[Callers] Thoughts on "Gents' chain"
laleaf at verizon.net
Sun Oct 9 19:33:10 PDT 2011
I teach the courtesy turn before I teach the dance. In contra lines, I have dancers allemande right their neighbors "and don't stop. " Then I instruct the women to put their free hand in the small of the gents back--voila! It's a courtesy turn for a gents chain. I make a big point of telling the women that if they are unsure of the move, think allemande right and the rest will fall into place.
On Oct 9, 2011, at 6:17 PM, tavi merrill wrote:
> I've noticed that Gents' chains are rather infrequent in contras, and i
> started asking "why?". Chaining the gents(/men/bands/leads) opens up new
> flow opportunities with star R, more intuitive circle R, et cetera. Why do
> we use them so little?
> After a year or so of mulling on this, i think it's due first and foremost
> to confusion! While ladies' chains are ONLY ever done by the right hand,
> some dances call for a gents' chain by the right, while others call for a
> gents' chain by the left. If the gents give left hands, then a REVERSE
> courtesy turn (reversed promenade hold) is required.
> Last night i danced Gene Hubert's "Triskadekaphilia". The caller made no
> effort to explain the reverse courtesy turn. Looking up the dance online, i
> noticed that in his choreography, Hubert makes a distinction between "gents
> chain" (by the left, which necessitates the reverse courtesy turn) and
> "gents do a ladies chain" (by the right).
> EITHER WAY, most dancers need to be oriented to the unfamiliar mechanics of
> the role reversal when ladies(women/bares/follows) give their partner or
> neighbor a courtesy turn or reverse courtesy turn, especially in the latter
> case. I think if we callers are a bit more attentive to the difference
> between the two, and take the time to clarify it in walk-throughs, gents
> chains of either stripe could be much more familiar and user-friendly to the
> dancers and, becoming more common, open more choreographic and programming
> opportunities for us.
> "Tavi" Merrill
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