Category Archives: 4 Face 4 Dances

Three Out Of Four Ain’t Bad – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20180829

Type: Contra Dance, 4 Facing 4
Status: Proven

Another of my “extra swings” dances – you get to swing with 3 out of the 4 opposite role dancers in your set without resorting to tricks like ending one swing mid-phrase to swing the next. I use dances like this to make up with the “every dance must have two swings” crowd when I wish to call an interesting but swing-light dance in a program. The timing of this easy one is right on and satisfying but not so tight that slower dancers can’t make it.

A1
Lines/4 Forward & Back, Corner Swing

A2
Gents Star Left 1/2x, Neighbor Swing (the one that’s not your corner)

B1
Ring/8 Balance, Gents Roll Neighbor Lady (you Swung)
Ring/8 Balance, Ladies Star Right ~1/2x (to P)

B2
Partner Balance (or Gypsy) & Swing, face next

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: Bouncy French Canadian, driving reels (e.g.: Silver Spear)
Video: Monday Contras 10/15/2018
See also: Bonus Round/Repeatronella
First called by me with the B2 Balance at the Monday Contras series, Concord Scout House on 10/15/2018

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20180528

Type: Contra Dance, 4 Facing 4 – single progression, alternating sides
Status: Proven

Don't Panic!
Don’t Panic!

I’ve become slightly obsessed with Dolphin Hey dances. In this case I was striving for one that automatically alternates who gets to act as the traveling pair, so there’s no need to have differing choreography in alternating cycles. A 4-Face-4 achieves this – but note the resulting hey is unusual in that it’s Trail Buddies (not Partners) that are traveling as a pair together.

The key teaching point (over how to do the Hey) appears to be stressing who is doing the roll-away (I’ve found saying “the most recent person you swung” is better than “original corner”).

You may get a chuckle out of Hitchhiker’s Guide fans when you tell dancers the title. 🙂

A1
Long Lines Forward & Back, Corner Swing
[Those swinging on the outsides of the set separate from their corner (take a step apart) after the swing and face across, so there are clear columns of 4 across the set. Trail Buddies who swung (in the center) face to their original left toward the outside of the set. Note partners are in separate columns/4.]

A2
Center Trail Buddy pair starts a Dolphin Hey* across the set (passing the solo Lady by the left with the TB Gent in the lead).
[after the hey, all end up back in their swing ending positions]

B1
Ring/8 Balance, Gents Roll Away their Original Corner (one you swung, R->L) and face Partner
Pass Partner by Right to Weave the Ring/8 half way
[back to Partner, in progressed location]

B2
Partner Balance & Swing (end facing direction of progression)

*Dolphin Hey: Borrowed from English Country Dancing, this is a hey for four traveling the path of a full hey for three. One “couple” (in this dance, the designated Trail Buddy pair) travels as a unit while the other dancers travel solo. The pair stay in their respective orientation relative to the sides of the hall so that they alternate the leading position as they travel the hey together. In this dance that means the Gents lead out to the left, then the Ladies lead the pass back across the set and the Gents lead the finishing partial pass back to the center.

End effects: none
Tune suggestions: Driving with strong 8-beat phrasing, or romantic with flowy A2 and well hinted 8 beats elsewhere. Not unsurprisingly, Tom Kruskal’s fits – it’s the tune for Christine Robb’s ECD, Sapphire Sea, which got me interested in the Dolphin Hey to begin with.
Video:
See also: Sapphire Sea; my other Dolphin Hey dances, not yet posted
First called by me at the NEFFA Thursday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on 9/20/2018.

Wild Mouse – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20170823

Type: Contra Dance, 4 Face 4
Status: DRAFT, EXPERIMENTAL

Amusement park ride image, 1960s
The Wild Mouse ride at Revere Beach, MA sometime in the 1960s or early ’70s
This sequence re-imagines the B parts from my dance Lobster Roll. I wanted to find another way of resolving a 4 Face 4 than has been done to date. Originally I thought of having the two Mad Robin (MR) figures be in opposite rotation with a cross-over (as in a figure 8) in the middle (a la the on the sides action in Sharon of the Green) but was concerned about the possibility of collisions while crossing.

The B1 “Experimental” bit below is my attempt to simplify the MR motion to be consistently in one rotational direction and avoid the collision issue by making the MR path for each dancer into something like a sideways “6” or “9”. The MR pieces in the B1 are in quarter multiples so the dancers can slide past each other across the set in the place between the couple dyads.

Once learned, I think this sequence will be easy to dance – given the Partners facing & associated guidance possibility in the B1 – but could be a challenge to teach!

The title of this dance comes from one of the last amusement park rides remaining at Revere Beach, Massachusetts in the late ’60s – that ride featured a series of loop-backs and sharp turns/feints that made it appear (at least to a ~8 year old) like you were going to fly off the track and land in the nearby Atlantic ocean! The B1 circuitous loops here made me think of that ride. Sadly, what was once quite a stretch of rides at that beach have since become an unbroken line of oversize condos forming a tall wall across from the sand.

A1
Rings/4 Balance, Petronella Right 1 place
Rings/4 Balance, Petronella Right 1 place

A2
Rings/4 Balance, Gents Draw Opposite Lady Back & Swing

B1
(~4) Mad Robin CW 3/4x around Opposite, Gents L->R through center first (facing P up/down)
[so temporarily we have transitory columns of 4 up/down the set with Ladies face to face and two couples “outbound” to edge of set and two couples “inbound” to cross the set]
(~4) Outbound* couples continue MR 1/2 more, WHILE inbound* couples slide straight across set to other side (so Gs behind Ls)
[to temporarily form transitory columns of 4 up/down with opposite roles facing in mini cols of 2 – have swapped inbound and outbound couples]
(~4) Outbound* couples MR 1/2x, WHILE inbound* dancers slide across to other side (L behind G)
(~2,~2) All MR 1/4x+, Ladies Pass Left up/down WHILE Gents MR 1/4x+ to face P

B2
Partner Balance & Swing, end facing progression

[*Inbound/Outbound is relative to the dancer’s (couple’s) current vector at that moment]

End effects: Remember to face progression at the end of the Partner Swing!
Tune suggestions: Bouncy As, smooth Bs
Video:
See also: Lobster Roll

Here’s a video of a different but similar Wild Mouse ride than the one I rode as a kid. Note the complete lack of safety railings on the majority of the track – that’s what got me worried about flying off into the ocean when I was a kid.

First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE

Lobster Roll – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20170823

Type: Contra Dance, 4 Face 4
Status: DRAFT

Lobster and lobster roll
Classic New England seaside shack delight
This sequence re-uses a concept I’d first developed for a down the hall dance Strolling & Rolling. When thinking about the commonality of facing lines/4 and a line/4 down the hall I recognized the same idea of a roll away into a hey would fit into a 4 Face 4 as well. This dance is the result – I paired very bouncy A parts to smooth Bs to give bands some sonic room.

The lobster roll is a classic New England gustatory treat – heck, even McDonald’s offers them here in season. Come visit, find a classic oceanside seafood shack and give one a try!

A1
Rings/4 Balance, Petronella Right 1 place
Rings/4 Balance, Petronella Right 1 place

A2
Rings/4 Balance, Gents draw Opposite Lady Back & Swing

B1
Ladies Chain (up/down to Partner)
Long Lines Forward, Lady Roll Away Partner (and face P across the set)

B2
Half Hey (Partner Pass Right)
Partner Swing, face progression

End effects: Remember to face progression at end of the Partner Swing!
Tune suggestions: Bouncy As, smooth Bs
Video:
See also: Strolling & Rolling, Wild Mouse

First called by me at the Jamaica Plain Gender Free dance on 9/30/17.

Strolling & Rolling – Becket – Don Veino 20170725

Type: Contra Dance, Becket Left/CW
Status: DRAFT

This dance sprang out of my interest in doing something unique out of a Partner Roll Away. I’ve experienced other callers’ attempts at making a roll away feed something with Partner focus like a roll to a swing – and there’s always been some significant flow issue, because the lingering tension from the last contact in the roll got in the way. This dance was crafted specifically to use that tension to launch the next action: entering a hey.

This is most likely an intermediate level dance due to the need for timely and slightly differing action in the A2 as well as the need for good dancer technique to make the roll to heys timing work and everyone end up in the right places. Because all the hey action is focused on Partners, the dance should provide effective recovery points that would keep it out of “advanced” territory.

So far this dance has been walked through successfully but not yet called/danced. I’ve since leveraged this roll to hey into a 4 Face 4 dance, Lobster Roll.

A1
Left Diagonal Circle 3/4x, Swing Neighbor
[first time through, circle is straight across]

A2
(8) Ladies Chain (to P) to face down the hall (so Courtesy Turn = different fractions for 1s and 2s)
(6,2) Down the Hall in Line/4, Gents Roll Partner w/HS (face Partner across set)

B1
Half Hey (pass P Left to start, end in mirror position of start, facing up, Ladies on left of P)
(6,2) Up the Hall in Line/4, Gents Roll Partner w/HS (face P across set)

B2
Half Hey (pass P Right to start, end in mirror position of start, facing P)
Partner Swing

End effects: Wait out on left diagonal to enter in the circle
Tune suggestions: Strongly phrased/driving smooth tunes
Video:
See also: Lobster Roll, The Right In Tension

First called by PERSON at VENUE on DATE

Sage Thoughts – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20170315

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: Proven, reviewing B1 timing

This dance’s feature sequence is all in the Bs. My wife, Sage, really liked the feel of the Butterfly Whirl in my dance Give the Gents a Whirl (where Ladies whirl the Gents) so I tried fitting that feel into this otherwise very straightforward dance. I believe the sequence feels more conventional here than in my other, such that it should be very accessible to a beginner/intermediate audience.

As of posting, I’ve called this a couple of times with a minor tweak in between to B1 (now as shown here). It has been received well, and two couples the last time reported they found a Butterfly Whirl 2x in the B1 fit perfectly to make the Promenade end right on the phrase. I need to check that out the next time it’s called (and I’d love to get a chance to dance/feel it myself).

Should you give this one a try, please comment back on how it worked and what the B1 timing actually worked out as for you.

A1
(8) Long Lines Forward & Back
(8) Gents Allemande Left 1+1/2x

A2
(4,12) Neighbor Balance & Swing

B1
(~3) Ladies Allemande Right 1/2x, pick up Partner
(Lady put her arm over the Gent’s to position best for B2)
(~7) Star Promenade 1/2x, Butterfly Whirl – if time (some dancers report 2x works!)
(keep Star/Butterfly hold w/Partner, face clockwise around oval)
(~6) Partner Promenade the Oval/8 CW 1/2x

B2
(16) Partner Swing, end facing progression

Flipped role/motion variation:

A1
(8) Long Lines Forward & Back
(8) Ladies Allemande Right 1+1/2x

A2
(8,8) Neighbor Gypsy & Swing

B1
(~3) Gents Allemande Left 1/2x, pick up Partner
(~7) Star Promenade 1/2x, Butterfly Whirl – if time
(keep Star/Butterfly hold w/Partner, face counter clockwise around oval)
(~6) Partner Promenade the Oval/8 CCW 1/2x

B2
(4,12) Partner Balance & Swing, end facing progression

Traditions With Benefits [V3] – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20151004

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: Proven but REVISED since

My experiment with adopting the signature move of Dan Pearl’s contra Beneficial Tradition (flowing from Cor Hogendijk’s English dance Pat’s Tradition) into a 4 Face 4 format. Note this dance never changes to “square” formation, staying in lines/4 throughout. The dance incorporates two hands-free star right sequences, which I dub here a “Roundabout” (the name suggested by my wife, Sage).

Most likely to be considered an “advanced” dance. 🙂

A1
(8) GENTS ROUNDABOUT 3/4 (Star Right 3/4 w/no hands, eye contact with diagonal Gent – leisurely timing)
(8) NEIGHBOR SWING (in Lady’s spot, END facing up/down to maintain 4-Face-4 formation)

A2
(8) LADIES ROUNDABOUT 3/4 (Star Right 3/4 w/no hands, eye contact with diagonal Lady – leisurely timing)
[Gents face to their right along short line (across hall), wait for Partner]
(4,4) PARTNER Two Hand BALANCE, INSIDE hand TWIRL TO SWAP* (along short lines), FACE UP/DOWN
[Partners should drop hands as soon as they complete the Twirl to Swap so Ladies have free right hand for B1]

B1
(4,4) OPPOSITE Role pull by RIGHT STRAIGHT UP/DOWN, SAME Role pull by LEFT on slight left DIAGONAL
[If no one on left, do nothing]
(4,4) OPPOSITE Role pull by RIGHT STRAIGHT UP/DOWN, SAME Role pull by LEFT on slight left DIAGONAL
[If no one on left, do nothing. Every other cycle of the dance, this opposite role person will be your Partner.]
#PROGRESSION

B2
(4,12) PARTNER BALANCE & SWING (end facing direction of progression)

Notes:
*A2 Twirl to Swap is effectively a reversed Star Through.

In B1, it can be very helpful to have the dancers momentarily maintain the hand connection from the former pull by as they then reach with the other hand for the next dancer.

Tune selection will probably be different than those used for Beneficial Tradition, as the “zipper” changes happen in a different part of the dance.

In my original draft V1 the A1 and B2 used Gents and Ladies Star Right 3/4, respectively, both revised to “Roundabouts.” Roundabout revisions not yet called publicly.

Revision history: Original V1 composed (dictated) while I was driving to & then tested at a calling party 20151004. V2 20160128 (Gents Roundabout) and V3 20170303 (both Roundabout).

Seasons 8 – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20161204

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: DRAFT, Experimental (Contra dancers doing a Pass the Sea?)
Tune suggestion: Thomas Shrug’s March

This is one of several of my dances in a series of “Oceans” and “Seasons” compositions which bring Ocean or Sea Waves into a 4 Facing 4 dance. It embeds a same role Hey in the center of the dance while the other role does a classic square dance (NOT Box) Circulate (called “Orbit” here for contra dancers).

I’ve NOT called or walked through this dance with dancers yet. Should you give it a go, please let me know.

A1
Give & Take (Up/Down), Lady take Neighbor Gent back and Swing

A2
(4,4) Pass the Sea* (Up/Down), Sea Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Ladies are on outside oval facing counter clockwise, Gents are inside facing CW]
(8) Simultaneously:
     Gents in center Half Hey (across – Gents facing center start passing LEFT)
*WHILE*
     Ladies Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends) [I TEACH/CALL THIS AS AN ORBIT 1/2 to stay with more typical contra language for dancers]
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with LEFT Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

B1
Wave Balance Left (toward N) & Right, Neighbor Swat the Flea
[alternate, likely to become preferred: Wave Balance Fwd/Back, Neighbor Allemande Left 1/2x]
Ladies Allemande Right 1+1/2 (to P)

B2
Partner Balance & Swing, end facing progression

*Pass the Sea is a reverse role/direction Pass The Ocean. Ladies walk to the far side, presenting left hand to the Gent they started next to, who has right hands in the center with the other Gent.

So why not the following A2? Because the Gents will arrive ~2 beats early at their spot and possibly overshoot it. This dance is not going to be called with a beginner crowd and, if the dancers can’t handle a Hey, you probably shouldn’t be calling this one.

A2
(4,4) Pass the Sea (Up/Down), Sea Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Ladies are on outside oval facing counter clockwise, Gents are inside facing CW]
(8) All Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends, stay in role oval)
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with LEFT Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

Seasons 4 – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20161204

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: DRAFT, Experimental (Contra dancers doing a Pass the Sea?)
Tune suggestion: Thomas Shrug’s March

This is one of several of my dances in a series of “Oceans” and “Seasons” compositions which bring Ocean or Sea Waves into a 4 Facing 4 dance. It embeds a same role Hey in the center of the dance while the other role does a classic square dance (NOT Box) Circulate (called “Orbit” here for contra dancers).

I’ve NOT called or walked through this dance with dancers yet. Should you give it a go, please let me know.

A1
Give & Take (Up/Down), Gent take Neighbor Lady back and Swing

A2
(4,4) Pass the Sea* (Up/Down), Sea Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Ladies are on outside oval facing counter clockwise, Gents are inside facing CW]
(8) Simultaneously:
     Gents in center Half Hey (across – Gents facing center start passing LEFT)
*WHILE*
     Ladies Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends) [I TEACH/CALL THIS AS AN ORBIT 1/2 to stay with more typical contra language for dancers]
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with LEFT Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

B1
Rory Wave Balance Left (toward N) & Right, Twirl/Slide Left
Rory Wave Balance Right & Left, Twirl/Slide Right (Gents Super Twirl to P)

B2
Partner Balance & Swing, end facing progression

*Pass the Sea is a reverse role/direction Pass The Ocean. Ladies walk to the far side, presenting left hand to the Gent they started next to, who has right hands in the center with the other Gent.

So why not the following A2? Because the Gents will arrive ~2 beats early at their spot and possibly overshoot it. This dance is not going to be called with a beginner crowd and, if the dancers can’t handle a Hey, you probably shouldn’t be calling this one.

A2
(4,4) Pass the Sea (Up/Down), Sea Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Ladies are on outside oval facing counter clockwise, Gents are inside facing CW]
(8) All Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends, stay in role oval)
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with LEFT Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

Oceans 8 – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20161204

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: DRAFT
Tune suggestion: Thomas Shrug’s March

This is one of several of my dances in a series of “Oceans” and “Seasons” compositions which bring Ocean or Sea Waves into a 4 Facing 4 dance. It embeds a same role Hey in the center of the dance while the other role does a classic square dance (NOT Box) Circulate (called “Orbit” here for contra dancers).

I’ve NOT called or walked through this dance with dancers yet. Should you give it a go, please let me know.

A1
Give & Take (Up/Down), Lady take Neighbor Gent back and Swing

A2
(4,4) Pass the Ocean (Up/Down), Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Gents are on outside oval facing clockwise, Ladies are inside facing CCW]
(8) Simultaneously:
     Ladies in center (across) Half Hey (Ladies facing center start passing Right)
*WHILE*
     Gents Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends) [I TEACH/CALL THIS AS AN ORBIT 1/2 to stay with more typical contra language for dancers]
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with Right Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

B1
Rory Wave Balance Right (toward N) & Left, Twirl/Slide Right
Rory Wave Balance, Twirl/Slide Left (Ladies Super Twirl to P)

B2
Partner Balance & Swing (end facing progression)

So why not the following A2? Because the Ladies will arrive ~2 beats early at their spot and possibly overshoot it. This dance is not going to be called with a beginner crowd and, if the dancers can’t handle a Hey, you probably shouldn’t be calling this one.

A2
(4,4) Pass the Ocean (Up/Down), Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Gents are on outside oval facing clockwise, Ladies are inside facing CCW]
(8) All Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends)
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with Right Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

Boston Cream Pie – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20161005

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: Public, Proven

Lynn Ackerson’s Coconut Cream Pie is a fave as it’s interesting yet bulletproof with mixed crowds (and itself is built upon Apple Pie Quadrille by Ron Beeson). I use it so much, I wrote this dance leveraged from it to have some variation. My unique take is in the B2 here – Lynn’s is Circle/8 Left 1/2x, Balance & California Twirl.

First called at the Thursday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on 12/1/2016.

A1
LLFB
Center 4 Star Right 1x

A2
Partner Allemande Left 1+1/2x
(new) Center 4 Start Right 1x

B1
Partner Balance & Swing

B2
Current Ring/8 Balance, California Twirl (to facing prior Neighbors)
LH Gent Tow Your Line (in an arc, over left shoulder) to face new Line/4

Oceans 4 – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20161204

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: Public, Proven
Tune suggestion: Thomas Shrug’s March

This is one of several of my dances in a series of “Oceans” and “Seasons” compositions which bring Ocean or Sea Waves into a 4 Facing 4 dance. It embeds a same role Hey in the center of the dance while the other role does a classic square dance (NOT Box) Circulate (called “Orbit” here for contra dancers).

This dance was first called at the Monday Contras series at the Concord Scout House on 12/19/2016.

Note this dance never converts to a square formation.

A1
Give & Take (Up/Down), Gent take Neighbor Lady back and Swing

A2
(4,4) Pass the Ocean (Up/Down), Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Gents are on outside oval facing clockwise, Ladies are inside facing CCW]
(8) Simultaneously:
     Ladies in center (across) Half Hey (Ladies facing center start passing Right)
*WHILE*
     Gents Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends) [I TEACH/CALL THIS AS AN ORBIT 1/2 to stay with more typical contra language for dancers]
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with Right Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

B1
Wave Balance Right (toward N) & Left, Neighbor Box the Gnat [like the feel but handhold change req’d]
[Not yet tested variation – but what I expect will become the std: Balance Fwd/Back, N Allemande Rt 1/2x]
Gents Allemande Left 1+1/2 (to P)

B2
Partner Balance & Swing, end facing progression

So why not the following A2? Because the Ladies will arrive ~2 beats early at their spot and possibly overshoot it. This dance is not going to be called with a beginner crowd and, if the dancers can’t handle a Hey, you probably shouldn’t be calling this one.

A2
(4,4) Pass the Ocean (Up/Down), Wave Balance Fwd/Back
[NOTE all Gents are on outside oval facing clockwise, Ladies are inside facing CCW]
(8) All Circulate 2 Places (wrap around ends)
[Form similar Ocean Waves aligned up/down with Right Hand to same G&T Neighbor]

Wavy Star Shuffle – 4 Face 4 – Don Veino 20170120

Type: 4 Facing 4
Status: Public, Proven

First called at the Monday Contras dance at the Concord Scout House on 2/13/2017 to positive comments. There were plenty of smiles on dancer faces through the dance… 🙂

That’s great, because I personally typically don’t like (what I think of as) “stub toe star” (dubbed “wavy” here or often also called “gypsy” star) dances! But I had this idea of building the star in one go (in other dances they often seem to be built in two layers – with one role and then the other joining) and it appears one go works fine, which allows a nice recovery space via the preceding Long Lines start.

See also my dance Wavy Star Slice which I derived from this one.

A1
LLFB
Fwd to Wavy Star*, Balance

A2
Star CW 3/4x (groups/4 – Gents fwd, Ladies back up 3 places)
N Swing

B1
L Chain (to P)
Circle/8 Left 1/2x (2 couple places)

B2
Corner Allemande Left 1x
P Swing

*a.k.a. “Gypsy Star” – Take hands in wave with same role N, Gents below Ladies, to form an interleaved wave facing opposite role N. Let go of outside hands (the one touching adjacent hands/4 folks) and retake hands with opposite role N before rotating the star.

Alternative B2s:
(Gents turn back to)
P Balance & Swing
OR
(alternative music fit: Gypsy Right and Swing P)