Eric: In the Monadnock Region we always did R&L w/o hands. May have come from the
breakaway from English influence...Look Ma, no hands?
Louis Pasquerelli was a paving cutter and barber in Keene, and the best dancer in the
region. When he was inactive, on the R&L he would dance across with whoever the
active man was, then he would stand there in place while the others passed through, then
he would have the whole middle to himself, and he would step he way across to his new
The French in their quadrilles do it thus: (Pas de dames, pas de hommes) (not sure that’s
correct?) no progression in the quadrille,...the two ladies cross over quickly then the
two men change places, and they return the same way. Fun to do. Dudley
PO Box 61, 322 Shaker Rd
Canterbury, NH 03224
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2015 12:31 PM
Subject: Re: [trad-dance-callers] Re: Dances with R & L Thru
I grew up with the no-hands Right & Left Thru (R&L-T), too. Our main local caller
in Santa Barbara, CA (my home town) was New England transplant, David Woodsfellow. He
taught, and we danced, the no hands version.
And, I've noticed, as Sylvia M. points out, as with many things in the dance, from the
woman's side, the with hands R&L-T is more of a challenge, since the pull-by for
the person on the right tends to turn them away from the person next to them. Actually,
I'm sure most, if not all, of us know this. (Many things, because I've noticed
other places where the woman's part is more challenging than the man's part.)
When I started dancing, in 1980, I was told/taught that the no-hands/with-hands R&L-T
was regional. But I have a different theory, which, perhaps, Dudley--or others with
greater historical knowledge--can shed light on.
Back then David W. called a lot of the old traditional dances with same-sex R&L-Ts.
When doing a R&L-T with someone of the same sex, we never did a courtesy turn,
we'd do a "wheel-around" something akin to the Butterfly Whirl. Thus the
R&L-T was a pass through, put your arm around the same-sex neighbor's back, and
spin around half way (or one-and-a-half, or two-and-a-half...). When doing this sort of
wheel-around, it's not a "right-then-left" figure, so it helped a lot not
holding a hand. Still a pull by, let go, wheel-around worked, but it was a bit easier
without the hands.
Even though I love the modern contras, I loved and now miss those dances.
On 11/28/2015 11:21 AM, Sylvia Miskoe sylviasmiskoe(a)gmail.com [trad-dance-callers] wrote:
I grew up with the NO HANDS for RLT. I've experimented with hands a few times and
find that if I give a right hand, my path changes slightly and I'm pulled to the
right. If I don't give a hand my path stays straight and I easily turn left for the
Sylvia Miskoe, concord, NH
On Sat, Nov 28, 2015 at 11:43 AM, Tony Parkes tony(a)hands4.com [trad-dance-callers]
I second the mention of Gene Hubert’s The Turning Point; it’s one of my favorite
How about Ted Sannella’s Yankee Reel? I use it as a first exposure to Right and Left
Thru (RLT). It ends with Half Promenade and RLT; I explain Half Promenade and then tell
the dancers that RLT is a lot like it, except that they’ll “melt” through the opposite
couple instead of steering completely around them. They seem to get the courtesy turn
better if they’ve just done the same thing at the end of the promenade.
Of the 20 or 30 basic moves that occur in most traditional squares and contras, I
think RLT is the hardest one for new dancers to comprehend. It’s a compound move: you go
straight and then you turn, and you turn in a way you couldn’t have predicted. The most
common error, in my experience, is for dancers to do a right-face solo turn after the
cross. This is true whether or not they give right hands on the cross. In areas where
giving right hands is the norm, it’s important to tell them to let go quickly and not let
the handhold force them into turning alone.
After 50+ years of teaching, I still haven’t decided whether it’s better to introduce
RLT before or after Ladies Chain.