Ladies Chain Family

The general action of Ladies Chain has two or more women each leave their current man, star (or right pull by) with each other, and be courtesy turned by a man. The caller indicates which women are involved and how far they star.

Two Ladies Chain (Regular & 3/4)

This definition covers the regular Two Ladies Chain. Two Ladies Chain 3/4 is described in the comments section.

Starting formation Normal Facing Couples
Command examples

Head Ladies Chain

Right and Left Thru; Two Ladies Chain

Right and Left Thru; Ladies Chain

Side Ladies Chain Over; Side Ladies Chain Back

Dance action Women step toward each other and Right-Hand Star 1/2 (or Right Pull By). Each man Courtesy Turns the woman coming toward him to end in Facing Couples.
Dance action Ladies step forward, take right hands in a handshake grip and pull by while each Man steps to his right and turns slightly to his left. Each Man has his left hand out to receive the Lady’s left hand on top of his for a Courtesy Turn. When Ladies Chain ¾, Ladies step forward, form a (two person) Right Hand Star and turn the star ¾.
Ending formationFacing Couples
Ending formation Facing Couples; 3/4 Chain ending as lines of 3 (boy, girl, girl).
Timing Facing Couples: 6; Squared Set: 8 3/4 Chain: 10
Styling Each man releases his partner and sidesteps to the right while turning his right shoulder slightly toward the center of the formation blending into the Courtesy Turn. Women use skirtwork for the Courtesy Turn (and in the star, if used).
Styling Men must be proactive and move into the spot their Lady has just vacated in order to receive the Lady coming to them, PLUS angle their body slightly to their left in order to be ready to initiate the Courtesy Turn. Women use skirtwork for the Courtesy Turn.

Two Ladies Chain is improper if either couple is sashayed or same-sex.

From a squared set with the men at home, Head Ladies Chain is danced by those currently at the Heads position, even if this involves the original Side women (e.g., after Four Ladies Chain 3/4).

The next four comments refer to uncommon or regional applications of Ladies Chain and may require workshopping.

Four Ladies Chain (Regular & 3/4)

Starting formationSquared Set, Infacing Circle of 8, or a "turning your partner left" formation (the dynamic formation obtained from a square plus all arm turn your partner by the left an indefinite amount)
Command examples

Four Ladies Chain

Four Ladies Chain 3/4

All Four Ladies Chain Across

Chain Those Ladies Over and Back (i.e., twice)

Four Ladies Chain; Chain Them Home (i.e., twice)

Do Paso, partner left, corner right, partner left; Four Ladies Chain

Shoot the Star; Four Ladies Chain

Dance action All four women Right-Hand Star 1/2 (or 3/4, if designated). All Courtesy Turn to face the center of the set.
Dance action Similar to Two Ladies Chain except all Four Ladies step forward and make a Right-Hand Star. They turn the star halfway to the opposite Man. All Courtesy Turn to face the center of the set.
Ending formationSquared Set
TimingRegular: 8, 3/4: 10
Styling Men use the Two Ladies Chain styling. Women use a palm or finger tip star. If at least two women are wearing full skirts, an elegant variation is for each lady to pick up and hold a bit of the right edge of her skirt, or an arm's length of a long skirt, as she reaches into the star. This arm's-length hold can be continued through the Courtesy Turn at a comfortable height and longer if the next call is Chain Them Back.
Styling Men use the Two Ladies Chain styling. If the Ladies are wearing skirts, the star should be formed with their skirts – this leaves their left hands ready for the Courtesy Turn.

Four Ladies Chain is improper if any couple is sashayed or same-sex.

Some callers use Four Ladies Chain from normal facing lines. This is danced as if all couples were directly facing the center of the set except that it ends in the same facing lines. In some areas this is an extended application, and in other areas it is considered a gimmick. (See "Part 4: Additional Detail: Commands: Gimmicks".)

Teaching Tip Teach the women how to ‘count’ the men. This will help them know who they are supposed to finish the call with, especially when it’s ¾.

Chain Down the Line

Starting formation General Line with the centers holding right hands
Starting formation Right-Hand Two-Faced Line or Left-Hand Ocean Wave. (At Basic and Mainstream, the Ends must be Men and the Centers must be Women).
Command example Chain Down the Line
Dance action Centers Turn 1/2 By The Right while ends adjust as necessary. Then the ends Courtesy Turn the centers to finish in Facing Couples.
Dance action Centers Trade then the Ends Courtesy Turn the centers to end up facing the couple who was in the line or wave with them.
Ending formation Facing Couples
Timing 8
Comment At Mainstream, Chain Down the Line starts only with women as centers and men as ends because Courtesy Turn is restricted to men turning women.