The hey for four (or reel for four as it is called by dancers with a Scottish background) is kind of a weave the ring along a straight line. In fact, older sources named the right and left grand (and the square thru, for that matter) a circular hey, while the figure described here was named a straight hey. It can be started in many different ways. In the most common setup, two standard couples face each other, and the ladies start by passing right shoulders. They then pass the opposite man by the left shoulder and continue in a wide loop counterclockwise around the position of that man. The men meanwhile pass each other by the right shoulder in the center, then pass the lady coming their way by the left shoulder and dance a wide loop counterclockwise on the other side. The ladies continue by passing right shoulders in the center, then left shoulders with the man coming their way, and dancing a wide loop counterclockwise around their starting position. The men also pass right shoulders in the center, and everybody should now be back near the starting position, ready to start the next movement. There are 16 steps allotted to the whole figure.

For the ladies, this is the same path they follow in a ladies chain over and back.

This figure may also be started with two dancers in the center facing toward two dancers facing in. It also can be danced by passing left shoulders in the center, right shoulders on the outside; in that case, the loops at the outside must be clockwise. In any case, the pattern of the footprints results in something like an 8 with an extra loop.

Whenever you return back after the loop, you pass the next one by the same shoulder you have met the last one. And whenever you see two dancers of your group heading your way, you pass between them.

The hey can end in many different formations. One possibility is to end back to back and to face the next couple, as shown in the last diagram of the drawing.

Hey for Four
Quoted from my book Leitfaden / A Guide to / Contra Dance (Volume 2)

Square Dancer can imagine this sequence as four times Dixie Style, without hands.

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Published 2005-08-17   /   Heiner Fischle, Hannover