Steps Back In Time by John Sweeney

Steps Back In Time by John Sweeney

Shortways Set for One or Two

Link to John’s Website

Video Link

Music: Auretti’s Dutch Skipper; An Adventure at Margate; The Spirit of the Dance – played by Brass Monkey

Available at many music services including:



Or your favourite 32 bar tune.

Steps Back in Time by John Sweeney

A1/2: Original Petronella x 4 (32)  (Note 1)

B1: Single Step Down the Room (8) (Note 2)

       Double Step Up the Room  (8) (Note 3)

B2: Foot It to a piece of furniture (8) (Note 4)

       Foot It to another piece of furniture (8)

If there are two of you then start facing each other; dance down the room together right hand in right hand (lady on the left) and the lady turns AC under the man’s arm to return, taking Promenade Hold.  Foot It to each other.

Note 1: As in the first half of the original dance. Imagine you are on one point of a diamond: Set twice while turning to your right and moving one place around to the right to the next point of the diamond; Set facing the centre of the diamond. Repeat four times.

See :

Optional Variant: The 3rd and 4th times, in A2, do a Balance instead of a Set to the centre.

Balance: Step Right, Kick Left while hopping on the Right, Step Left, Kick Right while hopping on the Left.

Note 2: Single Steps are just Step-Hops. i.e. skipping.

Note 3: Double Steps are 1-2-3-hop, also known as polka steps or skip-change steps.  As at 3:24 in

For both types of stepping it is always good to hop on the anacrusis (the “and” before the first “1”) to get a good start to your movement.

Note 4: For an explanation of Foot It see  A variant of one of the options Colin describes is at

My simple variant of that is: Hop Left four times: Point right foot in front, to the side, behind, land with both feet together; repeat on left foot.

You can also Rant as at 3:40 in

To Rant start by practicing hop-hop-change, hop-hop-change… to the rhythm of “Fish-and-Chips”.  Then add the syncopated tap with the free foot to the rhythm “Po-ta-to-chips”.  The tap can be with the heel or with the toe.

You can also Back Step as at 3:48 in

To Back Step start by doing Single Steps moving backwards, then try them moving backwards, but placing each foot sideways behind the other.  Then try doing that without moving backwards, as in the video – you have to tuck it in tight and make the hop slightly forwards.

You can do continuous Back Steps, or break them up with 1-2-3s as in the video.

You can do Heel & Toes: Heel, Toe, 1-2-3. E.g. Left Heel, Left Toe, Left, Right, Left; repeat on the other foot.

Or any other footwork that you like.

The English were known as the “dancing English” and renowned for their variety of footwork.  Many country dances in England include a wide variety of stepping.  “Foot It” was a common figure in centuries past, generally meaning, “Impress your partner with your footwork”.  People used to take pride in doing different footwork each time through a Longways dance. So… for those who like stepping, here is a solo dance with lots of it.