[Callers] Re Improper

John Sweeney info at contrafusion.co.uk
Mon Oct 10 02:02:29 PDT 2011

I am afraid I have to disagree with some of the previous answers.
Improper is a position, not a formation, and yes, you can have a single
couple improper.
If you line up as couples, all facing the music, with the lady in the
man's right hand then all the couples are proper.  So all the men are in
one line and all the ladies are in the other.  So "proper" is a
formation as well as a position, since there can be no confusion about
where anyone is.
But if you want some couples to be improper then you have to specify
which ones are improper.  The most common improper formation is a duple
minor (hands four from the top) and first couples improper.  This is
such a common formation in contra dancing that contra dancers use the
term "improper" to mean this formation.  So, OK, yes, it is a formation
- as long as you are working in a community which uses the term that
way.  But there are contra dances where the first couples are proper and
the second couples are improper (the short name for this is "indecent").
You can also have triplets or triple minors (hands six from the top)
where only the first couple is improper and the other two are proper, or
where only the second couple is improper.  I call one dance where all
three couples swing their partner, but the first couple has to finish
improper and the other two couples proper.  There are four couple dances
where the second and fourth couples are improper, or where the third and
fourth couples are improper.
So "proper" is unambiguous. But if some couples are "improper" you do
have to explicitly state which couples are improper.
            Happy dancing,
John Sweeney, Dancer, England   john at modernjive.com 01233 625 362 &
07802 940 574
http://www.modernjive.com for Modern Jive Events, Instructional DVDs and
Interactive Maps
http://www.contrafusion.co.uk for Dancing in Kent

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