The Moonlight Saunter



The Moonlight Saunter is an easy Saunter (i.e. Foxtrot) sequence dance composed by Charles Daniels in 1919.

It was also popular during the Old Time Dancing revival in England in the mid-20th century.

The Position

Closed position, Lead facing LOD.

The Dance

Part I - Back Ochos (4 bars): Back the Follow four slow steps (1, 2, 3, 4). Then the Lead crosses left in front of right to outside wall along LOD as the Follow crosses right behind to outside wall along LOD (5), steps side toward outside wall (6), and replaces side toward center (and).* Repeat the cross (7), side (8), replace (and) toward the center, Lead still crossing in front, Follow still crossing behind.

* An alternative version replaces the three step Ocho with a points Ocho: cross (5), point to side (6), cross (7), point to side (8) [ST50].

Part II - Back Square (4 bars): Back the Follow three slow steps (1, 2, 3), then rock the Lead back against LOD on the fourth count (4). Side (5), close (and) toward the center, and back the Lead one step (6), then side (7), close (and) toward outside wall and back the Follow one step (8), turning into promenade position on the last step.

Part III - Turn and Point (4 bars): Promenade two steps along LOD (1, 2), then the Lead backs across LOD as the Follow steps between his feet, pivoting halfway around (3), and pointing free foot along LOD (4). Repeat opposite (5, 6, 7, 8).

Part IV - Sway and Turn (4 bars): Promenade two steps along LOD (1, 2), and balance along LOD with a side step and close without weight (3-and) and balance against LOD (4-and). Promenade two steps (5, 6), and finish with a 3/4 pivot to the right, Lead backing (7), Follow backing (8), to regain original orientation.

Repeat from the beginning.

Note: The original version repeats each part before going on to the next one (I, I, II, II, III, III, IV, IV), for a 32 bar sequence instead of a more traditional 16 bar one.

The Music

Slow foxtrot music, at 112 bpm.

The original music, "Moonlight on the Nile" by T. Thurban, can be heard below, along with another tune recommended by Sydney Thompson, "Wedgwood Blue" by Albert Ketèlby.


© 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.

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