Call of the Month: January, 1992

Facing Couples vs. Ocean Waves

by Barry Leiba

Before we get into this month's topic, I want to explain the peeve I expressed in last month's column. Why is it illegal to call RECYCLE right after DO-SA-DO? The answer is that, regardless of what you might often do, DO-SA-DO does not end in ocean waves, but rather in facing couples. At the Mainstream and Plus levels, RECYCLE is only legal from ocean waves. There is an Advanced call called RECYCLE that's done from facing couples, but it's actually not related to the RECYCLE that's done from waves. The proper way to call the sequence would be "DO-SA-DO, TOUCH (or step to a wave), RECYCLE".

This brings up the question of when it is or isn't legal to blur the boundary between facing couples and ocean waves. Why can we say DO-SA-DO, SWING THRU, but not DO-SA-DO, RECYCLE? The answer is in the following Callerlab rules:

Facing Couples Rule:
Some calls that normally start from an ocean wave can also be done from facing couples. In that case, the dancers first step into a momentary right-hand ocean wave and complete the call—unless the caller specifically directs a left-hand call, in which case the dancers step into a momentary left-hand ocean wave and complete the call.
Ocean Wave Rule:
Some calls that normally start from facing couples can be done from a wave. In that case, the dancers have already stepped forward toward each other and are ready to complete the remaining action of the call. This rule also applies when calls that start from two facing dancers are called from a mini-wave.

If the definition of the call does not say from facing couples only or from ocean waves only, then these rules apply (the definition of RECYCLE at Mainstream says from ocean waves only). So let's look at this in some detail. We're used to doing things like SWING THRU from facing couples, and we often do TURN THRU from waves. What about some calls that are a bit less obvious?

SPIN THE TOP from facing couples is pretty easy; it's very similar to SWING THRU. What about FAN THE TOP? That one's a bit harder because the beaus (the dancers on the left) have to pass by the dancers they're facing, while the belles (those on the right) must cast ¾ by the left. The beaus move up and hook onto the end, and we end in a wave. Be careful on this one, since the beaus tend to want to grab the belles and cast with them, and that will mess everything up. The proper thing to do is to step to the momentary wave first, with just a light touch (no death-grips here), and so it's important to be alert.

Similarly tricky are calls like LOAD THE BOATand PASS THE OCEAN from ocean waves. Suppose we hear LOAD THE BOAT and we're in a grand wave. Think about stepping back out of the grand wave into facing lines, and then you'll see what you have to do. The two dancers on each end of the grand wave need to walk around the outside past three dancers and then face in. Note that the first dancer whom they pass is the one whose right hand they hold. It's very easy to forget to count that person, since you pass by him or her so quickly. The four dancers in the middle of the grand wave have a similar problem: the first PASS THRU is very quick—just step through the wave and don't try to go any farther. Then face out, PARTNER TRADE with a new partner, and PASS THRU to finish the call.

Now let's do the same thing with PASS THE OCEAN from waves. Remember that the initial PASS THRU is very quick! In fact, it works best if you never let go of the person with whom you hold left hands. So for the centers, it just feels like a HINGE. The ends step forward, face in, and step to a wave. If you dance Advanced, you'll recognize the action as the same as LOCKIT. So the key to doing facing couples calls from ocean waves is to be careful not to try to go too far for the first part of the call. Remember that you're half passed thru already.

Finally, let's go back to the point about DO-SA-DO ending in facing couples. Even though most of the time it's followed by an ocean wave call, you can get ripped up if you're not careful. Think about these:

  • DO-SA-DO, CENTERS TRADE (it's the center couple who trades, not the girls, and you end in starting double pass thru formation).
  • DO-SA-DO, BOYS RUN (end in a right-handed column, not in two-faced lines).
  • DO-SA-DO, CENTERS CHASE RIGHT (well, you can't even do it if you make the wave).

For those who dance (or who are learning) Challenge, how about IN BLOCKS, DO-SA-DO?

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