Separate to Line – Definition

Teaching Resource for SEPARATE TO LINE

Links:   Standard Analyze Module Teach Other Extend

CALLERLAB Program: Basic Part 1

Teaching Order: After Turn Back Family and before Split Two
Recently Taught Calls: Pass Thru, Half Sashay Family

Background: Separate is used in Traditional Square Dances as a commonly understood English word. In Burleson’s Encyclopedia it is included in #12 which defines Split the Ring or Couple.


The general case of Separate is described in the Teaching Resource in 13c. The first part of the dance action is the same for all three cases and is as follows:

First part of Dance action: The active or designated dancers turn back-to-back and start walking forward in opposite directions around the outside of the square away from each other.

Minimum number of dancers needed: Eight

Starting formation for the minimum number needed: Designated dancers facing out

Command examples:
— Heads Pass Thru; Separate Around 1 to a Line
— Heads Pass Thru; Separate Around 2 to a Line
— Heads Separate Around 1 to a Line
— Heads Square Thru; Split 2, Separate Around 1 to a Line
— Heads Square Thru; Split 2, Around 1 to a Line
— Heads Right and Left Thru; Veer Left; Tag The Line; Split The Sides, First Left, Next Right Around 1 to a Line

Dance action following the first part: After a Separate, the active dancers walk around the outside of the set passing the designated number of inactive dancers. The inactives act as stationary objects (referred to as goal-posts) and do not change their facing direction. However, they should counter-dance as necessary by stepping forward to allow the actives to walk comfortably around the outside, and then step slightly backward as the actives pass.

The active dancers pass each other as necessary, using right shoulders (as in Pass Thru). The actives only count inactive dancers in determining how far to go.

When the active dancers walk around their last inactive dancer, they either squeeze in between the inactive dancers (who move apart to make room) to become the centers of a general line, or stand outside the inactive dancers to become the ends of a general line. Which action will happen depends on where the count ends the active dancers with respect to the location of the inactive dancers.

These actions are sometimes also called “Squeeze In — Make Lines” or “Hook On To The End — Make Lines”, respectively.

Ending formation: Usually Facing Lines. Occasionally Inverted Lines or 3 & 1 Lines.

— Heads Pass Thru; Separate Around 1 to a Line: 8
— Heads Pass Thru; Separate Around 2 to a Line: 10

Styling: Those not active move into the center to get out of the way of the actives. Men’s arms in natural dance position; ladies’ skirt work optional.

Comments: While “Around 1” and “Around 2” are the most common, higher numbers are acceptable. In all cases, the count is of inactive dancers passed by the active dancers.

Some callers feel that the word “Separate” is required and the proper call is “Split 2, Separate Around 1 to a Line”.

The sequence “Heads Pass Thru; Separate Around 2 And Stand Behind the Sides” is not proper because each active dancer didn’t go around the second inactive dancer at all.

Around 1 or 2 To A Line is not always preceded by Separate. For example, Heads Pass Thru, Both Turn Right, Girl Around 1, Boy Around 2, To A Line.

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

Link to Taminations: Taminations Separate