Courtesy Turn – Definition

Teaching Resource for COURTESY TURN

Links:   Standard Analyze Module Teach Other Extend

CALLERLAB Program: Basic Part 1
Teaching Order: After Split Two and before Ladies Chain
Recently Taught Calls: Turn Back Family, Separate

Background: This call is part of a Ladies Chain and also part of a Right and Left Thru. Both are traditional calls that go back to the time of hoop skirts. Hence we have a call from a time of elegance and grace when it was a courtesy for the gent to help the lady turn her voluminous skirts.


Courtesy Turn involves a turning movement with a characteristic handhold and finishes with a couple facing in. It is mainly used to define and teach calls like Ladies Chain, Chain Down the Line, Right and Left Thru, Do Paso, and Eight Chain Thru. Occasionally it is used as a call by itself.

Minimum number of dancers needed: Two

Starting formation for the minimum number needed: a Couple (at Basic and Mainstream, a Normal Couple only), or a man and a woman who are facing

Command examples:
— Heads Pass Thru; Courtesy Turn
— (from facing lines) Pass Thru; Tag The Line In; Turn Thru; Courtesy Turn
— Heads Star Thru; Square Thru 3; Left Touch 1/4; Walk And Dodge; Courtesy Turn
— Walk Around the Corner; Courtesy Turn at home
— All 4 Ladies make a right-hand star, turn it once around; boys Courtesy Turn your girl
— (from a completed double pass thru with ladies in the lead) Cloverleaf; four women in the center Square Thru 3; men reach out and Courtesy Turn this girl

Dance action: A couple works as a unit and turns around with the left-side dancer backing up and right-side dancer walking forward. The turning point is halfway between the dancers. Facing dancers blend into a Normal Couple as they perform this action.
The amount of turning is governed by the following rules below or may be given explicitly. If the rules are contradictory or none apply, then the amount must be given explicitly.

1. A couple that has other dancers behind it turns 180 degrees to end facing the other dancers.
2. Dancers working on the outside of the set turn to end facing the center of the set.
3. If an inactive, outside man is facing in, with an active woman coming towards him, then the couple turns to face the direction in which the inactive man had been facing.

Ending Formation: Couple facing in (to their group of 4 or the center of the set)

Timing: 4

Styling: The woman’s left hand (palm down) and man’s left hand (palm up) are joined.
Right hands are placed according to the woman’s choice. If she places her right hand behind her right hip, palm out, then the man places his right hand in hers without grasping it, leaving these hands available for the next call. If she uses her right hand to work her skirt, then the man places his right hand in the small of the back (i.e., in the center).

Comments: Courtesy Turn works best when dancers have their left hands available. For example, Square Thru 3, Courtesy Turn has good hand usage. However, when dancers already have a Couples handhold, Wheel Around, California Twirl or Partner Trade may be better choices for smoother dancing.

The turning amount can be given explicitly either by the final facing direction (e.g., “to face back in”), or the total distance, or both (e.g., “Centers go a full turn around to face the outside 2”).

The phrase “and A Quarter More” can be used after Courtesy Turn or a call ending with Courtesy Turn (e.g., Right And Left Thru And A Quarter More). The couple turns an extra 90 degrees, generally ending in a Right-Hand Two-Faced Line.

Calls that end in a Squared Set with a Courtesy Turn (e.g., 4 Ladies Chain or Do Paso) can easily blend into a left arm turn or into an Allemande Thar. For example, “4 Ladies Chain; Chain Them Back with a Do Paso”. See “Additional Detail: Blending one call into another”.

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

Link to Taminations: Taminations Courtesy Turn