[Callers] Anyone know a dance that has Contra Corners with 4 Corners?

Erik Hoffman erik at erikhoffman.com
Sun May 19 19:39:46 PDT 2013

First of all, I agree with Jim below: be careful of presenting dances 
that are a struggle for a large number on the dance floor.

Second, as mentioned, in the Pat Shaw dance, Walpole Cottage, dancers do 
visit all four corners, and the music fits that.  In my reduction of 
Walpole Cottage, Walpole Dollhouse, active dancers only visit two 
couples.  It would be possible to modify it so that dancers visit all 
four in the minor set by requesting a 40-bar tune, such as Little Billy 
Wilson (AABCC), or The Snoring Mrs. Gobiel (AABBC, I think), and 
others.  Here's the dance and it's modification:

Walpole Dollhouse
3 face 3 Sicilian Circle
by Erik Hoffman -- mostly lifted from Pat Shaw's Walpole Cottage

A1    Lines of 3 forward & back (8)
          End four right hand star (8)
A2    Middle people turn contra corners with two in opposite line
          End taking the "shortcut" (beeline) home to (original) lines of 3
B1    Circle six half way
          Lines of 3 forward and back
B2    Threesomes basket swing, end facing original direction

To modify it to visit all 4 corners, simply add a part (that 40-bar 
tune) and stick the two more corners in the third part:

A1     Same
A2     Same
B1     Next two contra corners
B2     Circle & F & B
C1     Basket Swing

This dance is very forgiving, as it doesn't really matter which corner 
people go to.  And the basket swing at the end is a chance to forgive 
all and start again.

~erik hoffman
     oakland, ca

On 5/19/2013 6:19 PM, James Saxe wrote:
> Aahz Maruch asked re Ron Buchanan's "Contra Corners Canon"
> (or "Country Corners Canon"--I've seen both spellings and
> don't know which one Ron prefers):
>> That sounds awfully similar to the Plus-level square dance call "Teacup
>> Chain", do you have a reference so I can check?  ...
> and Yoyo Zhou replied:
>> It's probably similar in timing / phase shift but there are some 
>> differences:
>> teacup chain has the inactives at the sides (rather than the corners)
>> teacup chain has the ladies active (rather than the heads)
> Also, CCC has pairs of "active" dancers always turning
> in the middle in between turning one corner person and
> turning the next corner person. In Teacup Chain, the
> ladies go into the middle after turning head gents but
> they go directly from the side gents to the head gents
> without going into the middle first.  So CCC is not just
> TC rotated by 45 degrees and with some of the gender
> roles changed.
> I've seen "Country Corners Canon" work well and give a
> dancers a feeling of accomplishment when presented by a
> skilled teacher to a suitably skilled and attentive
> group of dancers, such as might be found at a workshop
> session at a dance camp.  But I strenuously urge against
> trying to present a square of this complexity to any group
> of dancers until and unless you (the caller) have a proven
> track record of calling more moderately challenging
> squares to similar groups of dancers with good results.
> On page 59 of his book _Give-and-Take_, Larry Jennings
> relates an anecdote to which he gives the title "Ambitious
> Caller Meets Cocky Dancers."  The dance sequence in the
> anecdote is not named, but from the description, I think
> it's almost certainly "Country Corners Canon."  (I suggest
> that the identity of the caller in the story, if anyone
> happens to know it, had best be left unstated.)  The scene
> Larry describes is not pretty:
>     A few people found it exciting and rewarding to figure out
>     such a difficult figure ...  Others, finding it hopeless
>     ..., just entered into a random walk and appeared to have
>     a good time.  However, there was an appreciable number who
>     struggled to understand the figure and, when they could
>     not, took on an air of resignation, and in fact, many of
>     them went home.
> Unfortunately (in my opinion), when something of this sort
> occurs in a community where most of the dances are contras
> and where some of the dancers already have negative feelings
> about squares, I think many of those dancers are likely to
> interpret the incident as further indictment against squares
> in general.  On the other hand, if an overly complex contra
> (say, one with surprising end effects, unusual out-of-minor
> set interactions etc.) fell apart, those same dancers would
> think only that that particular dance was too confusing, or
> that it was a poor choice for the occasion, or that the
> particular caller had taught and called the dance poorly.
> --Jim
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