The Black Out Stroll

(London, 1939)

General Description

This is an easy war-time sequence dance from London. The name of the dance (and the act of turning out the lights in the middle of the dance), is a reference to the war-time practice of blacking out all of the lights in the city to make it harder to bomb.

The Position

Start in closed position, Lead facing along LOD.

The Dance

Part I - Stroll (2 bars): Back the Follow four slow steps along LOD (1, 2, 3, 4).

Part II - Zig Zag Two Step (2 bars): Two-step (side, close, side) diagonally forward into center (5-and-6), and diagonally forward toward outside wall (7-and-8). On the second two step, open out to side by side position, Follow on the right, holding inside hands.

Part III - Stretch (2 bars): Two step sideways away from each other (9-and-10), stretching to arms length, the two step back toward each other, taking right-side position at the end (11-and-12).

Part IV - Romp Around (2 bars): "Romp" clockwise around each other in right-side position with two "run-2-3-hop"s (13-and-14-hop, 14-and-15-hop), making two complete rotations as a couple.

The whole dance is repeated from the top.

Then the lights are turned off, and the whole dance is repeated twice through in the dark.

After dancing in the dark, there is a four bar interlude in the music during which couples change partners, with Leads traveling along LOD and Follows against it.* As explained at the time, "It's just like walking up the street in the black-out—you might meet anybody. But this time it's gay and bright, and dancers have an opportunity of meeting new friends, while enjoying themselves in the gaiety of the dance."

After finding new partners, the lights are turned back on, the whole thing is repeated from the top.

* While the original description specifies that the Lead changes partner "to lady in front," other sources suggest that the partner change in the dark may be effected chaotically, in order to "give shy girls a chance to become acquainted with handsome men in uniform."

The Music

"The Black Out Stroll" by Tommie Connor, recorded by Joe Loss & His Orchestra (vocals by Chick Henderson).


© 2018 Nick Enge

For more dance descriptions, see our three books on dancing:
The Book of Mixers: 100 Easy-Teach Dances for Getting Acquainted (2022) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge,
Cross-Step Waltz: A Dancer's Guide (2019) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge, and
Waltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living (2013) by Richard Powers and Nick Enge.

For full-length teaching videos, visit: University of Dance.

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