Each figure of the dance fits with a specific phrase of music. Most tunes have two parts: A and
Each part is played twice giving us: A1, A2, B1, B2. Each one of these parts has 16 beats. We have shown this in the directions for each dance as follows:
Following each part is a description of the dance figures that take place during this part of the melody. For example:
A1 (16) All go forward and back. (8) All dosido partners. (8)
This means that the first A section of the melody has 16 beats. You go forward and back for the first 8 beats, and you dosido your partner for the second 8 beats. See GLOSSARY: BEAT, JIG, REEL.
Before teaching a dance, listen to the music that accompanies the dance. Feel the beats, count them and listen for the different phrases that go with each figure. After a while the music will tell you when to begin and end each figure. Try walking through the dance in the privacy of your own living room. Imagine the other dancers while stepping to the beat, and moving to the phrases of the music.
These dances are traditionally done with couples: a gent and a lady. This, however, is only one of several ways to refer to the dancers. We have used the language of ‘gents and ladies’ throughout the book for the sake of clarity and tradition. ‘Gent’ means the person on the left in a pair of dancers. ‘Lady’ refers to the person on the right. You may prefer to use terms such as ‘insides and outsides’, ‘suns and moons’, ‘mountains and rivers’, etc. Then anyone can dance with anyone. See CHOOSING PARTNERS.