Grand Square – Definition

Teaching Resource for GRAND SQUARE

Links:   Standard Analyze Module Teach Other Extend

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

Background: In the 1800’s certain quadrilles with a special combination of five different types of music became known as Lancers (from a dance called the Quadrille of the Lancers). Usually the music for the last figure was a marching tempo in military style and the choreography frequently included a Grand Square.


Minimum number of dancers needed: Eight

Starting formation for the minimum number needed: Squared Set (also see Comments)

Command examples:
— Sides Face, Grand Square
— Sides Face, Grand Square (16 beats later) Reverse
— Heads Face, Grand Square
— Heads Rollaway; Sides Face, Grand Square

Dance action: The designated dancers turn to face their partner. All dancers then perform the following series of steps, each of which takes one beat of music. Dancers are to be reminded that these are square dancing steps and NOT just walking.
Step (count 1), Step (count 2), Step (count 3), Step-Turn In (count 4)
Step (count 5), Step (count 6), Step (count 7), Step-Turn In (count 8)
Step (count 9), Step (count 10), Step (count 11), Step-Turn In (count 12)
Step (count 13), Step (count 14), Step (count 15), Step-Pause to Reverse (count 16)
Step (count 17), Step (count 18),
Step (count 23), Step-Turn In (count 24)
Step (count 25), Step (count 26), Step (count 27), Step-Turn In (count 28)
Step (count 29), Step (count 30), Step (couStep (count 19), Step-Turn In (count 20)
Step (count 21), Step (count 22), Snt 31), Step-You’re Home (count 32)

At all times during Grand Square, every dancer is facing another dancer either nose-to-nose or across the square.

On “Step(1), Step(2), Step(3), Step(4)” dancers who are facing nose-to-nose take 4 steps backwards away from each other. Dancers who are facing across the square take 4 steps forward until they are nose-to nose.

On the 4th Step-Turn In dancers turn in place 90 degrees during the step to face another dancer nose-to-nose or across the square. Like the other Steps, this takes one beat.

This continues for each group of 4 steps.

On “Step-Pause to Reverse” dancers take the 4th Step and then prepare to reverse directions without turning. The next “Step” will be in the opposite direction, as dancers start to retrace their steps.

On “You’re Home” those dancers designated to “face” at the start of the call face back in, making a squared set. The others take the last (fourth) Step and freeze in place.

Ending formation: Squared Set (more generally, same as starting formation before designated dancers face).

Timing: 32. This call should be danced without rushing so that each Step and Step-Turn In corresponds to one beat of music and everyone returns home simultaneously. Grand Square should be called so that dancers start on beat 1 of an 8-beat phrase (preferably on beat 1 of a 32-beat phrase). Also see “Additional Detail: Timing”.

Styling: Men’s arms in natural dance position; women may work skirts with natural swinging action. Adjacent dancers who walk forward or backward together should use a couples handhold. A wide variety of embellishments may be encountered. (See “Additional Detail: Styling: Embellishments”.)

Comments: From a Squared Set, the caller must designate who faces for Grand Square. It is improper to call “Grand Square” and expect “Sides Face, Grand Square”.

The caller may designate the number of steps to take (e.g., “Grand Square, 6 Steps”).

The following variations on Grand Square may require workshopping.

Some callers, observing that each dancer dances the edges of a square (in their quadrant) and then reverses the path, relax the rule that “every dancer is facing another dancer either nose-to-nose or across the square”. For example, “Girls turn and face your partner, Everyone Grand Square” has each dancer dancing the edges of the same square, following the same pattern of stepping and turning as if they were facing other dancers (nose-to-nose or across the square) at the appropriate times.

In “Heads Star Thru; Sides Face, Grand Square”, dancers dance the edges of the same squares, making the usual turns, even though some of the dancers start and finish in the center of the set.

Facing Couple or Ocean Wave Rule: Neither rule applies to Grand Square

Link to Taminations:

Grand Square