Basic Folk Dance Moves


Circle Left (or right) - 3 or more dancers join hands and circle to their left (or right).

Grand Chain – Usually, face your partner, give right hand and pull by to meet the next dancer and  offer left hand and pull by, continue alternating hands around the circle for the number of times (or hands) instructed or until back to place.

Back to Back (or Do Si Do) -Take 2 steps forward (to just pass partner's right shoulder), one side step to the right and 2 in reverse passing left shoulder to finish back in place.

Right hand turn –Give right hand to partner or another member of the set as instructed and walk a full turn clockwise to place.

Left hand turn – The above anti-clockwise.

Two hand turn – Give two hands to partner and walk a complete turn clockwise.

Cast - Turn away from partner and move to the position instructed.

Promenade – With lady on man’s right, hold right hands and left hands and move forwards or in the direction instructed.

Right Hand Star (or hands across) - Usually danced by two couples giving right hand to the diagonally opposite person to form a cross and dancing around to finish back in place (travelling in clockwise direction). Also left hand star travelling anticlockwise.


Ladies Chain - With 2 couples facing and a lady on the man's right. The ladies give right hands to each other to pull by and give left hand to the opposite man's left. The man puts his right arm around the ladies waist to turn her around so that the 2 couples are again facing and the lady is on the right. Repeat the movement from the opposite side so that the ladies get back to place

Swing –American walk swing - Using the ballroom hold, men stand slightly to the left of partner and walk around each other.

Or Pivot Swing - With the same hold, each put the right foot into the centre and use the left foot to push off as if riding a scooter.

Or cross hand hold with partner, useful in a hop step dance, or if ladies meet or an adult meets a child.

Reel or Hey – Usually done with 3 or 4 people who weave in and out along a straight line until they get back to place. There are many variations.

Figure of 8 - One couple stand still whilst the other couple with the lady in the lead go between them, around the person on the opposite side of the set, between them again and around the other stationary person to finish back in place.





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