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Arizona Double Star (clip) - Johnny Melton

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Arizona Double Star (clip) - Johnny Melton


Johnny Melton calls the Arizona Double Star, with the tune Nobody's Business played by Roy Sexton and others. The clip illustrates southwestern calling style, moving dancers along without necessarily being locked into the musical phrase. You'll hear the figure several times and then the middle break.

The dance is published in Advanced Square Dance Figures of the West and Southwest (Lee Owens and Viola Ruth, 1950, pp. 115–117)

This dance was originated by Jerry Lang of Boise, Idaho.

     The First and Third Gentlemen take left hands with Partners, and change the ladies from the right to the gentleman's left side; the Head Ladies and Gentlemen hereafter dancing in these exchanged positions.
     The Head Couples dance three steps forward and retire, after which they form a Right-Hand Star in the center, and circle one-and-a-quarter times to the position of each gentleman's Corner Lady in the set.
     Break the Star, and the Head Couples form two Left-Hand Stars with the couples they met (First Couple with the Fourth, Third Couple with the Second).
     The two Left-Hand Stars circle once, after which the Head Ladies dance a Two Ladies Chain to their Opposite Gentlemen who wheel them counterclockwise, and then face the other Head Couple with Opposites as Partners.
     The Head Couples form a ring of four which circles halfway around clockwise.*
     Head Couples break the ring to dance a Right and Left Through, passing the opposite dancers by the right shoulder, and continuing in the direction they are moving to pass between the Side Ladies and Gentlemen to the outside of the set, where the Head Ladies and Gentlemen separate to dance singly around the outside of the set to each dancer's home place.
     All swing Partners with a Left-Hand Swing, after which the gentlemen dance to their Corner Ladies with whom they take the skating position, and Promenade Corners around the set to the gentleman's home place.
     The dance is repeated three times more with the Head Couples leading, and then four times with the Side Couples leading the dance, eight changes in all.

* It makes a very pretty pattern if the Side Ladies and Gentlemen separate as the Head Couples circle halfway around in the center, and then dance two steps forward as the Head Couples Right and Left Through, then dance two steps backward; thus they form two lines of four as the Head Couples dance to the outside of the set, the Side Ladies and Gentlemen returning to home place as the Head Ladies and Gentlemen dance singly around the outside of the set.

Head Gents put your ladies on your left,
Up to the center, and back to the set.
Forward again, and form a Star with
Right hands crossed the way you are.
Lead to the left, and form two Stars with
Left hands crossed; don't go too far.
Break those Stars, Head Ladies Chain to the
Opposite Gents, and form a ring;
Circle four in the middle of the floor,
Halfway 'round; the Center Four
Right and Left Through; don't turn back;
Split your Corners to the outside track.
Ladies go gee, gents go haw; a
Left-Hand Swing with your pretty little Taw;
All run away with the Corners of the ring,
Promenade that pretty little thing that's
Slim around the waist, and pretty in the face,
Promenade your ladies back to place.
Stir up the dust, and sweep out the sand,
Plant your 'taters in a sandy land.


Information about the caller from Sets in Order, June, 1951, p.16:

"Johnny Melton, of Phoenix, Arizona, started square dancing back in Texas in 1937, with Herb Greggerson being one of his first instructors. When the Navy stationed him in Phoenix during World War II he spent his leaves square dancing at the USO and the Docey Doe Club, which was the only square dance club in town at the time. After the war, he married Gen, his pretty square dance partner, and began to teach a few small groups. For the past three years, Johnny has had classes five nights a week, with from three to forty sets attending. In 1949 he went to Pappy Shaw's July class and brought many new ideas home with him. Recently he published a collection of newer square dances done in Phoenix, under the title, "Western Square Dances," and has cut two records for Old Timer Record Company. When he's not teaching square-ing, Johnny has couple dance sessions and finds time to work with and ride in the Western Saddle Club Quadrille Team, who square dance expertly on horseback."

Gardner Patton—who has been responsible for digitizing the entire collection of Sets in Order and American Square Dance—writes, "There is only one place in SIO which mentions it and it really doesn't explain it, just something like heads star then star with sides, then in center again which I guess is what it really is.  Reference in American Squares, May 1961 pg 19  (see below) is a little better giving different star patterns as well as Arizona double star. This is the only reference to it in all ASD issues from start to 2008."

First and third do a half sashay
Up to the center and back that way
Star by the right in the center of the set
Left hand star with the couple you met (No. 1 with No. 2, and No. 3 with No. 4)
[SDHP editor's note: these directions are different than in the Owens book cited above, where Couple 1 stars with Couple 4.]

Heads to the center, two ladies chain
Circle four around the range (circle four, go once around)
Pass through and on you roam
Split the ring and head for home
Do-sa-do your own sweet maid
Allemande left that corner maid
Come on home and promenade.


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78 rpm



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