Swing Thru – Definition

Teaching Resource for SWING THRU

Links:   Standard Analyze Module Teach Other Extend

CALLERLAB Program: Basic Part 2
Teaching order: After Alamo Style
Recently taught calls: Thar Family and related calls, Box the Gnat, Trade Family, Ocean Wave

Background: In The Handbook of Modern Square Dancing, Jay King says that the first calling of the Swing Thru family was by Del Coolman from Flint, Michigan in 1963. In Step by Step Through Modern Square Dance History Jim Mayo identifies Swing Thru as the first of our compound calls — a call that combined two or more actions that had been called individually into a single action with a unique name. The Swing Thru Family was listed in the first CALLERLAB version of the Extended Basic Program in 1976. The calls Run and Trade were created within six months after Swing Thru to make it easier for callers to work with the ocean wave formation.


See Alamo Swing Thru under Alamo Style.
See Left Swing Thru under Swing Thru – Left

Minimum number of dancers needed: Usually four

Starting formation for the minimum number needed: Ocean Wave

Starting formations: Ocean Wave, Alamo Ring

Command examples:
— Swing Thru

Dance action:

Swing Thru: Those who can, turn 1/2 (180 degrees) by the right; then those who can, turn 1/2 (180 degrees) by the left.

Dancers must work in their group:
— From an Alamo Ring, all dancers form one group.
— Otherwise, active dancers form one or more groups of four dancers each.

Ending formations: Ocean Wave, Alamo Ring

Timing: 6

Styling: Use Hands Up throughout the call. (See “Additional Detail: Styling: Arms and Hands”; however, also see “General: Standardization”.) The first part of the call blends smoothly into the second part.


The Facing Couples Rule applies to these calls.

From a Tidal Wave, Swing Thru is danced in the Ocean Wave on each half; no dancers cross the center of the Tidal Wave.

After applying the Facing Couples Rule, the starting formation of Swing Thru must be a Wave or an Alamo Ring (except for the extended application below). It is improper, for example, to Swing Thru from an Inverted Line.

As an extended application, dancers can work in other groups, provided that after applying the Facing Couples Rule they are in a wave of three or more dancers. In this case, the caller must clearly tell those dancers to work together. For example, Heads Pass The Ocean; Extend; Boys Circulate 1 1/2; Girls Cast Off 3/4; In the Wave of 6, Swing Thru.

To have eight dancers work together is especially tricky, and should be used only with great caution, since normally eight dancers work in two groups of four. The eight-dancer application is usually reserved for dance programs in which a different call (Grand Swing Thru) achieves this action.

Facing Couples or Ocean Wave Rule: The Facing Couples Rule applies to Swing Thru.

Link to Taminations: Taminations Swing Thru Family