Like Erik, I emphasize the loop-around as a critical part of the move.  Presuming the preceding move is an 8-count move and there's no short 4-count move that needs to be called, I use the entire preceding 8 beats to prompt the start of the hey before it needs to happen.  I call the general move "Hey for four" and also pre-call the descriptive details for how it starts. (I teach the hey emphasizing that as the Robins start passing right, the Larks' first move is to slide over into the right-hand position, and then they'll follow the Robin through the weaving (and of course, vice-versa if it's a left-shoulder hey)).  Then I continue to pre-call each piece of the hey while the preceding piece is taking place, in 4-count chunks.  Feels like patter calling because there's no stopping:

CAPital letters indicate calling on the downbeat, with emphasis. lower-case calls are like pick-up notes for the following downbeat:

Starting the call way back on beat 9 of the preceding part does not seem to be a problem for the dancers.  They finish the move they're doing (often swinging) and the extra thinking time helps them end that move and face across to start the hey on time.  I've never had anyone start the hey early because the beginning of the call came so early.

-- Diane

On 2/28/2020 1:30 PM, Erik Hoffman via Contra Callers wrote:

One of the problems with calling heys and this type of timing is the *WHILE* problem:

   While a pair is passing in the middle, someone is looping at the end—a sort of “ghost” pass. New dancers often abruptly about-face actually cutting off the path of the next person they’re supposed to pass, and often try to pass with the “other” shoulder.

   Here’s the Robins (we’ve switched) as the Larks:

                Robins             WHILE             Larks

        Robins pass Right                    Larks Loop Left (often replaced by a “pause”)

Robins pass Larks by Left         Larks pass Robins by Left

Robins Loop Left                       Larks pass Right

Robins pass Larks by Left         Larks pass Robins by left

Robins pass Right                    Larks Loop Left

Robins pass Larks by Left         Larks pass Robins by left

Robins Loop Left                       Larks pass by Right


Again, it’s that X Passes while Y Loops that often leads to problems. Thus, if the teaching didn’t click, when I notice this problem as I watch the problems dancers have I might start calling to those dancers who are doing the “about-face” and call “Loop to the Left (or right) to pass Left (right) Again.”


Erik Hoffman


From: Jeff Kaufman via Contra Callers <>
Sent: Friday, February 28, 2020 6:50 AM
To: Katherine Kitching <>
Subject: [Callers] Re: actual timing of calls for hey for four


I don't think there's anything special about they hey: always cue things so that they start on the beat after you finish speaking.


You might find "ravens left" etc works better than "ravens pass left", being shorter.  Otherwise it's hard to get all the words out.




On Fri, Feb 28, 2020 at 6:06 AM Katherine Kitching via Contra Callers <> wrote:

hello - first time posting to this list so i'm sorry if I do it wrong (looked in archives and couldn't see obvious answer)


 I am going to teach and call my first dance with a hey this Saturday.. (ie tomorrow)


our group takes things slow so i'd like to cue every interaction for the first few times, as our previous caller did.... I don't know how common this is but our previous caller would actually say--


 ravens pass right

neighbours pass left

larks pass right

partners left

ravens pass right

neighbours pass left

larks pass right 

 partner balance and swing


I'm wondering if someone can clarify for me about delivering the calls for this hey....normally of course I deliver instructions so the last bit of instruction ends on the beat prior to the figure starting.


But in the case of the Hey, if I remember correctly the caller actually called out  the actions *as* they were happening.... 


Am I remembering correctly and if so is this the best approach?


In essence-- do I start by calling "ravens pass right" just before they do it, or while they are doing it?


thanks muchly :)


Katherine Kitching in Hfx NS Canada 

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