and four steps back and away from each other, the first and third couples move into a position that puts all four couples in action and in symmetry.
The Single Visitor Type
There are a few dances in which a single lady or a single gentleman visits around the ring, doing some figure with each couple or one dancer of each couple in turn. Usually this type of dance borrows its patterns from the Kentucky Running Set, and the single lady is followed by each of the other ladies in turn until they are all going around the ring, or the lady is followed by her partner. In one dance, The Pokey Nine, even the caller jumps into the set, or some ninth dancer comes in from the wall, and follows around always with the odd couple until the dance is completed. And in Take Her Right Along the gentleman leads his lady out to the second couple, but leaves her there and takes the second lady on to leave her with the third gentleman while .he takes that lady on, and so on until, after twelve swaps and twelve swings, he has his own lady back home.
The characteristic, then, of this type of dance is for one or more dancers individually to visit around the ring.
Promenade the Outside Ring
There are a few dances in which the first couple starts the dance by promenading the outside ring, or the inside ring