Right Hand Star ~ Shaw

Hands Across ~ Quicksand Hands Across ~ Quicksand Progression Hands Across ~ Running Set Right Hands Across ~ Levin Right Hand Star ~ Shaw

Right Hand Star ~ Shaw is a Square Dance. It was published by Lloyd Shaw in 1939 in Cowboy Dances. It is a Square dance. It is a multipart dance. The minor set lasts 256 bars.

Both Cecil Sharp (in his Running Set) and Ida Levin (in her Kentucky Square Dances) have dances with this figure. However they call it "Right Hands Across".

Lloyd Shaw writes:


  1. Honors right and honors left.
    All join hands and circle to the left.
    Break and swing and promenade home.
    1. First couple out
      to the couple on the right
    2. Form a star with a right hand cross
    3. Back with the left and don't get lost.
    4. Swing your opposite with your right;
    5. Now your partner with your left.
    6. And on to the next
  2. Repeat 2 as written beginning with (b).
    Repeat again, changing last line to: Now balance home.
  3. And everybody swing.
    Now swing the left hand lady
    With your left hand.
    Right hand to partner
    And right and left grand.
    Promenade right when you come straight.

Repeat 2 and 3 entire for second third and fourth couples.

It is worth noting that Shaw's description of the star (or cross) is of a hands across star. Not the wrist grip star that is common in square dancing today.

Lloyd uses a figure he calls docey-do which is related to but different from the figure Cecil Sharp calls "do-si-do" in his description of the running set (Country Dance Book, Part 5). It is nothing like the figure I know of called do-si-do. Lloyd has many pet names for this figure and I have chosen "Ladies go si and the gents go do" to avoid confusion with the more common meaning. In this dance he doesn't use any name at all, simply describing the figure.

At the end of a circle the hands break, ladies pass between neighbor and the other lady (ladies passing dos à dos), back to her partner who takes her left hand into his left then she turns round behind him, eventually dropping hands. He remains facing the other gentleman as she circles counter-clockwise around him.

Now each takes his/her neighbor of the opposite sex by the right hand and the ladies circle clockwise around their neighbors (the gents continue to face and drop right hands when they need to).

Then each takes partner left in left ending in a courtesy turn hold. The traveling couple can move on to the next this way.

The figure described by the active lady is just a figure of eight, but somehow that term did not cross the Atlantic. This is one of the few old American dances I know of which uses the movement.

This dance appears in Ida Levin's Kentucky Square Dances, 1928 under the name "Lady Round the Lady"

  1. Lady around the lady and the gent also.
  2. Lady around the gent and the gent don't go.
  3. Circle four.
  4. On to the next.

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute normally, but the first time through the set the dance will often be slowed down so people can learn the moves more readily. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color, however the border of each dancer indicates what role they currently play so the border color may change each time through the minor set.

The dance contains the following figures: hand turn (allemande), circle, lead, hands across, rights and lefts, swing (and probably others).

If you find what you believe to be a mistake in this animation, please leave a comment on youtube explaining what you believe to be wrong. If I agree with you I shall do my best to fix it.

If you wish to link to this animation please see my comments on the perils of youtube. You may freely link to this page, of course, and that should have no problems, but use one of my redirects when linking to the youtube video itself:

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The dance is copyright © 1939 by Lloyd Shaw. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2023 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website is copyright © 2021,2022,2023,2024 by George W. Williams V
Creative Commons License My work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Most of the dances have more restrictive licensing, see my notes on copyright, the individual dance pages should mention when some rights are waived.