Barry Goodman
Barry Goodman

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I've been writing dances for years - here are a few of the most popular and successful ones!


Benslow Gardens


Form: 3-couple longways sets

Music: 32-bar jigs


A1:      All set (or kick-balance) right and left; top couple cast to middle place (second couple move up); all forward and back.


A2:      Working couple make right-hand stars with new end couples; left-hand stars.  (Top couples look to the right; stay with same couple for both stars)


B1:      Working couple back-to-back with right diagonal; cast to the bottom of the set while bottom couple moves up one place.


B2:      All circle left; circle right.


Benslow is an area in HItchin where they held an open gardens day

in 2013 for the first time.  This dance was written shortly after my visit

to said gardens.




Old Town Hall


Form: Sicilian Circle


Music: 32-bar polkas


A1:      Circle left (4 bars); pass right shoulder with opposite and back-to-back with the next (new opposite) (4 bars).


A2:      Left hand star with new couple (4 bars); pass right shoulder with opposite and back-to-back with the next (new opposite) (4 bars).


B1:      Ladies’ chain with this couple.


B2:      Back-to-back with partner; swing partner.


The Unicorn Ceilidh series used to be held in Hitchin Town Hall, with

its magnificent adjustable sprung floor.  This dance was written to

commemorate the venue when it was closed for conversion to a





Stevenage Swing


            Form:  Square sets

            Music: 32-bar polkas


A1       Do-si-do corner; swing corner


A2       Do-si-do partner; swing partner


B1       Half a star-chain; join hands to form circle of 8, all four steps in and out


B2       Balance and swing corner and end up with women in progressed places (i.e. next to corner).


Repeat four or eight times


This dance allows the women to visit all the men twice and still finish with their original partner!  It will work as a ceilidh dance with polkas, or it could have a more American feel with driving American reels and a two-handed balance, rather than kick-balances.




Panshanger Sicilian Circle  


Form: Sicilian Circle


Music: 32-bar polkas or jigs


NB: No. 1 couples face clockwise around circle.


A1:      Circle left and right.


A2:      Back-to-back with partner; back-to-back with opposite.


B1:      Ladies’ chain.


B2:      No. 1 couples arch, change places with No. 2 couples; No. 2 couples arch and change places with No. 1 couples (moving backwards); No. 1 couples arch, change places with No. 2 couples and move on to next couple.


Panshanger is an area of Welwyn Garden City.  This dance was co

written with the children in the country dance club at Panshanger

Primary School, sometime in the late 1980s.




Woodford Square


Form:  Square sets


Music: 32-bar Polkas             


A1:      Head couples forward and back, then cast through arches made by side couples and back to place.


A2:      As A1 with side couples forward & back, then cast and back to place.


B1:      Women right-hand star, then do-si-do partner (alternate times through men left-hand star and do-si-do partner).


B2:      All circle left three-quarters; swing partner.


Next time through, new head couples start with forward and back, etc.


Written for a family celebration in Woodford, north-east London, this dance has been developed over a period of time to become the dance it is today!




Shiver Me Timbers


Form: Sicilian Circle

Music: 32-bar stephops


A1:      Number 1 couple dance between the number 2 couple, cast   and return to place (4 bars); Right-hand star.


A2:      Number 2 couple dance between the number 1 couple, cast and return to place (4 bars);  Left-hand star. 


B1:      Face partner, hold nearest hand with neighbour, sidestep left 4 steps, sidestep right 4 steps to place; face neighbour and sidestep left four steps with partner, then right four steps to move on one place (should now be back-to-back with original neighbours).


B2:      Do-si-do new opposite; swing partner


This dance, together with two others, was written for an "all-age"

ceilidh at Shrewsbury Folk Festival in 2011 - the theme for the ceilidh

was "Pirates"!




May Morning


Form: Square sets


Music: 64-bar jigs


A1:      Head couples dance forward and back; back-to-back opposites.


A2:      Side couples the same.


B1:      Head couples right-hand star; left-hand star.


B2:      Side couples the same.


C1:      All circle left and right.


C2:      All to the centre and out; back-to-back partner.


D1:      Grand chain half way; swing partner.


D2:      Continue the grand chain; swing partner.


A simple square dance which introduces some basic figures and moves and helps to orientate new dancers around a square set.



Tom’s Rant


Form: Sicilian Circle


Music: 32-bar polkas/rants


A1       Circle left; do-si-do partner.


A2       Do-si-do neighbour; circle right.


B1       Men left-hand turn, collect partner and continue to place.


B2       Forward and back, pass through and swing.


A nice easy Sicilian Circle dance named after my first grandson.



Hue and Cry


Form:       Square sets

Music:      32-bar stephops


A1       Head couples cast away from partners, between side couples to middle of the set; right-hand star.


A2       Side couples cast away from partners, between head couples to middle of the set; left-hand star.


B1       Head couples right- and left-through half way, sides the same; repeat back to place.


B2       Two hands to partner, chasse two steps in, two steps out; all move on past partner one place and swing new partner.


NB partners meet again at the end of the second and fourth times through the dance


...and this one was written to celebrate the birth of Hugh, my second grandson!



The Woodman


Form: 3-couple longways


Music: 32-bar jigs


A1       Middle person in each line pass between the couple on the right (end couples) and dance a reel of three, returning to place at the end.


A2       All circle left and right.


B1       Top and middle couples right-hand star; bottom and middle couples left-hand star.


B2       Top couple galop to bottom of the set; all swing.


A 3-couple dance with a slightly different way of reeling.




Thursday’s Waltz


Form: Sicilian Circle


Music: 32-bar waltzes


A1:      Circle left half way; pass through to a new couple.


A2:      Circle left half way; pass through to original couple.


B1:       Balance forward and back with partner, jive to change places; repeat with neighbour.


B2:       Balance forward and back with partner, jive to change places; waltz to meet new couple.


A fairly straightforward Sicilian Circle in waltz time - it helps if dancers

can move in triple time, especially for the pass through movement.




The Bowling Green   


Form: 3-couple longways sets


Music: 32-bar polkas


A1:      Top man and bottom woman right-arm turn;

            Top woman and bottom man right-arm turn.


A2:      Top man and bottom woman left-arm turn;

            Top woman and bottom man left-arm turn.


B1:      Top and middle couples right-hand star;

            Middle and bottom couples left-hand star.


B2:      All do-si-do partners;

            Top couple polka to the bottom of the set.


Written for a party in Leiston, Essex.  A pretty simple dance that keeps everybody thinking!




Sun Celebration


Form: Sicilian Circle

Music : 32-bar jigs


A1:      Right-hand star; left-hand star.


A2:      Circle left; circle right.


B1:      Keep the circle, balance in and out; No.2 couples arch and No.1s pop through; do-si-do new neighbour.


B2:       Do-si-do partner; all swing.


Another simple Sicilian Circle with a slightly more interesting progression than many!



The Wavendon Walloper


Form: Circle

Music: 32-bar jigs


A1:      All circle left and right.


A2:      With partner, galop four steps towards centre and four back; swing.


B1:      Clapping with partner (together, right, together, left, clap own hands three times), then turn back on partner and repeat clapping sequence with the person behind).


B2:      Right-hand turn with that person, then back-to-back with partner.


This dance was developed at a "Full English" family folk day at The

Stables in Wavendon.

It's a circle dance where you keep your partner, so ideal for a mixed

audience of young children and adults, as the little ones don't have to

lose their partner!

The dance could be made progressive by moving on one place after

the back to-back.



Flaming June


Form: Square sets

Music: 32-bar jigs


A1:      All circle left; circle right.


A1:      Head couples cast to finish between the side couples, forming two lines (side lines) facing across the room; forward and back in lines.


B1:      Middle couples (original Head couples) right- and left-hand stars, while ends right- and left-hand turn.


B2:      Ends cast to the middle, middle couples return to original places (as Head couples of a square set) (2 bars), all do-si-do partner (2 bars); swing partner (4 bars).


            Repeat with side couples casting first (head lines)


A relatively simple square dance that changes shape, producing

headlines and sidelines in the middle part.  



The First Fleet 

(composed 6th March 2017 – 229 years to the day since the arrival of

the first fleet in Australia)


Form: Square sets

Music : 32-bar jigs


A1       Do-si-do partner; men move to right-hand lady and swing. Stay with this partner and…


A2       All to the middle and back twice.


B1       Star Ladies’ Chain.


B2       Promenade round the square to man’s place.







Form:     Longways improper (or proper!)

Music:    32-bar reels


A1       Do-si-do neighbour; circle left.


A2       Do-si-do partner; circle right.


B1       Keep the circle – balance in and out, petronella turn to move one place right; repeat.


B2       Allemande left partner once and a half; right-hand star, ready to (A1) do-si-do new neighbour.


A contra-style longways that can be danced proper or improper and is

perfect for gender-neutral calling!



Ickleford Mixer 


Form:    Circle

Music:   32-bar jigs


A1:      Take two hands with partner and galop four steps towards the middle, and four back out; repeat.


A2:      Right and left hand turn partner.


B1:      Two hand turn and do-si-do partner.


B2:      Pass partner by right shoulder, move on and swing next person around     the circle.


(One of the first dances I ever wrote, and the one I still use as the opener for weddings, parties and barn dances - a nice easy mixer that teaches six basic moves in one dance!)



Stables Shuffle


Form: Circle

Music: 32-bar jigs/reels


A1       All circle left, circle right.


A2       All to the middle and out again; do-si-do partner.


B1       Clapping – together, right; together left; together twice, both twice x2.


B2       Chain four places – partner by right hand, then left, right, and stop at the fourth (count 1,2,3,4); swing the fourth and start again.


(I wrote this dance for a summer school barn dance at The Stables,

Wavendon - a simple mixer introducing a chain.)



Northway Circus 


Form: Circle (men face in, women face out, all link hands)


Music: 32-bar waltzes


A1:      Balance forward and back, right-hand turn partner half way (men now face in, women face out); balance forward and back, left-hand turn next person half way (progressed 1 place).


A2:      Balance forward and back, right-hand turn half way; (progressed 2 places); back-to-back with this new partner.


B1:      With new partner, hold right hand and balance forward and back, change places (man turns woman under his right arm); repeat back to original places.


B2:      All two hands to partner: 2 chasse steps in towards the middle of the circle; 2 steps out; all waltz once around and link into facing circles.


(Another circle waltz using familiar waltz country dance moves)


The March Hare 


            Form:    4-couple longways sets

           Music:    32-bar polkas 


A1:       In groups of 4, on right diagonal, right-hand turn; do-si-do partner. 


A1:       On left diagonal, left-hand turn; do-si-do partner.


B1:       Middle two couples (2&3) right-hand star; end couples (1&2,     3&4) left hand star


B2:       Top couple lead single cast to the bottom of the set; arch at the bottom, couples 2, 3 & 4 come up through the arch to progressed places.


A fairly simple dance that keeps dancers on their toes, as positions

change with each progression! 



Triple Crown                                                            


Form: 3-cp Longways


Music: 32 bar polkas/reels


A1:       Top couple cross with partner and dance all the way around the set to place, followed by the other two couples (i.e. two lines circulating in opposite directions). 


A2:       With partner, right and left-hand turn.


B1:       Grimstock hey*, top couple starting in the middle of the set.


B2:       Top couple cast to the bottom of the set, all swing.

            (Alt. B2 for couple dance: Back to back partner and swing).


*“Grimstock hey”: 1C facing down, 2C and 3C facing up, dance a

mirror hey on each side, with the 1C going down between the 2C to

begin, and taking inside hands with your partner as you meet at each

end. A bit like doing a dip and dive with no arches!


A fairly simple three-couple dance containing a Grimstock Hey (not a figure found very much in ceilidh dancing!).



Jig in a Bubble         


Form: Couple or "shortways" set


Music: 32-bar jigs


A1       Face partner, two-hand balance forward and back twice; back-to-back.


A2       Right-hand turn; left-hand turn.  (If 2 couples, stars)


B1       (1-4) Two hands to partner, kick balance right and left twice;

            (5-8) Turn single right.


B2       Gypsy meltdown to swing. 


I wrote this dance as a response to the "lockdown" due to C-19 virus in 2020 - it's a nice dance to do as a couple in your living room, but should work equally well as a short set, swapping places with neighbours at the end of B1 withn a half-poussette (instead of the turn single) or changing B2 to a half-poussette to change with neighbours, followed by a swing.



Hitchin Capers


Form: 4-couple longways sets


Music: 32-bar polkas


A1:      Join hands and circle left once round (stepping).


A2:      Single cast; leading couple make an arch at the bottom of the set, all pass through to progressed places.


B1:      Right and left hand stars in groups of four.


B2:      Lines forward and back; do-si-do partner (or swing).


A dance based on "Kilham Capers" by Kathleen Mitchell - the progression happens at the end of A2.




The Whitby Walloper


Form: Sicilian Circle


Music: 32-bar jigs/polkas


A1:      Circle left, circle right.


A2:      Ones arch, twos under, Twos arch, ones under (backwards); repeat.


B1:      Clapping with partner (together, right, together, left, clap own hands three times); clapping with neighbour.


B2:      Forward and back, let go and pass on.


A variation on the "Wavendon Walloper", written for a family ceilidh

with Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer at Whitby Folk Week 2022.




The Circus Tent


Form: Square set


Music: 32-bar jigs


Entering the circus tent and finding your seat.


A1:      Side couples make arches, head couples turn away from partners, dance through nearest arch from the outside, meet in the middle and circle left to places.


A2:      As A1 with heads making the arches and sides going through.


Making the shape of the circus tent.


B1:      All eight dancers make a right-hand star, held high; left-hand star.


Getting a different view by changing seats.


B2:      Circle left three-quarters, swing partner.


Another dance written for the family ceilidh at Whitby in 2022.  It was

a "Circus-themed" event, so I wrote a dance that attempted to

describe a visit to a circus!




Claremont Square


Form: Square Set


Music: 32-bar polkas


(Note: working couple always in No 1 couple position, i.e. backs to the band.)


A1:      Working couple cross the set, separate and cast home.


A2:      All right-hand turn partner, do-si-do corner.


B1:      Star chain, there and back.


B2:      Circle ¾, swing partner.


I wrote this dance for a ceilidh with Frog on a Bike at The Anchor in Sidmouth during the 2022 Folk Festival.  Claremont was the name of the house we were staying at during the festival!



Golden Rod


Form: Longways Duple Minor


Music: Set Tune (32 bars 3/2)


A1:    1st couple two-hand turn, cast below 2nd couple (2nd couple move up), face neighbours.


A2:    All gypsy right with neighbour, back-to-back partner.


B1:    2nd couple two-hand turn, cast below 1st couple (1st couple move up).


B2:    Right-hand star, 1st couple cast while 2nd couple moves up.


This is a dance written in "Playford style" to a tune in 3/2 written by Mary-Jo Searle, although any 3/2 tune of the type would work!




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© Barry Goodman