The annotated All Stars

A three couple dance, just recently written in a workshop done at Harrow Way School, Andover.

For a Three Couple set, you'll need a partner and join up with two other couples. You'll find yourselves like the six spots on a dice, facing your partner with all the men on one side and all the women on the other. It makes sense to give youself some space and not have to the lines of men and women too close to each other as quite a lot happens in the middle.

The couple closest to the band are called the first, or sometimes the top, couple.
They keep this label right through the dance but will find themselves in a new position, and with a new 'first couple' the next time through the dance

A1: First couple cast out into second place, kick balance and cross over...

The first couple cast out, that is turn away from each other, and dance round the second couple.

  • Cast out means each dances individually out and round behind the second people; the man goes behind the man and the lady behind the lady....
  • It somehow feels nicer to make this cast nice and big, be generous and make a nice track on the floor
  • The second couple move up towards the band a little, leaving a gap...

First couple face each other across the set and do a jump-and-a-kick, a jump-and-a-kick, then head towards each other, give right hands and cross over to the other side of the set.

The man keeps moving because....

A2: The three men right hand star and ...

  • The three men (or at least three people dancing the 'mens' role) move together a little to join up into a right hand star. The ladies give them a little space to do so..
  • Go all the way round and continue with...

... a left hand turn with their partner.

  • It helps if the partners keep an eye on where 'their men' are and drag them out of the star...
  • Don't try any tricks to get back onto the 'right' side, the people dancing in the middle should still be on the 'wrong' side.

B1: The three ladies right hand star and ...

  • And the same; the three ladies go in to do a Right Hand Star together...

... a left hand with their partner.

  • and as above, best if the men keep an eye on where their partners are and offer them their left hand.

B2: The working couple cross up between the top couple, cast round to the bottom of the set and make an arch. Everyone follows and dances through the arch to place...

The working couple are the people doing most of the work (it's a technical term). Here it is the couple still in the middle of the set (and on the 'wrong' side).

  • They need to get back to 'their' side and do this by heading up towards the band and crossing diagonally between the couple at the top and casting out. (Think that the 'man' heads off to dance round the back of the men and the 'lady' heads off to dance round the back of the ladies)...
  • Dance down to the bottom of the set and make an arch
  • The others follow them round and duck under to arch up towards the band

So, the top couple is heading up the set and will find themselves going in the right direction (and at some speed) for the cast round the second couple

Balancing... Kick Balance

  • The caller called 'balance' or 'balance and swing', and you watch as the people around you do all sorts of different things

Some will take a step to the right and back with the left (or vice versa), some will take two hands with their partner and step together and apart, some will leap into the air, land both-footed and kick one leg over the other. Most of the time the caller will just say 'Balance' and you decide how you want to do it.

The two footed jump and kick is is known as a Kick Balance. It can be as energetic as you want it to be. Imagine you are jumping into a puddle and want to make a splash, then kicking your right leg across your left. You are in front of your partner and facing them so if you both do this right leg first you won't be kicking each other (rule number one of Kick Balances). Jump a second time and kick your left leg across your right. As you do these kicks you can be leaving the ground or just lifting yourself slightly, up to the state of your legs and the music.

Origins...

This dance shows that there are new, good, dances out there to be invented and they don't have to be excessively complicated. All Stars was written during a dance workshop at the Harrow Way School, Andover, with TAPS and Roger Watson as part of a Millenium Festival Project and launched in August 2000 in the Royal Festival Hall Foyer/Ballroom