In its most general form, an Allemande Left is simply an Arm Turn by the left (plus a Step Thru as the
dancers head towards their next dancer interaction).
While Arm Turns are used for general arm turns, Allemande Left is mostly reserved for an Arm Turn with
The large number of formations from which an Allemande Left is possible will be described in two cases. The Command Examples, Timing, Styling, and Comments sections apply to both cases.
Allemande Left Your Corner
With The Corner, Allemande Left
Allemande Left Your Corner; Dosado Your Partner; Allemande Left Your Corner
Allemande Left Your Corner; Allemande Right Your Partner
Allemande Left A Full Turn Around
6.a. Case 1
Starting formations: Eight Chain Thru, Left-Hand Ocean Waves, Right And Left Grand Circle, Thar,
Alamo Ring (men facing in), Trade By plus ends face each other
Dance action: Dancers holding left arms or facing dancers Arm Turn by the left at least 180 degrees until
the men are facing promenade direction and the women are facing wrong way promenade direction.
Ending formation: Right and Left Grand Circle, men facing promenade direction, women facing wrong way
promenade direction. While the dance action of Allemande Left might not cause the dancers to end in
this formation, the next call should be given as if this were the ending formation. From an Eight Chain
Thru, it would not be proper to call Allemande Left; Trade By, as the dancers are logically in a Right
and Left Grand Circle, not a Trade By formation.
6.b. Case 2
Starting formations: Squared Set, Infacing Circle Of 8, Trade By, Left-Hand 3/4 Tag, Facing Lines, Lines
Back-To-Back, Inverted Lines with Ends Facing
Dance action: If necessary, dancers individually turn in place up to 90 degrees, so that the men are facing
wrong way promenade direction and the women are facing promenade direction. Continue with the
dance action in Case 1.
Timing: 1/2 arm turn: 4-6; 3/4 arm turn: 6-8; Full arm turn: 8
Styling: Forearm handhold
Comments: The variation in the timing numbers is due to the adjustments which may be required before
the Allemande Left (e.g., turning to face your corner, stepping to a left forearm).
Choreography like "Allemande Left Your Corner; Dosado Your Partner; Allemande Left Your Corner"
is acceptable. The command "Allemande Left Your Corner" can be a shorthand for "Face Your Corner;
Choreography like "Allemande Left Your Corner; Allemande Right Your Partner" is acceptable. It uses
the dancers' knowledge of Allemande as an arm turn and is danced as Face Your Corner; Left Arm Turn
until you can go to your partner; Right Arm Turn with Your Partner. The next call will determine
when to stop the final arm turn.
Square dancing has had a long history of occasionally requiring dancers to search out and locate their
corner (often by individually turning in place in flow direction, or continuing the last command a little
longer) before doing the Allemande Left. See "Part 4: Additional Detail: Commands: Gimmicks".
Allemande Lefts that require other than a 180-degree arm turn are less frequently used and are moving
towards the Gimmick category. Callers may assist on an Allemande Left that requires some or all of
the dancers to turn 360 degrees by calling, for example, "Allemande Left A Full Turn Around" or
"Allemande Left all the way around to your partner".
Allemande Lefts that require dancers to turn in place more than 90 degrees to find their corner are less
frequently used, and are in the Gimmick category.
From a Squared Set plus everyone Half Sashay, Allemande Left would have dancers face their original
partner and then do the Allemande Left (180 degrees). This would be very unusual calling.
While Allemande Left is intimately associated with Allemande Left Your Corner, the dance actions were
written without reference to Corner. The caller who says, "Allemande Left Your Corner" is both
helping the dancers, in case they are confused with whom to do the Allemande Left, and asserting to
the dancers, "Yes, this person is your corner".
A phrase like "Allemande Left Wrong Corner; Promenade, Keep Walking" or "Allemande Left This
Corner" is occasionally used as a way for the caller to clarify to the dancers that an Allemande Left is
desired, and that the caller understands that the dancers don't all have their original corners and
As a gimmick, some callers will call "Allemande Left; Right And Left Grand ... On The Third Hand,
Promenade". This causes the dancers to first believe the caller has made a mistake (wrong corner) and
then be surprised by the quick fix.