Call of the Month: January, 1993


by Barry Leiba

I'll start this column by thanking the many of you who've commented to me about my column. I write the column with the hope that it will entertain you, make you think, and make your dancing more enjoyable as a result. I'm always eager to hear what you think of it, and I'm also eager to get suggestions for future topics. Please keep your input coming; talk to me about it at dances, or send me a note. You can send electronic mail to leiba@watson on BITNET (use leiba@watson.bitnet from CompuServe or other Internet systems), or you can send paper mail to my address in the Times Squared membership list.

Now on to CROSSFIRE. CROSSFIRE is one of those calls that can be done from a number of formations but is usually seen only from one (in this case, two-faced lines). Let's have a look at the definition...

  • Ends CROSS FOLD while the centers TRADE
  • Those who traded either step forward to form mini-waves with those they're facing, or else remain as a couple if they're facing no one.
When we start from a two-faced line, we end up in a box; normal parallel right-handed two-faced lines finish in a pair of boxes -- a right-handed column. That's what we're most familiar with. Perhaps the easiest variation is to start in a tidal (grand) line. For instance, heads LEAD RIGHT and all VEER LEFT, then AS COUPLES HINGE. We're now in a tidal right-handed two-faced line (and we have to remember to stay on our own sides of the center). CROSSFIRE from here will give us parallel right-handed waves. If we start by having the heads LEAD LEFT and all VEER RIGHT, then AS COUPLES HINGE, when we CROSSFIRE we'll get parallel left-handed waves. The left-handed version might feel a little strange, but it's still not anything too different.

Let's try something significantly different from the standard position. Heads LEAD RIGHT, all PUT CENTERS OUT (carefully). Now we have inverted lines, where the heads are the ends, facing out, and the sides are the centers, facing in. If we start CROSSFIRE from here, we'll have the ends CROSS FOLD while the centers (PARTNER ) TRADE, putting the ends and centers facing each other (we're in eight chain formation). As we finish, the sides (the ones who traded) step forward into waves with the heads, and we wind up in parallel waves—not in a column, as we did when we started in two-faced lines. If we'd PUT CENTERS IN (rather than OUT), we'd have done the same thing and ended the same way (exactly the same way, in fact; everyone would be in the same place). The traffic pattern, however, would not have been as good; having the ends CROSS FOLD when they're all facing in is a bit awkward, but can be done.

What about lines where everyone's facing the same way? Sure... heads PASS THRU and SEPARATE, go around one to make lines. All PASS THRU. CROSSFIRE: while the sides CROSS FOLD, the heads TRADE, and we're in DPT formation. The heads were the traders, so they step to a wave with those they're facing. But they're facing the other heads—so the heads make a wave in the middle, and we finish in ¼ tag formation, all with original partners.

If the lines are facing, we have the awkward traffic pattern I mentioned before, and we also invoke the unusual part of the rule for the centers. From our ¼ tag, let's EXTEND THE TAG and have the heads RUN. Now we're in facing lines with the boys in the center. CROSSFIRE from here. The girls will CROSS FOLD (it's tight!) while the boys TRADE. Now, since the boys aren't facing anyone, they simply remain as a couple, taking a small step ahead to give the girls some breathing room, and we finish in completed DPT formation.

Finally, what happens if we start CROSSFIRE from waves? The answer is something that you'll never see at Plus, because it involves an oddly-offset formation. From a squared set, let's have heads LEAD RIGHT, all TOUCH, and the centers TRADE; we have waves with the girls in the middle. Now when the girls TRADE and the boys CROSS FOLD and we stop there, we have a strange formation: the girls are holding right hands and are facing their partners. The side boys are in the middle, but they're not holding right hands—they're offset so they can see each other as they look back over their right shoulders. When the girls step forward to make mini-waves with the boys, we finish with the girls in single-file down the center (all lined up), holding their partners by right hands in a sort of zig-zagged pattern. We can't do much with this at Plus, but it has interesting possibilities at Challenge. Let's resolve the square, rather than leaving it in this mess:

  • girls face right & all adjust to diamonds
I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to work out how CROSSFIRE from a tidal wave ends—Challenge dancers will recognize the triple boxes when they're done.

(Printable Version)

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