Friday, August 31, 2007

That Chain Reaction Ett Called Last Night...

Ett called last night, and in her spirit of lefty-ness, why are left calls so difficult for most of us? I posed this question to Cissie, and she said that she thinks its because dancers just move to the position they think they should be in. This is the ultimate in positional dancing, and it fails dancers completely on a Chain Reaction that's called from a left position (left-hand wave in the center).

Here's the caller lab definition:

CHAIN REACTION Starting Position: Quarter Tag or Quarter line formation in which very center can Pass Thru with an outside dancer [At Advanced, this call is restricted to starting from right- or left-hand quarter tag formations
only.] Timing: 12

The very centers Pass Thru with the dancers they are facing, while the ends of the center line/wave Promenade 1/4 around the outside of the set. The original very centers and the dancers they are next to, Hinge. The centers Star (or Diamond Circulate) one spot, while the outsides Trade. Those who meet now Cast Off 3/4, while the others move up (as in Hourglass Circulate) to become the ends of parallel waves.

When Ett called Chain Reaction, from a left position and cued it VERY SLOW, we all did okay. The problem (and again, thanks to Cissie for the insight), is that the dancers move to form the star in the middle without giving it any thought. In the Chain Reaction from a left-hand wave, this causes all kinds of problems. Dancers proceed as if it's a regular Chain Reaction.

The Beaus on the outside may attempt to move forward toward the center, when they should just stand still. If a Beau moves forward, the Beau will come face-to-face with the opposite Belle. Both dancers will be very confused. The Belle will not be able to form the star in the middle because the Beau is in the way, The Beau is out of position to do the hinge so that the Beau can be in the star. Four desperate seconds later, the square breaks down.

(The Beau could save the situation by hingeing to the right, but that leaves the dancer from the very center of the wave facing the wrong direction, and probably disoriented.)

So... how about getting out your Advanced definitions, and doing some review? If you learn to dance by definition, you won't break down squares nearly as much. Dancing by position is a lot like dancing in overdrive. Most of the time it works, and then Ett calls Chain Reaction from a lefty wave, and you're in the wrong gear!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thinking about Calls

I've enjoyed how Brian and Kent taught Follow Your Neighbor, and also what Butch Adams added to it. Follow Your Neighbor was one of those Plus calls that I learned haphazardly and did unthinkingly. Here's my take on the call: it's a lot like Scoot Back and Fan the Top.

Here's the CallerLab definition:

FOLLOW YOUR NEIGHBOR - Starting formation - Box Circulate. TIMING - 6

Dancers facing in release hands with the person next to them (their "neighbor") and step straight forward, join adjacent forearms with the one they meet, and turn three-quarters (270°) to become centers of a new wave. At the same time, the dancers facing out follow their "neighbors" by moving forward in a three-quarter looping turn (270°), turning towards their "neighbor" to finish adjacent to their "neighbor" as the ends of the new ocean wave.

When done from right-hand boxes, the dancers facing in turn by the right hand and the dancers facing out loop around right-face, to finish in a left-hand ocean wave. When done from left-hand boxes, the dancers facing in turn by the left-hand and the dancers facing out loop around left-face, to finish in a right-hand ocean wave.

Here's my take on it: the Leaders do their part of a Scoot Back then Roll.

The Trailers do their part of a Scoot Back but Cast Three-Quarters rather than do a Turn Thru.

And that's the end of the call!