Promenade – Couples – Definition

Teaching Resource for PROMENADE — COUPLES

Links:   Standard Analyze Module Teach Other Extend

CALLERLAB Program: Basic Part 1

Teaching order: After Dosado, perhaps after Swing. Before Allemande Left
Recently taught calls: Circle Left, Circle Right, Dosado, perhaps Swing

Background: “Promenade” is a French word meaning “to walk”. It was used in the French Quadrilles that became popular early in the 19th century.


A promenade is a walk of some distance around the set by some or all dancers. The active dancers may go as individuals or as couples. They may go in promenade direction (counter-clockwise) or wrong way promenade direction (clockwise). When not all dancers promenade, there is a further choice of traveling around the inside or outside of the set. Couples Promenade is one of four calls in the Promenade family.

Couples Promenade (Full, 1/2, 3/4)

Minimum number of dancers needed: Two, but usually four or more.

Starting formations: Right and Left Grand Circle (only with men facing promenade direction and women facing wrong way promenade direction), Squared Set, Left-Hand Two-Faced Lines

Command examples:
— Promenade Home
— Heads Promenade Half (or Halfway)
— Promenade, Keep Walking
— Promenade, don’t stop, don’t slow down
— Sides Promenade 3/4
— Heads Pass Thru, Promenade 3/4, while Sides Right and Left Thru
— All Promenade to the lady’s home position

Dance action: If necessary, adjust to a Promenade formation as follows:
A couple will turn as a unit to face promenade direction (counterclockwise)
From a Right and Left Grand Circle, women turn around in a comfortable direction while men step forward (and to the inside) to form normal couples.

As a unit, each couple walks in a circular path around the center of the set. If certain couples are named, they promenade around the outside of the set unless directed otherwise.
Couples walk the designated amount, if specified. On the command “Promenade Home” the couples promenade to the man’s home position. In both these cases, each couple ends by turning as a unit to face the center of the set. On the other hand, if directed to Keep Walking, couples do not turn in but rather continue walking until the next command is given.

Ending formations: Squared Set (e.g., Promenade Home), Promenade (e.g., Promenade, Keep Walking), or couples facing in on the outside of the set (e.g., Sides Promenade 3/4; Heads Right and Left Thru).

Timing: 1/4: 4, 1/2: 8, 3/4: 12, Full: 16

Styling: When all Promenade, the inside dancer’s distance from the center of the set is slightly greater than that of a Star Promenade (#5.d). If the formation becomes too spread out, the outside dancers will have to walk too far and too fast for proper timing.

The styling for Promenade varies widely. CALLERLAB recommends a certain styling (described below), but new dancers should also be taught the popular styling for their club and their region. Experienced dancers may choose among the various alternatives based on club and regional standards, the previous call, the caller’s timing, and their partners’ preferences.

For simplicity, the following descriptions are given assuming a normal couple.
Dancers’ left hands are joined in front, with the woman’s left hand, palm down, resting on the man’s left hand, palm up. Some common alternatives for placement of the right hands are:

Skaters position (CALLERLAB recommended): Right hands are similarly joined with the man’s right forearm over the woman’s left forearm. Some dancers move their hands in time to the music.
Skirt Skater’s position: The man’s right arm is behind the woman’s back, right hands joined at the right side of the woman’s waist. In a variation, the man’s right hand is placed in the middle of her lower back while the woman’s right hand holds and works her skirt. (See “Skirt Work” in “Part 4: Additional Detail: Styling: Other styling terms and issues”.)
Varsouvienne position: The woman’s right arm is bent, and her hand is palm up near her shoulder while the man’s right arm is behind her, his right hand palm down in her right palm.

In addition to the alternatives mentioned above, when designated dancers Promenade a specified distance from a Squared Set (e.g., Heads Promenade 1/2), the couple handhold is also acceptable. This is also common when couples are sashayed or same-sex.

When dancers are not directed to Keep Walking, there are several ways in which they can finish. In all cases, handholds should blend smoothly to end with a couple handhold. Sometimes they simply turn as a couple to face in. At other times they end with a twirl (see “Twirls” in “Part 4: Additional Detail: Styling: Other styling terms and issues”), in which case the twirl should finish as the couple arrives at their destination. There are two alternatives:
• Right hands, if joined, are dropped. Then the man leads the twirl by raising their joined left hands, gently guiding the woman through a clockwise twirl underneath.
• Only from the CALLERLAB-recommended position, left hands can instead be dropped. Then the man leads the twirl by raising their joined right hands, gently guiding the woman through a clockwise twirl underneath.

Comments: Especially in singing calls, Promenade Home is usually more than a quarter of the way around the set. If not, dancers are often expected to add a full promenade. As necessary, callers should make it clear what is desired.

On Heads Promenade 1/2, the Sides momentarily step toward the center of the set to make room for those promenading. On Heads Promenade 3/4 (or 1/4), the Sides step into the center and remain there.

When couples Promenade, it is usually as normal couples. Other applications may require workshopping.

When couples are sashayed or same-sex, Promenade Home can be ambiguous (unless everyone is paired with their original partner), and the caller must further specify where couples should end (e.g., Promenade to the girl’s home).

The previous call can blend into Promenade. For example, from Facing Lines, Reverse Flutterwheel, Promenade Home. See “Part 4: Additional Detail: Blending one call into another”.

Link to Taminations: Taminations Promenade Family