Mississippi Squares Mainstream Workshop Night 6 Recap 

What a  great night of dancing…

As a caller I see everything that happens on the floor… the entire floor and I saw a huge change between night one and night six!

The symmetry and flow on night six was very exciting to me as I could see the floor moving in unison with the beat and to the calls… very satisfying to see.


Thank you all for coming together to share our time doing something we all love.

Big thanks to Mississippi Squares for organizing this Workshop, it takes a great group of people to create something special, everyone helped to solve the puzzle!

and especially to all of you our friends and guests from other clubs.

Enjoy your summer and hope to see you all on the floor really soon!


Remember what “Cool Bill” had to say, round dancing lesson start in September at Mississippi Squares   

Click here for more info

Mainstream Workshop Night 5 Recap



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We did it!  we covered all of the mainstream calls on the Callerlab list.
Well sort of…

So far we have looked at all of the calls from a “standard position”.  The term standard position always evokes a lot of discussion, so the way I like to explain it is as such…

“a square dance call in standard position is the position, formation or arrangement that allows for the most amount of success” therefore it is the way that it is most commonly presented”…

Some callers advocate that a call should be taught from non standard positions right from the beginning and I respect this point of view but my experience has shown me that most dancers that become comfortable with a call in its “standard position first ” and then experience the call from a non standard position have more success and find the overall experience more enjoyable as they can appreciate and understand what they have done.  The mainstream program is fun and challenging and there are so many ways we can enjoy the calls on this list.


Calls we looked at last week…


Starting formation – ocean wave only. The ends of the wave cross fold as the centers of the wave fold in behind the ends and follow them around, then face in to end as two facing couples.
STYLING: All dancers, arms in natural dance position, hands ready to adjust for next call as quickly as possible. TIMING: 4 steps.
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-Starts in waves, ends in couples. 

-This is a no hands call, only take hands after the call is complete and you are in couples. 

-For the dancer on the end the calls can feel like a wheel and deal, for centre dancers it may feel like an exaggerated zoom action. 

Click on Blue Box for link to Taminations


 Dixie Style to an Ocean Wave 

Starting formation – facing couples or facing tandems. From facing couples, the right hand dancer steps forward and to the left to become the lead dancer in a tandem. Lead dancers join right hands and pull by. Moving to the other trailing dancer, each extends a left hand and touches to a left hand mini wave and turns one quarter (90°). New center dancers join right hands and form a left hand ocean wave.
STYLING: Lead dancers initially pulling by in the center should use handshake hold as in right and left grand. When forming mini waves with trailing dancers, dancers must adjust to the right, using hands-up position and same styling as in swing thru.

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-When the right hand dancer (Girl if in a standard position)  starts the right pull by the left hand dancers moves to the right to take the original right hand dancers position. 

-When done from standard position the call feels like a two ladies chain so it feels natural to do a courtesy turn but the courtesy turn is incorrect, you must do a “left touch a 1/4 action… the boys will finish in the centre of a newly formed wave. 

Click on Dixie Cup for link to Taminations



 Also we recapped this rule of dancing


Some calls, which normally start from ocean waves, can also be done when dancers are in facing couples (e.g. swing thru, spin the top, fan the top, etc.). In this case, the dancers first step into a momentary right ocean wave and complete the call unless the caller specifically directs a lefthand call (e.g. left swing thru, etc.) in which case the dancers step into a momentary left ocean wave and complete the call. Exceptions to this rule are listed in the body of the definitions.
This rule also applies when calls which require two parallel ocean waves (e.g. spin chain thru) are called with the dancers in an eight chain thru formation.

This upcoming week is #6 and our final week of workshop, we will be reviewing the calls to date and this is a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding  a specific call or any aspect of square dancing…


Mainstream Workshop Night 4 Recap

Another great evening with a fantastic group!

This week we looked at…

Tag The Line


Starting formation – any line with an even number of dancers. FULL: Each dancer turns to face the center of the line. Taking a short side step to the left, each dancer walks forward passing right shoulders with oncoming dancers until he has walked past all of the dancers from the other half of the line. The call may be followed by any one of the directions In, Out, Right or Left. When this happens, dancers turn in place one quarter (90°) in the direction indicated.

STYLING: Arms in natural dance position, hands ready to assume appropriate position for the next call. A flowing type of movement can be achieved by taking a slight step forward before turning toward the center of the line, thus avoiding the abrupt military type pivot. TIMING: 6 steps

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  • Let go of handholds first!  Tag the Line is a call that is done individually.
  • Turn individually in the direction where there are more people in your line. C.) Turn towards the center of the line.
  • Right shoulder passes.
  • The action takes about four dance steps to get past everyone.
  •  Listen for follow up directional call if given.

Click on image below for link to “Tag the Line” on Taminations


Spin the Top 


Starting formation: Ocean Wave
Command examples:
Spin The Top
Spin The Top; Spin It Again (i.e., go twice)
Spin The Top, Do A Right and Left Thru

Dance action: End and adjacent center Turn 1/2. Centers Turn 3/4 while the ends move forward in a quarter circle around the formation to become ends of the final Ocean Wave.Ending formation: Ocean Wave perpendicular to starting formation
Timing: 8
Styling: Use same styling as in Swing Thru.
Comments: The Facing Couples Rule applies to this call.

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FACING COUPLES RULE: Some calls done from facing couples require the dancers to first step into a momentary right ocean wave (unless it is a left-hand call, eg. “Left swing thru”, in which case the dancers step into a momentary left ocean wave) before completing the call. Examples of such calls are Swing Thru; Fan the top; Spin the top; Spin Chain Thru. For beginners and new dancers, the caller may cue the parts, for example, “Heads lead right, step to a wave, swing thru” or “Pass thru, make a wave, fan the top”; but for Mainstream or more experienced beginner dancers the call will be, “Heads lead right, swing thru” or “Pass thru, fan the top”.

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Spin the Top  “Top Tips”

  • The person you start with is the one you finish with.
  • The ends to meet the centers around the corner.
  • Wave finishes at right angles from how you started.
  • Look at the different parts of the call…ends and adjacent turn 1⁄2, new centers cast 3/4, top: new outsides move around the corner 1/4.
  • Call ends in waves, other calls such as “right and left thru” or “slide thru” may be called but don’t anticipate. 

Click TOP for link to Spin the Top on ” Taminations” 


Week Three Recap 

Another Great Evening, it didn’t take long to get warmed up….

It’s nice to see summer is back!

We started the evening off recapping and reviewing previous calls …

  • Scoot Back
  • Cloverleaf
  • Pass to the Center
  • Eight-chain Thru Family

This week we looked at…

Cast Off Three Quarters 


From a General Line, each half of the line works together: those in a Mini-Wave Turn 3/4 while those in a Couple turn, as a unit, away from the centre of the line for 3/4 of a circle (270 degrees).

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If you are  in a wave or mini wave the caller will specify with which hand you will use as the pivot point. If  the starting formation is a right-hand ocean wave the Caller may specify that you cast by the right hand, meaning each half of the wave will cast off 3/4, if the Caller specifies the center dancers cast off 3/4, this would see the centres casting off using their left hand hold as a pivot point.

If the starting formation is a line, dancers  will work as a couple, they would cast away from the centre of the line with the dancers furthers from the center being the pivot point, there may be times where you as a couple will have to adjust and we will look at this next week.

Walk and Dodge


Starting formation – box circulate or facing couples. From box circulate formation, each dancer facing into the box walks forward to take the place of the dancer who was directly in front of him. Meanwhile, each dancer facing out of the box steps sideways (dodges) into the position vacated by the “walker” who was formerly beside him. Dancers end side by side, both facing out. If walk and dodge is called from facing couples, the caller must designate who is to walk and who is to dodge (e.g., “men walk, ladies dodge”). Ending is a box circulate formation.


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Always remember on Walk and Dodge… you never turn around, always remain facing the same direction as you were when you start the call.


Spin Chain Thru 



Starting formation – parallel waves. Each end and the adjacent center dancer turn one half (180°). The new centers of each ocean wave turn three-quarters (270°) to make a new ocean wave across the set. The two centers of this wave turn one half (180°) to reform the wave across the set. The two outside pairs of dancers of the center wave now turn three-quarters (270°) to join the waiting ends and form parallel ocean waves. The Facing Couples Rule applies to this call.

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If you start as centres of the ocean wave you will become ends after the initial part of the call (Each end and the adjacent center dancer turn one half (180°) at this point unless the caller gives a command to the ends they DO NOT NEED TO MOVE.  Another top tip … after the wave has formed and the centres trade the ends of that wave MUST NOT MOVE... otherwise the trading dancers will not have a hand to take therefore there is a greater likelihood of a breakdown.

Let me know if you have any questions… 

Have a great long weekend!


Q&A Time

I had a few of you asking for clarification on previous Blog Post Topics 


More Clarification on…

Getting Going after a Break Down”



We have had some discussion over what to do if  your square breaks down. In the first week recap I mentioned that if you are dancing in a patter call and your square breaks down that everybody should make lines so the Caller can “pick you up”.

After a few comments I realized that this explanation was rather vague and needs more clarification.  I received questions such as “should I get my original partner?” which way should my lines be facing?” etc…

Callerlab has a procedure but in my 25 years of dancing and calling I can not recall ever using or seeing this method , that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try it out. 

Here is the official method of resuming a broken square during a patter call.


  1. Return to home position as soon as possible. (Squared up at home with original partner in original positions) 
  2. The head ladies will take their corner’s hand and head couples will back out to form lines at the sides of the square.
  3. On the caller’s command “EVERYBODY go forward and back”, they enter into the dance pattern.


  1. Recognize that a number of sets have broken down and have formed lines at the sides of the squares.
  2. Place the dancing squares into lines, in a normal boy/girl arrangement.
  3. Give the command “EVERYBODY go forward and back” in a bold voice which is the command for the broken squares to enter into the dance pattern.

We will discuss this further on Wednesday…


Online Tutorial Suggestions 

I have mentioned and previously added links to Taminations which  is a great resource tool but not for everyone, Jane Trach recommended this site with is a Video Tutorial that you may want to check out.

Click on image below to get to Tutorial 

Cheers and keep the Questions Coming!


Mississippi Squares Mainstream Workshop Night 2 Recap

Thank You All for another Great Evening

 “Important Tip from Week One” Being cognizant Hand Holds and using the Walls of the hall as a reference to make sure our formations are aligned, when we are  aligned to a wall our formations are more recognizable and this improves timing…both of these factors leads to more successful dancing.

This Week’s Tip: Timing … what is timing? What do you need to know?  The Caller Is responsible for providing timing, cadence, the music and the correct call delivery …but equally important it is up to the dancers to listen and start on beat one… if we all move together then success and enthusiasm will flourish.

Click on the Box below for the Basic / Mainstream Timing Chart


We also Reviewed

Circulates, all 8 from waves, all 8 from columns, box, Split (from waves and columns


Focus calls for this week

Fold / Cross Fold

Be sure not to confuse with run / cross run … 

Scoot Back

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Top Tips for Scoot back, if you are in a Right Hand Wave / Box then your Scoot Back actions will also be “Right Handed” meaning the in facing dancer will be executing a Right Turn Thru and the out facing dancers will run to the Right (action similar to a fold) . If starting from a Left Handed Wave/ Box the Left arm is used and the out facing dancers run left.

Pass to the Center

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Top Tip for Pass to the Center … Do not forget to partner trade if you are the couple facing out after the pass thru. Those who started on the outside once they have passed thru have to make sure they don’t confuse the call with trade by…To recap the call starts in Boxes (Eight Chain Thru and ends in a Double Pass thru)

Definition : Dance action: Pass Thru. Those looking out of the square Partner Trade


Pass to the Center starts In Eight Chain Thru Formation.

8 chain

…..and ends in Double Pass Thru


That is it… but you likely won’t  be in the formation long as there will likely be another call coming…



Eight Chain Family


The Eight Chain Family (Definition


Dance action: Complete as many of these actions as appropriate:

  • All Right Pull By (Eight Chain 1 has been completed)
  • Centers Left Pull By while the ends Courtesy Turn (Eight Chain 2 has been completed)
  • All Right Pull By (Eight Chain 3 has been completed)
  • Centers Left Pull By while the ends Courtesy Turn (Eight Chain 4 has been completed)
  • All Right Pull By (Eight Chain 5 has been completed)
  • Centers Left Pull By while the ends Courtesy Turn (Eight Chain 6 has been completed)
  • All Right Pull By (Eight Chain 7 has been completed)
  • Centers Left Pull By while the ends Courtesy Turn (Eight Chain Thru has been completed)


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Top Tip: When dancing Eight Chain  Family and the call is an odd number (ie… 1,3,5,7 etc…)  Even though a caller will not likely ever leave you hanging without a complimentary call (likely Allemande Left) ….an odd number will leave you in a trade by formation  (see below)


Before Eight Chain One

8 chain

After Eight Chain One (ends in trade by) this applies to all “odd-numbered Eight Chain Calls 1,3,5,7 etc…

Trade By


Clover Leaf

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Top Tip .. When starting from Double Pass Through work away from your partner… make

An exaggerated 3/4 circle away from your partner until you meet a new partner… If you are the trailer follow the leader.

Click on Cloverleaf for animation and detailed definitions



Thanks to Taminations of the graphics.. 


We also looked at

Wheel Around… 

Dance action: The couple, working as a unit, turn around to the left (180 degrees). The left-side dancer backs up while the right-side dancer moves forward. The pivot point is the handhold between the two dancers.

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Top Tip … do not think of this as the Boy Back up because this call can be executed from non standard couple formations… Think Left hand dancer backs up Right Hand Dancer moves forward. 

Mainstream Workshop 2017 Week 1 Recap

Keeep Calm

What a great first evening and a wonderful group of Square Dance friends!

For the first night of the Workshop  we looked at mainly the calls preceding Mainstream program to ensure we have a good base for the rest of the Workshop.

We reviewed the importance of Hand holds and using the Walls of the hall as a reference to make sure our formations are aligned. When we are  aligned to a wall our formations are more recognizable, this improves timing…both of these factors leads to more successful dancing.

We did a quick refresh of Pass the Ocean

We reviewed Circulates, all 8 from waves, all 8 from columns. Box, Split (from waves and columns) and all of these in many standard and non standard configurations.

Run and Cross Run 

Left handed waves/Left Swing thru as well as Swing Thru from Left handed waves.

And a few MS Calls that we reviewed ….

Turn Thru

Slide Thru

This a Great Question!

A question that was asked was regarding how to  get dancing again after a breakdown or more specifically why we make lines if we breakdown in a patter (teaching) call and make squares during a singing call.

Why we make lines during a patter call?  As a caller I want to see everyone moving/ dancing.  When a square breaks down I am most concerned with getting you “going again”.  I will get the rest of the squares to lines very quickly therefore getting everyone dancing again ASAP.

Why do we “Square Up” if we break down during a Singing call?: A singing call is a structured dance that in almost every case consists of seven 64 beat segments ..




Middle Break




Because of  this structure we have a time constraint as well as the choreography has to work within this block of time and therefore likely will not allow for the caller to “pick your square up”.  As I had mentioned there are 7 segments to a singing call and at the end of each segment the choreography is designed to have the Men squared at home .Due to corner progression the Women will be at home only during the opener and closer) therefore squaring up is the most efficient way to get back to dancing after a “free style” dance moment.


I was going to add definitions to calls I listed in the blog but it may be better to review on a website called Taminations (click on box below) Once your on the site select the level you want, click onto the call and you will be able to watch an animation of the call as well as the definition.

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Improve your Mainstream Workshop 2017

Are you interested in improving your mainstream dancing? Perhaps just want to extend your dance season… Come visit us at the Mississippi Squares May 3 to June 7 2017 with The Mississippi Squares and me Brian Crawford

Not only will be looking at the mainstream program will also be looking at reinforcing the foundation of our basics. The only criteria we require is that you have completed the Mainstream Program and that you want to have fun.

Any Question please contact me through the blog below, I have added links to the Workshop Flyer, A link to the Mississippi Squares and a link Google Maps.

I will post again early next week with more information.

Cheers Brian

See flyer below to link to .pdf









Map below… Click on Map to open Google Maps and get directions

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To link to the Mississippi Squares website click on the logo below.


Welcome to Brian’s Square Dance Blog


You may be asking why a Square Dance blog for the Mississippi Squares?

Good Question! My intention for this forum is so I can communicate with anyone who wants to learn about Modern Square Dancing as well as our experience of learning the moves that make up the dance we share together at the Mississippi Squares.

Through this medium I can post ahead of time my projected teaching for a specific session / evening as well as give YOU a forum to ask questions when you have time.  I also feel that this site will help us stay in touch if we ever have a winter like the one we just experienced where we miss so many evenings.

I have learned from my many years in management that the more communication we have the better a team is built.

You can check this Blog anytime you would like or if you wish you can get an email notification when a new post is published.

I will also be able to share pertinent documents and or upcoming events.

(Click on thumbnail below to see “Helpful Hints Document”)

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