(also written do-sa-do
) or Dos-a-dos
(also written dos a dos
) or do-si-do
(also written do si do
) is a basic dance step
in such dances as square dance
, contra dance
, various historical dances
, and some reels
The term is a corruption of the original French term dos-à-dos for the dance move, which means "back to back", as opposed to "Vis-à-vis" which means "face to face".
It is probably the most well-known call in square dancing aside from, perhaps, the "Promenade" or the "Right and Left Grand".
It is a circular movement where two people, who are initially facing each other, walk around each other without or almost without turning, i.e, facing in the same direction (same wall
) all the time. In most cases it takes 6-8 counts to complete.
The movement is basically defined as follows:
- Dancers advance and pass right shoulders.
- Without turning each dancer moves to the right passing in back of the other dancer. At this moment the partners face away from each other.
- Then moving backwards dancers pass left shoulders returning to starting position.
Actual steps vary in specific dances.
Considering the amount of space in which to accomplish the figure, the partners might adjust their shoulders slightly diagonally to allow for less sideways movement during the shoulder passes.
The advancing pass may also be by the left shoulders, although it will be called as a "Left Dosado", a "Left Dos-a-dos" or a "Left Do-Si-Do".
While executing this move, the girls may move their skirts with their hands from side to side (skirtwork), flaring it to the right as right shoulders pass, and to the left as left shoulders pass.
Spelling usage by different dances
"Dosado" and "Do Sa Do" are the standardized spellings used in modern western square dancing
. The former is the one used by Callerlab
, the largest international association of square dance callers; the latter is the one used by the American Callers Association
"Do-Si-Do" is the spelling used in contra dance.
"Dos-a-dos" is still in current use in conjunction with a number of other dances.
In a popular Bugs Bunny
episode entitled "Hillbilly Hare,"
a square dance caller
starts the dance with the following parody
of square dance calling:
- "Bow to your corner, bow to your own.
- Three hands up and 'round you go,
- Break it up with a dosey-do.
- Chicken in the bread pan kickin' out dough."
This animated satire has helped popularize the commonly held and mistaken notions that one should hold one's arms crossed over the chest while executing the step.
The crossed-arm do-si-do also may come from the fact that the early teachers of square dance and contra dance revival were recruited from the International Folk Dance movement, according to an article in the Old Time Herald.
traditions, or the addition of flourishes to a basic step, tend to be local, and not all dancers like to do styling, but nevertheless a common styling done to the dosado is the "Hungarian Swing" or "Highland Fling
" styling. This addition to the basic step is accomplished as follows:
- The two people, who are initially facing each other, step forward as if they will pass each other by the right shoulder (as in a normal Dosado), but they stop momentarily when they are right hip-to-right hip
- They stretch right arms across each other and place right hands on each other's waist, simultaneously they lift left arms up with left hands above their own heads, in what is perceived as a "Highland Fling" position
- They pivot around 360° together, rotating on the balls of their inner feet
- They release hand holds and lower arms into a neutral stance, and adjust slightly backwards so they are facing each other
Even with styling the move should take no longer to execute than a normal Dosado.
In contra dance it is common for experienced dancers to embellish the move by making one or more clockwise turns as they going around the other dancer.
The Dosado can also be fractionalized— 1/4 Dosado results in the active dancers standing side-by-side right hip-to-right hip, 1/2 Dosado results in the active dancers standing back-to-back, and 3/4 Dosado results in the active dancers standing side-by-side left hip-to-left hip. When standing side-to-side the dancers join adjacent hands palm-to-palm to make a mini-wave (in the case of two people), an ocean wave (in the case of three-six people), or a tidal wave (in the case of eight people).
A Dosado 1-1/2 would be a full (or normal) Dosado and an additional 1/2 Dosado, resulting in the dancers standing back-to-back. Dosado variants are often considered entertaining "gimmicks".