Call of the Month: March, 1992

Run, Fold, Bend, and Loop

by Barry Leiba

Sometimes the seemingly simplest calls may cause confusion. That seems to be true with the related set of calls which are the topic of this month's Call of the Month column. The first two, run and fold, are Mainstream level calls, bend is taught at the Advanced level, and loop is a C2 call.

There are two main areas of confusion for the call run. The definition of run is that the designated dancers (the boys, for instance, if the caller says boys run) go into the position occupied by their partners (in this case, the girls), turning around in the process. Those who are being run around must slide over to make room, taking the positions that the runners were in. They do not turn around. If they do, then we'll have done a trade instead of a run. Turning around when one isn't supposed to is the first problem. Remember: the runners change their facing direction; those who do not run do not turn around.

The second problem is that those who do not run often forget to move over to make room for the runners. At best, that'll make things tight while the dust settles. At worst, it will break the square down. So remember that everyone participates in a run; you either do the running or you move over to make room.

What about cross run? Well, note that one thing that happens in run is that the ends of lines (or waves; a wave is a special kind of line) become centers and the centers move to the ends. In cross run, those doing the running run to the opposite side of the same line. If you're an end and you're doing a cross run then instead of running to the center position next to you, you run to the other center position. In a cross run you must be careful not to collide with the other dancer doing the cross run. Most of the time that won't be a problem, since you'll be facing in opposite directions anyway, but that's not always true. Be aware of what's happening and use the right shoulder rule if you have to pass someone. And again, if you're not running, remember to move over to make room.

Some calls include run or cross run in their definitions. In the Advanced call mix, for instance, the centers cross run and the new centers trade. Often this is worded as “the ends slide together and trade”, but remember that the “ends slide together” part is part of the definition of “centers run”. If you think of it that way, you'll be less likely to get turned around the wrong way.

fold (and cross fold) is very similar to run, and here it's the differences that tend to confuse people. As with run, the designated dancers turn around, but here they do not take the positions of the other dancers. Instead, they stand in front of or behind them. It's sort of an interrupted run, where you start, but you don't quite go all the way and the other dancers do not move. At higher levels especially, it's important to suppress the urge to move forward when someone folds behind you. Hold your ground; if you're not folding, then stay put!

In the Advanced call bend, you do a little less than in fold. bend uses a folding action, but you only turn ¼ (rather than ½, as in fold). You still must remember to step ahead; when we have ends bend, the ends step forward, turn ¼ to face in, and then step forward again. Many dancers forget that last forward step, which is increasingly important as the dance level gets higher. The ends should end up nose-to-nose—close together.

The last call in the group is loop, and I mention it here for completeness, and to contrast it with run. At the C2 level, position is very important because you often do things based on dancer positions, even if some of the positions are empty. loop is similar to run except that you may loop around more than one dancer position, and the dancers (or ghosts) that you pass do not move over. For instance, from a static square have the sides pass the ocean. Note that the heads are lined up with the center two dancers in the wave. If we have the head boys run, then (because the head girls slide over) the resulting mini-wave is still lined up with the centers of the wave. If instead we have the head boys right loop 1, then the head girls do not move, and the heads are offset; the head girls are looking at the side girls' backs and the side boys are looking at the head boys' backs. Now if we continue and have the head boys right loop 2, then they go around the head girls and around one other (empty) dancer position so that they wind up facing the side boys directly, with a space between them and their original partners. So you can see how important it is at the Challenge levels to be very accurate about your position.

Let's get back to run to finish off. Here's one note: the aforementioned mix can be thought of as “everyone cross run” — the centers do it by definition, and the ends effectively do it when they slide over and then trade. The original centers become the opposite ends, and the original ends become the opposite centers.

And one last note: suppose we're in boy-boy-girl-girl waves and the caller says boys run. Usually we assume that the caller got the sexes screwed up, and usually we're right. But we can do the call as called — it's the same as boys trade. Do you see why?

(Printable Version)

The columns are copyright ©1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994 by Barry Leiba; for permission to reprint them, please contact the author. No request has been refused yet. Of course, you may print a copy for personal use without specific permission. You may contact the author by e-mail at "".

These columns were originally sponsored on the web by the IAGSDC on space provided by Glyphic Technology. In 2006, Tech Squares took over hosting. Some information in the articles might be out-of-date: remember that Callerlab continues to tweak the program lists and definitions.