Sound Effects


Why do we have sound effects? (Note: also termed "Fluff" in some clubs.)

(From an article by Allan Hurst on

Generally, sound effects enhance the fun dancers derive from a specific call through humor. Sometimes, sound effect are used to "spice up" what have become otherwise routine calls for experienced dancers who are feeling bored.

Granted, this type of information isn’t essential to square dancing or calling, but they are fun, and have become highly ingrained in gay square dance culture. Sometimes, sound effects are useful for students or new dancers as mnemonics for the calls themselves.

For example, Mike DeSisto is well known for calling a novelty tip in which he only vocalizes the sound effects for a series of calls, rather than using the calls themselves...and the dancers who know the sound effects seem to have no problems at all remembering which call to perform. (For example … “Quack! Squeak!” would translate to “Acey-Deucey, Hinge”)

Guide to Dance "Fluff" from Rosetown Ramblers

In 2009, Rosetown Ramblers published an article which discusses not just sounds but also many of the styling movements associated with certain calls.

The article is called Want to “Fluff” With Me? Sounds and movements frequently used by Rosetown Ramblers. [[1]]

List of Popular Sound Effects

This list of popular sound effects was originally compiled by Paul Asente of the El Camino Reelers, origin date unknown. Additions have been made to the wiki version of this list by other people.


All 8 Circulate: "All-8, all-8"
Allemande Left: Clap hands
Bend the Line: "Get Bent!"
Chain Down the Line: "Chain me down, chain me down!"
VARIANT: "chain me, whip me, beat me!" [note 1]
Couples Circulate: "Circles Copulate"
Dive Thru: "Dive, dive"
VARIANT: "A-oo-ga" (submarine diving noise)
Double Pass Thru: "DPT!"
Ferris Wheel: "Wheeee" (As end turns center under arm during turn)
Flutterwheel: "Whoop, whoop, whoop"
Ladies Chain: (at C1 & above) Balance and whoop in the center, and eliminate Courtesy Turn
Ladies In, Men Sashay: Ladies whoop it up
Move Up to the Middle and Back: "Moooo"
Pass the Ocean: "Splash!"
VARIANT: Clap hands
Promenade Halfway: Inactives do a "Highland Fling" style Do Si Do)
VARIANT: Inactives do a ballroom dance turn
VARIANT: Inactives make circle, do 2 hip bumps with opposite
Reverse the Flutter: "Pow, pow, pow"
VARIANT: "Leehw Rettulf"
Right and Left Grand: Balance and slap L hands when meeting someone with the R hand
Right and Left Thru: "Thank you"
VARIANT: "Thank you" then "You're welcome"
VARIANT: (as a sequence opener at Challenge) "We can do that"
Shoot the Star: "Bang!"
Square Thru: (as a sequence opener, done by heads or sides) Inactives do 2 California Twirls
Stars (during singing call figures (not breaks)): "Aaaaughhh!!!!!!" (making a scream of despair)
Sweep 1/4: (Sweeping motion towards the floor with free hand.)
Swing Thru: "Schwing!"
Touch 1/4: (Touch forehead with free hand)
VARIANT: Touch forehead and say "Doh!" a la Homer Simpson
Trade By: "Bye!" (wave goodbye as you pass or trade)
U-Turn Back: "Baaa"
Veer to the Left/Right: "Vera!"
Wheel and Deal: "Wheeling" then "Dealing"
VARIANT: "...and squeal"


Centers Cross Run: "Mee..." (see Mix)
Cloverleaf: Spread arms, act like a child playing airplane
Dixie Style to a Wave: "Hi, Dixie!"
VARIANT: "Hey, Dixie!"
VARIANT: "Ditsy style"
Eight Chain Thru: "Bor-ring!"
Hinge: "Creak"/make creaking noise
Recycle: "Trash"
Scoot Back: Scooters grunt
Scooters squeal if girls
Non-scooters say "Go Girl!" if girls scooting
Slide Thru: "Whoosh" while gracefully sliding arms out to the sides
Spin the Top: "Spin the Top"
VARIANT: "Spin the Top" then "He's no top" (and on, and on...)
VARIANT: "Spank the Bottom!"
VARIANT: "189"
VARIANT: (from LH waves) "981"
Tag the Line: (Trailer taps leader on shoulder) "You're it!"


(Anything) and Spread "You Betcha!" [note 2]
Acey Deucey: "Quack" (also if cued)
Acey Deucey and Spread: "The higher priced spread"
VARIANT: "I can't believe it's not butter!"
Chase Right: "Chase me, chase me!"
VARIANT: "I'm chased"
VARIANT: "I'm chaste! I'm chaste!"
Coordinate: "Your shoes don't match your bag!"
VARIANT: "No, No, Yes!" (while pointing to the people you pass for the Circulate once and a half)
Crossfire: Machine gun noises
Cut the Diamond: "Hai-ahhh!"
VARIANT: "Hiya!"
Diamond Circulate: Clap hands
Dixie Grand: "Right! Left! Right!"
VARIANT: "Right! Wrong! Right!"
Explode: "Boom!"
Fan the Top: "With a big left hand"
VARIANT: (from LH waves) "With a big wrong hand"
VARIANT: Fan yourself with the outside hand
Flip the Diamond: Flip hands up to shoulders, squeal
Follow Your Neighbor: "Hi, neighbor!"
VARIANT: "Shazam!" (Note: because it is equivalent to the C2 call "Shazam"...)
Grand Swing Thru: "Ain't it grand?"
VARIANT: Make "Tarzan swinging through trees" sound
Linear Cycle: "Hinge, fold, pass [or follow], peel"
VARIANT: "Hinge, hold, pass, feel"
VARIANT: "Hinge, fold, cop a feel"
VARIANT: "Blah, blah, blah, blah"
VARIANT: "Hinge, fold, Mister Popeil"
Load the Boat: "Toot, toot"/"Whoo, whoo"
VARIANT: Make a tugboat whistle sound
VARIANT: "Elian, Elian!"
Partner Tag: Snap fingers
Peel Off: "Rice!"
Peel the Top: (from a Z) "What a surprise!"
Ping Pong Circulate: Clap hands
Relay the Deucey: "Girl on, boy off, girl on, boy off" (regardless of the initial position)
VARIANT: "Hey, Lucy!" in a Desi Arnaz voice
VARIANT: "Hey Deucey!" in a Desi Arnaz Voice
VARIANT: (when finishing the last part of the call) "Hey, Lucy, I'm HOOOOOOME!"
VARIANT: (when finishing the last part of the call) "Hey, Deucey, I'm HOOOOOOME!"
Remake the Thar: "Quarter! Half! Three-quarters!"
Teacup Chain: Morose grumbling
VARIANT: Wild cheering
Track Two: "Track, track"
VARIANT: "Toot, toot"/"Whoo, whoo"
VARIANT: "Track, track, whoopee, whoopee"
VARIANT: "Toot, toot, whoopee, whoopee"
Trade and Roll: "Troll!"
VARIANT: "Troll Hole" [note 3]
Trade the Wave: (at Advanced and above) "Wave"
Triple Scoot: "Rooty-toot-toot!"
(when first getting into a diamond for the first time of the night) "I see it!"


All 4 Couples Right and Left Thru: "I LOVE this call!"
VARIANT: "We HATE this call!"
Anything and Cross: Snarl crossly
Cast a Shadow: Hingers whoop
Non-whoop-ees shout "Rats!"
Those casting back do elaborate over-the-shoulder arm sweep
Shadower raises arms, stalks the person being followed
VARIANT: "Casta Diva"
Chain Reaction: "Hinge, fold, pass, feel"
VARIANT: "Hinge, fold, cop a feel!"
Double Star Thru: "Bing, bang"
Half Breed Thru: Indian-style whoo-whoo-whoo
Horseshoe Turn: "Ah choo!"
VARIANT: "Ah choo!" then "Bless you"
VARIANT: "Ah, shit!"
VARIANT: "Horse shit!"
VARIANT: "Horse shoes!"
In Roll Circulate: (person circulating across the set) "Me!"
VARIANT: (anybody other than the person circulating across the set) "Not Me!"
VARIANT: (person circulating across the set) "Taxi!" (Attributed to [Chi Town Squares])
VARIANT 2014: (person circulating across the set) "Uber!" / "Lyft!"
Lock It: "Click"
Mini Busy: "...but few are chosen"
VARIANT: " peas are frozen!"
Mix: "Meow" (also if cued, then "Me" on the Cross Run, and "Ow" on the trade)
Motivate: "I don't want to"
VARIANT: "Don't wanna"
Out Roll Circulate: (person circulating down to the end of the wave) "Me!"
VARIANT: (anybody other than the person circulating down to the end of the wave) "Not Me!"::VARIANT: "Taxi!" (Attributed to [Chi Town Squares])
VARIANT 2014: "Uber!" / "Lyft!"
Pass and Roll: "Pass the rolls?"
VARIANT: "Casserole!"
VARIANT: Original centers slap floor twice after turning around)
Pass Out: Do a mock faint
Pass the Sea: "Wheee!"
Peel and Trail: "Peeling" then "Trailing"
VARIANT: "Trailers always trade"
Scoot and Weave: "Scooting" then "Weaving"
Scoot Chain Thru: "Work, work, work"
VARIANT: "Work, work, work" then "Bitch, bitch, bitch"
VARIANT: "Shop, shop, shop"
VARIANT: "Work, Shop, Play"
VARIANT: "Work, Shop, F*ck"
VARIANT: "F*ck, S*ck, Wash Up!"
Step and Slide: "Scratch and Sniff"
Swap Around: Belles mime slapping opposite beau's face
Switch: "Swish!"
Trade Circulate: (from 2-faced lines) "Ding, ding" then "He's not here"
Transfer the Column: "Where do you want it?"
Triple Star Thru: "Bing, bang, bong"
Wheel Thru: Clap


Ah So: "Wahoo"
Alter the Wave: "Walter!"
VARIANT: "No little waves here!"
Butterfly: Flutter arms gracefully
Checkover: "...the children, Lucille"
VARIANT: "The chitlins"
Counter Rotate: "Big one"
VARIANT: (from columns) "Why bother?"
Cross and Turn: Beaus go "Bang!"
Cross Chain and Roll: "Bagels"
Cross Chain Thru: "No bagels"
Dixie Sashay: Do air kisses during Slither
Linear Action: "Starts with a hinge"
Make Magic: "Poof" as you flick fingers in conjuring gesture
O: Raise hands above head to form an O
Pass the Axle: "Who are you calling an axle?"
VARIANT: "Don't turn the star!"
VARIANT: "Ouch!"
Percolate: "Olate, olate"
VARIANT: (on Turn Thru or Cross) "Ole!"
Ramble: "Rambo!"
Relay the Shadow: see Cast a Shadow
Reverse Cross and Turn: Belles go "Gnab!"
Reverse Explode: "Moob!"
Rotary Spin: Make buzzing sound
VARIANT (Vancouver, BC): "Fuzzy Boo Boos"
Scatter Scoot: "Scatterbrains"
Scoot Back (as part of something else, e.g. in Tag Back to a Wave)
VARIANT: "Back, back!"
Square Chain the Top: "Top, top, top"
Square the Bases: "With smiling faces"
VARIANT: Do a grotesquely fixed grin
VARIANT: "Touch me" on each pull-by, then "Don't touch me!" or "No touching!" when passing shoulders
VARIANT: "Shoulders" when passing shoulders, while elaborately making a show of avoiding contact with the other dancer
VARIANT: "Don't turn the star!"
Squeeze the Butterfly: "Yuck!"
Squeeze the Galaxy: "All those people!"
Stretch Ah So: "Oooh!"
Stretch: Yawn and stretch arms
Swing the Fractions: "Quarter! Half! Three quarters! Half! Quarter!"
Tally Ho: "Yoicks!"
VARIANT: "Who're you calling a 'tally'?"
VARIANT: "Who're you calling a 'ho'?"
Triple Cross: "Bang, bang, bang!"
Wheel Fan Thru: "Wheel your fanny!"
VARIANT: "It's no biggie"
VARIANT: "Nice fanny!"
Zing: (sung on a high, usually off-key, note) "Laaaa!"


Bounce the ____: Jumps up and down
Chisel Thru: "In! Out! In!" or "In! In!! In!!!" as appropriate
Criss Cross the Shadow: see Cast a Shadow
Criss Cross Your Neighbor
VARIANT: Trailing ends whoop in the middle
VARIANT: "Rats!" if your're not a trailing end
Cross Ramble: "Rambo, and he's cross!"
Cross the K: "Dot the i"
Drop In: "Anytime!"
File to a Line: "Spread 'em!"
Flip Your Neighbor: Make obscene hand gesture
Funny: "Ha" (for each facing person you pass through with)
Here Comes the Judge: Right hand dancer: "Right!" or "Judge!" or "I go!"
VARIANT: "The judge is always right"
Hocus Pocus: "Oh oh"
Hubs Trade Back: "Hubba, hubba"
VARIANT: "Hubbing!"
Invert 1/2: "Two!"
Invert 3/4: "Four thirds!"
Kick Off: "Ouch!" while acting like you were just kicked in the butt
Little More: "Morons"
(anything) Motivate: "ivate", e.g. "Trade-ivate" or "Out-roll-tivate"
Perk Up: "Up, up"
VARIANT: "Up, up, whatever that means"
VARIANT: "Up, Chuck"
(anything) Perk Up: " up", e.g. "Trade up" or "Stack up"
Reverse Flip/Cut the Galaxy: "Thank you!"
Rims Trade Back: "Rimming"
Single Cross and Wheel: "No trade"
Sock It To Me: Left hand dancer: "Left!" or "Sock!" or "Left sock!" or "I go!"
Stagger Circulate: Stagger
Swing Along: "La, la, la" along with the music
Unwrap the Diamond: (leading point) "Apres moi!"
With the Flow: "She's not here" (Flo) a Diamond (from appropriate t-bone) "But you won't get one"


Beau Hop: "Bozo"
Belle Hop: "Belle-zo"
Bias Circulate: "How much?"
VARIANT: "Buy a vowel"
VARIANT: "I'm biased" or "I'm not biased"
Breaker 3: "Break her knee"
VARIANT: "Tonya Harding"
VARIANT: "Galooli!"
Catch N: (after the anything) "There's a catch"
Chain Thru: "She's not here" (unless you have Jane at the dance, then "She's here")
Checkerboard Mix: "Sounds like dog food"
Cross: Snarl crossly
Cross Swap the Top: "Angry dead fish"
Mirror Cross Swap the Top: "Angry shiny dead fish"
Drift Apart: "Split ends"
Ease Off: "Laaa!" (ends) or "Wahoo!" (centers)
Expand the Column: "Flip out!"
Explode the Top: (when last person joins the star) "'(name)'s our hero"
Extender's Dilemma: "Rice or potatoes?"
Flipper's Delight: "Tuna!"
VARIANT: "Getting scrod"
Flipper's Dilemma: "Eat fish or save Timmy?"
Follow the Leader: "Mooooo"
the Gamut: "Dammit!"
Interlocked Little, Plenty, etc: "INNNN-terlocked"
VARIANT: "Shut up Frank"
Keep Busy: "I am busy"
Locker's Choice: "Near the showers"
Mirror Swap the Top: "Shiny dead fish"
Plan Ahead: "Where DOES that nose go?"
VARIANT: "I want one with a moustache!"
Quarter the Deucey: "Poor deucey"
VARIANT: "Chop chop"
Reach Out: "Chouting"
VARIANT: "Wocka, wocka"
Recoil: "Reeking; coiling"
VARIANT: "Reeking; oiling"
Scoot and Fancy: "Sid and Nancy"
VARIANT: "Ron and Nancy"
Scoot the Diamond: "What diamond?"
Snap the Lock: Snap fingers when doing partner tag
Something New: "I've done this before"
VARIANT: "Learn to dance!"
Spin Chain the Line: "Del loves this call"
Spin the Pulley: "No butts? What holds their legs on?"
Swap the Top: "Dead fish"
Stable: Giggle insanely
Tagger's Delight: "A blank wall"
Tagger's Dilemma: "Spray paint or Magic Marker?"
Team Up: "Bo knows!"
Trade the Deucey: "Quack"
Triple Play: "Hey, hey, hey!"
VARIANT: "Smarter than the average bear"


Boomerang: "Zoomerang"
Change the Centers/Wave: "Into what?"
Fan: "Waive the trade"
Gee Whiz: "Cheese Whiz"
VARIANT: "Whizzing!"
Lift Off: "Hasta la vista, baby"
VARIANT: "Bye" or "Buh-bye!"
Reactivate: "O vate, Pavel"
Reverse the Pass: "Baby, baby, hey"
Reverse the Top: "Fan that puppy"
VARIANT: "981"
VARIANT: "420"
Scramble: "Choo, ah"
Single Ferris Wheel: "IIIIIIII"
Stimulate the Column: "Yes, yes, YES!"
Take 2: "They're small"
Take 3: "They're very small"
Take 4: "They're itsy-bitsy"


Bits and Pieces: "Kibbles and bits"
Cross Horseshoe Turn: "Choo, Ah"
Curli-Wheel: "Hear them squeal"
VARIANT: "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk"
Make a Pass: "Hey, babe"
Settle Back: "Set O Back"

  1. The simple 'chain me, chain me' didn't seem adequate enough for the leather tip, so, on a whim, I added 'chain me, whip me, beat me' and have now heard it from others - it always gets a smile and comment from the receiving dancer. (Harvey Soldan, from email to Allan Hurst on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 9:03 AM)
  2. Several years ago, at an Empire Squares (now defunct) class night, one of the ostensibly straight (not really) dancers brought in a hilarious sex toys catalog. It was filled with pictures of marital aids and cartoons of a straight married couple making comments on the various devices. On the page of dildoes, the woman commented that "they weren't just for women, but that men liked them, too", the cartoon man said "u betcha". The class was working on 'spread' that night, and we all started saying 'u betcha', in recognition of the cartoon guy. Soon after Finest City Squares had their 'Pass The Sea" fly-in and many Empire members attended. Of course, we couldn't stifle ourselves and started saying 'u betcha' after every spread. Pat Carnathan got very, very pissed at this (not difficult to do), and chastised the dancers for interrupting his timing. Of course that sealed the deal and 'u betcha' spread, pun intended. (Harvey Soldan, from email to Allan Hurst on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 9:03 AM)
  3. At an LA area dance (don't remember which one), some one yelled this out and the others started also saying this. Of course, later in that dance, the caller used hinge and roll, and someone else yelled 'hole', following the pattern. The caller heard this and then called a series of 'trade and rolls' and 'hinge and rolls', which elicited the dancers to holler troll hole, troll hole. (Harvey Soldan, from email to Allan Hurst on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 9:03 AM)

How are sound effects created?

(From an article by Allan Hurst on

Have you ever wondered how sound effects are created, or who created them, or why?

If you've been dancing or calling for any length of time, you've probably heard sound effects for many square dance calls, such as:

"Whoosh!" (Slide Thru)
"Fuzzy boo-boos!" (Rotary Spin; Vancouver BC variant)
"Whoop! Whoop!" (Track II)
"Hinge, Fold, Pass, Peel" (Linear Cycle)
"…Big Deal” (Sandie Bryant's usual retort to "Hinge, Fold, Pass, Peel")
"My peas are frozen!" (Mini Busy, West Coast variant)
"Scratch and sniff!" (Step & Slide, West Coast variant)

After a fair amount of informal research, I believe most popular sound effects are created and spread spontaneously. One person starts a sound effect, one or two observers note the effect and like it, so they begin using it, and as others notice, general usage increases. (Much like that annoying series of shampoo commercials many years ago "...and THEY tell two friends - and so on, and so on, and so on...") Each sound effect has its own story of origin.

I happened to be present at the time and place a relatively recent sound effect - "My peas are frozen!" (for the A2 call,"Mini Busy") - came into being.

The origin of “My Peas Are Frozen!”

In July of 1999, at the IAGSDC Convention in Los Angeles, I was dancing in the C1 hall with Joe & Jenny Dadek from Stanford Quads. We three tend to be a bit boisterous when we're having fun (who, me?). The C1 room and the other dancers were fairly quiet during that particular session, as it was early in the morning. Joe, Jenny and I were getting bored (always a dangerous thing).

At one point, the caller said, "Mini Busy". The usual sound effect for Mini Busy (up to that point) was "But few are chosen". (As in, "Many are called, but few...") So … Joe and Jenny and I all enthusiastically yelled out "But Few Are Chosen!" and kept dancing.

The room was quite chilly (its air-conditioning having been adjusted to handle more people than were actually present). Jenny was wearing open-toe sandals, and the caller began moving us around very quickly. Eventually, Jenny started complaining to Joe and I how cold her feet had become. This happened to coincide with the caller calling "Mini Busy". Intending to say, "my toes are frozen!" Jenny later told us she unconsciously echoed "But few are chosen", and blurted out "My peas are frozen!" (None of the three of us ever figured out why Jenny mixed up "toes" and "peas". Some things are beyond analysis, and rightfully so.)

Jenny looked at me. I looked at Joe. He looked at Jenny. And the three of us (and one or two others in the square) started laughing, because it was that kind of a fast-and-furious square, and we were having fun, and it was such an obscure and bizarre non-sequitur that we found it hysterically funny at the time.

The next time the caller used "Mini Busy", we yelled out "Our peas are frozen!" and started laughing again. Eventually, the crazy mood of our trio spread to others in our square, and soon we were all yelling, "Our peas are frozen!" at the appropriate moment. To the visible relief of the caller on stage, the dance session came to an end just about that time, and we all dispersed to other squares and other rooms and activities.

The next day, in the A2 hall, I heard someone else say, "My peas are frozen!" This intrigued me, since the person voicing the sound effect hadn't been in the C1 room with Jenny and Joe and me. After convention, I kept on using the sound effect at local dances and club nights in the SF Bay Area, as did Joe and Jenny.

  • Later that month, I was dancing to Anne Uebelacker, who called "Mini Busy.” I automatically yelled, "My peas are frozen!" She stopped the music, leaned over the table and looked at me, and said "Beg pardon?" I repeated, "My peas are frozen!" She winced, said that sounded a bit painful, giggled, and then kept calling. A couple of other dancers took up the sound effect the next time she called "Mini Busy." Anne just rolled her eyes at me and said nothing further at the time.
  • In August of 1999, during Seattle’s annual fly-in, I heard dancers from Seattle and Portland echoing the sound effect. None of them had been in the C1 room at Convention, but a couple of dancers seemed to remember hearing the sound effect in the A2 room at Convention!
  • In late 1999, it was reported to me that Anne was teaching the sound effect to her A1/A2 class in Vancouver BC. By now, the effect had spread through both my A&C home clubs (El Camino Reelers and Midnight Squares) and their associated classes. Grant Ito (Squares Across the Border) reported to me that he'd heard it used by dancers in Squares Across the Border during several club dances.
  • By November of 1999, during Squares Across the Border's "Weave The Rain" November fly-in in Vancouver BC, dancers from all up and down the West Coast were using "My peas are frozen!".
  • At the July 2000 IAGSDC Convention held in Baltimore MD, I heard dancers from the Midwest and East Coast using "My peas are frozen!" on the dance floor.
  • By the end of 2000, Anne Uebelacker herself had added a variation. When she called "2/3rds Mini Busy", she suggested that the dancers yell back, "My peas are mooshy! (Ewww!)"

…so, THAT’S where sound effects come from?

Based on the above experiences, it doesn't seem unreasonable to suggest that most sound effects are propagated via one of the following four channels:

  • usage (by a dancer or caller) during a local club night/dance
  • usage during a fly-in
  • usage by angels or being taught by a caller during a local class
  • usage during a Convention

As a result of documenting the above anecdote, I’ve become interested in collecting stories regarding the origins of square dance sound effects. If enough people send me information on their favorite sound effects, you may see another article on origins of sound effects!