[Callers] Circle left 3/4

James Saxe jim.saxe at gmail.com
Thu Jun 6 16:08:00 PDT 2013

On Jun 6, 2013, at 12:19 PM, Chris Lahey wrote, on the subject
of getting dancers to complete the sequence "circle left 3/4,
pass through" in 8 beats:

> Could you prompt the pass through with more emphasis?  Maybe
> 5 - 6 - circle - left - 1 - 2 - three - quarters - pass - through -  
> 7 - 8?
> Or perhaps even "pass through now" with the now being on the 6 beat?
> Or emphasize the balance beat so people realize they're late.

I think that this sequence is one for whihc it can be useful to
prompt a figure--namely "pass through"--with the last beat of the
call falling earlier than the beat just before the first beat of
the action.  Specifically, I often time the words "pass through"
so the word "through" falls on beat 4 of the circle, not beat 6.
You can hear some examples of other callers doing the same in
these videos:

      (Steve Zakon-Anderson calls a contra medley at the Concord
      Scout House.  Notice his timing on the third sequence in
      the medley, Lisa Greenlef's "After the Solstice", wich
      starts around 5:40.)

      (Maggie Cowan calls "Black Bird in the Night" by Don

The idea is that if you say the word "through" by beat 4, it will
implicitly encourage slow circlers to pick up the pace.  If you
say "pass through" on beats 5 and 6, it's already too late to help
any dancers who haven't already gotten their circles turned 3/4 of
the way around by the time you say "through".

You could also try to explain the timing during the walk-through,
either by using numbers of beats (six to circle left 3/4; two to
pass through), or just by remarking that the time dancers have to
circle left 3/4 and pass through is the same time that some dances
allow for the circle 3/4 alone, so they (dancers) had better
make the circle a little brisker than they might expect.  Beware
that when you speak in declarative sentences or ask dancers to
picture a move that they're not doing right now (e.g., talking
about the timing of the circle while dancers are lined up after
the walk-through and waiting for the music to start), there are
likely to be some who won't be paying attention or who won't be
able to visualize whatever part of the dance you're blabbing
about.  On the other hand, a few dancers who already the basics of
timing might pick up on your words and be a little more attentive
about politely (I hope) helping their less experienced neighbors
to be on time.

It can also be helpful to have music that clearly telegraphs
when it's coming around to the first beat of the figure after
'Pass Through".


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