Call of the Month: August, 1991


by Barry Leiba

Everyone knows ZOOM. ZOOM is an old friend and it's something we do without really thinking about it. Most of us, however, have never ZOOMed from any position except starting double-pass-thru. You know the sort of sequence: PASS TO THE CENTER; ZOOM. Can we ZOOM from other positions? You bet.

Any box of four can ZOOM. We can be in any sort of column or line and we can ZOOM. The key lies two sentences ago—any box of four. ZOOM is a split call—you do it in your half of the square only (a caller who says "centers ZOOM" is giving you a little extra help but is being technically incorrect; "centers only, ZOOM" is a perfectly valid thing to call, as we'll see later). In that sense, ZOOM is akin to WALK AND DODGE, SPLIT CIRCULATE, and CHASE RIGHT—you must remember to stay on your own side of the square. Then apply the rule for ZOOM: leaders (in each split) do the loop back, trailers step forward into the vacated spots.

Let's look at ZOOM from a right-handed column first, since you might have seen that. Start from a squared-up set, heads LEAD RIGHT, girls U-TURN BACK. We have a column. If we ZOOM from here, the girls are the leaders, so the girls will loop back behind themselves and the boys will step ahead into the girls' old spots. Everyone ends up facing in the same direction as they were before; we still have a right-handed column.

Now what if the boys U-TURN BACK? We're in eight chain formation, and everyone's a trailer. If we ZOOM from here, everyone steps forward—it's the same as PASS THRU. It's still no problem, but it'll probably take a bit of thinking to decide what to do. We're left in trade by formation, with the sides facing out and the heads facing each other in the center. ZOOM again. Watch out! Everyone's a leader, so everyone's going to loop back (a caller ought to say carefully when calling this). Remember to pass right shoulders to avoid having to pick your friends up off the floor. When the dust clears, we'll have the same eight chain formation that we had two ZOOMs ago.

Now that we've seen that, look at the standard ZOOM formation, starting double-pass-thru. Strictly speaking, one can call "centers only, ZOOM" from here. In that case, the centers would work with each other; the ends would do nothing. It would be the same as telling the centers to PASS THRU. In practice, one would never call that because it's too common that "centers ZOOM" is used to cue the centers to start the action but to work with the ends. Besides, since PASS THRU has exactly the same effect, the only reason to call "centers only, ZOOM" would be to try to trick the dancers.

What about lines and waves? From our eight chain formation if everyone veers left and does a half tag the line, well have waves and we can try ZOOM again. Remember that now we're not working with the others in our wave, but we're working in split boxes of four. The heads are in the middle and the split is between them. So now the boys are the leaders and will loop back, staying on their own side to avoid a collision in the center. The girls are trailers and will step ahead. If we use the same rules we can ZOOM from two-faced lines (remaining in two-faced lines), facing lines (it's like a PASS THRU), or back-to-back lines (again, everyone loops so be careful). If you want something to play with, try ZOOMing from the three-and-one lines that we looked at last month.

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