English Country Dances (Beta)

Tried and True ECD
Untested ECD
Master List of All Dances

Duple minor longways

Triple minor longways

Three-couple set

Four-couple set

 

After the Storm **
Duple minor longways
July 2017
Tune: After the Storm, by David Smukler

A1 Couple 1:
1-4 Set and turn single
5-8 Take right hands: Assisted half figure-8 down
A2 Couple 2:
1-4 Set and turn single
5-8 Take right hands: Assisted half figure-8 up, continuing around neighbor to end in the middle of a line-of-4 facing up
B1 1-2 Line dance up the hall with two waltz steps
3-4 Fall back, bending the line into a ring
5-8 Circle left all the way around
B2 1-2 Second diagonals (original 1st corners) change places, passing right shoulders
3-4 First diagonals the same
5-8 Twos cast and lead while ones lead and cast

For the assisted half figure-8, the person on the right (whose arm is across own body) “hands” their partner into crossing the set while moving down or up, and then follows up with their own path in the half figure-8.

In A2 6-8, ones can choose to cast out to the ends of the line-of-4.

Written to celebrate the wedding of Jennifer Fuller and Jonathan Avery.

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Borrowed Time ****
November 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune: Borrowed Time, by David Smukler

A-parts in 9/8, 3 steps to the bar
A1 1-2 First corners change places passing right, second corners the same
3-4 Neighbors change places: First diagonals right-hand turn 3/4 while others dance up or down the outside (ends improper, ones above)
A2 1-4 Repeat B1 with new first corners beginning (all home)
B-parts in 6/8, 2 steps to the bar
B1 1-4 Neighbors back-to-back
5-6 Circle left halfway
7-8 Balance the ring in and out
B2 1-4 Partners 2-hand turn once around, open out to face neighbor
5-8 Three changes of rights and lefts, starting with neighbor on the side

Start and end with A-parts.

The A-parts are 4 bars of 9/8, a total of 12 steps for each part. The B-parts are 8 bars of 6/8, a total of 16 steps for each part. But the pace stays the same when the meter changes. Each step still takes one dotted quarter note.

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The Dandy’s Cravat (formerly “Brooklyn Dandy”) ***
November 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune: Trip to Sligo (Irish traditional)

A1 1-4 Circle left once around
5-8 Ones single file chase clockwise halfway while twos meet and lead up (ones are below and improper)
A2 1-8 Full double figure eight (ones crossing up as twos cast down, etc.)
B1 1-4 Left-hand star with next neighbors
5-8 Right-hand star with current neighbors
B2 1-4 Ones 2-hand turn 1-1/2, face up
5-8 Lead up between the twos, cast back to progressed place
Every other time, couple 2 active:
A3 1-4 Circle left once around (with new neighbors)
5-8 Twos single file chase clockwise halfway while ones meet and lead down (twos are above and improper)
A4 1-8 Full double figure eight (twos crossing down as ones cast up, etc.)
B3 1-4 Left-hand star with next neighbors
5-8 Right-hand star with current neighbors
B4 1-4 Twos 2-hand turn 1-1/2, face down
5-8 Lead down between the ones, cast back to place

The dance alternates who is active. With your first neighbors the ones are active (A1-B2). With the next it is the twos who are active (A3-B4), and you continue to alternate as you progress along the line. You can choose to simplify by dancing only the first two As and Bs, so that ones are always the active couple. Another way to simplify is to use a whole figure-8 for the active couple only in A2/A4, rather than a double figure-8.

This dance began life as a variation on a nineteenth century American contra dance called Dandy’s Hornpipe. Figures evolved from there and ECD styling seemed to suit. By now very little of Dandy’s Hornpipe remains. I created the dance in 2010; the latest revision is from November 2020.

Most of my ECD dance compositions start with a tune, but this one did not, and finding the best sort of tune took years. For a long while it was set to a very beautiful waltz, but eventually I saw reason and chose this jig (which Chris Sackett has also used for his dance, The Skin of Our Teeth).

Revised during the COVID-19 pandemic, and dedicated to Jennifer Staples, who made my linen cravat… and tried valiantly to teach me to tie it. Jennifer says that the full double figure-8 resembles the tying of a regency cravat. This version was first danced on Jennifer’s birthday: July 11, 2021.

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Doctor Fauci’s Maggot **
June 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune: Territorial Boys, by Debbie Jackson

A1 1-4 Right-hand star
5-8 All dance individually clockwise up or down your own line, wrapping around at the ends (skipping or skip-change step)
A2 1-4 Turn over left shoulder and return
5-8 Original foursomes left-hand star
B1 1-4 First corners change places passing left shoulder; when coast is clear, second corners change places passing right shoulders
5-8 Partners 2-hand turn 1-1/2, open out to face current neighbors
B2 1-4 Neighbors back-to-back
5-8 Partners set and turn single

The back-to-back in B2 is with the same neighbors. Make sure dancers face new neighbors for the star in A1.

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Easter Eve ***
DM I: 17 (1721); my interpretation September 2023
Duple minor longways
Tune in Barnes I

A1 1-4 L-file dancers half figure-8 through the R-file dancers
5-8 Those two neighbors 2-hand turn
A2 1-4 R-file dancers half figure-8 through the L-file dancers
5-8 And they 2-hand turn
B1 1-4 First corners (on second diagonal) change places by right shoulder; second corners the same
5-8 Circle left halfway, all turn single (*see note)
B2 1-4 Four quick changes of a circular hey, pass partner right to begin
5-8 Ones lead up between the twos and cast back to place

*At the end of B1, turn single whichever way you prefer. Turning left feels good out of the star; turning right moves efficiently into the circular hey; and (my personal favorite) a cloverleaf turn single creates an opportunity to connect with the next neighbor.

I decided to include this dance in some programs because I love the tune. I was using Bernard Bentley’s interpretation, but noticed in his notes that he omitted two instructions from the original text, and I became curious about why.

The directions in the Dancing Master begin, “The two Men leads thro’ the Women and half Figure, and turn in the contrary place,” followed by the symbol that indicates the end of the musical phrase. Bentley interpreted this as “1st and 2nd Men lead through the two Women, cast back to places and 1/2 figure eight through the Women,” and then notes, “In A1 a turn has been omitted.” He made this choice because there is simply not enough time in the music to add a turn to the A1 as he interpreted it. However, maybe the entire phrase “leads thro’ the Women and half figure” is simply a half figure-8, and the words “Men lead(s) thro’ the Women” are there to emphasize that this half figure-8 is across the dance rather than up and down. This might be a stretch, but it does make it possible to add the turn. Something has to be adjusted to make the figure fit the phrase, and this interpretation, which includes the turn, seems at least as justifiable as Bentley’s, which drops it.

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Entering Becket *****
August 2019
Duple minor longways, identify #1L as “The Becket-izer”
Tune: Entering Becket* by Casey Murray
(*two versions: original in Bb and another in C, which many musicians prefer)

A1 1-4 Ones lead down between the twos and cast back to place
5-8 Ones 2-hand turn 1-1/2
A2 1-4 Similarly, twos lead up between the ones and cast back
5-8 Twos 2-hand turn 1-1/2
B Two 3-hand right-hand stars; second diagonals are in both stars:
1-4 Second diagonal with the other #2: right-hand star once around
5-8 Second diagonal with the other #1: continue to star about 2/3 until Becket-izer is home, easing out of the star to face partner on the side
C1 1-4 Partners back-to-back
5-8 Two changes of rights and lefts, starting with partner on the side; turn over right shoulder such that ones face down and twos up
C2 1-2 All dance up or down the line, face in
3-4 With new neighbors, circle left halfway
5-6 All turn single left (Becket-izer is in progressed place and stands pat)
7-8 Everyone but the Becket-izer: 3-hand left-hand star about halfway to end on own side in progressed place

Repeat as many times as desired, but on the last time through go out after the B-part, honoring partner on the side of the set (because you have just entered Becket).

Here is another way to think about the B-part. As A2 ends, the twos have been in motion. At the top of the B, the Becket-izer joins them to form the first 3-hand star. After the star turns once, the Becket-izer’s neighbor drops out and partner joins. Turn that star until the Becket-izer is home, and–voila!–the set is in Becket formation.

When you reach either end of the set, you will find no one across from you in C2 (3-4). Wait out one turn, and reenter on the opposite line on the next C2. At the top of the set, whoever wants to be the Becket-izer leads back in.

I was delighted that Casey agreed to compose a tune for me. During the time she was working on it, she frequently made the trip between Rochester, NY and Boston, MA. While driving along the Mass Pike she would pass the sign that read, “Entering Becket,” and think about dances in Becket formation. When she presented me with a tune by that name, I found I was intrigued with the idea of a dance that started as duple proper, but then “entered” Becket….

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Great and Small ***
December 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune: Roslin Castle (no repeats, 4 steps per bar)

A 1-2 Ones half figure-8 down, while twos dance up the outside and lead down the center
3-4 Partners 2-hand turn, open up facing neighbors
5-6 First diagonals change places; second diagonals the same
7-8 Neighbors on the side, a tight right shoulder round 1-1/2
B 1-4 Open left-hand chain, as follows:
– First diagonals left-hand turn halfway, partners right-hand turn once
– First diagonals left-hand turn halfway, neighbors right-hand turn 3/4
5-6 Single file clockwise halfway (6), honor partner (2)
7-8 Ones half figure-8 up while twos cast down and lead up

The open chain is a mirror image of the same figure in dances like “Elizabeth” (by Colin Hume). Dancers may not be expecting to take these roles in the chain.

The term “diagonals” refers to position, not people. One of the dancers on the first diagonal halfway through the A-part did not began in that position, nor are those two the same as the people who begin the chain in the B-part, but they are all first diagonals at those moments. For the single file, I like to think of the first diagonals as leading their neighbors halfway around.

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Hearthstones ****
November 2021
Duple minor longways
Tune: Mr and Mrs Maclean of Snaigow by Dougie MacLean,
published by Limetree Arts and Music

A1 1-2 Ones lead down the center, flip to face up at end of phrase
3-4 Ones fall back (2 single steps) to continue moving down the hall
5-8 Ones lead up to home and cast down one place, twos moving up
9-12 Ones half figure-8 up through the twos
13-16 Ones 2-hand turn 1-1/2 and ease out to line
A2 1-12 Repeat A1 for the twos, ending as follows:
13-15 Twos 2-hand turn 1-1/2 and face down;
Ones meet on bar 15 and face up
16 And all cloverleaf turn single, into…
B 1-8 Cross-Stitch Hey” (two half heys-for-4, one on each diagonal; both begin with 1st corners passing each other, and 2nd corners going up or down the outside)
(1-4) First half hey on right diagonal:
– First corners pass left, pass partner right at opposite corner, and cross the set to own side, while…
– Second corners go up or down to neighbor’s place, pass partner right at corner, and pass each other left on the diagonal; end facing out
(1s are now on L-file; 2s on R-file)
(5-8) Repeat to home, same roles but on other diagonal with other shoulders:
– Original first corners pass right on the second diagonal, pass neighbor left at opposite corner, and cross the set to home, while…
– Second corners go up or down one place, pass neighbor left at corner, and each other right on the diagonal
(All are home)
9-12 Circle right once around, drawing in at the end of the phrase
13-16 Ones a large cast to second place while
Twos lead up the center and turn single away

Aniela Wolkonowski dubbed the figure in B 1-8 a “cross-stitch hey.” The path of each half hey is wedge-shaped; one leg of the wedge is on the diagonal, and the other is either straight across (1st corners) or up-or-down the line (2nd corners). Each half-hey has three actions: 1) dance one leg of your wedge; 2) round the corner; and 3) dance the other leg of your wedge. Pass two people per half, one in the center when you cross on the diagonal and the other at a corner (between the two legs of the wedge). You do not pass anyone on the short leg.

The cloverleaf turn single in A2 may be omitted, in which case A2 is exactly like A1.

Couples who would prefer not to switch roles in the cross-stitch hey may change sides while waiting out at either end, thereby remaining a first or second corner.

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Hope Blooms ***
April 2023
Duple minor longways
Tune: Laurel’s Triumph, by Jane Knoeck

A1 1-4 Ones lead down between twos, cast back to place, and cross over by right shoulders (continue turning over right shoulder to face clockwise)
5-8 All four, single file (CW) once around
A2 1-4 Twos lead up between ones, cast back to place, and cross over by left shoulders (continue turning over left shoulder to face counterclockwise)
5-8 All four, single file once around (CCW); join hands in a ring
B1 1-4 Balance in and out; a big turn single to end facing across
5-6 Two changes as follows: all pull past partner by the right, then neighbors pass, twos taking inside hands and splitting the ones 
7-8 Ones 2-hand turn once while twos cast out to the ends of a line-of-4 facing up
B2 1-4 Line-of-4 lead up 6 steps; fall back 6, bending the line to face across
5-8 Twos cross, cast, 2-hand turn halfway, and lead up, while
Ones (starting on bar 6 after twos have crossed) lead up and cast down

The single file circles are 12 counts, and work best if you do not arrive early. Make them big, taking 3 steps for each of the four places round the circle.

I have another dance to this tune (Never Better). This one is intended to be a bit more accessible.

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In the Moment ***
October 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune: First Parish by Andrew Marcus (November 2001)

A1 1-4 First corners back-to-back
5-8 Neighbors gate once around counterclockwise (second corners forward)
A2 1-4 Second corners left-shoulder back-to-back
5-8 Neighbors gate once around clockwise (first corners forward)
B 1-2 Maintaining hand with neighbor, fall back setting
3-4 Partners change places passing right shoulder, flip on last beat to face back in
5-8 Set and link: Taking inside hands, neighbors set and then change places turning over right shoulder (right diagonals roll through the center and end facing out while left diagonals cast up or down and end facing across) (all now progressed, but improper)
C1 1-4 Ones chase clockwise around couple above: “First around two and your partner cut through”
5-8 Twos, similarly, chase clockwise around couple below
C2 1-4 Circle left once around
5-8 Partners 2-hand turn

In the A-parts, the active corners fall back to place and then continue to fall back in the gate figure. In a sense this is a “trust fall,” and a trustworthy neighbor–who steps into the gate and reliably catches their neighbor’s hand–is important to its success. At the end of A2, dancers can move in to end close to partner before (more!) falling back in the B-part.

The chase in C1 (first for couple 1 and then for couple 2) works like this: each first corner in turn begins by chasing their partner in an orbit around the neighbor couple, but takes a short cut by slipping between those neighbors. Transitions in this dance are improved if you stay facing your partner as you slip through (somewhat like a modern “Mad Robin” chase). You are crossed over when the chase begins, but partners exchange places because of the “cut through” and so C1 ends with all on their original side. The path is similar to the first figure in Cheshire Rounds (1710), and the figure has jumped from one dance genre to another over the years. It came into southern Appalachian round dancing as “the old side door,” and from there made its way into traditional squares. Ted Sannella imported it into his contra dance New Friendship Reel, after which many other contra dance authors, including Penn Fix, Roger Diggle, and Donna Calhoun, have featured it. (I should count myself in that list as well; the same chase appears in my Triplet #7.) With Gary Roodman’s use of the figure in his now classic English country dance The Homecoming, this particular chase has come full circle.

The tune First Parish was originally composed on the accordion in the key of F. I transposed it to keep the fiddlers I work with happy.

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Insurmountable Opportunities ***
Duple minor longways
Tune: Insurmountable Opportunities, by Laurel Sharp and David Smukler

A1 1-2 All set toward your neighbor
3-4 Turn single over right shoulder and take hands four
5-8 Circle left once around
A2 1-4 Neighbors gate clockwise once around 1-1/4 until first corners can take left hands in the center
5-8 In the center, left-hand turn 1-1/2, then face partner
B1 1-4 Half hey-for-4 across the set (partners pass by the right to begin)
5-8 Partners 2-hand turn 1-1/4 and face in
B2 1-2 In a ring-of-4, balance in and out, and…
3-4 Petronella turn: Turning over right shoulder, move into the position of the dancer on your right; immediately face neighbor on the side
5-8 Three changes of rights and lefts, starting with neighbor

At the end of the 2-hand turn in B1 the original first corners (those who turned in the center in A2) end on the right of your partner. Original second corners (who cast into the hey in A2) end on the left.

This is an “anglicized” variation of my contra dance, Bingham’s Pie.

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Lady Jane’s Maggot; or, Tit for Tat ****
June 2016
Duple minor longways
Tune: Fifty Years of David, by Jane Knoeck (Sept 2001)

A1 1-4 Right hand to neighbor: 2 changes of rights and lefts
5-8 Facing corner, set and turn single
9-12 First corners change places by right shoulders; second corners the same
13-16 Partners 2-hand turn, ease out to line
A2 1-4 Right hand to partner: 2 changes of rights and lefts
5-8 Facing partner, set and turn single, take two hands with partner
9-12 Half draw poussette clockwise (1st corners going forward throughout)
13-14 Partners balance forward and back
15-16 Ones cast while twos cross up the center as if starting a figure-8
B 1-8 Hey-for-3 across, ones pass right to begin
Twos take turns in the hey as follows:
(1-4) The #2 dancer crossing up on the first diagonal at the end of A2 continues in a figure-8 pattern, casting down, and then crossing up on the second diagonal to end in progressed place
(5-8) Halfway through the hey, the other #2 dancer, about to be “displaced” by partner, casts down and crosses back up on the first diagonal to progressed place 
(All are now progressed and on original sides)
9-12 Same four right-hand star
13-16 Left-hand star
(Second corners turn over right shoulder to face next neighbor)

To celebrate my 50th birthday in September of 2001 I organized a free dance for my local community with music by the Groovemongers. Jane Knoeck, their piano player, composed a lovely waltz for the occasion called “Fifty Years of David.” Almost 15 years later, she played the tune at a dance I was attending. “What a nice tune!” I said, “What is it?…” Re-inspired by her music, I composed this dance a few days later.

*Note about the hey: For the 1s, it feels like a normal right-shoulder hey. The 2s have a support role: each in turn does half of a figure 8 pattern, casting down and crossing up, thereby filling a role in the hey as needed.

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Maeve’s Tortoise (pronounced “tour-toys”) **
October 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune: Christy Barry’s

A1 1-4 First corners chase: Top corner dance clockwise around partner while bottom corner follows; both end at home (and take hands-4 in a ring)
5-8 Balance the ring
Petronella spin: Turn single over right shoulder while moving one place counterclockwise
A2 1-4 Other corners (now on right diagonal) also chase: top corner dance clockwise around opposite while bottom corner follows; end where you began
5-8 Balance the ring; Petronella spin
B1 1-4 Ones half figure-8 up through the twos
5-8 Partners all 2-hand turn
B2 1-4 Twos half figure-8 down through the ones
5-8 Partners all set and turn single

The chase figure is borrowed from The Garter (The Dancing Master, 1688). The title was inspired by the very funny comedian, Maeve Higgins. On one of her many appearances on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, she pronounced the word Tortoise as “Tour-toys,” and this pronunciation became a hilarious topic of discussion.

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Mister Bailey’s Daydream **
November 2022
Duple minor longways
Tune: Oboe tune by James Paisible from The Sprightly Companion (1695)

A1 1-4 All half poussette counterclockwise
5-6 Neighbors change by left shoulder, into…
7-8 Left-hand star halfway, drawing in at the end of the phrase
9-10 Turn single right
A2 1-4 Similarly, half poussette clockwise
5-6 Neighbors change by right shoulder, into…
7-8 Right-hand star halfway, drawing in at the end of the phrase
9-10 Turn single left (all are home)
B 1-4 First corners change by right shoulder; second corners the same
5-8 Partners 2-hand turn 1-1/2
7-12 Same four circle left once around

For the poussettes, second corners go forward to begin A1, and first corners go forward for A2.

For Phil and Nancy Bailey, who regularly attend English dances in Rochester, NY.

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Muffin Cakes ***
March 2019
Duple minor longways
Tune: Muffin Cakes, by David Smukler

A1 1-4 All set to the center, turn single back to place
5-8 Ones half figure eight down
A2 1-4 All set and turn single again
5-8 Twos half figure eight up
B1 1-8 Those on the right diagonal pull left shoulder back to cast around neighbor, pass by the left shoulder in the center, loop right around partner and end in each other’s place
9-12 With next neighbors, right hands-across star
13-16 With original neighbors, left hands-across star
B2 1-8 Those on the left diagonal pull right shoulder back to cast around partner, pass by the right shoulder in the center, loop left around neighbor and end in each other’s place
9-12 Partners back to back
13-16 Partners 2-hand turn

The corners change figure in the first half of each B-part is the same as in the dance, Barbarini’s Tambourine.

“Muffin cakes” is a term of endearment that some people (who will remain unmentioned…) have outgrown.

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Planxty Nancy Koch ***
September 2021
Duple minor longways
Tune: Miss Hamilton, by Cornelius Lyons (1680-1750), 4 steps per bar

A 1-2 Balance in a ring-of-4, spin one place to the right (as in Petronella)
3-4 Ones half figure-8 across between twos
5-6 Twos half figure-8 across between ones, and take hands-4
7-8 Balance the ring, spin one place to the right (all are progressed)
B 1-2 Two changes of rights and lefts, starting with partner across
3-4 Partners 2-hand turn 1-1/2 to home place, open facing up
5-6 Ones lead up 1 place and cast down 2 while
Twos cast down 1 place and lead up 2
7-8 With new neighbors, circle left once around
(Next round of the dance begins with these)

Possible style points: Turn single right for the Petronella turn. Do not stop between Petronella turn and half figure-8. Make the changes at the top of B1 half turns rather than simply pulling by.

The lead-or-cast in B 5-6 begins with former neighbors, not current ones. Neutral couples do not participate but do allow other couples to lead through or cast around them. Then they re-enter the dance just after, with the circle at bars 7-8.

Cornelius Lyons was harper to the Earl of Antrim and friend of Turlough O’Carolan.

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Perennial Beauty ***
July 2022
Duple minor longways
Tune: The Greenvale Garden, by Jane Knoeck

A1 1-4 First corners back-to-back
5-8 Neighbors gate once around counterclockwise (second corners forward)
A2 1-4 Second corners left shoulder back-to-back
5-8 Neighbors gate once around clockwise (first corners forward)
B1 1-2 First corners right shoulder round 3/4 to end in neighbor’s place facing out, while second corners cast up or down to neighbor’s place facing in
3-4 Single file clockwise halfway
5-7 Circle left halfway and draw in to face partner
8 Fall back to lines
B2 1-4 Partners set and turn single
5-8 Partners 2-hand turn

Use all 12 counts for each back-to-back and gate turn.

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Sorrow’s Reach ***
September 2023
Duple minor longways
Tune adapted from Dido and Aeneas, by Henry Purcell (1688): Ritornelle – “Thanks to these lonesome vales”

Begin by identifying first corners as “first and second leaders.”

A1 1-4 Right-hand star
5-8 First leader cast left into a single file snake followed by neighbor, corner, and partner, in that order (all end in partner’s place)
A2 1-4 Left-hand star
5-8 Second leader (in #2L position) cast right into single file snake followed by neighbor, corner, and partner, in that order (all home)
B1 1-4 Two slow changes of rights and lefts, starting with partner
5-8 Partners 2-hand turn 1-1/2 and face up
B2 1-8 Full double figure-8, ones cross up and twos cast down to begin

After the star in each A-part, the identified leader casts into what is for them a single file promenade 3/4. Everyone else continues to follow the person they had been following in the star, dancing an S-curve (the “snake”). Everyone ends each serpentine figure across from where they began it.

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Surge ***
December 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune by David Smukler

A1 1-2 With partner across: right shoulder side-by-side siding, turn single left back to place
3-4 First corners orbit counterclockwise while
Second corners, facing each other, advance and retire
A2 1-2 With partner on the side: left shoulder siding, turn single right
3-4 Second corners orbit clockwise while
First corners, facing each other, advance and retire
B1 1-3 Circle left once around
4 Turn single left
5-7 Left-hand star once around
8 Turn single right
B2 1-3 Partners back-to-back
4 Partners right-hand turn halfway, tug into . . .
5-8 Four changes of rights and lefts

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Tiptoe to Narnia ***
July 2023
Duple minor longways
Tune: La Gueussinette, by Stephen Jones (played without repeats: AB)

A 1-2 Giving neighbor right hand, balance forward and back
3-4 Neighbors Petronella turn: All turn single right 3/4 such that neighbors face each other in a line-of-4 across, 1st corners on the outside facing in and 2nd corners on the inside facing out
5-6 As if starting a hey: Neighbors pass right; then pass left in the middle or loop right on the outside
7-8 Partners right shoulder round 3/4 and take right hands
(2nd corners are home and 1st corners are in each other’s place)
9-10 Partners balance forward and back
11-12 Petronella turn to a line-of-4 across (the same people face in or out)
13-14 Partners pass right; then pass left in the middle or loop right on the outside
15-16 Neighbors right shoulder round 3/4, ending at home facing in
B 1-4 First corners right-hand turn 1-1/2
5-8 Second corners left-hand turn 1-1/2
9-12 Partners, a tight left shoulder once round, and then turn single right
13-16 Partners 2-hand turn 1-1/2

The Petronella spin is for each pair of dancers on the side of the dance; not a 4-person move where everyone in a ring of 4 ends up one place to the right. It may be helpful to teach it by having neighbors right-hand turn 3/4 to a line across in order to show people where they are going. Then start over and have them turn single instead directly to that spot.

First corners weave across in A, 5-6 doing two changes of a hey. For the second corners, bars 5-8 will feel like one long right shoulder round that begins with neighbor and ends with partner (and similarly in bars 13-16, starting with partner and ending with neighbor).

I wrote a dance to this evocative tune in 2014 called “Finding the Lamppost.” I reworked it substantially in November 2020 and gave the dance a new title. It was further revised to this form in July 2023.

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Trip to Evesham; or, The Weekend That Wasn’t ****
Duple minor longways
Tune: Hatfield House, 1687 (9/8, 3 steps per bar)

A1 Hey-for-3 across for couple two, with the ones taking turns as follows:
1-2 #1L initiates the hey crossing down between the twos and looping left; stop in partner’s place, as…
3-4 #1R takes over, crossing down between the twos and then looping right into partner’s place, as the twos complete their hey at home
(For twos it is a complete hey across the set; for ones it is, in effect, half figure-8 for each dancer in turn, and ones are now improper)
A2 Similarly, a hey for couple one where the twos take turns as follows:
1-2 #2R initiate the hey crossing up between the ones and looping left; stop in partner’s place, as…
3-4 #2L takes over, crossing up between the ones and looping right into partner’s place, the ones completing their hey
(For ones it is a full hey; for twos a half figure-8 for each dancer in turn) A2 ends with ones still above twos, but all are improper
B1 1-2 Two changes of rights and lefts, starting with partner
3-4 Partners 2-hand turn
B2 1-2 Ones lead down through the couple below and cast back to progressed place while twos come up the outside, meet, and lead down
3-4 Ones lead up through original neighbors and cast back to progressed place while twos separate down the outside, meet, and lead up (and then immediately separate again to begin the next round)

Written for the 2020 May Hey Days at Evesham (UK), which event was sadly cancelled because of the COVID 19 pandemic. The dance was finally debuted in Evesham at the festival on May 1, 2022 as one of 8 entries in a dance writing competition.

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You’re Sauvain ***
August 2016
By David Smukler and Carmen Giunta
Duple minor longways
Tune: Not … So Vain, by Charlene Thomson

Part I: Siding

A1 1-2 Partners right shoulder siding into line (3 steps forward and 3 back)
3-4 Turn single over left shoulder to face neighbor
A2 1-2 Neighbors left shoulder siding
3-4 Turn single over right shoulder into…
B1 1-3 All four circle left once around
4 Fall back to line
5 First corners meet
6 First corners retire while the second corners meet
7 First corners trade places passing right shoulders
8 Second corners trade places passing right shoulders
B2 1-2 Single file promenade clockwise halfway round to home
3-4 Partners 2-hand turn, end facing neighbors up or down
5-6 Neighbors forward and back
7-8 Ones cast down as the twos lead up
  (optional: twos turn single away on last 3 counts)

Part II: Arming

A1 1-2 Partners arm right
3-4 Turn single over left shoulder to face neighbor
A2 1-2 Neighbors arm left
3-4 Turn single over right shoulder
B1 & 2 1-16 As above

Part III: Up a double

A1 1-2 All up a double and back
3-4 Turn single away from partner to face down
A2 1-2 Down a double and back
3-4 All turn single right
B1 & 2 1-16 As above

Carmen Giunta and I collaborated to create this dance in honor of Richard Sauvain, a wonderful dancer and organizer who has nurtured the English country dance community in Rochester, NY for many years. The dance unveiled at an event in Richard’s honor on September 18, 2016, called “Salute to Sauvain.” The dance’s title was given to us by Lisa Brown, the president of Country Dancers of Rochester. My wife, Laurel Sharp, came up with the idea of having an “SAU” (rather than “USA”) structure for the dance. And the tune was composed especially for this dance and event by Charlene Thomson.

Carmen, Charlene and I have collaborated on two other dances: Lisa’s Maggot, and Long Live Pat Shaw.

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Weed Whacker ****
July 2023
Becket formation: Couple on R-file are ones
Tune: Weeds in the Garden, by Jane Knoeck

A1 1-8 “Poussette hey” (ones act as a unit in what is otherwise a hey-for-3 up and down in the center of the line): To begin the hey, twos face out and cast away, while ones 2-hand turn 1/4 clockwise to face across and then cross diagonally up between twos. Continue the track of the hey with ones facing across as in a straight poussette throughout until they end by turning 1/4 counterclockwise into original positions.
A2 1-4 Similar hey with ones casting out, and twos taking 2-hands and turning 1/4 clockwise as they cross down between ones
B1 1-2 Taking hands-4, balance the ring in and out
3-4 Turn single right
5-7 Circle left once around, then drop neighbor’s hand and…
8 Partners slide left along your line (ones down and twos up) to meet new neighbors
B2 1-4 With new neighbors (across) back-to-back
5-6 Partners (along the set), a tight right shoulder round
7-8 Partners 2-hand turn

For the transition from B2 into the next round of the dance, ones simply continue their 2-hand turn a bit more until facing across and ready to move diagonally upward into the hey. The twos finish their 2-hand turn facing out and then cast back into the set to begin the hey. The transition for both couples is smooth and does not require anyone to stop.

The poussette hey was inspired by a similar figure in a very different context in Michael Wood’s beautiful dance, Linda’s Light (2022). Dancers learning this hey may benefit from a demo.

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Barbour’s Cordial ***
December 2018
Triple minor longways
Tune: Barbour’s Cordial, by Keith Murphy (published in Black Isle Music, vol. 3; please email me for a copy of the tune, or use another smooth jig as a substitute)

A1 1-4 Couples 1 and 2 turn neighbor by the left hand 1-1/2
5-8 Parallel half heys-for-3 on the side (1s and 3s begin by passing right shoulder)
A2 1-4 Partners all set and turn single
5-8 All six circle left halfway
At the end of the phrase, partners cross the set passing right shoulders, and “flip” to face in, into…
B1 1-2 Lines-of-3 fall back a double
3-4 Come forward and cross the set, passing right shoulders and catching hands with partner for…
5-8 Partners crossed-hands 2-hand turn once or twice around, ending improper
B2 1-4 Again, lines-of-3 fall back a double
3-4 Come forward and cross the set, passing right shoulders, into…
5-8 Couple 1 with the 2s above, right hands-across star

Time the half hey so that you face in for the set and turn single. Some dancers will need to extend one loop of the hey to make that happen.

In B1, resist beginning the two-hand turn early. Cross to improper at the end of the phrase, and start the turn at the top of the next phrase. If turning twice, you may wish to use a bit of a buzz step to get around in time. However you do it, time your turn to flow into the fall-back just at the top of B2.

Out of the star, couple 1 looks down and others look up. This being a triple minor dance, the original threes start as twos with their same active couple.

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New Laces ***
2020
Triple minor longways
Tune: A happy jig such as Brendan Tonra’s

A1 1-4 #1L does 2 changes to end in third place as follows:
Right diagonal by right hand; left diagonal by left hand
5-8 Similarly, #RL does 2 changes to end in third place:
Left diagonal by left hand; right diagonal by right hand
A2 1-4 Bottom four (ones and threes) two changes of rights and lefts, starting with partner
5-8 Top four (ones and twos) the same (all are home)
B1 1-2 Ones lead down the center
3-4 Ones set
5-8 Ones return (skipping) and cast down one place, twos moving up
B2 1-8 Top four full double figure-8, ones cross up and twos cast down to begin

New Laces is my variation of an early American dance called Elegance and Simplicity. I have made several changes to the historical dance. The original A1 consists of stars halfway (moulinet), first by right hand and then by left. Down the center in B1 included a rigadoon step, and B2 would have been four changes of rights and lefts. The changes are mostly intended to make timing and flow more appropriate for modern dancers.

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The Barnacle Waltz / David’s Triplet #6 **
December 2006
Three-couple longways
Tune: The Barnacle Waltz or another 32-bar waltz of your choice

A 1-2 Couples one and two balance in a ring
3-4 Drop hands and spin one place to the right (as in Petronella)
5-8 Repeat
9-16 Couples one and three the same: balance and spin twice
(Ones are now proper at the bottom; twos and threes are improper)
B 1-4 Ones slow sashay to the top (4 steps)
5-8 Ones do a long cast to the bottom WHILE twos and threes balance forward and back and trade places with partner (as in Duke of Kent’s Waltz)
9-12 Bottom four (couples one and three) right-hand star
13-16 Top four (couples two and three) circle left

The inactive couple may choose to waltz in place during the A music. Couple three can waltz for the first 8 measures, and couple two for the next 8 measures. End where you began by facing up or down into the set.

This was composed as a triple minor longways dance for Tom Bannister of Rochester, NY, a fixture on their dance scene for many years. It was first danced on June 18, 2006. Tom loved triple minors, and loved to waltz. Later that year I made a few small changes to re-create Barnacle Waltz as a three couple dance, which then became “David’s Triplet #6“. Despite Tom’s love for triple minors, I decided I preferred the 3-couple choreography, and I no longer use the original version.

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Because We Care ****
November 2016
Three-couple longways, mixer
Tune: Flatworld, by Andy Cutting

A1 1-4 Top foursome circle left once around
5-8 Same four single file “serpentine” to move top couple to bottom (see notes) while
Bottom couple chase CCW halfway to end at top
(End in 3-2-1 order, original threes at the top are improper)
A2 1-4 New top foursome (couples 3 and 2) circle right
5-8 And single file serpentine while
Bottom couple chase CW halfway to end at top
(End back in 1-2-3 order, both end couples improper)
B1 1-4 Top 2 neighbors on L-file and bottom 2 on R-file: set and turn single
5-8 Same neighbors right-hand turn 1-1/2 to change places
B2 1-4 All six, circle left two-thirds of the way around (i.e., halfway and one place more; all are on original side in a new position)
5-8 Set to new partner across and turn single

Mixer: left file ends in 3-1-2 order, and right in 2-3-1 order. Repeat twice more to place.

Notes for serpentine figure:

  • After the circle, as the foursome releases hands, a designated leader (the #2 dancer who crossed the set at the beginning of the circle) crosses the set again, and then turns left out of the circle left, or right out of the circle right. The turn is always down.
  • The other three follow in single file, staying behind the same person they followed in the circle. Meanwhile, the bottom couple gets out of the way with a chase to the top of the set, one of them casting and the other following.
  • The twos’ role is key. The leader creates the S-shaped path by circling in one direction at the top and the other direction at the bottom. The other #2 is at the tail of this train (those roles switch in A2). Unlike the other couples, twos end each A‑part where they began: circle once around at the top, and then single file once around (at the bottom for the leader, or again at the top for the tail). The other couples can depend on the twos to know where the serpentine ends.
  • Unlike other dancers, #2L (the first “tail”) does not have a natural transition into the circle right in A2. Finish the serpentine in time to be ready to change direction.

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Half Remembered ***
January 2022/June 2023
Three-couple longways
Tune: Miss Carmichael’s Minuet, 18th century Scottish

A1 1-4 Ones and twos set right and left; 2 changes of a circular hey, partners pass right to begin
5-8 Ones and threes the same
A2 1-2 Ones at the bottom cast up to middle place; while threes lead down and turn single away, and twos meet and turn single up, into…
3-8 Right shoulder heys-for-3 across, ones pass left diagonal by right shoulder to begin (ones end proper in middle place, face right diagonal)
B1 1-4 Right diagonals right-hand turn; ones pass each other left, into…
5-8 Modified hey on 1st diagonal:
Ones pass corner right and then orbit the set clockwise to end in middle place improper, while long 1st diagonals pass the #1 by right shoulder, each other by left, and loop counterclockwise into opposite corner
B2 1-4 Left diagonals left-hand turn, ones pass each other right, into…
5-8 Modified hey on 2nd diagonal:
Ones pass corner left and then orbit the set counterclockwise to end in middle place proper, while long 2nd diagonals pass the #1 by left shoulder, each other by right, and loop clockwise into opposite corner

Ends in 3-1-2 order. Repeat twice more to original places.

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John-a-Dreams ****
August 2021
Three-couple longways
Tune: Moss Rose and Yarrow by Nadine Dyskant-Miller, © 2021

A1 Ones chase, alternating leads:
1-6 #1L, followed by partner, cast down outside to the bottom and up the center while follower goes counterclockwise around one and into center facing up, taking over the lead; now chase up through the top and cast right around one (middles moving up) to end with ones in middle place improper
7-8 Ones right-hand turn halfway (dancers now in 2-1-3 order)
A2 Threes chase similarly:
1-6 #3R, followed by partner, cast up outside to the top and down the center while follower goes counterclockwise around one and into center facing down, taking over the lead; now chase down through the bottom and cast right around one (middles moving down) to end with threes in middle place improper
7-8 Threes right-hand turn halfway (putting dancers in 2-3-1 order), releasing hands at the end of the phrase to move directly into . . .
B1 1-4 Middles (original threes) orbit clockwise halfway around outside of set
Meanwhile long right diagonals change places passing left shoulders (bars 1-2), and long left diagonals change passing right (3-4)
5-8 Middles, following momentum from the orbit, go individually out to their left for a right shoulder hey across with the end couple; the last loop of the hey sends middles into . . .
B2 1-4 Middles orbit counterclockwise halfway around outside of set
Meanwhile long left diagonals change places passing right shoulders (bars 1-2), and long right diagonals change passing left (3-4)
5-8 Middles go individually out to their right for left shoulder heys across

Ends in 2-3-1 order. Repeat twice more to place.

The figure in the first half of each B-part is borrowed from Philippe Callens’ dance Costumer’s Delight. I started work on this dance a few weeks after learning about Philippe’s death, and I wanted to acknowledge the dance community’s loss by including something from one of Philippe’s dances.

A few additional, potentially helpful, cues for the B-parts:

  • Long right diagonals always change by the left, and long left diagonals always change by the right. Another way to think about this is that corners stay near the side they begin on (L file or R-file) as they arc past each other.
  • B1 begins with both the orbiters and right diagonals moving; in B2 it is the left diagonals
  • “Active” dancers (original threes, now in middle place) go the same way, be it up or down, for both heys. If the first (right-shoulder hey) is up, the second (left-shoulder) one will be up as well, and vice versa. Because corners have crossed, the second hey is with new people.

Composed March 2021, and revised August 2021. Changes not yet road-tested.

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The Justice *****
September 2020
Three-couple longways
Tune: The Almond by James Oswald

A1 1-3 Partners left-hand turn
4-5 All turn single right
6-8 First corners from here (i.e., those who have someone on right diagonal) change places as in Hole in the Wall (see note)
9-12 All six circle left halfway, fall back to line
13-16 Opposites back-to-back
A2 1-3 Opposites right-hand turn
4-5 All turn single left
6-8 Second corners from here (those with someone on left diagonal) change places as in Hole in the Wall: pass left shoulders and fall back
9-16 All six circle left halfway and these opposites back-to-back
B 1-4 Middles cast clockwise up or down into half right shoulder hey-for-3 along the side (all are moving for the hey)
5-6 Middles only continue trajectory of the hey to dance outside (left shoulder) around one to middle position of lines-of-3 facing up and down (original L-file dancers above, R-file below); take hands
7-8 Lines balance forward and back
9-12 Similarly, middles cast clockwise into half hey-for-3 across
13-14 Middles dance outside around one to the middle position of lines-of-3 facing across (all are halfway round from where they began the B-part); take hands
15-16 Lines balance forward and back
17-19 Opposites right shoulder once around, into . . .
20-24 Single file clockwise until all are home across from partner
25-28 Partners 2-hand turn; ones face up, others retain hands
29-30 Ones cast to bottom while others sidestep twice to move up one place
31-32 Ones turn single down while others turn single up

Ends in 2-3-1 order. Repeat twice more to place.

The “Hole in the Wall” changes in the A-parts are very deliberate and phrased: 3 steps to approach, 3 to change places staying close, and 3 to fall back. Those falling back to middle place fall farther to make the circle round. As the circle comes halfway around, face across and re-form the lines.

Middles (original long second corners) are actives during the first half of the B-part. They are in the center of a line of three that will do a half hey. The person to their left in that line is a “trail buddy” with whom they will begin the hey. They initiate the hey by pulling right shoulder back to cast all the way around and then pass that buddy by right shoulders. Measures 9-16 are a repeat of measures 1-8, with the figure turned 90°. Actives start the hey passing the same trail buddy both times.

Bar 20 is the end of a phrase, but the single file circle does, in fact, begin here. Think of the siding as a slingshot into the chase. The single file circle has 5 bars to go 5 places around the set, ending with everyone in home places.

Composed after the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Long Live Pat Shaw ****
June 2017
By David Smukler and Carmen Giunta
Three-couple longways
Tune: Remembering Pat Shaw, by Charlene Thomson

A1 Top four:
1-4 Back to back with partner
5-6 Turn single right
7-8 Right hands across star halfway
A2 Bottom four:
1-2 Left-hand star halfway
3-4 Turn single right
5-8 Partners back to back
B1 1-8 Crossover mirror hey: 2s and 3s face down, 1s at the bottom start the hey by crossing up between the 3s
  (couples are now in 2-3-1 order, all improper)
B2 1-4 All six circle left, one time around
5-6 Partners cross the set passing right shoulders
7-8 Partners set, right and left

Charlene Thomson created this evocative waltz to honor Pat Shaw in 2017, the 100th anniversary of his birth. She asked Carmen Giunta and me to create a dance for it. Here’s the result.

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Ruth’s Journey ***
November 2018
Three-couple longways
Tune: Ruth’s Journey, by Jane Knoeck

A1 1-8 Mirror hey-for-3 (couple 1 splits couple 2 to begin)
A2 1-4 Partners set and turn single
5-8 Partners right-hand turn once around
B1 1-4 Couple 1 half figure-8 through the couple below
5-8 Then, cross the set and go below one place, middles leading up
9-12 Bottom four right hands-across star
13-16 All six circle left halfway (couples now in 3-1-2 order, all improper)
B2 1-4 Couple 3 at the top half figure-8 through the couple below 
5-8 They cross the set and go below one place, middles leading up
9-12 Bottom four right hands-across star
13-16 All six circle left halfway

Ends in 2-3-1 order, all proper.

I prefer the flow if both half figure-8s are right shoulder.

Written to honor Rochester dancer, Ruth Hyde, and first unveiled at a celebration for her, held Sunday, December 9, 2018, a few days after her ninetieth birthday.

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Never Better ****
October 2020
Four-couple longways
Tune: Laurel’s Triumph, by Jane Knoeck

A1 1-4 Middle four join hands and make arches all round: ends cast down or up, dance into the side arches and out the ends to return to place
5-6 Within foursomes, couples exchange places with a half draw poussette clockwise
7-8 Those now in middle (original ends) circle left 3/4 while
New ends continue the draw poussette to orbit the entire set 1/4 and re-form as a line of four couples across the hall
(original ends are now middles and vice versa)
A2 1-8 Repeat A1 from new positions and roles (end at home)
B1 1-4 Partners set and turn single
5-6 In fours, circle left halfway, face neighbor along the line
7-8 Two changes of rights and lefts around the (flat) ring-of-8 (second change is up or down set for middles, and around end for ends)
B2 1-4 Next neighbors 2-hand turn 1-1/2, open out to face partner across
5-6 Neighbors fall back and come forward
7-8 Partners 2-hand turn once around
(New ends face out; middles make a ring-of-4)

Ends in 3-1-4-2 order. Those who began as ends are now middles. Those who began as middles are at opposite end and crossed over. Repeat 3x more to place.

At the top of each A-part, those starting at the ends are actives. They cast, take hands with their counterpart from the opposite end, duck into the side arch, immediately release the neighbor, and take partner’s hand to duck back out the end arch to home places. If the middles are not tall enough to make those arches conveniently high, they can make “virtual” arches instead, lifting hands toward partner or neighbor, rather than connecting.

The action in measures 5-8 of the A-parts can be disorienting. It may be helpful to visualize the draw poussette as equivalent to circling halfway.

Composed September 2017 and revised October 2020. Changes not yet road-tested.

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Woodland Shadows ****
December 2021
Four-couple longways (1s and 2s facing up, 3s and 4s facing down)
Tune by Aaron Marcus

A1 1-4 Cast and lead / lead and cast from both ends, all moving
5-8 Keeping inside hands, partners promenade to the right (CW) down or up outside the set, and then face in to re-form as a “Becket” set
A2 1-4 Opposites back to back
5-8 In fours, join hands in a “U” that opens at each end of the set; long first corners draw their U out into a line by dancing across the set and all the way up or down the other side; at the end of the phrase first corners (within each new foursome) change places passing right shoulder to finish across from partner (centers are facing each other up or down and others are facing out their end of the set)
B1 1-8 Parallel heys-for-4: centers pass right shoulder and ends turn over left shoulder to begin; the hey ends with one extra change, centers passing right and ends looping left
B2 1-4 Wide left-hand turn with the one you meet, those facing out do a little flip and change hands so all face partner across; finish with all coming in close and taking hands in line
5-6 Lines-of-4 fall back, come forward
7-8 Partners 2-hand turn once around and face up or down toward near end

Ends in 2-4-1-3 order. Those who began as a middle have moved to the nearer end. Those who begin at an end finish as a middle, crossed over and facing the opposite end. Repeat 3x more to original places.

The same people (those beginning on the left of partner) are always first corners in their foursomes at the end of A2 and make the change. The others can “track” their partner, turning to the right in place to match partner’s orientation so that partners begin the parallel hey together.

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