Box the Gnat – Other

Basic Part 2
Box the Gnat

Links:   Define Standard Analyze Module Teach Extend


Traditional Square Dance:

See the Square Dance History Project for more information about Box the Gnat.

Here is a description from The Caller Teach Manual by Bob Osgood of one simple traditional figure using Box the Gnat.

Box the gnat, box the flea,
Box that pretty girl back to me,
Box the apple, box the pear,
Box that pretty girl over there.

Each male dancer would face his partner and Box the Gnat. Then, with the same girl, change hands and, with left hand to left, they would box the flea, which in traditional square dancing was the left-handed counterpart of box the gnat. Turning their back to their partner, each person would do the same movement with the corner, first with the right hand and then with the left.

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By Dottie Welch, January 2010
Formation: Alternate Duple Contra Lines
(From squares adjacent down the hall call Heads Lead Right, Circle to a Line, Two Ladies Chain and Rollaway.)


Long Lines Forward and Back (change focus to dancers on the other side),
Partner Balance and Box the Gnat,
Right and Left Thru (always done by normal facing couples),
Ladies Dosado 1 1/2,

Partner Swing (end with lady on the right and the couple facing in),
Long Lines Forward and Back,
Each Four Circle Left 3/4,
Opposite (or Neighbor) Swing (end with lady on the right and facing in).

(At the end when there is no second couple to do the Right and Left Thru, face up or down the line as a normal couple and wait for the next Forward and Back.)

Description for January Thaw:

01-08 All join hands in long lines and walk forward three steps, touch on the fourth beat, then back up three steps and touch on the eighth beat. During this action, dancers should be focusing on their new group of four. After the first time through, dancers are leaving the couple with whom they have been dancing and beginning to dance with a new couple on their other side.

09-16 Partners (who are facing each other across the set) join right hands and step forward towards each other and touch, then back and touch. The same two dancers Box the Gnat.

17-24 The Right and Left Thru is always done by Normal Facing Couples. Couples at the ends who do not have a second couple to make Normal Facing Couples are temporarily neutral and should wait for the next time through the sequence.

25-32 The same two ladies Dosado with each other once and a half around to end back-to-back with each other and facing their original partner.

33-40 Original partners Swing for eight beats. This allows enough time to swing twice around and end facing in as a Normal Couple (lady on the right).

41-48 Long Lines Forward and Back the same as for counts 01-08.

49-56 Each Four Circle Left 3/4 around ending in couples facing up or down like a long Eight Chain Thru formation.

57-64 Those facing each other after the Circle Left 3/4 may be called Opposites (or Neighbors). They Swing for eight beats ending as a Normal Couple facing in.