Tom Fromm writes:
13. TURN BACK FAMILY:
(a) U TURN BACK: Starting formation -single dancer. The dancer does an in-place about-face turn (180°), turning toward partner unless the body flow dictates otherwise. If alone (i.e. no partner), the dancer turns toward the center of the set. If the dancer is facing directly toward or away from the center of the set, he may turn in either direction.
(b) GENTS OR LADIES BACKTRACK: Starting formation -single dancer. The dancer does a U turn back by stepping out and turning away from partner or the center of the set.
STYLING: Arms in natural dance position.
TIMING: 2 steps.
I will start by teaching U-Turn Back first. I will start with a SS. I will tell them that they have been doing this call all along, but I have been just telling them to do it in a different way. I will then tell them the name of the move, and give them the definition. I will point out that they should turn toward their partner, unless the way they are "moving at the time" makes them turn another direction.
One thing I've done that I felt the dancers liked was: Heads pass thru and U-Turn Back. Now sides pass thru and U-Turn Back. Join hands and circle left. Ladies In Men Sashay. AL & Promenade. It momentarily got them on the "wrong" side, and got them used to being "mixed" around.
I will wait a couple of weeks before I teach Backtrack. While standing in a SS, I will tell them that when I say for someone to "backtrack", that I want the dancers that I direct to turn away from the center of the circle. I will start by having them single file promenade CCW. While I have them promenading, I will have the girls turn to their right, step out and start walking. I will then tell them this is backtrack and tell everyone to keep walking. While they are walking, I will tell them to go around till they meet the partner the second time. I will have them swing their partner when they meet the second time and promenade. I will next do the same with the boys doing the backtrack.
I will then have the girls backtrack, and when they meet the partner, turn with a right arm, look for the corner and allemande left. I will have the boys backtrack also, and do something similar. I will try to use a variety to make sure we all have it. I will also use backtrack from single file promenading clockwise, having both sexes take a turn at the action. One other thing I done is, have them single file promenade CCW. Then have the ladies backtrack and weave the ring. (It is important to get the command out quickly.) or say the next time you meet your partner, weave the ring.
Keeping in mind, that a column is nothing more than a circle, a lot of things can be done to add variety. push the dolls around and make plenty of variety for the new dancers.
Mike Gormley Writes:
When I teach U Turn Back I emphasize the direction in which they turn is very important. I insist that they not just turn around in any direction they feel like, but to do it turning towards their partner or towards the center of the set. I point out that if they don't, they will be forming bad habits for calls later in square dancing in which they will not be in position to perform. (U turn back and roll....if you turn the wrong way for the U turn back, you will not be correct after the roll).
Karen Robinson writes:
The teaching tips are valuable to me too, as a dancer. I just realized I habitually U-Turn back toward partner. I'll pay more attention in future to see if there is any body flow I need to pay attention to. I don't remember being taught that little nuance. (Could be I just don't remember).
Which reminds me to mention. Callers/teachers should keep in mind that most people don't RETAIN 100% of what they are taught. When you're dealing with nuances like this (U-Turn Back body-flow considerations), it's probably necessary to re-teach/ re-emphasize more than once....not just in the lesson you teach U-Turn Back. And of course call some sequences wherein the body-flow aspects can be demonstrated as contrasted with the "normal" U-Turn Back (towards partner).
Clark Baker Writes:
A discussion of U Turn Back and which way to turn has taken place. At Advanced and Challenge, U Turn Back and Roll is always towards your partner and, after the Roll, end in people back-to-back. I think it would be unwise for callers to start calling U Turn Back and Roll when turning towards your partner would be against body flow.
Mike Gormley Writes:
This is a good reason why new graduates and dancers within a few years of graduation should come to the class to Angel . I have been dancing for 18 years, and some of this stuff I don't recall either. It never hurts to angel for another club, too, assuming they have another instructor who explains things in other ways. Also this is a reason for new callers to hold off on teaching until they have danced and Angeled for a few years.
Gene Turner writes:
You are right about the importance of not forming bad habits. I was taught, many years ago, by a caller who insisted that the U-Turn back always meant for everyone to turn towards the partner. Boy, what an eye-opener when years later I found the words, not often emphasized, in the definition, see the emphasized words I speak of in the definition below.
UNLESS THE BODY FLOW DICTATES OTHERWISE.
The thing that brought it home to me was during a Plus dance when the following calls were utilized from a R/H two-faced line: "Wheel and Deal, U-Turn Back and Roll..." Well, part of the square was in L-H mini-waves, part were in L/H two-faced lines. That was when the caller had to workshop "U-Turn Back" from the Basic list even though it was during a Plus hash (It has happened to us all)
Lauren den Hollander writes:
Have I learned this call wrong, I am teaching it the wrong way? Now I am totally confused.
What happens when dancing . . . . single file promenade . . . . ladies backtrack . . . . when you meet partner... etc.? Usually, after the ladies have done their U Turn Back away from the center all dancers continue (the boys did'nt even stop) the single file promenade - boys CCW and the girls now CW - until the next call. I danced it that way sinde I learned the call many years ago and now I teach it that way. Is this correct and according the definition? Or should the caller repeat the call single file promenade if he wants the dancers to continue the promenade? Which is done e.g. in . . . Circle Left . . . Ladies in, Men Sashay . . . Circle Left . . .
Or do I have to dance/teach it this way: When Backtrack is called then the previous call (e.g. single file promenade, star promenade) is finished and all dancers stop promenading. Then the directed dancers do their Backtrack which is finished after 2 steps and all execute *the next call*. Which, IMO, is not an automatic continuation of the call before Backtrack in case that was a single file promenade.
I was at a dance in Sweden last year where the caller used Backtrack from other formations than Promenades. I don't remember which formations, I don't remember the caller, so I can't ask him/her. But it was very interesting and for most of the dancers a big surprise to do a Backtrack when not in a Promenade. So we had to do a little workshopping learning U Turn Back/Backtrack! I remember very well that the Backtrack we did from ..?.. was only 2 steps! Some ideas?