Clark Baker, July 2003
Barstool Dancing is an after party or hallway gimmick that I have been
using to entertain square dancers for many years. I don't remember
who invented it. It's really just the
from C4 called to a mini-square with the same dancer anchored for
Here is how it works (from a caller's point of view). Annimations are
For Barstool Dancing we need mini-squares (i.e., two couples per
square). Have everyone square up as Heads. It helps if everyone has
normal couples. Leave some space between each mini-square as the
dancing will take more space than usual.
Pick one dancer to be the "barstool". You can change this part-way
through. If you are doing this late at night with only 4 dancers,
pick the dancer who was least willing to participate or who is the
most tired. If you have more than one mini-square, make sure that
every mini-squares picks the same person (e.g., "the woman with her
back to me will be the barstool").
Tell the "barstool" dancer that she must dance as if she is sitting on
a barstool. The barstool can swivel, but cannot move. The rest of
the dancers must adjust (or breathe) around the barstool. The
barstool's position is, by definition, always correct. However, the
barstool must be sure to face the correct direction(s) and use hands
as the calls are executed.
Any questions? OK, let's get started.
At this point everyone is back home. I would do some more Right And
Left Thrus until everyone is comfortable with how the breathing works.
- Heads Go Forward And Back
- The barstool can't move. Therefore, the barstool's partner who must remain beside her on a forward and back can't move. So, the other couple does all the moving.
- Heads Pass Thru
- The barstool and her partner can't move forward. However, the partner does move sideways to allow a dancer through and then steps sideways back to place.
- Partner Trade
- The dancers will accomplish a Partner Trade somehow. Usually they won't end facing each other properly and the non-barstool couple must adjust. Dancers should have normal couples at this point.
- Right And Left Thru
- The Pull By should be like the Pass Thru and the Courtesy Turn will generate some giggles. Again, an adjust will probably be necessary.
Now it is time for Ocean Waves:
At this point, you have seen most of the interesting stuff. It is
probably time to square them up, allow any dancers who want to to sit
down, and change barstools. I start dancing without music but will
add music when they start to get good at the breathing and adjusting.
- Pass The Ocean
- This isn't too hard, especially if a woman is the barstool. The women do the call almost normally and the men adjust to form a wave.
- Swing Thru
- The first arm turn will require some breathing. The second arm turn is normal for the men.
- Swing Thru
- I usually do 3 or 4 in a row so they get the hang of it.
- Spin The Top
- If the barstool starts on the end, this should be easy. However, the other setup takes some work. Do this several times until the novelty wears off.
- Not too hard with the barstool as a center
- Veer Left
- Easy but people should laugh.
- Couples Hinge
- Easy with barstool as center
- Tag The Line, Face Right
- The barstool's partner will soon realize that he can't go anywhere. The other two dancers will realize that they must do all the dancing, just like the Pass Thru.
- Couples Hinge
- Unusual action with barstool as end
- Wheel And Deal
- Somewhat unusual feel
- Star Thru; California Twirl
- Now we are normal
- Square Thru
- Go slow on this as each hand takes some adjusting and figuring out who moves. Perhaps do a Partner Trade and another Square Thru
- Boys Run
- Now we have a box of 4. The calls from here are also have unusual feel.
- Box Circulate
- This takes some thought. Be sure to do 4 of them as each one is different!
- Scoot Back
- Walk And Dodge
- Chase Right
- Boys Run
- Right And Left Thru; Flutter Wheel
- The Flutter Wheel is a little odd with a woman barstool. It is odder still with a man as barstool.
- Ladies Chain
- Also interesting
- Pass The Ocean; Swing Thru; Boys Run; Girls Hinge; Check Diamonds
- Diamond Circulate
- This has little motion but it is hard for dancers to correctly have the centers of the diamond hold hands. Do several Diamond Circulates and make sure that the dancers have a diamond with proper centers after each one.
If the dancers know Plus, do Fan The Top with the barstool as an end.
If the dancers know Lock It, do several of those in a row with the
barstool on the end. If the dancers know Advanced, consider using
some of those calls. Be sure to work all the shapes (box, diamond,
You can do barstool with a whole square but the adjustments become
very large and you can't dance them in real time. If dancers pressure
you into doing it for a whole square, I recommend making lady #1 the
barstool and only doing a few things:
- Join Hands; Circle Left (all the way around)
- This is not too hard, but has somewhat unexpected action
- Heads Square Thru 4
- Step To A Wave
- Spin Chain And Exchange The Gears
- Make sure they do this piece by piece and that everyone is correct before going onto the next piece. The barstool will "lead out" which will be exciting.
- Relay The Deucey
- I usually end with this because it has interesting effects for each of the 4 barstool positions.
I usually use barstool dancing with 1-3 mini-squares. I have used it
several times at the Tech Squares weekend as an afternoon gimmick
(usually in a 20 minute timeslot). This gives me time to have
multiple barstools and to end with a few 8 dancer squares. I
understand that Jon Jones has successfully integrated barstool dancing
into his afterparties.
I am always interested in hearing your comments and experiences.
426 Marsh St.
Belmont, MA 02478-1109
Revised: $Date: 2005/11/26 21:53:09 $
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