The Ninepin

This is an unusual square that’s especially fun with kids. For this dance, you need four couples plus an extra person. ┬áThe directions below assume the extra person (the ninepin) is a gent, but it can just as easily be done with a lady.

Good for beginners. Can be danced with five couples (though that would make the extra person an eleven-pin!)

Call Action

Four gents up to the middle of the ring

Go back home, give your partner a swing

Ninepin, swing with lady number 1, gent number 1 to the center of the ring

While ninepin takes gent 1’s place with his lady, gent 1 goes to the center

Ninepin swing with lady number 2

While ninepin swings lady 2, gent 2 joins gent 1 in the center

Ninepin swing with lady number 3

While ninepin swings lady 3, gent 3 joins gents 1 and 2 in the center

Ninepin swing with lady number 4

While ninepin swings lady 4, gent 4 joins all the gents in the center

Five gents star to the right

These two figures can be replaced with anything that works for five, at the caller’s discretion.

Five gents star to the left


Whenever the caller wants (they’ll usually vary this widely to keep the dancers on their toes), he calls “ninepin”, and each gent must scramble for a lady to swing. Whoever’s left in the center is the new ninepin. Dance starts over from here.