Some of the basic steps in square dancing are the circle, the do-si-do, the promenade, the swing and courtesy turns. Many square dancing steps involve multiple steps, movements, configurations and partner changes, including the grand right or left, the allemande left, the two-ladies chain, the four-ladies chain and the right left through.
The basic steps, moves and configurations of square dancing combine to make entire square dances, such as the Red River Valley, Take a Little Peek, Duck for the Oyster, Hinky Dinky Parle Vous and Irish Washerwoman dances. Square dancers follow the conventions of square dancing while completing steps, such as the passing rule that states that two dancers who pass always do so on the right shoulder.
Each square in square dancing has four couples who complete square dancing steps either in unison or in sequences. Each couple represents a side of the square and faces into the middle of the square. The woman begins on the man’s right side. To perform a square dance, the couples must listen to the caller, who is responsible for calling out all steps and instructions to the square dancers. Some configurations are the square through, the weave the ring, the partner trade and the come down the middle.