A promenade is a walk around the set by some or all dancers. The active dancers may go as individuals
or as couples. They may go in promenade direction (counterclockwise when viewed from above) or
wrong way promenade direction. They may travel all the way around the set or a shorter distance.
When not all dancers are active, there is a further choice of traveling around the inside or outside of
the set. All of these alternatives are determined by the call.
5.a. Couples (Full, 1/2, 3/4)
Starting formations: Promenade, Squared Set, Right and Left Grand Circle (men facing counterclockwise,
women facing clockwise)
Promenade, Keep Walking
Promenade, Don't stop, don't slow down
Heads Promenade 1/2
Heads Promenade Half Way
Sides Promenade 3/4
All Promenade to the ladies home position
Dance action: If necessary, adjust to a Promenade formation as follows:
- From a Squared Set, as a couple, turn to face promenade direction.
- From a Right and Left Grand Circle, those facing promenade direction step forward and to the inside
while the others turn around in a comfortable direction.
Each couple, as a unit, walks forward around the circle the designated amount or as otherwise directed. On the command "Promenade Home" the couples promenade to the man's home position.
If certain couples are named, they promenade around the outside of the set, unless instructed
At the end of the promenade each couple turns, as a unit, to face the center of the set.
Ending formations: Promenade (e.g., Promenade, Keep Walking), Squared Set (e.g., Promenade Home),
or couples facing in on the outside of the set (e.g., Sides Promenade 3/4; Heads Square Thru 3).
Timing: 1/4: 4, 1/2: 8, 3/4: 12, Full: 16
Styling: When all promenade, the man's distance from the center of the set is slightly greater than that
of a Star Promenade. He should be moving forward around the circle, not pivoting in place. However,
if the formation becomes too spread out, the women will have to travel too far and too fast to meet
There are several alternative handhold positions used while promenading. While CALLERLAB
recommends the Skater's position (described below), new dancers should be taught the handhold
position in popular use in their region and at their club.
Experienced dancers may choose among the various promenade handholds based on club and regional
standards, the previous call, the caller's timing, and their partner's preferences.
In addition to the handhold positions mentioned below, on a designated dancers Promenade a specified
distance from a Squared Set (e.g., Heads Promenade 1/2), the couple handhold is also acceptable.
While Promenade is not a sex-dependent call, the following descriptions are given assuming a normal
Skater's position: Right hand in right hand, left hand in left hand. The man's hands are palm up, right
forearm over the woman's left arm. Her hands are palm down in man's hand. Joined hands should be
positioned equally between partners. Some dancers move their hands in time to the music as they
promenade. Others hold them rigidly.
Skirt Skater's position: Left hands joined in front of the man. Right hands joined at right side of
A variation of Skirt Skater's has the woman's right hand holding and working her skirt (see "Skirt
Work" in "Part 4: Additional Detail: Styling: Other styling terms and issues"). The man's right hand
is in the middle of her lower back.
Varsouvienne position: Left hands joined in front. Woman's right arm bent, palm up near shoulder.
Man's right arm behind woman's shoulder, his right hand face down in her right palm.
Ending the promenade (no twirl): As the dancers reach their final destination, they turn as a couple,
to face in and change their handhold, if necessary, to that of a couple handhold.
Ending the promenade (twirl): See "Twirls" in "Part 4: Additional Detail: Styling: Other styling terms
and issues". A few steps before the end of the Promenade the man must lead the twirl so that it finishes
as the couple arrives home.
From a Skater's position, the man leads the twirl by letting go with his left hand and raising their
joined right hands, gently guiding the woman through a clockwise twirl underneath. At the end, the
woman lets go with her right hand, and offers the man her left hand to end with a normal couple
handhold, facing across the set.
Alternatively, the man leads the twirl by letting go with his right hand and raising their joined left
hands, gently guiding the woman through a clockwise twirl underneath. As she completes the twirl,
he changes hands so that he finishes guiding her with his right hand. They end with a normal couple
handhold, facing across the set.
From Skirt skater's or Varsouvienne positions, the man leads the twirl by raising the joined left hands,
gently guiding the women through a clockwise twirl underneath. As she completes the twirl, he
changes hands so that he finishes guiding her with his right hand. They end with a normal couple
handhold, facing across the set.
After the twirl, it is common in some areas for dancers to balance away and then clap outside hands
with each other (flat palms, fingers pointed upward), ending as a couple facing into the square.
Same sex Promenade: Dancers use Couple Handhold or Skater's position. If the call is Promenade
Home, the caller must further specify what is to be done since promenading to the man's home doesn't
Inactive dancers should take a step toward the center of the set to assist the active dancers in their trip
around the outside. After all active dancers have passed by, the inactives can step backward to return
Comments: All promenades should be more than a quarter of the way around the set. If a promenade
would go less, then the dancers should add a full promenade.
The Promenade that goes in a clockwise direction is called "Wrong Way Promenade" or "Promenade,
Wrong Way". It was dropped from the Mainstream program in 1989 and its use at Mainstream would
require teaching or careful delivery by the caller. See "Part 4: Additional Detail: Commands:
Extensions like Reverse Wheel Around".
In the unusual case of a Wrong Way Grand followed by a Promenade, the man steps to the inside and
turns around, the woman steps to the outside, and both Promenade.
5.b. Single File Promenade
Starting formations: Infacing Circle Of 8, Squared Set, Columns
Women Promenade Inside, Go Single File
4 Ladies Promenade Inside; Get back home and Swing your guy
4 Ladies Promenade Inside The Ring, Come Back And Give Your Man A Swing
All Promenade Single File; Ladies Backtrack
Promenade Single File; Men turn in and Star by the Right
Promenade; Put the Lady in the Lead, Go Single File
Promenade Go Single File, Ladies Lead And Strut A While
Circle Right; Drop hands; Single File Promenade
Circle Left; Drop hands; Single File Promenade
Circle Left; Same direction, Single File Promenade
Circle Left; Reverse back single file
Couple 1, turn your backs on your partner and Promenade around the outside of the set
Left Touch 1/4; Single File Promenade Home
Dance action: Initial turn: If the dancers have a facing direction around the set (e.g., Columns, Promenade
and put the lady in front), no initial turn is necessary. If the dancers are circling they will turn to face
the circling direction. If 4 dancers are designated from a Squared Set (e.g., Ladies Single File
Promenade), they will step into the center and face promenade direction.
Actives move forward around the set (on the inside, or outside if so directed), in single file (one behind
another). The next call determines when the dancers stop and what they do next.
Ending formation: determined by the next call
Timing: Four dancers promenade inside to home: 8
Styling: In Single File Promenade man's arms are held in natural dance position; woman's hands on skirt,
working with the natural swinging motion.
When there are active dancers promenading around the outside of the set, the inactive dancers should
take a step toward the center of the set to assist the active dancers in their trip around the outside.
After all active dancers have passed by, the inactives step backward to return to place.
In some areas, while 4 active dancers promenade inside, the inactive dancers clap in time to the music.
Comment: In the past Single File Promenade has not been used with fractions. Recently some callers are
extending the fractional Promenade dance action to Single File Promenade. Dancers do not face in
after they have promenaded the requested amount.
5.c. *Wrong Way Promenade
Like promenade, except the couples promenade clockwise.
5.d. Star Promenade
Starting formation: 4-dancer star in the center of the set and 4 dancers around the outside of the set
Men Center With A Left-Hand Star, Go Once Around; Pick Up Your Partner With An Arm Around;
4 Men Make A Left-Hand Star; Pick Up Your Partner With An Arm Around; Star Promenade
4 Ladies Make A Right-Hand Star; Pick Up Your Partner With An Arm Around; Star Promenade
Heads Make A Right-Hand Star; Pick Up Your Corner With An Arm Around; Star Promenade
Heads Make A Left-Hand Star; Pass Your Corner And Pick Up The Same Sex; Star Promenade
Dance action: Directed dancers (e.g., men) form (or are already in) a star and turn it. When they encounter
the next directed dancer (e.g., partner) they become a couple, and promenade while retaining the center
Ending formation: Promenade or Wrong Way Promenade with centers forming a star; the dancers will be
closer together than usual because of the star and arm around the waist.
Timing: 1/2: 6, 3/4: 9, Full: 12, Full plus a back out at home: 16
Styling: The center star uses the same styling as Right- or Left-Hand Stars. Couples in the star have their
adjacent arms around each other's waists in a modified couple's hold. Any women on the outside use
their outside hand for skirt work. Any men on the outside have their outside hand on their waists or
at their sides.
Comments: Here are some calls used while Star Promenading:
(women on the outside) Girls Backtrack
Centers Back Out With A Full Turn Around And A Little Bit More; Join 16 and Circle Left
Boys Raise Your Left Hands; Girls Duck Thru To The Partner; Right And Left Grand
Back Out At Home
Here is an example of 2-dancer stars being used with Star Promenade:
Head Men Make A Left Hand Star; Pick Up Your Partner With An Arm Around And Star
Promenade; She Picks Up Her Corner With An Arm Around And Keep On Moving; Now He Picks
Up His Partner; All Bend The Big Line.