On Jan 7, 2019, at 9:26 AM, Jonathan Sivier via Callers 
<callers@lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
>   Back in the 1980's, when I first encountered dances with this figure, the 
> term "Box Circulate" hadn't been coined as far as I know. I've only been 
> hearing that term fairly recently (which could easily be 10 years or more I 
> suppose, I don't know when it was first used).

The terms "Box Circulate" comes from modern western square dancing.  Clark 
Baker's database of square dance calls


dates it to 1968.  (Box Circulate is a variant of an 8-person call "Circulate", 
which Clark dates to 1963.)  The first use of the Box Circulate action (but not 
the name) that I know of in contra dancing was in Steve Schnur's dance "The 
24th of June", which I believe Steve wrote in the early 1980s.  I don't know 
whether he got the figure from MWSD or whether he developed it independently.

> Back then the term I heard most often for this figure was "Rotate".  The 
> original poster was asking for a term to use while calling that was a bit 
> less cumbersome than "Box Circulate" or even "Circulate".  Going back to a 
> more compact term used in the past seems like a reasonable idea.

I believe the name "Rotate the Set" is a coinage of Larry Jennings.  I don't 
know whether Larry was aware of the existing term "(Box) Circulate".  If he 
was, this is one of the unusual instances where I'd question his judgment.  I 
don't think "Rotate the Set" is any more suggestive of the action, and it seems 
gratuitous to invent a new name simply to avoid using terminology from MWSD.

The usual terminology I remember from the 1980's was something "Men [or gents] 
cross; women [or ladies] loop" (or vice versa, as appropriate), which uses more 
syllables but is IMNSHO fr more suggestive of the action than either "Rotate 
(the Set)" or "(Box) Circulate".

As for dancer misunderstandings of the action, the most common one I've noticed 
is that some dancers will cross the set and apparently feel compelled to turn 
around and face back in, as if that's the obvious--or even the only 
possible--right thing to do.  Another thing that can happen is that an original 
in-facing dancer may not cross the set at all, perhaps on account of the 
adjacent dancer retaining a handhold too long.


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