Written by Tom Fromm
5. PROMENADE FAMILY -full, 1/2, 3/4:
(a) COUPLES PROMENADE: Starting formation -promenade. As a unit the couple walks forward around the circle counterclockwise. Unless otherwise specified, they promenade until reaching the man's home position. At the end of the promenade the couple turns, as a unit, to face the center of the set. If promenading to the man's home position, the couple always goes at least one quarter around the square. If need be, they continue past the man's home position for another full time around.
(b) SINGLE FILE PROMENADE: Starting formation -single file promenade. Dancers move forward in single file counterclockwise or clockwise around the circle, as directed.
STYLING: In promenade position the man's hands are palm up, right forearm over the lady's left arm. Lady's hands are palm down in man's hand. Joined hands should be positioned equally between partners. In single file promenade man's arms are held in natural dance position; lady's hands on skirt, working with the natural swinging motion.
TIMING: SS, couples promenading full around, 16; three quarters, 12; one half, 8; one quarter, 4; 4 people promenading inside, 8.
When I teach this move, I don't teach all variations in one lesson. I do this with many moves, as to not cause confusion over which type I want. I teach couples promenade the first night. I will teach single file promenade about the third week. Although I know that "wrong way promenade" was dropped in 1989, I show it to them about week 6 or 7. The reason I show them is, because it is often called as "promenade the wrong way", and I want to avoid the confusion about "what side does he want me on?" I want the boy on the proper side, so when they get home and face in, they are normal. So with that said, on to my next step.
I normally teach promenade after I have taught R&L grand. In keeping with the CL teaching order, I will change to fit it. I could have them circle left 1/2 way around. Have them stop, face your partner, give her a swing, and "promenade some how", and stop when you get back home. I will let them struggle the first time, so they see why it is important that we all do it the same way. I will then point out that, there were 3 different styles (even if I have to story) of promenading. I will then say this is why we must have a "Standard" way to do it. I would say to them, that if they were always going to promenade only with the same person, it wouldn't matter. But because this is like a "team" dance, we need to do it the same each time.
Now I would ask my wife to come up and help me demonstrate the proper way to promenade. I would have everyone face me. Then I would tell them to put their girl on the right hand side. I would also ask my wife to stand on my right side. Then while facing them, I would put my hands into position, right then left as I tell them where I was putting them. I want to make sure that I point out for the guys to use palms up. I would ask the men to do the same. Now I would turn around, so I face the same way they do. I would have my partner walk up beside me, and place her left hand in my left hand. Now I ask the students to do that. Then I ask the girls to put their right hand into the boys right hand. I ask them to keep hold of hands like that, square your set like you started. Now I say to drop hands, and clap. Now I ask them to get into the promenade position again, and move around till the guys have their left shoulder pointing toward the center of the square. The girls will be beside them, on the outside. Now just like that, walk around the square two times. While they are walking, I will say the second time you get home, face in like you started, and assume the normal hand hold. Upon returning home, I would tell them that they only promenade un till they get to the man's home. I would tell them that I had them go around twice, so I had time to talk and tell them what I wanted. I would also tell them at this time, that if they start promenading close to home, that they should go at least 1/4, or add another whole lap.
Now I could have the girls (boys) go forward and circle 1/2 way around. Back out beside your opposite and give her a swing, and promenade her home. When you get this girl to your home guys, walk over to your new corner and swing her and promenade her. I'll tell them to make sure they go more than a quarter. Now boys (girls) go forward and circle 1/2 way around. Back out beside your opposite and give her a swing, and promenade her home. When you get this girl to your home guys, walk over to your new corner ("you know her") and swing her and promenade her. "Be sure to go full around." This gives them a chance to promenade someone other than partner and may help someone that isn't real sure.
Later in the evening, I would teach them about 2 couples promenading. They already know the proper way to promenade. I would start by full around. I would first tell only the heads to do this, promenade around the outside, go all the way around. I would point out how awkward that looked & must have felt. I would then ask the sides if they would like to try? I would tell the heads, when I say go, to go forward to the center, count to 15, then back out at home. I would tell the sides to get ready. I cue as: "Go, sides promenade all the way around." I would tell the heads to make sure they don't step on anyone when they back out. I make sure to give the heads a chance to do it this way.
I would then tell them that they don't need to count to 15 all the time. I will tell them that I wanted them to stay in there long enough to be out of the way of the ones promenading. I would then tell them that they can go in and join hands with all 4, and say "woo - woo", just make sure you "kill" enough time to let the others by. I'll also tell them that we can promenade 1/2, 3/4, or all the way, so they need to listen.
Now I will have the heads promenade 1/2. Then the sides also. I'll do this twice to get back home. Then I want them to promenade 3/4. I will point out that when they do this, they will end up behind the couple to their left. I will tell the ones going in to do the "woo - woo" not to step on them when they back out. I'll have the sides go first. When they get there, I will tell the original heads to join hands and circle 3/4 around and back out. I will say "OH NO, I have you mixed up." I will say for those that are in the side position right now, promenade 3/4. "The others make sure you give them room." Now those in the middle, circle 3/4 around and back out. Now everyone swing your partner and promenade her.
Along about the third week, I would teach promenade inside. I would start with the boys, and tell them to go to the right inside and walk around till you get back home. I'll have them swing with partner and square the set. Now the girls go around the inside to the right. Get home and swing and promenade.
Next I will use head boys and side girls, promenade inside. I will also go with side boys and head girls. My idea behind doing this is, to get the dancers used to listening, and add variety. Way down the road, (I'm not there yet) I intend to have boys 1 & 2, girls 3 &4, promenade inside. I do make a point to use numbers instead of heads/sides all the time. I'll let you know how this goes over, when we do it.
A week or two after that, I will teach single file promenade. I will say "just like you walked around with just the boys or girls, I am going to have you all walk around at the same time". I will have them start from home first, and repeat so we go both ways. Then I will have them circle right, and put the girls in the lead, single file promenade. When you get back home, face in and square your set. Next I will have them circle left, "keep going that way" put the boy in the lead and single file promenade. When you get back home, face in and square your set.
As I said, I teach "wrong way promenade". Since it isn't on the list any more, I will use a move out of order. I taught WW promenade in conjunction with WW grand, about week six. At the completion of WW grand, I had them promenade the wrong way around. I done this about three times, back to back, with partner only. I wanted them to get the feel.
Personal note on styling: Because of the extreme difference of size of dancers, eg. big mama dancing with very young son, I don't have the man's right forearm always OVER the lady's. Common sense, I believe, would allow the dancers to take Promenade position in what is comfortable, more than what is 'correct', for the size of the dancers. Hands should be correct. Some men have a tendency to tip their left hand that makes it uncomfortable for me. A reminder of "men, palms straight up" might help.