So, What Can You Do With a Circle?

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I drive a lot. Correction, I drive a whole lot. In fact, some might say it’s insane how much I drive. Last time I looked, my car’s odometer read 426,000 miles. Just to give you a frame of reference, my car is a 2002 Honda and I bought it with only 25 miles on it. So, I have put an average of 30,500 miles per year (not counting the number of miles I have driven in other vehicles…) which are more miles than a lot of “typical” people drive in a life time. But, I’m not part of a typical crowd and other square dance callers… well, they are in the same highway boat with me and they can unfortunately “feel my pain”. hahahaha

Anyway, the point I want to get to is not about the actual driving, but about the amount of thinking time I have available… because of all the time I spend driving. All the minutes in the car add up and are just wasted minutes if you don’t do or think about SOMETHING. So, I tend to think about dance material.

So, last night, I wondered where to begin writing about choreography and I decided that I should start at the very beginning basics – circles. At first, I thought, “Gee, can I really come up with enough stuff from a circle to make a somewhat interesting article?” But, after brain-storming a bit, I realized the full truth of something I have been saying for a long time:  The possibilities are endless and you are only limited by your imagination.

So, first, I guess I should talk about who can or could or should be a part of your circles because that is certainly flexible. You have an amazing number of options available to you. Here are just a few just off the top of my head.

Types of Circles: individual, 2 people, 3 people, 2 couples, 3 couples, 4 couples, Any# of people, Big circle, multiples of 2 couples facing in a big circle, concentric circles (circles within circles), multiple separate circles with the same number of people, multiple circles with different numbers of people, and ?

There are tons variations on the size and amount of people in a circle. But, how do you get people into the circles you want? Sometimes the easiest way is just to ask them to get up and make a circle (sometimes it’s not though!). However, just asking them to form a circle is a little boring and honestly, it takes away a great opportunity for spicing things up. The introduction CAN be just as much fun (if not more) than the ensuing dances! 🙂 So, here are just a few of the many ways to get people INTO circles.

Ways to Make Circles:  Ask everyone to get into a circle (or circles), Do a line dance and then have everyone or each section form a circle, Have designated people go get another person and get into a circle, Do a grand parade march and make circles of multiples of 4 (either 4, 8, 16, etc), Make circles based on gender/age/birthday/hair color/eye color/favorite sport/favorite color/ favorite ?, have everyone scatter and then give them 3 seconds to form a new circle with different people, Pick a person who then grabs someone to join them and keep adding people til you have the number of people you want, (if they are sitting at different table) have each table group make a circle, Toss out a bunch of items (balloons, tags, etc) and have people make a circle with others who have the same item, Hand out numbers at the door and then have people get into circles with people who have same number or type of number (evens/odds, multiple, color, etc), Have them composed circles based on criteria you determine (a certain number of girls and a certain number of guys, or a certain people who all have on different colored shirts, or make a circle with a certain amount of people that increases or decreases each time, etc) and …?

So, you now have the types of circles and how to get people into them but what do you do with everyone now????  Well, in no particular order, here are some ideas of things you can (and perhaps SHOULD?) call from a circle:

  1. Circle to the left/right holding hands everyone
  2. Single file promenade clockwise/counterclockwise
  3. Promenade with couples or any number of people clockwise/counterclockwise
  4. Shrink the circle, expand the circle, supersize the circle
  5. Go fast, slow, supersonic or super slow motion
  6. Step in a certain number of steps, Step out a certain number of steps, Go right r left a certain number
  7. Break the circle and designate a leader to spiral the circle in/out
  8. Have a circle within a circle. Have circle move in same or different directions
  9. Have one circle with people designated #1 or #2. Have the #2s weave in and out of the circle around the #1s while the #1s stand still
  10. Like Option 8, except have both #1s and #2s weaving around each other
  11. See how big/little they can make the circle
  12. Designate a leader in little circles and when you call “Break”, the leader breaks the circle and everyone follows the leader to form a circle in a different part of the room
  13. Put people into squares. Teach them a “magic word” and what they should do if they hear you call it (Stop, sit down, turn around, clap, scatter promenade, etc). At random times, call out the “magic word” 
  14. Play Simon Says
  15. Do the Chicken Dance
  16. Do a circle mixer like Patticake Polka or Phaze Craze
  17. Use props (scarves/bandanas/ribbons, balloons, koosh balls, etc)

These are just a few of the things you can do to have fun with a group of people. These would work with anyone – kids or adults, square dancers or beginners. There are so many possibilities – Just go out and try something fun! The only way you can screw this up is by doing nothing at all!

You have more ideas? Please email me and share! I will add them to the post with credit to whoever sends them! 🙂


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