Sashay – Rollaway – Definition

Teaching Resource for ROLLAWAY

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 first use of Rollaway in modern square dancing was in 1950 by Ed Gilmore from Yucaipa, California.


Rollaway is one of three calls in the Half Sashay family. All three 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
Commonly called from an Infacing Circle of 8

Command examples:
— Rollaway
— 4 Ladies Rollaway
— Heads Rollaway
— Circle Left; Rollaway; Circle Left
— Veer Right; Ferris Wheel; Centers Rollaway
— Roll The Girl Away
— Boys Roll That Girl Away
— Heads Lead Right; Veer Left; Bend The Line; Roll The Boys Away (uncommon)
— Sides Promenade 1/2; Heads Chain Those Ladies Across, Turn That Gal; Roll Her Away

Dance action: From a couple, the dancer on the right (or the directed dancer) “rolls” across in front of the other dancer, turning a full 360 degrees to end on the other side, as the other dancer steps back and then forward, adjusting sideways as necessary, to move smoothly into the vacated position. At the completion of the call, the dancers have exchanged positions.

From an Infacing Circle Of 8 of alternating men and women, unless otherwise directed, the women roll left across and in front of the men.

Ending formations: Couple, Infacing Circle Of 8

Timing: 4

Styling: For the purposes of this styling, assume a normal couple and that the woman is being rolled away.

Hands held in normal couple handhold maintaining good arm tension and connection throughout.

From a couple, the man steps back on slight right diagonal as the woman folds to face him. Continuing the momentum they change hands. He steps forward to his right and she finishes her dance action.

When the preceding dance action is a Courtesy Turn, the hand connection is slightly different. Dancers already have left hands joined in front. This connection is maintained throughout most of the Rollaway. Near the end, the lady lets go with her left hand and joins her right hand with the man’s left hand.

From a circle in motion, the man interrupts the circling action by stepping back and then forward, while the woman uses the momentum of the circle to accomplish the roll-across action.

Dancers who are doing the vine step footwork while circling should perform the Rollaway as they are starting to turn toward each other. Callers should deliver the call to accomplish this timing.

Comments: In the past, “Rollaway” has also been called “Rollaway with a Half Sashay”. This is improper language and should not be used.

The command “Rollaway Once and a Half” is proper and sees occasional use. It ends in Facing Dancers. See the section “Additional Detail: Fractions”.

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

Link to Taminations: Taminations Half Sashay Family