- Era: 1910s
- Dance: One-Step
The Pomander Walk is a one-step variation found in Albert Newman's Dances of to-day, published in Philadelphia in 1914, in which the dancers take, alternately, right- and left-side Yale position and walk around each other in circles. The full sequence as described by Newman is as follows:
From a normal one-step, backing the lady, the dancers step out to Yale position, right side to right side, and walk in a straight line, the lady moving backward and the gentleman forward. At some point, they begin to walk around each other in a circle, both moving forward. Newman's illustration of this is shown at left. The gentleman eventually makes an about-face -- the lady must as well, though Newman neglects to mention this -- leaving the dancers left side to left side, and they again move in a straight line with the lady going backward. They make another circle, both dancers moving forward, followed by a position shift to return to facing each other and backing the lady.
This is, for the most part, a very easy variation to do, and the timing of each part (walk, circle, walk, circle) need not be strict, though I recommend keeping each part short, as going backward in Yale position is less graceful for the lady and going around in a circle more than, say, twice gets a little monotonous.
The only confusing part is shifting from right-side Yale position to left-side Yale position. The trick to doing this so that the lady is the one who ends up going backwards is to always perform the shift at the point in the circle when the gentleman is nearest the outside of the room and the lady nearest the center. Both partners turn individually clockwise (towards their own right) while still maintaining contact. The gentleman steps side left to face his partner briefly then continues to turn clockwise to step forward right along the line of dance. The lady steps side right then continues her clockwise turn so that her back is to the line of dance and steps back left to continue moving along line of dance.
While it is possible to do the about-face when the gentleman is nearer the center of the room, this will result in the gentleman moving backward along the line of dance, which makes navigation more of a challenge. Performing the about-face when the dancers are facing the wall and the center rather than along/against the line of dance will result in them moving off towards either the wall or the center of the room, which may be less than desirable in a crowded ballroom.
Returning from left-side Yale position to simply backing the lady is easy and natural; as the dancers come around the circle the gentleman simply opens his frame slightly and guides the lady straight backwards in front of him. Visualize changing a parallelogram to a square.
There is a popular version in the modern vintage dance community involving an underarm turn, but I have never seen it described in any source. Newman's is the only description of the Pomander Walk that I have located, and he does not include anything of the sort.