Circle Left / Circle Right

Case 1: 8 dancers

Starting formations

Squared Set, Infacing Circle Of 2 or more dancers, Facing Couples

Squared Set,Infacing Circle Of 8

Command examples

Circle Left

Circle to the Left

Join Hands, Circle Left

Circle Right, The Other Way Back

(while circling left) Reverse, and Circle Right the other way back


Dance action Dancers join hands with adjacent dancers to form a circle and move the circle in the indicated direction, or to the left if no direction was given. The amount to circle may be a specified distance (e.g., Circle Left ½ Way) or until the next command is given (e.g., Circle Left … Circle Right).
Ending formation

Infacing Circle Of 8. On the command "Stop At Home", the ending formation is a Squared Set.

Same as starting formation, except a Circle of 8 dancers may end at home in a Squared Set.


¼: 4, ½: 8, ¾: 12, Full: 16

8-dancer Circle – 1/4: 4; 1/2: 8; 3/4: 12; Full: 16
4-dancer Circle – 1/4: 2; 1/2: 4; 3/4: 6; Full: 8


As dancers join hands (couple handhold) to form a circle, they face slightly left or right as directed. All dancers walk forward with joined hands, elbows bent comfortably so that hands are above the elbow.

Couple handhold in circles: In circles with alternating men and women, men's palms are up and women's palms are down. In other circles (e.g., BBGG), everyone has the right-hand palm up and the left-hand palm down.

Some regions dance 8-dancer circles with a walking step with no turning motion of the body. Other regions dance 8-dancer circles with a grapevine step, with the body and arms turning left and right, in synchrony with this step, allowing the dancers to make eye contact with their Corners and Partners successively.

As dancers join hands (couples handhold) to form a circle, they face slightly left or right as directed. All dancers walk forward with joined hands, elbows bent comfortably so that hands are above the elbow. In a circle of alternating men and women, men’s palms are up and women’s palms are down. In a circle where same genders are adjacent, right palms are up and left palms are down.


The command "Circle", without a direction, is a shorthand for Circle Left. It is mainly used in Singing Calls when required by the timing of the lyrics.

When circling, "Reverse" or "Go The Other Way" can be used to tell the dancers to stop and circle in the other direction. It is usually followed with a "Circle Right (or Left)".

Teaching Tip Dancers should turn their body slightly toward the direction of motion and shuffle their feet to the beat of the music so that they dance smoothly forward without bouncing.

Case 2: 4 dancers

Starting formation Facing Couples
Command examples

Circle Left 1/2 Way

Circle Four, 1/2 Way Around

Circle Right 3/4

In Groups of 4, Circle Left 3/4 of the Way Around

Dance action Same as above. When dancing in a circle of 4, the dancers end as the same facing couples rotated by the appropriate amount.
Ending formation Facing Couples
Timing ½: 4, ¾: 6, Full: 8
Styling Same as above. The grapevine step is not recommended in 4-dancer circles.

Case 3: 2 dancers

Starting formation Facing Dancers
Command examples

Join 2 Hands And Circle Left Halfway

Make Circles of 2 and Circle Left Halfway

With the person in front of you circle 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, or full around

Allemande Left; Dosado; with your Partner Circle 1/2 and Star Thru

Head Ladies Step Into The Center and Circle 1/2 With Each Other

With the one you face, join both hands and circle 1/2, 3/4 or full around

Dance action Same as above.
Ending formation Facing Dancers
Timing ½: 4, ¾: 5
Styling In a mixed sex circle, the men dance palms up and the women dance palms down. In a Same Sex circle, dancers use right hand palm up, left hand palm down. Some regions always use the latter styling.

While the concept of circling with 2 or more dancers is part of the Mainstream program, there is no well established terminology. Callers wanting circles of 2 dancers must use terminology familiar to their dancers.

Some callers use the phrase "Single Circle" for circles of 2 dancers (e.g., Single Circle ¾ to A Star Thru). The phrase "Single Circle" is not explicitly listed and taught at Mainstream so this usage may cause communication problems. In addition, the phrase "Single Circle" is very similar to the call "Single Circle To A Wave" which is part of another dance program. Some callers feel that the use of the term "Single Circle" at Mainstream is improper.