Call of the Month: October, 1991

Spin Chain (and Exchange) the Gears

by Barry Leiba

Last month's discussion of replacing parts of a call reminds me of some trouble that many dancers have with SPIN CHAIN AND EXCHANGE THE GEARS. Just how far does one walk around and who leads the exchange? What does the caller mean when she says "turn the star only ½"?

First we'll give a name to that bit at the end. You know... when you've walked over to the other side of the square and the leader sort of flips around and the second person gets on the end and so on—we all know how to do it, but how do you talk about it? It's a C-2 call, and it's called WALK OUT TO A WAVE. So now we can define SPIN CHAIN AND EXCHANGE THE GEARS as follows:

  • Outsides (end and adjacent center) TRADE.
  • Centers CAST ¾; while the ends U-TURN BACK
  • Very center two TRADE and everyone form two stars.
  • Turn the stars ¾.
  • Very center two lead those in your star to uncoil the star into a column.

Note that this definition says nothing about the end facing out holding up a hand. We do that to help things move along, but the key is that after turning the star, the very centers are the leaders. You can now see how it would work if the caller told you to turn the stars less than ¾, or if it's called from other than the standard position (starting from right-handed waves with the boys on the ends).

Note that the call is exactly like SPIN CHAIN THE GEARS until after the stars have been turned. For both calls, you turn the stars ¾. It's common in SPIN CHAIN THE GEARS, especially from nonstandard positions (it's also usually called from waves with the boys on the ends), not to turn the stars enough before the centers grab each other and trade.

We can't end this month's column without doing something strange, so let's try SPIN CHAIN THE GEARS from two-faced lines. To set it up, heads LEAD RIGHT and VEER LEFT. Now SPIN CHAIN THE GEARS:

  • Outsides TRADE—that's a PARTNER TRADE in this case
  • Centers CAST ¾;, ends U-TURN BACK.
  • Very centers TRADE... check facing diamonds
  • DIAMOND CIRCULATE three times. Remember to pass right shoulders to circulate the facing diamonds.
  • Very centers TRADE.
  • Centers CAST ¾;, ends don't forget to U-TURN BACK

...and we're back in two-faced lines. Now have everyone CIRCULATE ½; and BEND THE LINE(as couples face in), sides FLUTTER WHEEL, and we're back home (until next month).

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