Partner Dance Positions

The following 18 positions are adapted (often directly copied) from the NTA Teachers Manual. Where a right or left is described, the term for the position is normally addressed first with the direction, e.g., Right Side By Side or Left Side By Side.

TRADITIONAL CLOSED -
Partners face each other slightly offset. The man holds the lady’s right hand in his left (shoulder height). His right hand is placed on the lady’s left shoulder blade, with the fingers and thumb held together. The lady rests her left hand on the man’s upper arm, or slightly behind his right shoulder, with thumb and fingers together. Also called Ballroom, Studio.

COUNTRY WESTERN CLOSED -
Partners face, with toes pointed towards each other. The man holds the lady’s right hand in his left (shoulder height). His right hand or wrist rests on lady's left shoulder, or on the back of her shoulder. The lady’s left hand rests on the man’s upper right arm, or slightly behind his shoulder, with fingers and thumb held together.

INDIAN -
Dancers are in single file. Lady is in front. Use a double hand hold. Their joined hands are on lady’s shoulders. NOTE: The man may also be in front of the lady using this hand hold.

REVERSE INDIAN -
Dancers are in single file. Lady is behind man. The man uses a double hand hold. Their joined hands are together, placed behind the man’s hips. NOTE: The lady may also be in front of the man using this hand hold.

WRAP (Right is assumed) & LEFT WRAP -
For Right Wrap, couple is facing in the same direction. The lady is slightly in front of the man on his right side, with her left foot slightly in front of his right foot. Using a double hand hold, the man’s right arm is wrapped behind the lady’s back. Their joined hands rest on her right hip. His left arm is crossed in front of the lady.

For Left Wrap, couple is facing in the same direction. The lady is slightly in front of the man on his left side, with her right foot slightly in front of his left foot. Using a double hand hold, the man’s left arm is wrapped behind the lady’s back. Their joined hands rest on her left hip. His right arm is crossed in front of the lady. Also called Cuddle, Cradle, Basket, Sweetheart.

DANCING SKATERS – (Elbows are always equal in both right and left positions.) Right: The couple face the same direction, the lady is slightly in front of the man’s right hip. The man’s right arm is crossed behind the lady’s back. Their right hands rest on the lady’s right hip. The lady’s right hand may also be held behind her back. Their left hands are held in front of the man at chest level.

Left: The couple face the same direction, the lady is slightly in front of the man’s left hip. The man’s left arm is crossed behind the lady’s back. Their left hands rest on the lady’s left hip. The lady’s left hand may also be held behind her back. Their right hands are held in front of the man at chest level. Also called Sweetheart.

SKATERS -
Right: The couple face the same direction. The lady is on the man’s right. The man holds the lady’s right hand in his right hand, and her left hand in his left hand. The arms are crossed right over left and are held at about waist level. Also called Promenade.

Left: The couple face the same direction, the lady is on the man’s left. The man holds the lady's right hand in his right hand, and her left hand in his left hand. The arms are crossed right over left and are held about waist level.

Reverse Right: The couple face the same direction, the lady is on the man’s right. Their arms are crossed behind their backs. The right hands are on the lady’s right hip, the left hands on the man’s left hip. Also called Cross Back.

Reverse Left: The couple face the same direction, the lady is on the man’s left. Their arms are crossed behind their backs. The right hands are on the man’s right hip, the left hands on the lady’s left hip. Also called Double Reverse.

ARCH -
Right: Partners face in the opposite direction. The right arms are hooked at the elbows. The left hands are joined above their heads in an arch. The right hands may be joined and held at the right sides.

Left: Partners face in the opposite direction. The left arms are hooked at the elbows. The right hands are joined above their heads in an arch. The left hands may be joined and held at the left sides. Also called Steeple, Cathedral, Hook.

SIDE BY SIDE - (Elbows are held at an equal level in both right and left positions.)
Right: The couple face the same direction, lady is on the man’s right side. Her left foot is slightly in front of his right foot. The right hands are held slightly forward of the lady’s right shoulder. The left hands are slightly forward of the lady’s left shoulder.

Left: The couple face the same direction, lady is on the man’s left side. Her right foot is slightly in front of his left foot. The left hands are held slightly forward of the lady’s left shoulder. The right hands are held slightly forward of the lady’s right shoulder.

Also called La Varsouvienne, Horseshoe, Schottische, Western Polka, Cotton Eyed Joe, Jody, Sweetheart.

BOW -
Right: Partners face the same direction, lady is to the man’s right. Using a double hand hold, his left arm is crossed behind his neck. His right arm is crossed behind the lady’s neck.

Left: Partners face the same direction, lady is to the man’s left. Using a double hand hold, his right arm is crossed behind his neck. His left arm is crossed behind the lady’s neck. Also called Yoke, Neck Cross.

PRETZEL -
Right: Partners face the opposite direction using a double hand hold, her right hand is in his left hand, her left in his right hand. The lady is slightly in front of the man on his right side. The man’s left arm, and the lady’s right, are held up, elbows down. His right arm, and lady’s left arm, are crossed behind the lady’s back.

Left: Partners face the opposite direction using a double hand hold, her right hand in his left hand, her left in his right hand. The lady is slightly in front of the man on his left side. The man’s right arm, and the lady’s left, are held up, elbows down. His left arm, and lady’s right arm, are crossed behind the lady’s hack. Also called Hammerlock, Hammer, Tamara.

OPEN - Partners face each other.
Single: Man’s left hand is joined with lady’s right hand, The free hands are held close to the body.

Cross: Man’s right hand is joined with the lady’s right hand (as in a hand shake). The free hands are held close to the body.

Double: The lady’s right hand is in the man’s left hand. The lady’s left hand is in the man’s right hand.

Crossed Double: The lady’s right hand is in the man’s right hand. The lady’s left hand is in the man’s left. Either hand may be on top. However, Right hands on top is the most common.

CHALLENGE -
Partners face each other. They are standing apart. There is no body contact. Also called Shine.

PROMENADE -
From Closed dance position, the man and the lady step forward in a "V" position down the line of dance. Also called Conversation, Semi-open.

SWING -
The couple stand in Promenade dance position. His right hand is on the lady’s back on her left shoulder blade. The joined hands are held lower, about the lady’s waist level, in a cup & pin position.

OPEN PROMENADE -
Right: The couple are in Open Dance Position. The lady is to the right of the man. The lady’s left hand is held in the man’s right. They are facing the same direction, both traveling down the line of dance.

Left: The couple are in Open Dance Position. The lady is to the left of the man. The lady’s right hand is held in the man’s left. They are facing the same direction, both traveling down the line of dance.

PARALLEL -
Right: From Closed Dance Position (Traditional or Country Western) the man steps forward and slightly to his left (outside) to place the lady into Right Parallel Dance Position. They face each other, but the lady is to the right side of the man. Her right foot is slightly in front of the man’s right foot. They should be the same width apart as they were in the Closed Dance Position. Although the couple have moved slightly sideways, the man’s left arm and the lady’s right arm are still in the same place as they were in the Closed Dance Position.

Left: (Traditional or Country Western) The couple face each other, but the lady is to the left side of the man, in Left Parallel Dance Position. The lady’s left foot is slightly in front of the man’s left foot, They should be the same width apart as they were in the Closed Dance Position. The man’s left arm and the lady’s right arm are in about the same position as they were in the Closed Dance Position. The lady should not be directly beside the man. Also called Banjo, Side Car.

TANDEM - The lady stands directly in front of the man. He holds her left hand in his left hand, mid-chest to shoulder level. His right hand is placed on her right hip, fingers together, pointing to her left side. The lady places her right hand on top of the man’s right hand, or under his right hand. Their right hands may also be placed at the lady’s center waist. Also called Sweetheart, Shadow.