Teaching Resource for LEFT-HAND STAR / RIGHT-HAND STAR
CALLERLAB Program: Basic Part 1
Teaching Order: After Right and Left Grand and before Pass Thru
Recently Taught Calls: Promenade, Allemande Left, Arm Turns
Background: Star figures are a basic pattern in many folk dances. This is a simple concept with numerous possibilities. Stars are flexible in their ending position, which can be described either in terms of how far to go or in term of stopping when some external landmark has been reached (usually a dancer who is not in the star). Stars provide forgiving choreography if a Right-hand Star is followed by a Left-hand Star because it then becomes unimportant how far the star actually turns. When dancers have a very small vocabulary, Stars can be used in place of two-dancer arm turns.
Minimum number of dancers needed: Two or more
Starting formations: Facing Couples, Squared Set, Infacing Circle Of 8
— Men Center Right Hand Star; Back by the Left
— Heads Square Thru; Make A Right Hand Star With The Sides; Heads Center Left Hand Star; Back To The Same Girl With A Right and Left Thru
— Heads Square Thru; Right Hand Star; Heads Star Left Inside to the same Folks; Right and Left Thru
— Heads Star Thru; Square Thru 3; Left Hand Star; Head Ladies Lead, Flutterwheel
— 4 Ladies Center, Right Hand Star
— Heads Square Thru; Right Hand Star; Heads to Center star across the square
— Heads Square Thru; Right Hand Star 1/2 Way; Veer Left
Dance action: The designated dancers form a star by stepping forward if necessary and placing the appropriate hand in the center of the formation. Forming the star may require a dancer to individually turn in place up to 3/8 of a turn.
Dancers turn the star by walking forward in a circle around the center of the star. The distance traveled may be specified in fractions of a star full around, or until some condition is met (e.g., Men Center Left Hand Star, Pick Up Your Partner with an Arm Around, Star Promenade).
Ending formation: Star plus an adjustment. Each dancer knows his position on the floor by how far the star turned, and adjusts his facing direction as appropriate for the next call.
Timing: 1/2: 4, 3/4: 6, Full: 8
Styling: Palm star (see Styling section). Men’s outside arms in natural dance position, women’s outside hands work skirt.
Some areas dance any stars containing men with a Pack-saddle Star (see Styling section).
Comments: The stars described above are 4-dancer stars. Stars of 3 or more dancers are also proper, as long as the caller’s instructions to the dancers are understood.
Some callers use 2-dancer stars in place of Arm Turns, accomplishing the hands up styling necessary in Ocean Waves, and having one less call to teach. While this is acceptable in a teaching situation, and may be a logical way to understand stars (i.e., 2 or more dancers), 2-dancer stars are not commonly encountered at dances.
Facing Couple or Ocean Wave Rule: The Ocean Wave Rule does not apply to Stars.