On Mon, Aug 22, 2016 at 8:18 AM, Luke Donforth via Callers
<callers@lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
> Hello all,
> I've been thinking about glossary dances, and building vocabulary for new
> dancers. I'm curious what your favorite dance is for teaching a ladies chain
> for a crowd of mostly new dancers? Or if you don't have a specific dance,
> what do you look for in a dance to make the chain as accessible as possible?
> Just a chain over? Or a full chain over and back?
> Chain to neighbor? Chain to partner?
> What move best precedes the chain to set it up?
> What move best follows the chain that still helps new dancers succeed?
> Other factors you consider?

Definitely for the first introduction to courtesy turn, just one chain
("half chain") and with neighbor.

My choice of dance depends on the crowd and what issues they are
having, and whether the beginners have enough experienced neighbors to
help them. For instance, sometimes they struggle to end a swing or
courtesy turn on the correct side. Entering a courtesy turn from a
swing (or long lines) is fine even if dancers don't end on the
left/right correctly. Going from courtesy turn into a ladies allemande
or do si do is also fine if they don't end on the left/right

One thing that occurred to me while pondering left hand stars was:
what happens if the courtesy turn doesn't end on time but 4 beats
late? How forgiving is the next move? With some figures like forward
and back, or ladies allemande, it's easy to see what's going on and
skip ahead. With left hand stars, though, it *looks* like it's easy to
see what's going on, but there is a temptation to join in the star
wherever (disorienting for what follows, usually progression) or dash
madly to get into the right place (stressful). Or the whole star is
late. And it's not intuitive to many dancers (even experienced) where
they need to join into the star; it's less familiar than, say, a
circle. And I've also seen dancers struggle with letting go of the
star to find the next neighbor.

As you've said, I think there are choreographic needs that could be
filled here - there is a common sequence that looks like
4. chain to P
5. ladies allemande/do si do 1
6. P swing
which it would be great to do with neighbors instead.

Here's a suggestion - I'm ready to believe Bob (or another
choreographer) has written it already:

A1: slice left to meet new N; ladies chain to N
A2: ladies allemande right 1; N swing
B1: down the hall, turn as couples
B2: circle left 3/4; P swing

Yoyo Zhou

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