Dance Steps – If you’re new to circle dance, here’s a useful description of some of the steps commonly used.

Here’s a useful description of common dance steps.

And here’s a great introduction to slip-step and grapevine.

And here’s a teachers’ handbook from the Dancing Bears!

And an excerpt from this manual with dance step names:

Common dance step patterns There are a few patterns of steps that turn up in a number of our dances. They’ve got names, and sometimes you’ll even find the dances notated with those. Here are the most common ones:

Cherkassia (cherk-ka-see-a, or sometimes cherk-kas-see-a). It’s also spelled tcherkassia. It’s a series of three steps: Step to the side, cross behind and rock forward— sometimes described as side-behind-replace. Or, cross, replace, and step to the side. You can do it by crossing in front, or by crossing behind. Confusion can result because you have to say “side right, left crosses in front, replace right” and that’s a lot of words for a brief movement. Also saying “right cherkassia” might mean “step right first and then cross with the left” or “cross the right over to the left.”  It’s usually done to one side and then to the other, but you can just do half of it to one side (as in the cross-over after turning in Winds on the Tor).

Grapevine The basic pattern is four steps: a side step, a cross, a side step and a cross. It can be side-cross in front, side-cross behind, or it can begin with any of the those four steps and just continue, winding along like a grapevine.

Pas-de-bas Sometimes you’ll hear a teacher call this “pony step” or usually “pony-step” because it’s a one-two-three step, done to the right or left. Step right-bring left together-and shift your weight back to the right foot.

Slip-Step a right slip-step is step right-feet together-step right; a left slip-step starts on the left foot.

Waltz More a rhythm than a step, it’s nonetheless always three steps with the first one slightly emphasized (one two three, one two three). In teaching, you might say “Waltz Right-two-three, Left-two-three,” so people know which foot they should be on.

Yemenite Step back, bring your feet together, then step forward on the same foot on which you stepped back. There are “side Yemenites” where you step to the side, bring your feet together, and then cross in front with the foot you started on.

And another list of folk dance steps.



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