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Round Dance Tips by Tim Eum —

Turning Away From Partner and Coming Back

In round dancing, there are figures in which you turn away from partner and then usually on the very next measure you turn back to face. It is as if to playfully leave the partner only to miss him/her and come back again. When you come back to your partner be sure to look into his/her eyes and smile.

PHASE 1 TIP: WALTZ AWAY AND TOGETHER – Turn away on first step then do the side and close. Follow this with a turn to face and then side and close.

The waltz away usually begins in Butterfly position (BFLY). Turn away on the first step, but keep holding the trail hands (man’s right, lady’s left), which come through between you and your partner. This puts you in a “Back to Back” position with trail foot free. Finish the “Waltz Away” by doing a Side and Close on steps two and three in that Back to Back position.

Waltz Together by stepping side (remember to do this with trail foot) with a turn to face partner by taking the joined trail hands and swinging them back down and through between you and your partner. This causes the man to turn right-face and the lady left-face to end back in BFLY facing. Finish the Waltz Together with a Side and Close.

PHASE 1 TIP: CIRCLE AWAY AND TOGETHER – Make sure in circling away that you turn at least 180 degrees (i.e. to face RLOD).

“Circle Away and Together” is defined as a figure in both phase 1 two step and phase 1 waltz by Roundalab. It is nothing more than doing two forward two-steps or two forward waltzes where the man curves around towards center of hall and then back to partner and the lady curves around towards the wall and then back to partner (assuming that you began in SCP or OP facing line of dance).

One of the most common problems that occurs with “Circle Away and Together” is that dancers end with a large gap between themselves and their partner. The most likely reason is that when circling away, one or both dancers simply did not curve enough. When starting in SCP or OP facing LOD, you must curve the first forward two-step or waltz around to face at least RLOD. You then will be able to use the second forward two-step or waltz to get back to partner. If you do not end facing RLOD after the first measure, it is very difficult to get back to partner. This is because you only have six steps to do the full circle and if you take the fourth step away from partner (the result of not curving enough on the first three steps) you will only have two steps left to get back and that is difficult to do comfortably.

PHASE 2 TIP: BALANCE AWAY AND TOGETHER – Turn away on first step then step in place twice. Follow this with a turn to face and step in place twice.

In the two step, the Balance Away and Together is similar to the Waltz Away and Together except for timing and the fact that you don’t progress as much because you are stepping in place instead of doing side-closes on the second and third steps of each figure. Timing for the Balance Away and Together is very quick: 1&2, 3&4; whereas timing for the Waltz Away and Together is a leisurely 123; 456.

PHASE 2 TIP: FACE to FACE – First do the Side and Close, then on the third step, side turn away to a back-to-back position.

Similar to the Away and Together figures is Face to Face (and Back to Back), but NOTE – the turn is done on the LAST step not the first one. It is a common mistake to turn too early on Face to Face. Do the Side and Close on the first and second steps and only then, on the third step, do you turn away to the back-to-back position. You still retain holding trail hands and you do swing them through between you. Just do so on the last step not the first.

PHASE 2 TIP: BACK to BACK – First do the Side and Close, then on the third step turn to face partner.

The same thing applies to Back to Back as for Face to Face. Do the Side and Close on the first and second steps, and only on the third and last step do you turn to face partner, swinging the trail hands down and back between you and your partner to end facing partner in BFLY position.


Tim Eum originally prepared these Tips for Calls 'n' Cues, Washington Area Square Dancers Cooperative Association (WASCA); reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, November 2013.


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