Easy Grand Square Workshop

The other day, some dancer said they used to dance Grand Square always from the same position. Some variation might be desirable, to get out of the rut. So I devised this workshop:

Head couples pass thru ... U turn back ... side couples pass thru ... face your partner ... everybody Grand Square ... swing partner Four ladies chain ... heads pass thru, U turn back ... sides pass thru, face your partner ... everybody 8 steps Grand Square ... you stirred the bucket.
Head boy, take your corner forward and back ... same four pass thru, U turn back ... all 8 circle left, once around (girls are in head position) ... girls pass thru, U turn back ... boys pass thru, face the boy besides you ... all Grand Square ... boys, swing the girl next to you (RHL, in sequence) ... circle left ... corner swing ... promenade home Side boy, take your corner forward and back ... same four pass thru, U turn back ... circle left, once around (boys are in head position) ... boys pass thru, U turn back ... girls pass thru, face the girl besides you ... all Grand Square (Could be continued with boys square thru 4 hands)

Grand Square in patter call should only be danced to hoedowns which are distinctly phrased A - A - B - B. And it must be called in a way that the dancer are able to start it on the first beat of a phras A or B. Better yet, if they can start on the first beat of a phrase A - A or B - B. If the dancers are there, but the music is not yet, then you may hesitate a bit:

xxx face, everybody ... Grand Square!
If the darcer are aware that you call to the music, they will be even more willing to dance to the music.

Since more than thirty years, the following trick is also known:
Boys, face your partner ... everybody Grand Square
Here, the gents start backwards to the outer corner of the square, while the ladies go forward to the center. But this is very confusing. The basic nature of Grand Square calls for mirror image movements, like the wings of a butterfly. But this variation seems to rotate like a fan blower.
It also contradicts my teaching method. I tell the dancers that they will always face either their partner or their opposite. Here they face a phantom or "ghost". Therefore, this is more suitable for Halloween.

This is the way how I teach Grand Square (The list shows what I tell the dancers.) :

  • In a Grand Square, you always face either your partner or your opposite.
  • In a Grand Square, you always walk three steps in harmony with the music, and on the fourth step, you turn a quarter to face the other one.
  • If the other one is across the square, you walk forward. If you are nose to nose, you walk backwards.
  • Usually, it all starts with the command: "Sides face". That means: Side couples, face your partner. Do it.
  • We will now do just one quarter of the momement at a time, id est we will walk three steps, turn, and stop.
  • Ready, steady, one, two, three, turn, Stop!
  • Where are you? Which way do you face?
  • Let's do the second quarter: ready, steady, one, two, three, turn, Stop!
  • Third quarter: ready, steady, one, two, three, turn, Stop!
  • At the fourth quarter, you do not turn, you keep your facing direction.
  • Ready, steady, one, two, three, and Stop!
  • Then comes the Reverse, that means, you dance the same way back. We will try to dance the reverse without stopping.
  • Ready, steady,
    one, two, three, turn,
    one, two, three, turn,
    one, two, three, turn,
    one, two, three,
    - you are home
Then I point out that they moved within the set, the grand square, on little squares which are spanned between the home position, the center, the corner position, and the outer corner of the set.
And then we dance it to Hoedown Music.

The Diagram is taken from my booklet "Der Klassische Square Dance" (The Classical Square Dance), see Books and Booklets GrandSquare


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Published 2002-12-28   /   Heiner Fischle, Hannover, Germany