Call of the Month: January, 1994

Rolling Along

by Barry Leiba

Some time ago, we had a look at the Plus call ROLL. It's time to have another look. Perhaps you were at the dance over the summer when Betsy did a workshop on ROLL. With any luck, her workshop and this column will reinforce each other as we talk about some of the tricky things about the call.

Most of us first encounter it as TRADE AND ROLL, and sometimes the caller adds to face to help us out. At this basic level, ROLL is simplicity itself—your body is turning, so you just keep turning an extra ¼. What could be hard about that? Indeed, most of the times you'll ROLL it will be as easy as that. But there are three main factors in making it trickier. We'll look at them one at a time.

First tricky bit: the preceding call is one in which some dancers finish earlier than others. In this situation you must remember to ROLL as soon as you've finished your part of the call. If you wait until the other dancers are finished, you'll have lost your body flow and you won't know which way to turn. Consider SWING THRU AND ROLL from normal right-handed waves. Everyone turns ½ by the right. The new ends are done with the call, while the new centers must still turn ½ by the left. The new ends should immediately ROLL (to the right, in this case) to face in. Not convinced? Think about SPIN CHAIN THRU AND ROLL from those same waves. After the initial right-hand turn, the new ends are done, but the centers still have to CAST ¾, TRADE in the very center, then CAST ¾; to finish. Would you really remeber your body flow after you waited for all that? Remember: know when your part of the preceding call is done, and ROLL immediately at that point.

Second tricky bit: the preceding call has you working as a couple with another dancer. In calls such as RIGHT AND LEFT THRU, WHEEL AND DEAL, and RECYCLE, you're working with another dancer and you have to remember to let go and ROLL by yourself. ROLL is an individual call (unless the caller tells you to ROLL as a couple), so don't try to hang on to your partner, because it will throw you both off. As a quiz, what are the resulting formations for these calls?

a. From lines facing out, WHEEL AND DEAL AND ROLL.
b. From right-handed waves, RECYCLE AND ROLL.
c. From facing lines, RIGHT-AND-LEFT THRU AND ROLL.
d. From right-handed two-faced lines, BEND THE LINE AND ROLL.
e. From facing lines, BEND THE LINE AND ROLL.
Answers later in this column. Remember: always ROLL individually, letting go of any dancers you were working with in the preceding call.

Third tricky bit: cases where not all of the dancers can roll. This is perhaps the hardest situation, because it's seen so infrequently and because the caller isn't always accurate about it. The important thing to note here is that ROLL is a those who can call. Your body must be rotating at the end of your part of the preceding call; if you did not move, or if you ended the call by stepping straight ahead, then you can't ROLL. In particular, you can't ROLL if you just did a PASS THRU, a TURN THRU, or a CIRCULATE that did not involve turning any corners. The rare times you'll see this at Plus involve mostly SCOOT BACK and ZOOM, so let's look at them. In SCOOT BACK, the leaders SPLIT CIRCULATE while the trailers EXTEND and TURN THRU. Now, when the leaders do their circulate, they're turning a corner—they're turning halfway to the right if we start in right-handed waves. So the leaders can ROLL, facing the spots they just left. The trailers end with a TURN THRU, which has them stepping straight ahead, so they do not ROLL. We'll end in a strange formation that's called a t-bone, which isn't very useful at Plus. So SCOOT BACK AND ROLL from waves does not end in eight-chain formation, and from columns it does not end in facing lines. That said, you can expect that most callers at the Plus level will be expecting everyone to ROLL if they call this. My advice is to adjust as necessary, keep dancing, and discuss it with the caller later.

Let's look at ZOOM AND ROLL; this one's more straightforward, and I've never seen a caller expect the wrong thing here. Start from the standard starting double-pass-thru formation. The leaders (centers, here) will turn away from the center and loop back behind the trailers, turning a full turn. Their extra ¼ turn for the ROLL will put them back-to-back on the ends. The trailers, meanwhile, step forward into the vacated spots. There's never any turning motion, so the trailers clearly do not ROLL, and, again. we end up in a t-bone (but we can get out of this one easily enough by having the new centers TOUCH ¼, for example). Remember: if you finished your part of the preceding call with no turning motion, you do not ROLL. Also remember that this is very rare at Plus.

Hint: Any time you ROLL you get a new partner! Remember this, and immediately establish your new partner by taking hands. For instance from a squared set, have the HEADS SQUARE THRU. The heads are now partnered with their opposites and are facing their corners. Try TRADE AND ROLL twice from here. If you're a head, the first trade will be with your opposite, and the roll will leave you facing your opposite with your corner next to you. Take hands! The second trade will be with your corner, and you'll roll to face your corner and you'll have your opposite next to you again. If you don't establish your new partner, you're apt to try to work with the same partner you just traded with (whom you're now facing), and you'll have all sorts of trouble.

So what about the quiz? Well, here are the answers:

a. From lines facing out, WHEEL AND DEAL AND ROLL ends in left-handed waves.
b. From right-handed waves, RECYCLE AND ROLL ends in left-handed waves.
c. From facing lines, RIGHT-AND-LEFT THRU AND ROLL ends in a right-handed column.
d. From right-handed two-faced lines, BEND THE LINE AND ROLL ends in a left-handed column.
e. From facing lines, BEND THE LINE AND ROLL ends in double-pass-thru.

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