The freestyle Grand March is a dance game described by Alma Heaton in his 1973 book Get Acquainted, Dance Party Icebreakers.
Unlike a traditional Grand March, in which every couple does the same figure as chosen by the leaders, in the freestyle Grand March, each couple chooses their own figure and interacts with other couples in a variety of ways.
Couples scattered around the floor.
Each couple chooses a four-person figure from the list below (or, if they're feeling creative, they can devise their own, as long as it can easily be danced with another couple without the other couple knowing it).
Then the couples march around the floor at random, meeting other couples and performing their figure with them. In order to make this work most elegantly, aim to perform your figure with every third or fourth couple you pass (so as to give other couples the opportunity to perform their figure with you).
By Fours: As a couple, link arms with another couple (Follow A can link up to the left of Lead B, or Lead A can link up to the right of Follow B) and march as a line of four for a while before letting them go.
Bridges: As a couple, arch joined hands over another couple.
Reverse Bridges: As a couple, duck under the joined hands of another couple.
Dip and Dive: Alternate between arching over couples and ducking under them.
Split the Ring: Taking closed position and pointing held hands forward, wedge yourself between two partners, separating them.
Do-Sa-Do: Do-sa-do another couple. You can either do-sa-do as couple around couple, or as Lead around opposite Follow and Follow around opposite Lead
Trade Partners: Temporarily steal the partners of another couple, march with them for a while, then bring them back to their original partner. (While it may be tempting to keep them permanently, they probably want to get back to their partner so they can return to doing their own figure.)
Star: Right hand star with another couple, then left hand star back.
Circle: Circle left with another couple, then circle right back.
Right and Left: Allemande (or arm) opposite by the right, then allemande (or arm) partner by the left, as opposites are reconnected with each other by the left. Whether the opposites continue to allemande left will be up to them.
Right and Left as a Couple: The Follow takes the right hand (or elbow) of another Follow and allemandes (or arms) right, then they disconnect and continue on. Next time around, the Lead allemandes (or arms) left with another Lead.
Balance and Swing: Balance and swing opposite, then return them to their partner.
Lively march music.
© 2019 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.
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