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Houston Area Traditional Dance Society

Houston Area Traditional Dance Society

Advanced English Country Dances

At HATDS ECD we teach as much as is needed at every regular 1st and 3rd Sunday dance, where everyone is welcomed regardless of dance experience or skill. However, we occasionally have a program designed for experienced dancers only.

An event for experienced dancers is one where the basics listed below are not taught but advanced figures, styling, and timing are taught. Please do not invite new dancers to one of these events!

The program of an advanced or challenging event will often include an easier dance or two that we've done at our regular dances, but walk-throughs will be shorter and the caller will stop prompting sooner.

Criteria for Attendance

In order to attend an advanced ECD, dancers should be able to

  • execute the common figures listed below without review,
  • remember the pattern of most dances after a few times through, and dance without constant prompting from the caller or other dancers,
  • switch roles (such as a 2nd couple becoming a 1st couple) with little or no difficulty,
  • adjust their dancing to fit the phrase of the music, and
  • dance with good connection (giving weight) in circles, one- and two-hand turns, gates, etc.

Basics That Are Not Taught

Every dancer who attends an advanced event is expected to know these terms and be able to dance these figures. They will not be taught.

Formations, Orientation, and Positions

  • 2 / 3 / 4 / etc couple sets
  • Duple minor longways (hands 4) and its progression
  • Triple minor longways (hands 6) and its progression
  • Circle formation
  • Up/down the hall or set
  • Top/head and bottom/foot of the set
  • Proper and improper positions
  • Partner, Neighbor, Corner positions

Dance Figures

  • A double, as in up a double and back.
  • Siding (into line or straight siding)
  • Arming, which we do with a forearm hold
  • Back to back / do-si-do
  • Cast
  • Circle
  • Circular hey (no hands)
  • Crossing (either straight across or up/down through another couple)
  • Figure 8, both half and whole
  • Forward and back (up and back a double)
  • Gate
  • Gypsy or right/left shoulder round
  • Hands across star
  • Hey for 3 or 4 (basic heys), both across the set and on the sides
  • Lead down/up
  • Poussette, both straight and draw
  • Rights and lefts (a circular hey with hands)
  • Right/left hand turn
  • Setting
  • Step and honor
  • Slipping / chasse step
  • Turn single
  • Two hand turn