[Callers] Social Dance Club intro program

Kalia Kliban kalia at sbcglobal.net
Mon Feb 24 13:42:58 PST 2014

On 2/24/2014 12:34 PM, Grant Goodyear wrote:

> Here's a fun, silly dance with a piece count of 4:
> The Belles of Auburn (Roger Knox,
> 1958)<http://www.grantgoodyear.org/dance/programs/20121013.html#id1>
> Improper
>     A1. (16) N sashay down and back A2. (16) N bal & sw, end facing dn B1.
> (16) 4-in-line dn hall, turn as cpls, ret, bend B2. (16) W ch over and bk

It may be a problem only for experienced dancers, but I've had issues 
with an expectation of a circle following "bend the line."  I have 
another dance in my stash with a ladies chain following a bend the line, 
and though the dance was very simple it hiccuped every single time on 
that spot as the dancers started to circle, caught themselves, and then 
recovered way late for the chain.  I'd suggest altering the language a 
little.  Either "couples face each other," or something else that 
doesn't trigger that gotta-circle-left impulse.  Anyone else have this 
problem with this combination of moves?

>> How do I
>> prevent the whole thing from falling apart?
> It will probably fall apart at least once.  Smile, blame the caller, reset
> the dance, fix the problem, and run the dance just long enough for the
> dancers to feel comfortable with it.

And choose dances that _can_ be fixed.  Some are easier to repair than 
others.  When you're first doing longways impropers, it's great to 
choose ones where if the propriety gets screwed up you won't lose your 
progression.  Those "1s swing in the middle and make new lines of 4" 
dances can be really useful.  Washington Quickstep is the one I like for 
brand new groups who want to try contras but are still a little shaky on 
that whole "leave the lady on the right" business.  It has right and 
left throughs rather than a ladies chain.  More forgiving of propriety 
errors, especially if you teach the courtesy turn as "the person on the 
left backs up and the person on the right goes forward" and use a simple 
hand hold.

The whole issue of im/propriety is harder to grasp for new dancers than 
you might think.  They're trying to remember _everything_ -- what's a 
dosido, who's my partner, am I dancing the man's role, which hand do I 
give, which way is up, who are the 1s now..?  There's a lot of stuff 
that experienced dancers don't even think about anymore because we've 
oriented to the terminology and the general structure of the dance, but 
for new folks, it's all front and center.  The dances should be really 
smoothly constructed so that the moves flow well without needing any 
fudging or corrections.  The timing should be just right for the amount 
of music you have.  If a move needs 2 bars more than it gets, that will 
cause anxiety.  If there's way too much music, folks will likely just 
plunge into the next move without waiting.

> Especially with beginners, if the last dance didn't work all that well,
> then I try to make sure that the next dance is one that is likely to be
> much more successful.  (I keep a collection of guaranteed successful dances
> handy that I can pull out after abject failure!)

Oh yeah.  Gotta end with a smile!


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