A new dance formation, the Weston Mountain Zia, was born at the 1998 Weston Mountain Dance Retreat, sponsored by the Walla Walla Friends of Acoustic Music. 


When we were sitting around the camp lodge on Weston Mountain at lunch on Saturday, someone raised the question of whether it would be possible to do a contra dance with two intersecting contra lines.  Skepticism was high, but a challenge is always healthy, so after lunch I sat down at the registration table and wrote out the Weston Mountain Traffic Circle, for intersecting contra lines with a square in the middle.  Following the afternoon dance workshop, I invited folks to try it, and it worked well and created a lot of excitement.  We tried it again successfully during the Sunday morning dance, and someone pointed out that in Southwest Indian culture a figure with four sets of double lines coming out at ninety degree angles from a circle is called a Zia. 


 For those who’d like to try the Weston Mt. Zia, here is how it goes:


Begin the formation with four couples in a square formation.  Ask the remaining dancers to form contra lines behind each couple in the square, then take hands four beginning at the square, which is the “top” of the dance, including the couples in the square.  The dance begins and proceeds the first time through with four contra lines in improper formation.  At the end of the first time through the dance, the four inactive couples at the top of the set will dance the square, while the remaining dancers continue the contra.  The square disappears at the end of the second time through and reappears at the end of alternate repetitions.  The dance is written so that after the walk throughs a single call will cue both the square and the contra lines.   At the end of the contra lines, as an option to standing out, couples can dance the first half of the dance with their partners, then promenade counterclockwise around the zia to the end of the next line.  Multiple intersections can also be used.  Here’s the dance:


A1      Circle left and right


A2      Allemande left with neighbor (corner)

          Balance and swing partner


B1      Ladies chain  (contra= up & down; square = grand chain)

          And back


B2      Promenade halfway

          Right hands (contra = star halfway; square = allemande partner 1 ¼)

          And on to the next (contra = pass through;  square = face contra lines)


Daniel Clark

PO Box 1222

Walla Walla WA 99362

Tel. 509-522-0399, Fax 522-0415