Call of the Month: March, 1994

Once is not enough

by Barry Leiba

This month we're going to talk about doing the same call twice in a row. You'll see that sort of thing occasionally when a caller says "SWING THRU... double!" What could be easier?

Well, most calls act like SWING THRU does, when you do them twice. That is, it's easy to do and it has some choreographic use for the caller (it moves the dancers around). But there are calls that are choreographic zeros when done twice (the dancers end up back where they started), and there are calls that are quite tricky to do twice in a row. In the former category are some obvious ones that you see often during basic class and at Mainstream dances: TRADE, RIGHT-AND-LEFT THRU, FLUTTER WHEEL, LADIES CHAIN (and the equivalent REVERSE FLUTTER WHEEL), SCOOT BACK (which is choreographically the same as TRADE). As it happens, the new Advanced quarterly, CHISEL THRU (from the C2 list) is in this category also. You'll most often see these calls done twice in basic classes, when the caller is making sure that the class knows the calls, and in singing calls, when the caller might use "SCOOT BACK... SCOOT BACK again" to take up the right number of beats of music before a SWING and PROMENADE.

What's more interesting (didn't you guess?) is the other category. What could make a call difficult to do twice in a row? Well, if the call changes the formation, it's very important to reevaluate things before you go on for the second time. Be sure to find your new partner and make sure you understand whom you're working with. We can look at the simplest of the calls in this category by starting in normal facing lines and doing SLIDE THRU twice. It's something you've all done: you SLIDE THRU with the dancer you're facing, and now that dancer is your new partner and you're facing your old partner. Then you SLIDE THRU with your old partner, and you end up as though you'd done RIGHT-AND-LEFT THRU. In order to do that successfully, you had to see that the second SLIDE THRU was not done with the same dancer you did the first one with. Let's look at a harder example of the same idea.

Look at the grand line in the diagram. [Diagram: TWICE WHEEL AND DEAL from grand line] We're going to do WHEEL AND DEAL twice from this line. For the first one, you'll be working with the people in your own line; couple number 1 will WHEEL AND DEAL with couple number 2 (who are on the right, so they'll go in front). We'll end up in two-faced lines. Now, for the second one we have new lines, and couple number 1 will work with couple number 4 for the second WHEEL AND DEAL. Don't be fooled by the diagram; this is difficult to do on the fly. Remember always to pay attention to which part of the formation you should be working with for the call. Plus dancers, think about PEEL THE TOP twice, starting in parallel left-handed waves. This one is not easy, and I bet most of the Advanced dancers couldn't do it if it was called at a dance!

Another thing that can make it difficult to do a call twice is if the call is in a different formation for the second one. Advanced dancers see this often when they do CAST A SHADOW twice—if they started in waves, the second one starts from a two-faced line. Let's look at an odd one at Mainstream. From waves, let's WALK AND DODGE twice. Well, the first one is clear, and we end up in couples back-to-back. So what about the second one? Well, everyone's a leader, and leaders have to dodge, so everyone has to dodge! It winds up working like a half-sashay; the belle slides across in front of the beau, and we finish in couples back-to-back again. Not obvious? No, but it can be done. Think about heads LEAD RIGHT and all PASS THE OCEAN twice. The first will end in a tidal wave. For the second, you'll have to apply the ocean wave rule and think about stepping back. Now you can do a second PASS THE OCEAN (which will feel like LOCKIT if you dance A1) and end in parallel waves. Let the Plus dancers think about FOLLOW YOUR NEIGHBOR twice. What makes that difficult?

So remember: after every call you must establish your partner and be aware of your formation, and that's especially true when you're told to do a call twice—it's easy to expect something that's not right in that case. With that in mind, let's give a couple more nice challenges. For the A2 dancers, try starting in a tidal wave and doing SPLIT COUNTER ROTATE ¼ twice. Where do you end up? For the C1 dancers (and anyone else who's willing to try doing their own parts from a weird formation, and keeping in mind what I said in a recent column about ROLL), start in right-handed waves and do SCOOT BACK AND ROLL twice. What happens?

Let's answer the first two questions, about PEEL THE TOP and FOLLOW YOUR NEIGHBOR now, and give people a month to think about the others. [Diagram: TWICE PEEL THE TOP from LH waves] Remember that FOLLOW YOUR NEIGHBOR (without a SPREAD) ends in left-handed waves. So the first one is right-handed and the second one is left-handed. You'll really get confused if you don't realize that. The trick to the PEEL THE TOP is to remember that it's a box of four call, and not to try to do it with the dancers in your wave. Then for the second one, you have a new box of four, and the handedness has changed from left to right. Be sure to reevaluate things. The diagram will show you how it works. We'll look at the answers to the other two quiz questions next month.

(Printable Version)

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