Circulate – Named Dancers – Definition

Teaching Resource for CIRCULATE – NAMED DANCERS

Links:   Standard Analyze Module Teach Other Extend

CALLERLAB Program: Basic Part 1
Teaching order: After Bend the Line and before Right and Left Thru
Recently taught calls: Lead Right, Veer Left

Background: The following information is from The Handbook of Modern Square Dancing by Jay King. “The term “Circulate” was coined by Chuck Raley from Lakewood, California in late 1963. The idea of Circulate was presented in its first useful form by Larry Dee of Rosemont, Pennsylvania in early 1963 with his call “Acey Deucey” which is still in use today although it can be called directionally as “Ends Circulate, Centers Trade” for parallel waves or two-faced lines. I still remember the impact that Acey Deucey had on us when this idea of moving across the set from one wave to another was first workshopped by Les Gotcher. Later in 1963, Glenn Hinton of Stockville, Nebraska conceived the notion of both ends and centers “circulating” and he called the move “Jokers Wild” (= All Eight Circulate).”

Also in 1968, “Red” Porter from Houston, Texas called “Eight Circulate Single File as a Pair”. Today, this move is called “Single File Circulate Two Positions”.


In general, all Circulates have each dancer move forward along a defined path (called the “circulate path”) to the next dancer position. The definitions below will refer to the following diagrams.


No call in the Circulate Family can be used with the Ocean Wave Rule or the Facing Couples Rule (see “Part 1: General: Conventions and Rules”).

Fractions are proper and occasionally used with calls in the Circulate family. See “Part 4: Additional Detail: Fractions”.

Timing: The timing for all Circulates is 4, but if the Circulate has the effect of a Pass Thru, the timing is 2.

The various types of Circulates and various ways to name them are described in detail in the following sections.

21.a. (Named Dancers) Circulate

Minimum number of dancers needed: Eight

Starting formations: General Lines (e.g., Ocean Waves, Two-Faced Lines), General Columns

Command examples:
— Centers (or Ends) Circulate
— Girls (or Boys) Circulate
— Everyone Circulate
— Circulate

Dance action: Designated dancers move forward to the next dancer position, following their General Lines or General Column circulate path.

A dancer looking out of the formation walks in a 180-degree arc and finishes in the next position on the other side, looking in. Others walk forward one dancer position.

Ending formations: General Lines, General Columns

Styling: Arms should be held in natural dance position and ready to assume appropriate position for the next call.

Comments: The call “(Named Dancers) Circulate” is usually used from General Lines.

When all dancers are active (e.g., Everyone Circulate), the comments in All 8 Circulate (#21.c) also apply.

Circulate is the same as Everyone Circulate, unless it is clear from the previous call that only certain dancers are active (e.g., Dive Thru, Centers Touch 1/4 and Circulate).

Not all dancers on a given circulate path need to go in the same direction. Dancers going in opposite directions along the same path will pass right shoulders. (See “Part 1: General: Conventions and Rules: Passing Rule”.)

(Named Dancers) Circulate is sometimes used more generally with unusual formations. Each dancer walks forward in a smooth path to the next dancer position. For example:

• Ocean Waves: Split Circulate 1 1/2, Center Wave Swing Thru, Others Circulate
• Two-Faced Lines: Centers Hinge, Outside 6 Circulate, Centers Hinge
• Columns: Circulate 1 1/2, Center 6 Circulate 1 1/2, Center 4 Walk and Dodge, Others Bend the Line
• Facing Lines: Outsides Touch 1/4, Centers Pass the Ocean, Outside 6 Circulate
• Tidal Wave: Center 4 Hinge, Same Ones Circulate (or use Box Circulate (#21.e))

It is improper for (Named Dancers) Circulate to cause a circulating dancer to end on the same spot as an inactive dancer, e.g., from Columns, Ends Circulate. From Columns, “Centers Circulate” is only proper if the caller makes it clear that the dancers must stay in the center, e.g., “Boys work in the center and Circulate”. Box Circulate (#21.e) could instead be used, e.g., “Centers Box Circulate”.

Facing Couple or Ocean Wave Rule: Neither rule applies to Circulate.

Link to Taminations:

Circulate Family