Circulate – Eight and Single File – Definition

Teaching Resource for CIRCULATE – EIGHT and SINGLE FILE

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.

21.c. All 8 Circulate

Minimum number of dancers needed: Eight

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

Command examples:
— All 8 Circulate

Dance action: All dancers Circulate

Ending formation: General Lines, General Columns. Same as starting formation from Ocean Waves, Two-Faced Lines and Columns.

Styling: Same as for (Named Dancers) Circulate (#21.a)

Comments: It is improper to teach that All 8 Circulate always means “ends stay ends and centers stay centers”. This statement is true from Ocean Waves and Two-Faced Lines, but not from Columns.

From Two-Faced Lines, Couples Circulate (#21.b) is a more common way to call All 8 Circulate. From Columns, Single File Circulate (#21.d) is the same as All 8 Circulate.

When dancers go in opposite directions along the same path, All 8 Circulate is often equivalent to other calls (e.g., Pass Thru or Trade By). These applications are proper, but confusing to many dancers. Except in an instructional setting, they are often perceived as attempts to trick the dancers and should probably be avoided. On the other hand, All 8 Circulate from Three and One Lines is acceptable, though still difficult and uncommon at Mainstream.

21.d. Single File Circulate

Starting formation: Columns Only

Command examples:
— Circulate
— Column Circulate
— Single File Circulate

Dance action: All dancers Circulate.

Ending formation: Columns

Styling: Same as for (Named Dancers) Circulate (#21.a).

Comments: None

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

Link to Taminations: Taminations Circulate Family