[Callers] Triple Minors in the Midwest

Chris Page chriscpage at gmail.com
Sun Feb 10 23:55:54 PST 2008

A few notes from an English Country perspective -- I've
called this several times at our ECD dance, and thought
vaguely about doing it sometime at a contra dance.

The version I mention is our local ECD version. Not sure
how widespread that interpertation is.

On 2/10/08, Jerome Grisanti <jerome.grisanti at gmail.com> wrote:
> B1: Six go forward & back (the original manual says "balance all six" but

This's be an eight beat balance, which seems more common back
in those days. The way I've been taught to teach it is with two step-swing
balances (step on right foot, swing left foot over right, step on left foot,
swing right foot over left).

> Page describes this as four steps forward and four back, not the two step
> balance common to modern contras),
>      Circle six halfway round (until the ones have traded places and are
> proper, three are above and twos below, improper).

If the circle bulges here, then the ones are out of the way for the twos
and threes solo.

> B2: Inactive couples go forward and back (up and down the set),

I've seen two step swing balances here, facing neighbor. I've also seen
one balance facing partner, then one balance face neighbor.

>      Same four right and left thru (to end proper)

As we do it in ECD, it's two changes of rights and left. (Two changes
of a square through.)

> I did not use the associated tune; the band did play a New England-style
> tune rather than a midwestern old-time tune.

The music for it is great. (You can also hear and see the dance in
the latest movie version of Pride and Prejudice -- it's the last dance in
the early dancing scene.)

> I probably allowed the sets to be too long -- I had two lines each with four
> minor sets. In retrospect, it would have been better to have four lines each
> with two minor sets, or even six sets of four couples each.
> In the walkthrough, I emphasized that the ones know who they are and thus
> can help lead the others in the stars and also in the forward & backs. I
> forgot to explicitly tell the ones how to get out at the bottom, so there
> may have been some stranded couples at some point.

Yep. This is where the ones really earn the name "actives" -- they need
to drive the dance and let the twos and threes know who they are.

> The good feedback:
> 1. The inactives never played the active role in the walkthrough and thus
> and found it confusing to do the first time they were actives.

Usually when teaching a triple minor I tell couples waiting out at the
top to watch the ones while they're waiting. And not to watch the first couple
below them that's trying to stagger through the dance, but a couple lower
down that's figured things out. (And then of course prompt when a new
couple starts at the top.)

> My own assessment:
> 1. Circling six halfway was a challenge for many; lots of groups were
> over-rotating. I began to prompt "circle just halfway, till the actives
> trade places" and it seemed to help some.

Everyone's across from their partner at this point, not just the ones.

> 2. Folks seemed to rush through the B2
> 3. I wonder if it would have helped to teach the right and left thru as a
> square thru two places. Or just to prompt "right and left thru, now face
> up," since the problem really was that the threes often watched the set
> below during the A1 stars.

Typically at this point I call, "Ones face down, others/everyone else face up."

> 6. Nobody moaned about "no partner swing." Thank God.


> 9. Forgetting to talk about the end effects at the bottom was my bad,
> probably related to all the faces expressing confusion during the first
> walk-through, so I should probably have all my teaching points on a written
> checklist.

Yep. Right now my schtick is "At the bottom, you've got three choices.
Number one: Dance with a ghost couple. Number two: just trade places.
Number three: Spend the rest of the dance wondering Why You've Never
Getting Back In. I recommend one of the first two options."

I really need to condense that, though.

> 10. I will try triple minor dances in the future, and they will go better,
> and people will find a place in their hearts for these figures. Maybe even
> the lady with "the look."

Good luck. I'm looking at triple minors, but more of the highly-active ones,
and worrying they'll be too difficult for today's contra dancers.

-Chris Page
San Diego
(who's lucky enough to have a band happy to learn Money Musk for the end
of March)

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