Square Dance Quick Tutorial


Quick Tutorial Series
Acey Deucey
Alamo Rings
All 8 Circulate
All 8 Spin the Top
Allemande Left
Any Hand
As Couples
Bend the Line
Box Circulate
Box Counter Rotate
Box the Gnat
Brace Thru
California Twirl
Cast a Shadow
Cast Off 3/4
Centers In
Chain Down the Line
Chain Reaction
Chase Right
Clover and ...
Column Circulate
Couple Numbers
Couples Circulate
Couples Hinge
Couples Trade
Courtesy Turn
Cross Over Circulate
Cross Run
Cross Trail Thru
Cut the Diamond
Cut the Hourglass
Cycle and Wheel
Diamond Circulate
Dixie Grand
Dixie Style to a Wave
Dosado to a Wave
Double Pass Thru
Double Star Thru
Ends Bend
Explode and ...
Explode the Line
Explode the Wave
Fan the Top
Ferris Wheel
Flip the Diamond
Flip the Hourglass
Fold (and Cross Fold)
Follow Your Neighbor
fractional Tops
Grand Square
Grand Swing Thru
Half Sashay
Half Tag
Hourglass Circulate
Horseshoe Turn
In Roll Circulate
Ladies Chain
Ladies In Men Sashay
Left Swing Thru
Linear Cycle
Load the Boat
Out Roll Circulate
Pair Off
Partner Hinge
Partner Tag
Partner Trade
Pass and Roll
Pass In
Pass the Ocean
Pass the Sea
Pass Thru
Pass to the Center
Peel Off
Peel the Top
Ping Pong Circulate
Quarter In
Quarter Thru
Recycle (from a wave)
Recycle (from facing couples)
Right and Left Thru
Right Roll to a Wave
Scoot and Dodge
Scoot Back
Single Circle to a Wave
Single Wheel
Six by Two Acey Deucey
Slide Thru
Spin Chain & Exch. the Gears
Spin Chain the Gears
Spin Chain Thru
Spin the Top
Split Circulate
Split Counter Rotate
Split Square Thru
Square Chain Thru
Square Thru
Star Thru
Step and Slide
Step to a Wave
Swap Around
Sweep 1/4
Swing and Mix
Swing Thru
Tag the Line
Three Quarter Tag
Touch 1/4
Track 2
Trade By
Trade Circulate
Trade the Wave
Transfer the Column
Triple Scoot
Triple Star Thru
Triple Trade
Turn and Deal
Turn Thru
Walk and Dodge
Weave the Ring
Wheel and Deal
Wheel Around
Wheel Thru
Tutorials Home
  This "quick tutorial" introduces the general idea of a call and explains the most common cases. It does not explain or illustrate all cases. For additional details and/or examples, refer to the links in the "MORE INFO" box.

To do a Run, two adjacent dancers switch places. One dancer is named to "run", and that dancer flips over into the adjacent spot, walking forward in a semi-circle in the same way as for a Trade. The other dancer slides over, without turning, into the spot where the "runner" came from. This is often described as the first dancer "running around" the other dancer.

For example, for a Boys Run a boy will be "running around a girl". The boy walks in the semi-circular arc, into the spot where the girl was standing, and ends facing the opposite way from when he started. The girl slides over into the spot where the boy was standing, and remains facing the same wall the whole time.

For a Girls Run a girl will be running around a boy. The girl flips over to face the opposite wall, while the boy slides over without turning.

The most important thing to notice is that one dancer turns around and the other doesn't. Indeed, this is exactly what makes the action of Run different from the action of Trade, done by the same two people. If they were doing a Trade, they would both turn around. For a Run, only the dancer who was named turns around.

Note that the way the dancers are designated for a Run is different from almost all other calls. For most calls, the caller names the group of people who are going to do the action. The dancers who are not mentioned don't participate in the call. For example:

  • For "Heads Right and Left Thru", the heads do the call, and the sides don't.
  • For "Girls Trade", the girls trade with each other -- and the boys do nothing.
  • For "Centers Circulate", whoever is in the center box circulates in that box, while the ends don't move.

Run is different. It doesn't fit that pattern. For a Run only one of the two dancers who is going to be involved in the action is named. The other is implied. The other dancer will always be one that does not fit the description, the "opposite" of the type named. For example:

  • "Boys Run" means each boy is running around a girl.
  • "Girls Run" means each girl is running around a boy.
  • "Centers Run" means each center is running around an end.
  • "Leaders Run" means each leader is running around a trailer.
  • and so on...

In a line of four, there are typically two dancers of each type, for example, two boys and two girls. In that case, the run action takes place in each half of the line. For example, for Boys Run, each boy will be running around the girl in his own half of the line.

The same is true in a wave of four. (A wave is a kind of line.) From a wave with the girls in the center, Girls Run means that each girl will be running around the boy in her own half of the wave.

Both "runners" might be moving in the same direction, or they might be moving in opposite directions -- whichever is necessary to run around another dancer in the same half of the line. For example, for a Centers Run from a one-faced line, one runner will be flipping over to the left and the other will be flipping over to the right. Similarly, one of the ends will be sliding right while the other will be sliding left.

If the Ends Run, they will be "running around the centers", which means that the centers will need to slide outward to get out of their way.

Note also that if the two dancers start as a couple, facing the same direction, they will end in a mini-wave, facing opposite directions. If they start as a mini-wave, after one runs around the other they will be facing the same direction, as a couple. One of the most common mistakes that beginners make with Run is to try to "fix" this by turning around to make the formation the same as it was before. The formation is supposed to change. It's OK. Don't try to fix it!