[Callers] Analysis of Stars

John Sweeney info at contrafusion.co.uk
Wed Mar 14 02:04:25 PDT 2012

My experience is the exact opposite.  I have never felt any discomfort
in a box star, but often have problems in a hands-across star. In a
hands-across star you can often get your hand gripped uncomfortably by
the person opposite, or yanked off-centre by them, or it devolves into
an uncomfortable lump in the middle, especially when someone decides
that the two pairs of hands need to be joined (they don't) and uses
their thumb to clamp all the hands together.
I was taught this a long time ago:
Rule #1: Everyone has the right to get on the dance-floor and have fun
without getting injured.
Another key rule is:
Always start at zero tension and build up to the minimum that you need
to execute the move.
For example, when you start an Allemande you don't need any tension
other than that necessary to hold your hand up in the air. It is only as
you gain angular momentum that you need to tense up to counter the
centrifugal force, keeping your body in the same relative position and
your hand in the middle.  The tension should increase steadily and
equally so that you maintain a good counter-balance.
Another good example is the box star. You just gently hook your hand
over the person in front.  You don't apply any pressure in any way; you
just hook your fingers so that you are connected to the person in front.
During the star, IF you feel the need to hurry the star, YOU have the
OPTION to speed up and pull the person behind you a little faster.  If
anyone in the star feels uncomfortable as the star speeds up they can
just straighten their fingers so that their hand slides off.
Too many dancers use unnecessary force.  They need to learn that it is
about technique, not strength.  And if you are leading a lady into
twirls or swing variations then a strong lead is about clarity, not
about strength.
As callers I believe we should all slip a couple of brief hints into our
calling every time we call.  There are always newcomers at events, so we
can direct the hints to them in the hope that some of the "experienced"
dancers will pick them up.
            Happy dancing,
John Sweeney, Dancer, England   john at modernjive.com 01233 625 362 &
07802 940 574
http://www.modernjive.com for Modern Jive Events & DVDs
http://www.contrafusion.co.uk for Dancing in Kent
From: Don Veino <sharedweight_net at veino.com>
>From an earlier post - I also abhor the "wrist hook" allemande. When I
encounter that I always attempt to shift to a hand grip. Failing success
on that I simply let go. It can do a real job on your tendons, not to
mention the sweat factor... :(

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