Ted’s Dances

Ted Sannella Dance Index

The spreadsheet below lists all the dances written by Ted Sannella that we are aware of. If you know of others, please email us. We will be happy to add them to the spreadsheet, and if you send us clear directions we will include those on this page as well. The spreadsheet includes sources for the published dances, and the date of composition when we know it.

One column in the spreadsheet is labeled “Ted Tune Suggestion.” These are tunes he published for each dance in Balance and Swing and Swing the Next. Several musicians who sent us a Sannella story remarked on the way that Ted came to dances having tracked which tunes seemed to work well for a dance, often referring to gigs from years ago. Here’s what Ted wrote about the tunes he chose for his books.

I offer you fifty-five of my favorite tunes, many of which are not readily available elsewhere. Try them and use only those that you enjoy, for those are the ones that will most inspire the dancers. I have suggested a tune for each dance, but most of these choices are arbitrary; any tune of the same type will do as well. Similarly, each of the melodies is suitable for many dances and need not be saved for the dance with which it is paired. I encourage you to embellish these tunes with your own ornamentation, but I urge you to avoid obscuring the phrasing accents. It is important that the caller and dancers be able to discern the melody line and identify the beginning and ending of each phrase.

Balance and Swing, 1982

Or view the index as a separate page.

Dance Index Sources

  • CDSS News. Easthampton, MA: Country Dance and Song Society, 1967–. 
    Many issues available in this archive.
  • Holden, Rickey, with Frank Kaltman and Olga Kulbitsky. The Contra Dance Book. Neward, NJ: American Squares, 1956.
  • Jennings, Larry. Give-and-Take: A Sequel to Zesty Contras. Cambridge, MA: New England Folk Festival Association, 2004.
  • Jennings, Larry. Zesty Contras. Cambridge, MA: New England Folk Festival Association, 1983.
  • Knox, Roger C., ed. Contras: As Ralph Page Called Them. Ithaca, NY: self-published, 1990.
  • Page, Ralph, ed. Northern Junket. Keene, NH: self-published, 1949–1984.
    Available online at both the UNH LIbrary and Internet Archive.
  • Sannella, Ted. Balance and Swing. New York: Country Dance and Song Society, 1982.
  • Sannella, Ted. Swing the Next. Northampton, MA: Country Dance and Song Society, 1996.
  • Sannella, Ted. Ted Sannella Papers. Durham, NH: New Hampshire Library of Traditional Music and Dance, Special Collections, Dimond Library, University of New Hampshire.
  • Smukler, David, et. al. Syllabus, Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend. Cambridge, MA: New England Folk Festival Association, 1988–2017.

Ted’s Dances in the Caller’s Box

An excellent online source for many of Ted’s dances is The Caller’s Box. Dances in their list marked with an “L” are linked to a site where you can find the figures. Those with a “V” are linked to videos of the dance.


Ted’s Unpublished Dances

Note about language:
In notating Ted’s dances for this site, we endeavored as much as possible to use language similar to that used in Ted’s books and on his dance cards.

Below are six of Ted’s dances that were never published in print.


Cindy’s Winning Bid
By Ted Sannella (6/4/1989)
From the Ted Sannella collection, UNH
Contra, duple improper

 A1 Circle left halfway around (4)
Circle right all the way round (8)
Neighbor allemande right (4)
 A2 Ladies cross the set (pass by right shoulder as gents loop to their right) and all swing partner (16)
 B1 Long lines forward and back (8)
Pass through, turn alone (8)
 B2 Same four, right hand star (8)
Left hand star three-quarters (8)

Purchased for Cindy Hawkins of Anchorage, AK by her husband Bart (for $100) at the Dancing Bears Camp, Memorial Day Weekend, 1989.

(unpublished dances)


Cozy Quadrille
By Ted Sannella (1988-1989)
From Philippe Callens personal collection
Music: 48-bar sequence (either a 48-bar tune or 1-1/2 through a 32-bar tune)
Square

All go into the center and back (8)
Swing your partner (8)
Head gents allemande left, go once and a half (8)
Head gents swing with the opposite lady (8)
Allemande left your corner and grand right and left (16)
Do-si-do when you meet (8)
Swing the same (8)
Side gents allemande left, go once and a half (8)
Side gents swing with the opposite lady (8)
Take your corner and promenade all the way around to the gent’s home (16)
Repeat once as above.
Repeat twice for the side couples.
(H.H.S.S.)

(unpublished dances)


Cross-Trail Throughout
By Ted Sannella (5/11/1974)
From the Ted Sannella collection, UNH
Square

Heads go forward and back (8)
Forward again and cross trail through, go around one into lines at the sides (8)
Forward eight and back (8)
Opposite ladies chain (8)
All cross trail through and swing the one you meet (16)
Allemande left your corner, right hand to your new partner, grand right and left halfway around to gent’s home place (16)
Repeat twice starting with the sides.
Repeat once starting with the heads.
(H.S.S.H.)

(unpublished dances)


Dip and Dive All Eight
By Ted Sannella (Revised 1/11/1980)
From the Ted Sannella collection, UNH
Music: 48-bar sequence (either a 48-bar tune or 1-1/2 through a 32-bar tune)
Square

Heads go forward and back (8)
Forward again and do-si-do opposite (8)
Swing the same, face the nearest side (8)
Circle left with the outside two, go three-quarters round and heads duck through (8)
Dip and dive around the square, over and under four arches (4 counts for each) (16)
Swing at gent’s home (12) (heads have changed partners)
Allemande left your corner (4)
Do-si-do partner (8)
Swing corner (8)
Promenade to the gent’s home (16)
Repeat twice starting with the sides.
Repeat once starting with the heads.
(H.S.S.H.)

For the circle left, heads are with their opposite (the one they swung). They duck through to (approximately) the head gent’s home place, and then continue the dip and dive by arching over the next. So, there are a total of five changes to the dip and dive. The first change uses 2 steps at the end of the phrase, and the other changes are 4 steps each and fill 8 bars of music.

Original head ladies progress clockwise one place each time. Original side ladies progress counterclockwise.

(unpublished dances)


Harvest Moon Quadrille
By Ted Sannella (9/22/1989)
From the Ted Sannella collection, UNH
Square

Heads to the right, circle to a line (8)
Forward eight and back (8)
Gents forward, bring back the opposite lady (8)
Swing that person (8)
Two couples at the sides, circle four to the left (8)
Opposite turn by the right hand round, partners turn by the left hand round (8)
Promenade to the gent’s home place (16)
Repeat starting with the sides (lines form at the heads and two couples at the heads make circles)
Repeat entire dance to finish with partners.
H.S.H.S.

(unpublished dances)


Seasons Greetings
By Ted Sannella (9/22/1994)
From the Ted Sannella collection, UNH
Contra, duple improper

 A1 Actives gypsy, end facing down as a couple
Circle left with your neighbors below
 A2 Do-si-do your neighbor
Actives swing in the center
 B1 Go down the hall 4-in-line (actives in center), actives turn as a couple, others turn alone
Return to place, cast off with a hand cast
 B2 Actives turn contra corners

On his card, Ted notes: “1st gypsy is leisurely but subsequent ones are close and zesty.” That is because coming out of contra corners means that they must go a bit more than once around.

The dance was written on the first day of fall, hence the title.

(unpublished dances)


Ted’s Double Quadrille #1
By Ted Sannella (revised 1965)
From the Ted Sannella collection, UNH
Double-sized square dance set: two couples make up each side of a l-a-r-g-e square
Music: Ted’s notes recommend using “one march”

Intro:
Honor the couple in your line (8)
Honor the corner couple (8)
(4 small steps toward each and back)
1.
All right and left along your line (8)
Right and left back (8)
Now right and left with your corner pair (8)
Right and left home (8) and everybody . . .
Grand square (16)
Reverse (16)
2.
All ladies chain along your line (8)
Ladies chain back home (8)
Now ladies chain with your corner pair (8)
Chain on home (8) and everybody . . .
Grand square (16)
Reverse (16)
3.
Left-hand couples over and you dip & dive (8) (Along each line, left couple over and right couple under, continue alternating with two more couples – 3 in all)
Ladies chain with the couple you meet (8)
Right and left with your same couple (8)
Same to ladies chain back (8) and everybody . . .
Grand square (16)
Reverse (16)
4.
Repeat figure 3 (finishing at home) (64)
Bow to partners all

Ted’s two Double Quadrilles appear to be modeled on Rod Linnell’s “Quads” (Rod’s Quad #1, etc.). There are eight couples in a set, a line-of-4 at each head and each side.

In this double quadrille context, we assume that Ted’s directions to do a “grand square” mean that each couple takes the role of an individual in a normal grand square. To begin side couples face the other couple in their line. At the top of the phrase, all eight at the heads go forward and the side couples back up. Then each couple turns 90° and the original heads back out to the sides while the original sides go forward to meet their opposite couple. From there another 90° turn and two more changes would complete the figure, putting everyone back where they began. Distances are greater than in a normal grand square figure, and so dancers must “hustle” to stay with the music.

Ted’s collection includes both a version of Ted’s Double Quadrille #1 called at NEFFA 1964, and this revision dated 1965.

(unpublished dances)


Ted’s Double Quadrille #2
By Ted Sannella (revised 7/19/1969)
From the Ted Sannella collection, UNH
Double-sized square dance set
(H.H.S.S. sequence for each figure)
Music: Two 24-bar reels

1.
Heads face your partner and do-si-do (8)
Sashay across the set (gents passing back-to-back) (8)
Partners balance and swing (16)*
Face the couple in line: right and left over (8)
Right and left over with the corner pair (8)
Repeat for heads (24), then twice for sides (48)
2.
Heads face your partner and do-si-do (8)
Sashay across the set (gents passing back-to-back) (8)
Partners balance and swing (16)*
Face the couple in line: Ladies chain in line (8) (just halfway)
Ladies chain with the corner pair (8) (also half)
Repeat for heads (24), then twice for sides (48)
3.
Heads face your partner and do-si-do (8)
Sashay across and the ladies swap (8), as follows:
   Ladies sashay to the right for 8 slides
   Meanwhile gents sashay to the left for 4 slides, turn 1/2 to left…
   …and sashay back home with new partner, still moving left
These partners balance and swing (16)*
Face the couple in line: right and left over (8)
Ladies chain with the corner pair (8) (half)
Repeat for heads (24), then twice for sides (48)

* Although Ted apparently had only the active couples (heads or sides) swinging, this can easily be called with everyone doing the balance and swing.

Ted’s notes read: “by Ted Sannella—June 2, 1968, revised on July 19, 1969”

(unpublished dances)