THE FIGURE EIGHT



Found in "Cowboy Dances," by Lloyd Shaw, all editions, pp 267-270. 

First and third go forward and back

Forward again and form a line

(man 1 joins left hand with woman 3 right hand to form a curved line of four)

With the ladies in the lead and the gents behind 

Cut a figure eight with the lady in the lead

     (The line, lead by lady number 1, goes around behind couple 2 * the line of four facing the outside as they curve around behind the couple * cross the set diagonally and go around behind couple 4 * this time the line of four faces the backs of couple 4 as they go around)

Figure eight around you go

The other couple and don't be slow

Back to the center and circle four

Circle around and break to a line

With the gents in the lead and the ladies behind

Cut a figure eight with the gent in the lead

     (The line, lead by gent number 1, goes behind couple 2 as before, following the same path that was followed earlier)

Figure eight around you go

The other couple and don't be slow

Back to the center and circle four

Break it up with a docey doe

With the right hand high and the left one low

One more change and home you go

Swing your partners all you know 

Note: A variant, possibly older, certainly better, has the following change. Instead of first and third going forward and back, first lady and third gent turn in the center with right hands, then change hands and turn with left hands, finally coming to also take right hands with their own partner to create a wiggly line to balance fwd and back (twice). Then each couple turn half way with the right hand, first gent then takes hands with third lady and first lady leads this double facing line in a figure eight around the right side and behind couple four (exiting the set between positions one and four), crossing through the set and around behind couple two (exiting the set between positions one and two). To come to the center again. As the line cross the center the second time, each couple turns by the right hand half around (man one and woman three must release hands to do this), re-take hands between woman one and man three and, with man one in the lead, retrace the figure eight exactly as before.

To finish, as the line reaches the center the second time on the second figure eight, a circle of four is momentarily formed by folding the double line into a ring with the men facing in and women facing out. Each man has his partner by the right hand and his opposite by the left. Each man now does a sequence of two hand turns, first with partner once around, then with opposite once around and back to partner to swing her home. At the same time, side couples swing as well.

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