Samena Squares Newsletter #2

Dear Friends,

Welcome once again to the Samena Squares! If Thursday was your first night, we are glad that you have joined us. It was great to see those who returned for the second night.

My apologies for the lateness of this email. I seemed to be email and time challenged this week.

What we are learning on Thursday nights is Modern Western Square Dancing. Square dancing is an American dance. Once you learn the set of calls in the first two programs, Basic and Mainstream, you can dance anywhere in the United States and many places around the world where there is an advertised square dance of that program. The definitions of the calls have been standardized so that you can dance anywhere. At one point in time there were 27 different Dosados. If you learned one version in Washington you would have trouble dancing on your vacation in New York because their version would be totally different.

Like any new skill the more you practice it the better you are at it and the easier it becomes. Each week will build on the calls we learned the week before. We are learning the Basics now and in a few weeks we will be learning calls that combine basic calls together to make other calls. We will learn all of it by dancing. I will use demonstrations when needed, these newsletters, and lots of repetitions on the dance floor.

If you are a tech person, here are some online resources that I like. The first is Saddlebrook Squares ( They have short videos of each call. Some have one or two calls in each video. The second online resource is Taminations ( This program has the definitions of each call as well as a bird’s eye view of the pattern of the call. Check out both of them. See what works best with your learning style. Everybody has a favorite. My only word of caution with any videos that you watch is that some styling varies from region to region around the country. I will teach the styling for our area.

Here are two dates that I want you to put on your dance calendar –
Dates to note:
Friday, October 6, 7:30 – 10:30 p.m., First Friday Fun Fest hosted by the Whirlybirds with Dave Harry, caller. The hall is The Hayloft, 15320 35th Ave W, Lynnwood. Cost is $7/person. This is a dance for new square dancers. It will be an opportunity to dance the calls that you know to another caller. It will be an opportunity to meet other new square dancers too. Go ahead and mark your calendars for the first Friday of each month from now until May. Save the date for New Year’s Eve too! (more on that later)

Friday, October 27, 7:30 – 10:00 p.m., Monster Mash Halloween Level Dance hosted by the Samena Squares. I will be calling. The dance is in our hall, the Juanita Community Club. Cost is included with your lesson fee. This is a Halloween dance. Costumes are encouraged.

The Samena Squares have a great web site – Thank you to Jim Hunt, our Webmaster. There is a button “Just For Students.” There you will find these weekly newsletters as well as a list of dances that you can go to. I will share more information about these as we go along.

I also have a web page – There is a tab “Samena Squares,” where you will find these newsletters.

The first few weeks of class these newsletter may seem repetitious. They are. I am including all the calls that have been taught each week and will continue to do that for the next couple of weeks. By Week #5 or 6, I will include only the new calls on the list. You can always refer to previous newsletters on my website if you want to review a call. In a couple of weeks, you will be receiving a book with all the calls, definitions and pictures.

Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow night.

Happy dancing,

Week #2
Dancer naming:
i. Couple: Two people standing side by side; for universal understanding of square dance commands the dancer on the left dances the Boy/Man part of commands, the dancer on the right dances the Girl/Lady part of commands.

ii. Heads, Sides: Head couples have their back to or face the caller/music; Sides are the other two couples.

iii. Couple Numbers: Couples are numbered as follows, #1 back to caller, #2 to their right, #3 to the right of #2 or face the caller, #4 to the right of #3.

iv. Boys, Girls: Actual Boys and Girls or those dancing the Boy/Girl part of the call.

1. Circle Left & Right: Join hands in a circle and move left or right as indicated; circles can be made with 2 or more people. CIRCLE LEFT & RIGHT – 8 dancers full around, 16 steps; 4 dancers full around, 8 steps.

2 a. Forward & Back: Join hands in a line and move forward 1 step, touch and move back 1 step. FORWARD & BACK – 4 steps.

3 a. Dosado: With person you are facing, step slightly left, walk forward to pass right shoulders, slide back to back, back up past left shoulder, slide to face to face start position. DOSADO – with corner/partner 6 steps, across square – 8 steps.

5. Promenade Family:
5 a. Couples: With partner walk together counter-clockwise to home position; right hands joined over joined left hands. PROMENADE – couples full around 16 steps.

5 b. Single File Promenade: Specified dancers walk single file counterclockwise inside the square or where indicated by the caller. SINGLE FILE PROMENADE – 4 dancers inside to home – 8 steps.

6. Allemande Left:
Turn toward Corner, left arm turn 180 degrees, let go and step through, end back to back with Corner, facing Partner. ALLEMANDE LEFT – 8 steps.

7. Arm Turns: Turn designated dancer by the indicated arm to next call; let go. The turn is 180 to 360 degrees. ARM TURNS – same as ALLEMANDE LEFT.

8. Right and Left Grand Family:
8 a. Right & Left Grand: Start facing Partner, take right hands, walk by, offer left hand to next, walk by; continue alternating hands to the 5th hand (should be the dancer you started with). Boys are going counterclockwise; Girls are going clockwise. RIGHT & LEFT GRAND – 10 steps.

8 b. Weave the Ring: Same as RIGHT AND LEFT GRAND without hands. Hint: pass same shoulder as the hand you would be using. WEAVE THE RING – 10 steps.

9. Left/Right Hand Star:
Indicated dancers step to the center of the formation to join the designated hand in a loose star; walk forward to starting position of next call. It is often a full turn but can be fractionalized. LEFT/ RIGHT HAND STAR – 4 dancers full around 8 steps.

10. Pass Thru: With person you are facing step ahead passing right shoulders. STOP as soon as you pass by. Ends back to back. Same as 1/2 DOSADO. PASS THRU – 2 steps.

11. Half Sashay Family:
11 c. Ladies In Men Sashay: In any circle of Boy/Girl couples with the Boy on the left and Girl on the right circling left, the Girls step forward, the Boys step to their left and the Girls step back to a new empty place. If the dancers are circling right, it is the opposite. Can also be done from a line. For variety, the call can be Men In Ladies Sashay. LADIES IN MEN SASHAY – 4 steps.

12. Turn Back Family:
12 a. ‘U’-Turn back: One of the self-explanatory calls, turn around in place to face opposite direction. If you have a partner turn toward your partner (it is friendlier and nicer), sometimes the turn is left and sometimes it is right. ‘U’-TURN BACK – 2 steps.

15. Courtesy Turn: Girls (or right hand dancer) sticks out left hand in front palm down, places right hand on hip or does skirt work; Boys (or left hand dancer) offers left hand palm up to Girl, place right hand gently on back; gently guide her forward, while backing up, turning as a couple to face opposite direction or the center of the set. COURTESY TURN – 4 steps.

16. Ladies Chain Family:
16 a. Two & Four Ladies Chain: Two (or four) Girls step toward the center to make a RIGHT HAND STAR; turn 1/2 way; offer left hand to opposite Boy for a COURTESY TURN; end as a couple facing the center of the formation. While Girls are starting the Boys take a step to their right to be in correct position for COURTESY TURN. TWO & FOUR LADIES CHAIN – 8 steps.

18. Lead Right: Directed couples (Heads, Sides), with a couple handhold, will walk forward as a couple to face the couple to the right. LEAD RIGHT – 4 steps

22. Right & Left Thru: From facing couples, give a right hand to the opposite dancer; pull by and join left hands with the one alongside. Finish with a COURTESY TURN to face the couple with which you are working. RIGHT & LEFT THRU – 6 steps.

23. Grand Square: (32 beats of music) Each individual dancer tracks the four sides of a square in their quadrant on the floor. Command is “Sides Face, Grand Square.” GRAND SQUARE – 32 steps.

25. California Twirl: With the joined hand of your partner, raise hands to form a momentary arch. Turning towards each other the Girl goes through the arch (under) while the Boy steps across behind her to become a couple facing the opposite direction. CALIFORNIA TWIRL – 4 steps.

30. Dive Thru: Inside couple raise joined hands to form an arch while the outside couple ducks through the arch into the center. The archers step forward and immediately CALIFORNIA TWIRL to face back in. DIVE THRU – diving couple, 2 steps; couple facing out, 6 steps.