[Callers] Thoughts on "Gents' chain"

Lisa Greenleaf 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.

Lisa Greenleaf

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.
> Thoughts?
> "Tavi" Merrill
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