John Sweeney's Dances


A diverse and motley collection of Terpsichorean intricacies and perambulations, inspired by archaic tomes and palimpsests, filtered through wild imaginings to bring you joy.

Please note: These are NOT the type of dances that we do at Barn Dances/Ceilidhs. These are more interesting/challenging dances suitable for regular dance clubs. If you want to try dances like these then please come along to any of our Sunday afternoon or Tuesday afternoon sessions if you are in Kent.

Contra and Longways dances are all Duple Minor unless stated otherwise. "Improper" is short for "First Couples Improper".

Dance Name Composer Formation Notes
Allie's Man
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Contra; Improper A dance for practising American technique and styling - see the notes.
Another Knole Park
Added August 16 2018
John Sweeney Longways Improper A version of Knole Park, made easier for beginners.
Apples & Ice Cream
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Contra; Improper Rory O'Mores, Swing Through & Petronella.
Balancing Act
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Becket Easy Wave Dance: Pass the Ocean, Swing Through, Extend.
Big Wheel
Added May 13 2024
John Sweeney Four Couples; Longways Easy dance with a rotating line of eight.
Bombast One
Added November 18 2019
John Sweeney Longways; Improper A vey interesting interlocking figure called a Bombast!
Calliope
Added July 2 2018
John Sweeney Circle Mixer California Twirls, Lasso the Man, Grand Petronella, Roll the Lady.
Cantia Canter
Added March 23 2024
John Sweeney Sicilian Circle Galloping around the big circle, Zig-Zag to progress.
Chain 'n' Hey John Sweeney Contra; Becket An easy contra for practising Ladies' Chains and Heys.
Cheekbone City
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Improper Easy dance with lots of Petronellas.
Circular Mirrors
Added Jan 15 2020
John Sweeney Longways; Improper; Waltz A flowing dance in waltz time.
Cumberland Contra John Sweeney Contra; Improper; Double Progression — 64 bars The dance is based on Cumberland Square Eight, using all the figures in a contra dance.
Dargason 21 John Sweeney Four couples in a single line The dance is based on Dargason, but re-choreographed for the 21st Century so that most people are moving most of the time.
David's Jig
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Circle Mixer An easy dance with an opportunity for some footwork.
Demon's Maggot John Sweeney Longways; Improper A duple minor dance where the A music cycles through Up a Double, Siding, Arming.
Diver's Delight
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Sicilian Circle Dip 'n' Dives, Gallops and Inside Baskets.
Dixie Doo-Dah John Sweeney Contra; Improper An easy contra dance with a Dixie Twirl.
The Dolphin's F8
Added July 2 2018
John Sweeney Longways; Improper; (Waltz) An easy dance with a Dolphin Hey and a Figure Eight.
Dopeca John Sweeney Contra; Improper An easy contra dance with lots of Petronellas.
DosiAll
Added July 9 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Becket A fun dance with four-person Dosidos.
DosiMow
Added March 3 2024
John Sweeney Sicilian Circle A ceilidh dance with Mow the Wheat and Dosido as a Couple.
DosiWhat?
Added July 9 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Becket "Dosido" has been used to mean many completely different moves; this dance has three of them!
Duck! John Sweeney Contra; Improper; Double Progression An easy no-swing contra.
Duo Shapes
Added May 26 2020
John & Karen Sweeney One or Two Dancers A Lockdown Dance with interesting patterns.
The Exchange Swing
Added July 9 2018
John Sweeney Circle Mixer A simple dance that is mainly for practice at swinging and at ending with the man on the left, lady on the right.
F-Lock
Updated Dec 7 2015
John Sweeney Five in a Circle (Five Assorted Dancers) A fun, challenging dance with Shoot the Owl, Devil's Backbone and a five-person Basket.
Finding Your Balance John Sweeney Contra; Becket (CW) An easy dance for teaching four changes.
Farewell To The Taliban
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Contra; Improper An easy contra with lots of simple action.
Fivepenny Piece
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Five Couple Square - One Couple in the Middle Grimstock Hey, Handy Hand Stars, Arching to progress.
FlutterRing
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Becket Easy dance with a Flutterwheel.
Four Jolly Sheepskins John Sweeney Three Couples; Proper A simple Playford style dance with lots of Sheepskin Heys.
Four Light Winds
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Three Couples; Longways; Proper A easy setting for Pat Shaw's Four Winds move.
Four Squared
Added April 25 2024
John Sweeney Double Contra - Mescolanza - Four Facing Four A Double Contra with a Grand Square.
Galway Swing
Added July 9 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Improper Same gender swings, using a great swing variant.
Girls of Oakhill
Added July 2 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Improper A version of Boys of Oakhill with a smoother entry to the Gallops.
Grapevine Jig II
Added July 9 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Improper Grapevine steps in long lines, with an easier ending than the original.
Gypsy A Trois John Sweeney Three Couples in a Circle With a DosiAll — a three person Dosido!
Hazlitt Meltdown
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Circle Mixer An easy dance with a Gypsy Hey.
Hey Down
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Longways; Improper An easy dance with Heys for Three across the set.
Hey! That's My Slice
Added July 2 2018
John Sweeney Three Couples; Longways; Proper Rare and interesting moves!
The Honking Swan King
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Contra; Improper A contra dance with a Gypsy flowing into a Gypsy.
Hothfield Hey
Added July 9 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Improper An easy no-swing contra.
A Hothfield Welcome
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Sicilian Circle A simple ceilidh dance with clapping to start the evening.
Insectitwirl
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Circle Mixer California Twirls, Box the Gnats and Swat the Fleas.
Irish New Year
Added July 2 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Improper Box Circulates with an easy progression.
Karen's Parrot John Sweeney Longways; Proper Double Figure Eights and North Country Ladies' Chain.
KJ's Birthday Waltz
Added July 9 2018
John Sweeney, Karen Sweeney & Lani Graham Three Dancers in a Circle; Waltz Some rare and interesting moves.
The Knightrider Waltz
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Longways; Becket; Waltz A flowing dance with Chevrons, Chains, and Heys.
Life is But A Melancholy Flower John Sweeney Contra; Improper A lively dance with gallops and petronallas.
Loop the Loop John Sweeney Longways; Proper A simple Playford style dance with some modern moves.
Lover's Waltz
Added May 8 2018
John & Karen Sweeney Three Couples in a Circle; Waltz A waltz-time dance with some interesting moves.
The Mad Gypsy John Sweeney Contra; Becket (CW) A contra with no swing.
May the Serpent Be With You
Added May 1 2023
John Sweeney Double Contra - Mescolanza - Four Facing Four This dance, with its Serpentine Hey, was the winner of the "Dance-writing Competition" at May Heydays April 2023.
Maybe We Can Hey This Way
Added May 4 2022
John Sweeney Three Couples; Longways; Proper Interesting moves: Hey for six across the set, Double Ovals and Dolphin Hey.
Morrford John Sweeney Three Couples; Longways; Proper A simple Playford style dance with Heys on the Ends.
Murry 21
Added July 2 2018
John Sweeney Square A pre-Playford Square Dance re-cast into a modern style.
Newington Applause
Added July 5 2023
John Sweeney Sicilian Circle An easy barn dance with clapping.
Not So Solitary
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Nine dancers in a 3 x 3 grid Lots of Heys!
Ovalflow
Added Mar 17 2024
John Sweeney Three Couples; Longways; Proper A flowing dance with a Double Oval and a Grimstock Hey.
Pa' Bailar III John Sweeney Circle Mixer Mirror Grapevines with Latin styling.
The Pattern Unfolds
Added July 12 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Becket Unfolding a circle to a line using a modified Half a Slice.
The Pepper Shuffle
Added January 2 2020
John Sweeney Becket Sicilian Circle Shuttles, Draw Possettes and Travelling Right Hand High and Left Hand Lows.
Pestchye John Sweeney Contra; Becket (CW) A no-swing contra dance with Petronellas and Ladies' Chains.
Plain Hamburger
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Longways; Improper A fun dance using Pat Shaw's Double Arch Dosido.
Queen of Diamonds
Added Dec 11 2023
John Sweeney Four dancers in a diamond; Waltz A challenging, flowing waltz-time dance with a Dolphin Hey.
Quintilinear
Added July 2 2018
John Sweeney Five Assorted Dancers, in a Line A fun dance with a Double Dolphin Hey and a Traveling Thread the Needle.
Rogue's March
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Longways; Improper The first half of Devil's Dream, but with a different ending.
Rolling Waves John Sweeney Circle Mixer Roll-Aways and Alamo Waves.
Rotafl John Sweeney Contra; Becket A flowing, no-swing contra dance.
Scado
Added April 26 2019
John Sweeney Three Couples; Longways; Proper A lively dance with a couple of unusual moves.
Saint John's #4
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Square A pre-Playford Square Dance re-cast into a modern style.
Serendipitous Seven
Added March 12 2023
John Sweeney Circle Mixer An interesting variant of Lucky Seven.
Serene Seven
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Seven Couples in a "Square" (one in the middle) One of the easier seven-couple dances.
The Shuttle Flies Out
Added July 12 2018
John Sweeney Longways; Improper A longways dance with the Shuttle movement from Picking Up Sticks.
Sicilian Ladies
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Sicilian Circle A simple, standard Sicilian Circle to practise Ladies' Chains and Swing & Change.
Sides Of Mutton
Added April 9 2020
John Sweeney A Solo Dance Sheepskin Heys and Siding Variations for those alone in Coronavirus Lockdown.
Six Jerseys Reel
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Three Couples; Longways; Proper Tieing bootlaces and counter-rotating circles.
The Slithy Dance John Sweeney Longways; Becket; Double Progression A fun, no-swing dance with the whole set setting and spinning right.
The Slithy Serpent
Added July 2 2018
John Sweeney Double Contra (Four Face Four) A Mescolanza with a Serpentine Hey.
Solo Shapes
Added May 26 2020
John & Karen Sweeney One or Two Dancers A Lockdown Dance with interesting patterns.
Steps Back In Time
Added April 14 2020
John Sweeney A Solo Dance, or Two Dancers Original Petronellas and Stepping Variants for those alone in Coronavirus Lockdown.
Sun Skip
Added April 17 2023
John Sweeney Three Couples in a Circle Petronellas and Allemande Orbits.
There & Back Again
Added June 7 2024
John Sweeney Circle Mixer A lively, easy dance with opportunities for footwork..
To Move or Not to Move
Added July 12 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Becket An easy contra to practise Right & Left Throughs and Ladies' Chains.
Training Wheels
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Improper Easy Down-the-Hall dance with a Gate.
Trenchmore
Added May 4 2022
John Sweeney Longways; Proper; Seven Couples is best, but any number will work 1551 dance with Dip 'n' Dive and Strip the Willow.
Tricylic
Updated Jun 21 2016
John Sweeney Three Dancers in a Circle A fun dance with Travelling Right-Hand High, Left-Hand Lows and a three-person Basket.
Trip to Hazlitt
New Dec 7 2015
John Sweeney Contra; Improper An easy, flowing dance with a couples Weave the Line and a Mad Robin.
Trip to Willesborough
Added July 2 2018
John Sweeney Contra; Improper Easy Contra with Tidal and Ocean Waves.
Turquoise Waltz
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Longways; Improper; Waltz A flowing waltz-time dance with a Celtic Hey.
Twirl & Go
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Circle Mixer An easy dance to practise California Twirls.
Two Doors Down
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Three Couples; Longways; Proper Little Back Door (Back Door Key) chase figures.
Two & Four
Added July 12 2018
John Sweeney Circle Mixer Rollaways, Rory O'Mores and Swing Throughs.
Up Tails All Round John Sweeney Five Couples in a Circle An updated version of the 1650 dance with more couples active more of the time.
Virginia Reel Circle Mixer #24
Added July 12 2018
John Sweeney Circle Mixer An easy dance for beginnners.
Wake Up
Added Nov 8 2023
John Sweeney Three Couple; Longways; Proper Tieing Bootlaces and three-person Stars.
Waltz Country Dance
Added July 2 2018
John Sweeney Sicilian Circle; Waltz The traditional dance, with a different ending to make the dance easier for non-waltzers.
Wee Willie II
Updated Nov 6 2017
John Sweeney Four Couples; Longways; Proper Heel & Toe, Gallop, Zig-Zag Poussette.
Whole Hannikin John Sweeney Longways; Proper or any gender 32-bar version of Halfe Hannikin.
Will-o'-the-Wisp
Added May 8 2018
John Sweeney Five Dancers in a Quincunx Fun dance where the Wisp gets to dance all over the place!
The Winsome Waltz
Added Nov 5 2023
John & Karen Sweeney Circle Mixer; Waltz Wheels, Twirls and a Gypsy Hey

Dances from English Dance & Song have been moved to a new page.

Feedback is very welcome on any aspect of these dances or Web pages.

Please contact John Sweeney with your comments.




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