Standard Rights and Lefts

Rights and Lefts is a figure were two couples dance round in a square passing by giving right and left hands alternatively. The figure starts with both couples crossing the set, giving right hands to their own partner in passing. Both couples then change places on the opposite sides with the respective members of their own sex giving Left hands. Both couples then cross back to their own side giving right hands and finally back to place giving left hands.

Normally the figure takes eight bars with two bars to each hand although in a few dances only one bar is used for each hand. If dancing with a member of the opposite sex then hold smile then pass on, if with the same sex then hold their hand firmly and look into their eyes as if to say I am going to have your partner in the next dance. In each case your are dancing with the person you are passing and all four are dancing as a complete figure. If you know the member of the opposite sex add a squeeze and maybe even hold, smile squeeze and pass on with a gentle caress. At the very least please look at them.

Throughout rights and lefts the dancers take the shortest route and avoid twirling round. When crossing observe the other couple and try to cover off them, after all you are dancing with them. Also note to which side the other couple is from you and that is the way you have to turn at each corner. If you are the first Man or the second Lady the other couple will be on your right so you turn to the right at each turn. The first Lady and the second Man similarly turn to the left at each turn. The final left hand to original place is slightly different in that the dancers retain hands rather longer and the first Man and second Lady rotate anticlockwise in what is known as the polite turn.

Four and Three Couple Grand Chains

Four couple grand chains are danced in both longwise and square sets. In a longwise set both of the end couples, usually the first and fourth couples, cross giving right hands to their own partners as in standard Rights and Lefts. At the same time the middle couples change places on the sides also giving right hands. Those who started by dancing in a clockwise direction continue in a clockwise direction right round the set back to place. The others who started in an anticlockwise direction continue in an anticlockwise direction, also right round the set back to place. As they progress round the set the dancers all give alternative hands to the dancers they meet, that is right hands then left hands four times. The figure takes eight bars, each hand taking one step and one bar.

When danced in a square set the dancers all start giving right hands to their partner and then continue right round as in the longwise set. In a square set the Ladies travel clockwise and the Men anticlockwise.

A three couple grand chain is danced in a longwise set. The first couple start by crossing right hands while the second and third couples change places on the sides of the dance also giving right hands. The second couple then cross giving left hands while the first and third couples change on the sides also giving left hands. This continues back to place. Three hands are given in each four bars so the aim should be to get half way in the first 4 bars and this requires careful phrasing but leads to a smooth figure. In some areas dancers use one bar each for the first two hands and two for the third, leading to an awkward stop start figure.