Allemande Left

In its most general form, an Allemande Left is simply an Arm Turn by the left (plus a Step Thru as the dancers head towards their next dancer interaction).

While Arm Turns are used for general arm turns, Allemande Left is mostly reserved for an Arm Turn with your corner.

The large number of formations from which an Allemande Left is possible will be described in two cases. The Command Examples, Timing, Styling, and Comments sections apply to both cases.

Command examples

Allemande Left

Left Allemande

Allemande Left Your Corner

With The Corner, Allemande Left

Allemande Left Your Corner; Dosado Your Partner; Allemande Left Your Corner

Allemande Left Your Corner; Allemande Right Your Partner

Allemande Left A Full Turn Around

Case 1

Starting formations Eight Chain Thru, Left-Hand Ocean Waves, Right And Left Grand Circle, Thar, Alamo Ring (men facing in), Trade By plus ends face each other
Dance action Dancers holding left arms or facing dancers Arm Turn by the left at least 180 degrees until the men are facing promenade direction and the women are facing wrong way promenade direction. Step Thru.
Ending formation Right and Left Grand Circle, men facing promenade direction, women facing wrong way promenade direction. While the dance action of Allemande Left might not cause the dancers to end in this formation, the next call should be given as if this were the ending formation. From an Eight Chain Thru, it would not be proper to call Allemande Left; Trade By, as the dancers are logically in a Right and Left Grand Circle, not a Trade By formation.

Case 2

Starting formations Squared Set, Infacing Circle Of 8, Trade By, Left-Hand 3/4 Tag, Facing Lines, Lines Back-To-Back, Inverted Lines with Ends Facing
Starting formations Any formation where dancers can conveniently turn 90 degrees or less to face their corner.
Dance action If necessary, dancers individually turn in place up to 90 degrees, so that the men are facing wrong way promenade direction and the women are facing promenade direction. Continue with the dance action in Case 1. Left Arm Turn at least halfway around (180 degrees) until the men are facing promenade direction and the women are facing wrong way promenade direction. Step Thru.
Ending formation Right and Left Grand Circle with everyone facing their partner.
Timing1/2 arm turn: 4-6; 3/4 arm turn: 6-8; Full arm turn: 8
StylingForearm handhold
Comments

The variation in the timing numbers is due to the adjustments which may be required before the Allemande Left (e.g., turning to face your corner, stepping to a left forearm).

Choreography like "Allemande Left Your Corner; Dosado Your Partner; Allemande Left Your Corner" is acceptable. The command "Allemande Left Your Corner" can be a shorthand for "Face Your Corner; Allemande Left".

Choreography like "Allemande Left Your Corner; Allemande Right Your Partner" is acceptable. It uses the dancers' knowledge of Allemande as an arm turn and is danced as Face Your Corner; Left Arm Turn until you can go to your partner; Right Arm Turn with Your Partner. The next call will determine when to stop the final arm turn.

Square dancing has had a long history of occasionally requiring dancers to search out and locate their corner (often by individually turning in place in flow direction, or continuing the last command a little longer) before doing the Allemande Left. See "Part 4: Additional Detail: Commands: Gimmicks".

Allemande Lefts that require other than a 180-degree arm turn are less frequently used and are moving towards the Gimmick category. Callers may assist on an Allemande Left that requires some or all of the dancers to turn 360 degrees by calling, for example, "Allemande Left A Full Turn Around" or "Allemande Left all the way around to your partner".

Allemande Lefts that require dancers to turn in place more than 90 degrees to find their corner are less frequently used, and are in the Gimmick category.

From a Squared Set plus everyone Half Sashay, Allemande Left would have dancers face their original partner and then do the Allemande Left (180 degrees). This would be very unusual calling.

While Allemande Left is intimately associated with Allemande Left Your Corner, the dance actions were written without reference to Corner. The caller who says, "Allemande Left Your Corner" is both helping the dancers, in case they are confused with whom to do the Allemande Left, and asserting to the dancers, "Yes, this person is your corner".

A phrase like "Allemande Left Wrong Corner; Promenade, Keep Walking" or "Allemande Left This Corner" is occasionally used as a way for the caller to clarify to the dancers that an Allemande Left is desired, and that the caller understands that the dancers don't all have their original corners and partners.

As a gimmick, some callers will call "Allemande Left; Right And Left Grand ... On The Third Hand, Promenade". This causes the dancers to first believe the caller has made a mistake (wrong corner) and then be surprised by the quick fix.

Teaching Tips Dancers learn where their corner is by gradually being exposed to a wider variety of Allemande Lefts as they gain experience. Callers must teach counter dancing for these type calls, i. e.: resistance with each other for turning. Do not squeeze with the hands.