Square & Round Dance

Square Dancing

Square dance is a kind of folk dance that involves four couples (eight people) standing in a square, facing each other, moving in time with music and the cues of a caller. It has its origins in English country dancing and French court dancing, but was altered by American pioneers and has continued to evolve into what is known now as Modern Western Square Dance. The basic traditions of square dance have been preserved, but the steps have continued to evolve over the years, and now there are square dance communities all over the world.

Although square dance is a kind of folk dance, there are two important distinctions to make between traditional folk dancing and square dancing. The first is that square dancing is always done with exactly eight people. The second is that the dancers are not required to remember the order of the steps. Every square dance involves a “caller” who tells the dancers what steps to do, and it what order, all in time with the music. There are many levels of square dancing involving many hundreds of different kinds of steps, but if you learn how to do about 50 to 70 steps, you will be able to join any square dance club in Japan, or around the world.

Square dance offers people a chance to interact and communicate with others while getting a bit of light exercise. People can participate as a couple or alone. There about about 35,000,000 members of square dancing clubs in the United States, and about 13,500 in Japan. In Japan, the Japan Square Dance Association acts as a national focal point for the 440 square dance clubs around the country. In Ibaraki, there are groups in Tsukuba, Mito, Toride, and Ryugasaki.


The following is a list of steps that you will learn during the Beginners’ Class. The 52 steps contained here are known as “Basic”. After you master these, you can move on to Mainstream and Plus.

1. Dancer Naming
a. Partner/Corner
b. Heads/Sides
c. Couple#1,#2,#3,#4
d. Boys/Girls
e. Centers/Ends

2. Circle Left/Circle Right

3. Forward & Back

4. Do Sa Do/Dosado to a Wave

5. Swing

6. Promenade/Single File Promenade
a. Couples(Full,1/2,3/4)
b. Single File Promenade
c. Star Promenade

7. Allemande Left

8. Arm Turns
a. Left Arm Turn
b. Right Arm Turn

9. Right and Left Grand Family
a. Right & Left Grand
b. Weave the Ring
c. Wrong Way Grand

10. Left-Hand Star/Right-Hand Star

11. Pass Thru

12. Split Two

13. Half Sashay Family
a. Half Sashay
b. Rollaway
c. Ladies In, Men Sashay

14. Turn Back Family
a. U-Turn Back
b. Back Truck

15. Separate Around 1 or 2
a. to a Line
b. and come into the middle

16. Courtesy Turn

17. Ladies Chain Family
a. Two Ladies Chain(Reg. and 3/4)
b. Four Ladies Chain(Reg. and 3/4)
c. Chain Down the Line

18. Do Pa So

19. Lead Right

20. Right And Left Thru

21. Grand Square

22. Star Thru

23. Circle to a Line

24. Bend the Line

25. All Around The Corner

26. See Saw

27. Square Thru(1,2,3,4)/Left Square thru (1,2,3,4)

28. California Twirl

29. Dive Thru

30. Wheel Around

31. Thar Family
a. Allemand Thar
b. Allemande Left to an Allemand Thar
c. Wrong Way Thar

32. Shoot the Star/Shoot the Star Full Around

33. Slip the Clutch

34. Box the Gnat

35. Ocean Wave Family
a. Step To A Wave
b. Balance

36. Alamo Ring Formation
a. Allemand Left in the Alamo Style
b. Balance

37. Pass The Ocean

38. Extend (from 1/4 tag only)

39. Swing Thru/Left Swing Thru

40. Run/Cross Run

41. Trade Family
a. (named dancers)Trade
b. Couples Trade
c. Partner Trade

42. Wheel And Deal

43. Double Pass Thru

44. First Couples Go Left/Right, Next Couples Go Left/Right

45. Zoom

46. Flutter Wheel/Reverse Flutter Wheel

47. Sweep a Quarter

48. Veer Left/Veer Right

49. Trade By

50. Touch 1/4

51. Circulate Family
a. (named dancer)Circulate
b. All 8 Circulate
c. Couple Circulate
d. Single File Circulate
e. Split/Box Circulate

52. Ferris Wheel


Once you have mastered the 52 steps at the “Basic” level, you can move on to Mainstream. And once you can do all of the following steps, you can move on to “Plus”.

53. Cloverleaf

54. Turn Thru

55. Eight Chain Thru/Eight Chain 1,2,3,etc

56. Pass to the Center

57. Spin the Top

58. Centers In

59. Cast Off Three Quarters

60. Walk & Dodge

61. Slide Thru

62. Fold/Cross Fold

63. Dixie Style to an Ocean Wave

64. Spin Chain Thru

65. Tag the Line (In/Out/Left/Right)

66. Half Tag

67. Scoot Back

68. Single Hinge/Couples Hinge

69. Recycle(from a wave only)


Once you have mastered Basic and Mainstream, you can try your hand at Plus!

1. Acey Deucey

2. Teacup Chain

3. Ping Pong Circulate

4. Load the Boat

5. Extend

6. Peel Off

7. Linear Cycle (waves only)

8. Coordinate

9. (Anything) & Spread

10. Spin Chain the Gears

11. Track 2

12. (Anything) & Roll

13. Follow Your Neighbor

14. Fan the Top

15. Explode the Wave

16. Explode and (Anything) (waves only)

17. Relay the Deucey

18. Peel the Top

19. Diamond Circulate

20. Single Circle to a Wave

21. Trade the Wave

22. Flip the Diamond

23. Grand Swing Thru

25. All 8 Spin the Top

26. Cut the Diamond

27. Chase Right

28. Dixie Grand

29. 3/4 Tag

30. Spin Chain & Exchange the Gears

Round Dancing

Round dance is a kind of folk dance where a group of couples dance arrange themselves in a circle and dance according to the instructions given by a “cuer”. Round dancing is similar to ballroom dancing, but the dancers are not required to memorize the order of the steps in any particular dance. The cuer gives the instructions a moment before they are to be executed and the dancers all follow the instructions in time with the music, while progressing around the circle in a counter-clockwise fashion. The basic repertoire of steps in round dancing is similar to that in ballroom dancing, so the two style complement each other nicely.

There are six levels of round dancing. Phases 1 and 2 are considered to be “easy level” and they focus mainly on two-step and waltz. Phases 3 and 4 are intermediate levels, and they involve advanced waltz steps and various other rhythmic dances including foxtrot, quickstep, tango, cha-cha-cha, rumba, bolero, mambo, jive, swing, west coast swing, samba, paso doble, and slow two step. Phases 5 and 6 include the kinds of steps that you might see in ballroom dancing competitions.


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