Submitted byTom Fromm
8. STAR FAMILY: Starting formation -facing dancers, facing couples, square, circle.
The directed dancers step forward and extend designated hands to form a left or right hand star. Dancers turn the star by walking forward in a circle around the center of the star. Turning distance of the star may be specified in fractions of one quarter, one half, three quarters, or a complete revolution.

STYLING: In a forward moving star inside hands should be joined in a "palm star" position (hands of those making the star at about average eye level-palms touching), arms bent at elbow. Men's outside arms in natural dance position, ladies' outside hands work skirt.

TIMING: 4 people, full around, 8; three quarters, 6; one half, 4; one quarter, 2. 8 people, full around, 16; three quarters, 12; one half, 8; one quarter, 4.

It may be a surprise to some of you, but I teach both (Left & Right Hand) stars together. I start with a static square, and have the girls reach in with a right hand, connect hands and walk forward around the inside. I tell them to go around 2 times, and back out at home. While they are walking around, I tell them that this is a right hand star. I then do the same with the boys, but use the left hand, telling them that it is a left hand star. After boys get home, I will stop the music and show the boys the proper hand to wrist hold (pack saddle) used. I will ask them to step in and feel how that works. I will have them turn the star a full time and back out at home. I will tell the ladies to just use palm to the center, because they are so pretty that way. I also tell the boys, that if they are staring with girls, to use the palm in, that way we can see the girls pretty hands. I'll tell them that they have to listen to which hand I say to use, and who I say to do the move. I'll then reverse the rolls, exposing them to both directions of the star.

Next I will have the heads(sides) star left, (right) full around and back out at home. Then I will have the girls star right 1/2 way and back our over there. Now I will have the boys star left 1/2 way and back out by their partner. Allemande Left - Swing - Promenade.

I will want to take a few minutes to show two person stars. I may have the head girls star left 1/2 way, and back out there. Then the side boys star right 1/2 way, and back out there. Now have the side girls star left 1/2 way, and back out there. Then the head boys star right 1/2 way, and back out there. Do an allemande left, now promenade. The rolls can be reversed on this as well, to add a lot of variety.

Later, I'll have them doing 3/4 stars. An interesting routine is girls star left 3/4 and back out there, Boys star right 3/4 and back out there, girls star left 1/2 way and back out there. Allemande Left and Promenade. (By pushing your checkers, you can find a lot of fun variations.)

After we get around to getting them into an 8 chain thru position, (heads square thru 4) I want to walk them slowly through star right, then centers star left. I'll do this a few times, to get them comfortable.

As in a use I have in mind for circle, there is an equivalent for stars. That would be #1& #2 girl, #3 & #4 boy star. I haven't yet tried this, but definitely will. Anyone trying this, may want to push the checkers first. It will be unsymmetrical, but if you give the opposite genders equal time, it should fix itself.

Al Stevens writes:
This contradicts the "styling" hint for stars that preceded this comment. Did I understand you correctly that you taught the men to create the pack saddle grip for a "forward" moving star?? This is inconsistent with what you described in the "styling" portion of the movement. I think when you check the styling hints for "stars" and "thars", you'll find that all forward moving stars are "palm" stars and all backup stars are "pack-saddle", for the men, and all stars (forward or backup) for the ladies are "palm" stars. I know this is contrary to the way we were taught, I still (after 40 years) have a problem with this.