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Square Dance Steps

Medha Godbole Sep 29, 2018
Knowing different square dance formations serves two purposes - exercise and entertainment. Read on to know more about this dance form involving 4 couples in a square arrangement.
Inspired by folk dancing, square dance is a hit amongst older generations at festivals and fairs. This dance form dates back to the 17th century England, and consequently became popular all over Europe.
It involves 4 pairs in a square formation, and its steps and movements are derived and based on steps and figures in traditional folk dances of people from different origins migrating to the USA.

Basic Steps

Ladies Chain

This step involves ladies being singled out by the caller going towards each other and then holding only the right hands. They then pass through, dropping their right hands, after which their left hands are placed in each other's.

Allemande Left

This step is done when those couples at the corners of the square face each other and hold each other's left hands. After that, they walk around each other and come back to their original position. Similarly, an allemande right  is done where the dancers hold their right hands.


This is one of the most simple steps for kids. It is nothing but a step where one hand of a dancer is in another dancer's hand. If this grasp is broken, the handhold comes to an end.


Simply put, this is one of those steps where partners cross hands, and then walk counter-clockwis, to their original positions.


Here, the partners hold hands and hop on their left foot at the same time. This is followed by crossing over to the right, and hopping on the same foot again crossing over to the left. You might find this movement similar to a grapevine step in an upbeat jazz dance.


Dancers in two lines face each other in this formation. The convention is that women fall in one line and men in the other. For infusing more fun in this step, it needs 6 to 8 couples.
These were the basic steps. Now here is a low down on some formations. These formations may resemble country dance, as that too has evolved from the stream of folk dance

Formation #1

1. Face the center of the room and stand with your partner at your side.

2. Hold your arms up in the quintessential dancing position (for men), and hold your skirt with both hands (for women).

3. Face your partner and step forward, and then the man will pass the woman as she stands at his right shoulder.
4. Then, without turning around, the man will move in a circle around her which will have his left shoulder passing hers.

5. The man will take a step backward, then stand in this position and face the woman.

6. The woman will mirror the man's movements, thus ending up facing him.

Formation #2

1. Now, considering that there are 6 or 8 couples, step ahead with the couple with you towards the couple standing directly across.

2. Now move to your right for permitting the woman from the couple opposite to pass you on the right side.
3. From the opposite couple, the man should take the woman's hand and then spin with her till you are facing the opposite side where you originally stood.

4. The woman who is your partner will go about and do the same. She will move to the right of the man from the opposite couple and take a spin with him.
5. After this, place your left hand on the shoulder of your partner, take her right hand, and turn her counter-clockwise.

6. While you turn her counter-clockwise, step back till you do that and till you both face the middle of the room.

7. The other couple will follow suit, and finish on the side from which you started.

Square Dancers

To learn how to square dance, all you need is coordination with your partner and an innate grace. If you have that, well then you can set the dance floor on fire!