[Callers] Grid Contras: dancing across the lines (Calling Choreographic geniuses)

Chris Lahey clahey at clahey.net
Tue Jan 10 06:24:27 PST 2012

tl;dr: Making it a double progression wouldn't get the couple out of
the corner, but at least they would be dancing all the time (albeit
with only two different neighbors and not if they started out at the
bottom.)  The only real fix for mixing it up is to have the dance
change from repeat to repeat.

I really like your idea for having a grid contra but it runs into the
same problem as grid squares in that if the movement is regular,
there's going to be a pattern that repeats.

In any dance, the ones progress in one direction and the twos in the
opposite direction.  In your dance, the ones progress down and to the
left* and the twos progress up and to the right.  Specifically, you
have a single progression, double transgression dance.  (If you did a
single transgression, you'd have a full line out every other repeat of
the dance.)  When you hit any of the four edges, you switch from being
a one to being a two.  Therefore the path of any particular couple
follows a line and then follows that same line backward.  If the line
of progression is diagonal, there's going to be a couple in each
corner with a very short line.  Note that in your dance, the couple in
the very corner is out every other time and 3 couples near them will
be out every fourth time.

If you make the dance be double progression as well, you still have
the same problem of some people having a very short line, but at least
they would be dancing all the time.  Except for people that start out
at the bottom who would still be out every other time.  Also, the
folks at the top that keep switching direction would only get two
different sets of neighbors.  Their neighbors would have some variety,
but would be with them every other time.  People in the middle of the
set would have 2 * number of sets different neighbors who would
repeat.  They also never go very far up or down the line.

I think the solution to these problems, as in a grid square, is to
change the dance.  Have a variation which progresses the ones to the
right instead of the left.  For example, change A to:

1. Petronella (no extra spin)
2. Balance, pass across twice.
3. Ladies alamande L 1.5
4. N sw

I don't love it and I know it makes the pass across thing worse, but
you can use this or figure out some other way to make it progress the
other way.  Note that it can't have ones progressing right and up or
they just become twos.

Now, you change it up.  Sometimes you call one and sometimes you call
the other. You try not to do it in any pattern because patterns will
lead to things repeating.  For example, if you switch it every time,
the people on the edges will switch between being ones and twos every
time through the dance.  One pattern you could do is just to change
the number of times through each time.  Try and make it different from
both of the last two times.  Start with the first maybe three times
through, then do the other twice, the first once, the second four
times and so forth.

If you did this and didn't add the double progression, you would get
people being out once or twice, but then moving away from the eddy in
that corner.

The dance you described as Beckett's crossing is double progression
double transgression.  It has the same problem of the corner couple
only getting two different neighbor couples, but you'll note it has
the fix I described of having two polymorphs, although in this case,
it switches whether you progress up or down instead of switching
whether you progress left or right.

I need to study this with math instead of intuition and then write it
up.  So fascinating.  Let us know if you come up with a version that
progresses on the other diagonal and let us know how it turns out.


*In the above, left and right always refer to an absolute left and
right as if I'm looking down on the dancers from above.

On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 15:58, Tepfer, Seth <labst at emory.edu> wrote:
> Chris Kermiet has a fun dance called "Becket's Crossing" that is a 'grid contra', eg, you PROgress up and down the hall and you TRANSgress across the hall. I've called this dance for years and enjoyed it. (Dance included at bottom).
> However, for years I have yearned to have a dance that did this in someway other than simply 'pass through two' which felt choreographically cheap. Perhaps I am a snob. More likely, I just wanted to have my own 'grid contra'. I have tried many times over the years, never fully successfully.
> I came the closest with this latest version:
> Title: Transgression
> Author: Seth Tepfer
> Formation: becket, grid contra (numerous lines, mostly equal length)
> A1: Balance the ring, spin one place to the right and turn a little more to face a new line; balance the ring, pass through
> A2: Gents allemande right 1.5; neighbor swing
> B1: Gents pass left for half a hey, ladies allemande left (break the hey) and partner swing
> B2: Long lines forward and back; circle left 3/4, pass through up and down
> Notes:
> Notes:
> *When the initial spin puts you facing a wall, do a CA twirl to face back in.
> *When hitting a wall, just like when being out at the top or bottom, you will change direction.
> *Yah, this has a pass through also. I feel choreographically cheap.
> Folks said that this dance worked for the ones in the middle. The folks in the top and bottom said they kept getting spit out. So, with 5 lines, we had 10 couples who were in, then out, then in, then out. No fun for them.  I have parsed this and used coins, and cannot see how this is happening. I must be missing something obvious. However, I received this feedback from multiple couples, so I suspect it is true.
> The obvious fix for this would be to make it double progression (while single transgression). One simple solution would be:
> B2: Long lines forward and back; with the couple on the left diagonal, circle left 3/4, pass through up and down
> However, since I can't see the problem, I'm worried this isn't fixing it.
> I'm hoping the many brilliant minds on this list will have some insights
> Thoughts, comments, suggestions, smart remarks?
> Title: Becket's Crossing
> Author: Chris Kermiet
> Formation: becket, numerous lines, mostly equal length
> A1: Left diagonal, right and left through, straight across right and left through
> A2: Ladies Chain over and back
> B1: Shadow* allemande left, partner swing
> B2: straight across, pass through two (lines); long lines forward and back
> Notes:
> * Shadow is person on gents left, ladies right (or, at ends, across from you). It may not be the same person every time.
> **When doing this dance, most everyone will travel all over the set. There are two eddies: the top right corner and bottom left corner. Folks there will get stuck, and everyone else will come visit them. That is as it should be. To correct this, change the "Left diagonal" to "Right diagonal" which will swap the eddies to the top left and bottom right. Alternatively, abandon the 64-bar form, and change up the 'pass through two' with 'pass through 4' or even 'pass through six'.
> ***Note that I may not have gotten the order exactly right. It might actually start with A2, I don't right remember, exactly.
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