Side Divide

{1932}


Introduction

Sides Divide is a square dance described in Boyd and Dunlavy's Old Square Dances of America (1932), one of the earliest sources on modern American square dancing.

Highlights of this dance include lots of swinging, and the fact that everyone is dancing all the time.



The Formation

A square of eight dancers, Follows on the right.

Couples are numbered 1 through 4 counterclockwise around the set starting with the couple with their back to the music.


The Dance

The dance starts with Boyd and Dunlavy's standard introduction:


Introduction (40 counts)

All eight balance and all eight swing,
A left allemande
And a right hand grand,
Meet your partner and
Promenade eight
Till you come straight


All eight balance and swing, in one of two ways:

1) Facing partner, back away from partner four steps, approach partner four steps, and swing eight counts (16 counts total), OR

2) Facing partner, step right, close without weight, step left, close without weight, and repeat that, then swing eight counts (16 counts total).

Then turn your corner halfway around by the left hand (8 counts), and start a grand chain with your partner, offering right hand to partner, passing by, offering left hand to the next person you meet, passing by, and offering right hand to partner halfway around the set (8 counts). Then promenade counterclockwise around the set to your home place with right hands crossed over left (8 counts), or arm in arm, with her left elbow linked to his right.


Figure (64 counts)

First and third forward and sides divide,
Change and swing in the center and swing on the sides
First and third forward and sides divide,
Change and swing in the center and swing on the sides
First and third forward and sides divide,
Change and swing in the center and swing on the sides
First and third forward and sides divide,
Change and swing in the center and swing on the sides
Now you're home...


First and third couples approach (4 counts) and swing opposites (12 counts). At the end of the swing, the first Lead and third Follow end up in the fourth couple's position, facing in, and the third Lead and first Follow end up in the second couple's position, facing in.

While they are doing this, the second and fourth couples approach their opposites around the outside of the set, second Lead and fourth Follow meeting in the first couple's position, and fourth Lead and second Follow meeting in the third couple's position (4 counts), and swing (12 counts).

Repeat the motions on the floor, everyone swinging their partners now, and ending up in a new position (half crossed over).

Repeat it two more times to return home.

Repeat Introduction (40 counts)


Everyone Does the Other Part of the Figure (64 counts)

In other words, the Sides (two and four) now approach and swing opposites, while the Heads (one and three) divide and swing opposites.


Repeat Introduction (40 counts)


The Music

Boyd and Dunlavy recommend "Kathleen Mavourneen," "When Johnnie Comes Marching Home," "Annie Laurie," or "Miss Johnson's Reel," but any square dance tune will do.


Sources


© 2020 Nick Enge


For more, see our two books on dancing:
Waltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living (2013) by Richard Powers and Nick Enge,
and Cross-Step Waltz: A Dancer's Guide (2019) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge.


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