Dance Steps – If you’re new to circle dance, here’s a useful description of some of the steps commonly used.

Here’s a useful description of common dance steps.

And here’s a great introduction to slip-step and grapevine.

And here’s a teachers’ handbook from the Dancing Bears!

And an excerpt from this manual with dance step names:

Common dance step patterns There are a few patterns of steps that turn up in a number of our dances. They’ve got names, and sometimes you’ll even find the dances notated with those. Here are the most common ones:

Cherkassia (cherk-ka-see-a, or sometimes cherk-kas-see-a). It’s also spelled tcherkassia. It’s a series of three steps: Step to the side, cross behind and rock forward— sometimes described as side-behind-replace. Or, cross, replace, and step to the side. You can do it by crossing in front, or by crossing behind. Confusion can result because you have to say “side right, left crosses in front, replace right” and that’s a lot of words for a brief movement. Also saying “right cherkassia” might mean “step right first and then cross with the left” or “cross the right over to the left.”  It’s usually done to one side and then to the other, but you can just do half of it to one side (as in the cross-over after turning in Winds on the Tor).

Grapevine The basic pattern is four steps: a side step, a cross, a side step and a cross. It can be side-cross in front, side-cross behind, or it can begin with any of the those four steps and just continue, winding along like a grapevine.

Pas-de-bas Sometimes you’ll hear a teacher call this “pony step” or usually “pony-step” because it’s a one-two-three step, done to the right or left. Step right-bring left together-and shift your weight back to the right foot.

Slip-Step a right slip-step is step right-feet together-step right; a left slip-step starts on the left foot.

Waltz More a rhythm than a step, it’s nonetheless always three steps with the first one slightly emphasized (one two three, one two three). In teaching, you might say “Waltz Right-two-three, Left-two-three,” so people know which foot they should be on.

Yemenite Step back, bring your feet together, then step forward on the same foot on which you stepped back. There are “side Yemenites” where you step to the side, bring your feet together, and then cross in front with the foot you started on.

And another list of folk dance steps.


Mihaela Yeung will facilitate circle dances Monday, February 8 at Unitarian Church

Mihaela Yeung will facilitate circle dances Monday, February 8 at Unitarian Church. Mihaela regularly shares dances in North Vancouver and frequently attends the UCV dances often sharing the facilitation with Corinne. Many of us especially enjoy the yearly treat of the “white night” usually at winter Solstice.

Here’s some information about Mihaela from her website.


Around the year 2000, I was living on an organic farm in a remote area of British Columbia. It was a time of exploration and immersion into the wonders of life in nature, of learning gentle ways of working with the land, of celebrating Spirit through the cycles of the year. Then circle dance came into my life and became the vehicle which took me into deeper levels of perception and connection with each other and with Source.

Over the years I have learned from several internationally known teachers, who shared a diversity of dances and teaching styles. I obtained my teacher’s training at the Findhorn Foundation ( in 2004.

While studying Women’s Ritual Dances with Laura Shannon, I traveled to parts of the world from where these dances come and, most importantly, I learned from the grandmothers in the villages where the ancient ways are still remembered and practiced through ritual and dance.

In 2012, I traveled with Carol Christ ( on a two week Goddess pilgrimage to Crete where I once again had the opportunity to experience a culture where the ancient ways are still remembered and practiced through ritual and dance.

I am now at a stage in my life when I have the time and desire to share what I have learned. Whether in an evening session, a weekend workshop or a week long retreat, I bring the same degree of attention to detail and appreciation for this tradition. I am humbled and honored to be part of the lineage of women who still remember the ancient ways and share them through ritual and dance.

Read more about Mihaela here:

Mary Bennett loves combining art, labyrinth walking and dance

I am a Unitarian and a circle dance enthusiast. I don’t usually teach dances but did lead a workshop at a national conference and with help, created a repertoire entirely from the Unitarian hymnbook, Singing the Living Tradition.

I was the Executive Director of the Canadian Unitarian Council from 2000 to 2008 and most of those years I made sure there was circle dancing at our annual conference.

For a year or so I helped create a monthly circle dance worship service that included poetry and stories along with dancing.

In December 2015, over 100 Unitarians danced in the aisles at the end of the annual Fire Communion on Sunday morning.

With Darlene, I facilitate a monthly Art+Labyrinth+Dance session on the third Friday 2-4 pm at the Unitarian Church and usually participate in the 1st Tuesday and 2nd Monday evening sessions. When it doesn’t conflict with the Jung Society lecture, I make my way to Ladner to participate in Darlene’s circle there.

Like most of us in Metro Vancouver I first was introduced to circle dancing by Corinne Chepil. I’m delighted that Corinne will be part of the Art Opening cosponsored by the Women’s Spirituality Celebration group and the Unitarian Church on March 5th 3:30-5:30pm.

Corinne Chepil will facilitate circle dancing for Friday, March 18 “combo” session

CorinneCorinne Chepil enjoys sharing the gifts Circle Dance can bring such as community, joy and peace. She has a B.A. in Dance/Psychology, a Dance Teacher Diploma and a Sacred Dance Teacher Certificate from the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. Corinne has over 30 years experience facilitating dance and movement to people age 3 to 100.  Her teaching highlights include Women’s Spirituality Celebrations, New Year’s celebrations at St. Paul’s Labyrinth and the 2006 World Peace Forum.  Presently she facilitates Circle Dance at the Unitarian Church, Empower Health and for seniors at care facilities.

Corinne will facilitate dances on March 17  from 1:30-3pm and also Friday, March 18, as part of the 2-4pm Art, Labyrinth & Dance “combo” session.

Welcome Brigid with a Dance


From the White Goddess Pagan Portal

The next sacred circle dance at the Unitarian Church is Tuesday, February 2, which happens to be Brigid’s Day, Imbolc, Groundhog Day and Candlemas all wrapped into one special night. Darlene, Karen, Denise and Mary will share some dances that focus on anticipating the advent of spring (The days *are* getting longer!) We’ll light lots of candles for Brigid, Fire Goddess, and welcome her into our circle and then thank her with offerings of bread and milk.

Among the dances will be some that have been created or adapted for songs from the Unitarian songbook, Singing the Living Tradition.

Karen has choreographed a new dance for Rumi’s Come, Come, Whoever You Are complete with some spinning in a nod to the Sufi tradition of whirling. Other dances in our Unitarian Repertoire can be found by clicking “Unitarian Songs” in the list of categories.

As always 7-9pm in Hewett Hall, by donation.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Goddess Brigid, try this:

Brigid is also a goddess of poetry. So if you can’t come, you could just read or write a poem to Brigid.

And then there’s St. Brigid, an early Irish Christian nun.




Come and experiment with art, dance and labyrinth walking/dancing/drawing.

This Friday, January 15, is the first Darlene and Mary collaboration. From 2-4pm in the afternoon in Hewett Hall, Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 949 West 49th Avenue at Oak.

Lots of parking and convenient to several bus routes.

We’ve chosen dances that are fairly easy to learn as well as fitting the theme.

We hope people who have been interested in sacred circle dance but have found it inconvenient to come out in the evening or feel two hours of dancing is too much, will come and dance with us.

As always you are welcome to “sit one out”, all dances are taught and…

There are no wrong steps, only variations.



We hadn’t danced Misirlou for quite some time. Thanks, Leslie & Denise for that and Leben and the whole program last Tuesday.

Here’s a youtube video I found with Misirlou.

Misirlou, greek circle dancing with Marijan Rudel in Slovenia
Please visit:

On the Facebook Sacred Circle Dance group, I learned:

There’s info on the net about the long history of Misirlou. The original song to which the dance was put was indeed called Misirlou – a dance teacher in the USA put the Syrtos Kritkos steps, or a version of them, to a different piece of music – Misirlou. I don’t know how much later Sto Perigiali subsequently became a favourite piece for Circle Dancers to dance the Misirlou steps to.

Here’s the Touchstone Library entry.


Karen’s Spinach Torte – a big hit

Karen kindly sent this along after several people asked me if I knew who’d made it and wanted the recipe.

Here is the recipe (my modifications are in parentheses)

Spinach Torte (preheat oven to 325oF)
4-5 bunches spinach, washes, shredded and steamed then squeezed dry.
(3 boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed, then squeeze dry)
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic chopped fine (4 cloves garlic!)
1/2 cup chopped raisins (craisins = dried cranberries)
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice)
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
6 eggs beaten
1 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs (1 1/2 cup planko = Japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts (1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds)

Combine ingredients in the order listed (but stop at the breadcrumbs and beyond) and mix well. Add 1 cup breadcrumbs and mix well. Pour into an oiled 9″ x 13″ baking dish and pat down top to even it out. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs with the Parmesan cheese and pine nuts and sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake for 1 hour or until the spinach is firm and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

I like it best served at room temperature, so it makes a really useful pot luck contribution … no last minute hassles!