Dances for Schools - supported by Suffolk Folk

Suggestions are given for suitable tunes which can be downloaded by clicking on the music link for each dance to get the appropriate MP3 file. To download tunes - right click and then "save target as".

A glossary of terms is available in the Suffolk PE folder and here as a PDF file.


Patacake Polka

Formation   Dance for pairs (no sets)

Music - 16 or 32-bar polkas e.g.  Allo Jack / 9 'til Dawn

Face partner and hold hands.

A1 Tap heel on floor, tap toe on floor and repeat (heel, toe, heel, toe), gallop 4 steps forward (8 steps altogether).  Heel and toe, heel and toe, gallop 4 steps back again (another 8 steps)

B1 Face partner, clap right hands x3, left hands x3, both hands x3, tap own knees x3, (8 beats of music).  Right elbow turn with partner (8 steps)


Cumberland Square Eight

Formation   4 couples in a square set, couples facing each other are head couples and side couples

Music - 64 bar polka/jig  e.g. Sick Tune / Buffalo Boys

A1  Head couples take a ballroom hold and gallop 8 steps across the set and back to place.

A2  Side couples do the same

B1  Heads couples right hand star, then left hand star, 8 steps each way

B2  Side couples do the same

C1 Head couples make a basket, or a small circle, 16 steps round to the left

C2  Side couples do the same

D1 All hold hands and circle left for 16 steps (clockwise)

D2 Take 2 hands with partner and all promenade back round to places, 16 steps to the right (anti-clockwise)



Formation  4 or 5 couples in a longways set

Music - 32-bar polka / jig e.g. Page’s Bottom / Knight to Remember

 A1  Face partner across the set and hold hands in lines.  4steps forward to meet opposite line, 4 steps back to place (lines forward and back), 8steps for lines to cross into each other’s pace (lines crossover)

A2  Repeat A1 ending back in place

B1  All couples swing partner

B2  First 2 couples swing down the middle to bottom of set. Others clap and move up.

Dance starts again with new top couple


The Belgian Mixer (or Kolumtanz)

Formation   couple facing couple in groups of 4 around the room

Music – Any 32 bar jig or polka- e.g. The Perfect Cure / Hindringham Long Dance

A1   Face your opposite (not your partner)   Stamp 3x, clap3x, (not too fast!)  Right hand star in group of 4

A2   Face your partner   Stamp 3x, clap3x,   Left hand star in `group of 4

B1   Do-si-do your opposite and do-si-do your partner

B2   Dance off with partner to find another couple to dance with


The Flying Scot

Formation   Longways sets of 4 or 5 couples

Music - Any 32 bar jig or polka- e.g. Page’s Bottom / Knight to Remember

A1   Girls join hands and skip around the boys’ line 

A2   Boys join hands and skip around the girls’ line 

B1   Top couple gallop down the middle of the set to bottom of the room and back to the BOTTOM of the set. (new top couple)

B2   All couples gallop to the bottom of the room and back.


French Circle Dance 

Formation   In a circle– boys and girls alternately 

Music - Any 32 bar polka  e.g. ‘Allo Jack / Nine til Dawn

A1   Gallop 16 steps to left. 

A2   Gallop 16 steps to the right, then the boys spring to face girls with their backs to centre of circle. 

B1   Walk 4 steps out of circle, then 4 steps back 

Turn partner with both hands ( walk)  Boy move on to next girl around the circle (move to the right)

B2   Clap hands 3 times. Stamp 3 times.   Turn partner again. 

Yankee Doodle

Formation   Square set for 4 couples (Numbered 1-4)

Music - Any 32 bar jig  e.g. Hungry Army / Rogues Wedding

Chorus –
A1   All join hands and circle left for 16 steps.
A2   Do-si-do your corner and do-si-do your partner.
B1   Swing your partner,
B2   Promenade

Figures –

A1   Number 1 couple go to couple on their right (2nd couple) who make an arch. Number 1 couple go through the arch, separate around them, back into the middle and swing.

A2   Number 1 couple repeat through 3rd couple’s arch

B1   Number 1 couple repeat through 4th couple’s arch

B2   All hold hands in couples, promenade in a circle around the set and back to place.

Repeat with each other couple leading in turn and finish with the chorus.

Bridge of  Athlone

Formation   Longways set of 5 couples

Music - 48 bar jig  e.g. The Weymouth Quickstep

A1   Take hands in lines and dance forward to meet and back. Then forward to meet and cross over, boys making arches.

A2   As above, this time girls make arches. Everyone ends up back where they started.

B1   Top couple gallop down the middle of the set and back to place

B2   Top couple cast around the back of their lines and meet to make an arch at the bottom of the set. Other couples follow and dance through the arch (new top couple)

C1   All except the original top couple make arches.  Original top girl dances up the tunnel and down the outside while her partner dances up the outside of the set and back down the tunnel.

C2   All swing partners


Boston Tea Party

Formation   Longways set of 5 or 6 couples

Music - 32 bar jig e.g.  The Quaker’s Wife / Year in Provence

A1   Top couple gallop down middle of set, dance to top of set making an arch over the boys’ line.

A2   Continue back down the set, arching over the girls’ line

B1   Top couple dip and dive down the set (start by going under the next couple’s arch) and make an arch at the bottom Others cast out down the backs of their lines and come back through the arch (new top couple) 

B2   All swing partners.

The Waterloo Dance

Formation   4 couples in a square set

Music – 48 bar polka e.g. Little White Horse

A1   All hold hands and circle left then right (8 steps each way) 

A2   All dance into middle and out then do-si-do with partner

B1   Side couples make arches, head couples cast away from partner, in through the side arches and join hands in a circle of 4 in center. Circle once round to left and back to place.

B2   Head couples make arches and sides cast as above.

C1   Girls left hand star half way round the set, right hand turn with opposite boy.
Girls then complete the left hand star. Right hand turn with partner back to place

C2   All polka or gallop around the square and back to place