Definitions of Square Dance Calls and Concepts
 
Definitions of Square Dance Calls and Concepts
 
 
From a Generalized Squared Set or other applicable formations.

The All 4 Couples CONCEPT simultaneously activates eight dancers to do a 4-dancer call.

The four dancers at the Heads' position work together to do the given call, while simultaneously, the four dancers at the Sides' position work together to do the same given call.

Dancers at the Heads' position maneuver around the dancers at the Sides' position and vice-versa.

All 4 Couples Right & Left Thru:

From a Squared Set.
  1. Without turning, Pass corner right-shoulders;
  2. Right Pull By with the dancer you're facing.
  3. Without turning, Pass next dancer left-shoulders;
  4. Courtesy Turn with your original Partner.
Ends in a Squared Set with everyone facing in.

 
before
All 4 Couples Right & Left Thru
 
     
after
Pass corner right-shoulders
 after
Right Pull By
 after
Pass next dancer left-shoulders
 after
Courtesy Turn
(done)

The All 4 Couples CONCEPT involves:

  1. A set of traffic patterns on how to dance calls; and
  2. A rule of where to end if the ending formation for the call is a 2x2.

Traffic Pattern Notes:

Ending Position Notes:

Which shoulder do I pass with dancers from the other group of 4?

As a general rule, pass alternating shoulders with dancers from the other group of 4, using a 'Weave The Ring'-action. For example, on All 4 Couples Right & Left Thru, pass right-shoulders with the first dancer, then pass left-shoulders with the third dancer. However, there are cases where strict alternation doesn't feel right, so we prefer to refine this general rule as follows:

  • When starting from a Squared Set, pass right-shoulders with the first dancer. For example:

    • All 4 Couples Touch 1/4: Pass right-shoulders with corner, then Touch 1/4.
    • All 4 Couples Left Touch 1/4: Pass right-shoulders with corner, then Left Touch 1/4.
  • After starting the call, pass dancers from the other group of 4 via the shoulder that feels best for a 'Weave The Ring'-action. That is, if you just passed right-shoulders with a dancer from your group of 4, pass left-shoulders with the next dancer from the other group of 4, and vice-versa. This only applies when you are passing dancers around the outside of the set. It does not apply if the traffic pattern clearly involves inside and outside dancers (for example, when inside dancers are in a Center Star).

    • From a R-H Thar, on an All 4 Couples (or All 8) Turn Thru, pass left-shoulders with the next dancer (since you just did a Right Turn Thru);
    • From a L-H Thar, on an All 4 Couples Left Turn Thru, pass right-shoulders with the next dancer (since you just did a Left Turn Thru).
  • The handedness of the Pull By or Pass Thru with the previous dancer in your group of 4 determines which shoulder to pass with the next dancer from the other group of 4. Pass the other shoulder, since you are dancing a 'Weave The Ring'-action.
  • Follow the above rules as best you can, but be aware that there are situations where it is unclear as to which shoulder to pass (e.g., All 4 Couples Box the Gnat -- pass right-shoulders with corner, Box the Gnat with opposite, then back up into a Squared Set formation passing which shoulder???). In such a situation, move to your ending position as smoothly as possible, and avoid colliding with other dancers.

Where does the call end?

All 4 Couples Pass Thru:

From a Squared Set.
  1. Without turning, pass corner right-shoulders;
  2. Pass Thru with the dancer that you were originally facing across the set.
  3. You're not finished, because you're not 'Ends of Columns'. You must now do another 'Weave the Ring' action. Without turning, Pass next dancer left-shoulders. You should now be a Couple with the dancer who was your partner at the beginning of the call.
Ends in a Squared Set with everyone facing out.

 
 
 
WRONG
 
 
RIGHT
 
   
before
All 4 Couples Pass Thru
  (a possible ending formation?)
Although the 'Pass Thru' has been completed, ending here is not correct because dancers are not 'Ends of Columns'.
  (done)
Ending here is correct. Adjacent dancers are holding hands, as if they were Ends of Columns.

Sample Traffic Patterns:

All 4 Couples Touch 1/4:
From a Squared Set.
  1. Without turning, pass corner right-shoulders to end in their starting position;
  2. Touch 1/4 with the dancer you're facing. This should be the dancer that you were originally facing across the set.
Ends in a Squared Set with everyone holding right-hands.

All 4 Couples 1/4 In:
From a Squared Set.
  1. Without turning, pass corner right-shoulders.
  2. 1/4 In.
Ends in a Squared Set.

All 4 Couples Turn Thru:
From a Squared Set.
  1. Without turning, Pass corner right-shoulders;
  2. Turn Thru with the dancer you're facing.
  3. Without turning, Pass next dancer left-shoulders.
Ends in a Squared Set with everyone facing out.

All 4 Couples Pass The Ocean:
From a Squared Set.
  1. Without turning, pass corner right-shoulders;
  2. Pass Thru;
  3. Without turning, pass next dancer left-shoulders;
  4. 1/4 In and Step To A Right-Hand Wave.
Ends in a R-H Thar.

All 4 Couples Double Star Thru:
From a Squared Set, normal couples.
  1. Without turning, pass corner right-shoulders;
  2. Star Thru with original opposite dancer. Note that although the Girl uses the left-hand for the Star Thru, she actually passes right-shoulders with the Boy when going under the arch;
  3. Pass left-shoulders with the next dancer (since you just passed right-shoulders for the Star Thru);
  4. Meet the next dancer for a Mirror Star Thru.
Ends in a Squared Set, facing out, everyone half-sashayed.

All 4 Couples Spin The Top:
From a Squared Set.
  1. Without turning, Pass corner right-shoulders;
  2. Right Arm Turn 1/2;
  3. Centers Left-Hand Star 3/4 as Outsides move up 1/4 of a circle around the outside.
Ends in a R-H Thar.

All 4 Couples Square Chain Thru:
All 4 Couples Square Chain Thru is probably the hardest instance of the All 4 Couples CONCEPT that you will encounter at A2. In fact, many years ago, it was explicitly on the C2 list.
From a Squared Set.

  1. Pass corner right-shoulders;
  2. Right Pull By with the dancer you're facing.
  3. Pass next dancer left-shoulders to end in their position, and 1/4 In.
  4. Left Arm Turn 1/2 with your original partner.
  5. Centers Right-Hand Star 1/2.
  6. Left Turn Thru (Left Arm Turn 1/2 and Step Thru).
  7. Without turning, Pass next dancer right-shoulders. Note: this is one of those cases where some dancers may try to pass different shoulders. Do your best to get to your ending position without colliding with another dancer.
Ends in a Squared Set with everyone facing out.

All 4 Couples Do The Centers Part Of Load The Boat:
There are two ways this call could be danced:
  1. Piecewise, meaning each part of the call is done using the All 4 Couples CONCEPT. That is, do an All 4 Couples Pass Thru, then All 4 Couples 1/4 Out, then All 4 Couples Partner Trade, then All 4 Couples Pass Thru.
  2. Blended, meaning some parts of the call are blended together into a smooth movement. That is, Pass corner right-shoulders to face your opposite, Pass Thru; 1/4 Out; Trade, then All 4 Couples Pass Thru.
The Blended method is the preferred way to dance this call.

All 8 vs. All 4 Couples
From a dancer's standpoint, there is little difference between All 8 and All 4 Couples.

Both concepts involve two groups of four dancers, use the same kinds of traffic patterns, and have the same rules for how to end the call.

The primary difference is:

  1. All 8 calls usually use stars to move through the center of the set, or have dancers moving together around the outside of the set (as in All 8 Chase Right), whereas All 4 Couples calls have a 'Weave the Ring' feel in which you must occasionally pass by dancers who are working in the other group of 4.

Other differences are:

  1. All 8 usually starts from a Generalized Thar, whereas All 4 Couples usually starts from a Generalized Squared Set.
  2. All 8 usually involves everyone starting the call working with an adjacent dancer (someone in their group of 4), whereas All 4 Couples usually involves everyone passing by the nearest dancer from the other group of 4 (their 'corner') to meet the opposite dancer before starting the call.

Many callers tend to use these concepts interchangeably.

See also All 8 CONCEPT [A2].

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