Figures

All figures to be done to single step unless specified otherwise.

Numbers down the left indicate the number of steps required for each figure.

Common country dance figures such as heys, casts and figures of 8 are not explained here. I suggest Hugh's Elements of English Country Dance if you get stuck with these.

Where only the right or left handed version of a figure is given and the other is referred to, swap left and right. Where the two versions differ in other ways they are described separately for left and right.


8 Back to back right shoulders
1Pass right shoulders with partner to swap places.
2Step on the spot.
3Step slightly to the right.
4Step on the spot.
5-6Pass backwards left shoulders back to place.
7-8Step on the spot.
 
8 Back to back left shoulders
1Pass left shoulders with partner to swap places.
2-3Step on the spot.
4Step slightly to the left.
5-6Pass backwards right shoulders back to place.
7-8Step on the spot.
 
4 Fast back to back left shoulders
This must be done left shoulders if you start on the right foot and vice versa.
Start slightly to right of partner.
1Pass left shoulders with partner.
2Step to the left.
3-4Pass partner backwards right shoulders back to place.

1 Back turn
Usually done on an even step, i.e. with the left foot if right foot start.
1Pull right shoulder back and back into place to face opposite direction.
Turn the other way if left foot start, or right foot start but done on an odd step, because the turn will be done on the other foot.

8 Circular hey
1Pass partner right shoulders to swap places.
2Quarter turn to face neighbour.
3Pass neighbor left shoulders to swap places.
4Quarter turn to face partner.
5-8As 1-4.

8 Gypsy right
Start facing 45 degrees to left of partner.
You effectively trace out a square or a diamond, depending on your point of view.
In practice this move is generally more rhomboidal than square but it's treated as a square for simplicity.
1Move forward into line, right shoulder to right shoulder with partner.
2Quarter turn right.
3Move into partner's place.
4Quarter turn right.
5Move forward into line, right shoulder to right shoulder again.
6Quarter turn right.
7Move into original place.
8Turn right to face partner.

8 Right shoulder swing
1Put your right hand on your partner's right shoulder.
2Hold your partner's left hand underneath.
3-7Step around one another.
8Drop hands and push away from your partner to return to place.

The polka round moves must be done on the right foot for them to work as described.
Elbows should be loose so that you can pull your partner towards you when moving past the other couple; if done properly the two couples would crash if their arms were kept straight!
If a dance has a polka round move in it it is usually the second figure.
 
4 Half polka round
1Take shoulder hold with partner, forming a square with the other couple:
 Top
1==2

3==4
21 and 4 quarter turn right while 2 and 3 step past one another back to back:
1   3
|   |
2   4
3Step on the spot
42 and 3 quarter turn right while 1 and 4 step past one another to progressed places.
Release shoulder hold on hop if not continuing with polka round (see below).
 
8 Polka round to place
1-8Two half polka rounds, finishing back in original places.
 
2/4/6/8... Quarter/half/three-quarter/whole polka turn on the spot
1Take shoulder hold with partner if not taken already, step on the spot otherwise.
2Quarter term clockwise as a couple, releasing shoulder hold on the hop if not continuing with polka round.
Repeat once more for a half polka turn on the spot, twice more for a three-quarter turn etc.
 
16 Polka change
1-12Three half polka rounds.
13-16Half polka turn on the spot.
 
2 Fast polka turn
Often done to polka step.
1-2Take shoulder hold with partner if not taken already.
Turn as a couple 180 degrees, turning clockwise.
Pull partner towards you while moving and straighten arms again when there (loose elbows required here).
The movement should be swift, spending the second beat on the spot if possible.

8 Star right
1Put right arm in centre and form a star, with each hand on the wrist of the person in front (no thumbs!).
Face 90 degrees from the centre of the star, almost moving backwards very slightly in the process.
2-7Salute left and take the star round once back to places unless specified otherwise.
8Drop the star and the salute and step on the spot in starting positions.
If followed by a star left of any sort it is important to be back in place between the two stars.
 
8 Star promenade right
Formed by couples each in waist hold using free hands as for normal star.
Drop waist hold on beat 8 unless next move requires waist hold (eg. star promenade in the other direction).
 
8 Shoulder star right
As for star right, but putting right hand on right shoulder of person in front (to left) instead of into centre.
 
8 Wrist turn right
As for star right, but for two people taking right wrist hold.
Usually goes round more than once.
 
8 Arm turn right
As for star right, but for two people taking right arm hold.
Again, usually goes round more than once.
It's particularly important here to have a straight line through the shoulders of the two dancers, so that you're engaging with the audience rather than each other as much as possible.
 
4 Any of the above in 4 steps
1Take whatever hold is appropriate as before.
2-3Salute and go round like the clappers.
4Drop the hold and the salute and step on the spot in starting positions.
 
4 Saluting stomach turn right
Always done in 4 steps because you can go round quite quickly.
Same timing as above (e.g. arm turn right in 4 steps) except that the proverbial clappers are not generally required.

2 Pull by right
UpbeatTake right wrist hold with partner and fall away slightly, giving weight.
1Pull past partner, let go and keep going.
Do not change direction.
Start normal single stepping movements again immediately on beat 1.
 
4 Full stomach turn to wrist hold
1-3Take right stomach hold with partner and turn once around as a couple.
4Slide into right wrist hold, falling back ready to pull by.
Always followed by a pull by and usually repeated, so the pull by is merged with the first 3 steps.
Can be done turning once and a quarter instead of once, in the same time.
 
2 Half stomach turn to wrist hold
1-2Take right stomach hold with partner and turn halfway round, sliding into right wrist hold in each other's place.
There is not time to perform a half turn and fall back as two separate moves. Instead, slide through the stomach hold straight into wrist hold on the other side; the stomach hold is very brief and almost a brush past so as to find each other's hand.
Always followed by a pull by and usually repeated as with the full stomach turn to wrist hold.
Can be done turning a quarter instead of a half, in the same time.
 

16 Zig-zag hey for 8
Done to the zig-zag step, starting facing partner with everyone in a line.
1Pass partner left shoulders, not going too wide.
2Pass next person right shoulders, except those at the ends who do a back turn.
3-16Pass next person left shoulders, etc. until back home.
Takes half as long when done for 4.
 
24+ Zig-zag hey for 8 with lead off
1-16Zig-zag hey.
17-24Continue zig-zagging, but as each person reaches the top of the set, starting with number 2, they switch to single stepping and lead off in a line (e.g. 24687531 for eight people).

8 Cross and chase right
For the whole set.
1Cross right shoulders, ends going just past one another and middles going further, ending in an evenly spaced circle.
2Turn right to face round the circle.
3-7Chase round in the circle until back on own sides in an inverted set, facing up and down in columns.
8Turn right to face across.
 
16 Cross and chase right and left
1-8Cross and chase right.
9-16Cross and chase left.
As cross and chase right, but cross left shoulders and turn left.

16 Cross and turn across and back
Again, done by the whole set (although there is no reason why it must be).
1-2Step on the spot.
3-4Cross right shoulders with partner.
5-7Turn once and a half, starting turning up (i.e. evens right, odds left).
8-10Step on the spot.
11-12Cross right shoulders with partner back to place and no further, shouting.
13-15Turn once and a half, starting turning up.
16Step on the spot, finishing standing.

- Charge into audience
This occurs at the end of some dances and should give the impression (?) of spontaneous chaos.
Single step or run (as the mood takes you) towards/past/jumping over any nearby members of the audience.
Make as much noise as possible and be as menacing as possible.
Aim for kids (that are old enough not to burst into tears) and people behind cameras for maximum impact!.
We do have public liability insurance, but obviously try not to call on it :-)
 

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