Sashay – Half – Definition

Teaching Resource for HALF SASHAY

Links:   Standard Analyze Module Teach Other Extend

CALLERLAB Program:  Basic Part 1
Teaching Order:  After Pass Thru and before Turn Back Family
Recently Taught Calls:  Right and Left Grand, Star

Background:  The word Sashay has close linguistic connections to the word Chassé. Both words are used to describe a dance action using quick gliding steps. Chassé comes from the French for “to chase”. It is a dance step in which one foot literally chases the other foot out of its position (a series of side-close steps). Several traditional squares and contras contain a Chassé action, which is a rapid sideways sliding step for a specified distance or beats of music usually done by a facing couple holding both hands. In contrast, Sashay is defined as a dance figure in which partners circle each other by taking sideways steps. Although there seems to be a technical difference, the term Sashay is often used for both actions.

Half Sashay is number 18 in Burleson’s Encyclopedia.
See the “Other” section for Traditional Square Dances using some Sashay variations.


The calls in the Half Sashay family have the two dancers in a couple exchange places while retaining their original facing direction.

Minimum number of dancers needed: Two

Starting formation for the minimum number needed: Couple

Command examples:
— Heads Half Sashay
— Right and Left Thru; Half Sashay
— Sides Pass Thru, Half Sashay, and Separate Around One to a Line
— All 4 Ladies Chain; Half Sashay; Circle Left

Dance action: Dancers exchange places without changing facing directions. Dancer on the right side steps to the left while the dancer on the left steps back, side steps to the right, then steps forward, ending as a couple.

Ending formation: Couple

Timing: 4

Styling: Dancers use a normal couple handhold, pulling slightly toward each other as they initiate the sashay movement. As the dancers complete the call, they catch hands to end in a couple handhold (unless that is inconvenient for the next call).

Comments: While the command is properly given as “Half Sashay”, it is occasionally shortened to “Sashay”. This shortened form can be confusing and should not be used.

The terms “Full Sashay” or “Sashay All The Way Around” are not part of any dance program. This is improper language and should not be used.

The command “Half Sashay Once and a Half” is proper and has been seeing increased usage. It ends in a Tandem. See the section “Additional Detail: Fractions”.

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

Link to Taminations: Taminations Half Sashay Family