Tom Fromm writes:
16. LADIES CHAIN FAMILY:
(a) TWO LADIES CHAIN: Starting formation -facing couples (man on left, lady on right). The ladies step forward, extend right hands to each other and pull by. Each mansteps forward and to the right, turning left to face the same direction is the lady beside him. The lady extends a left hand to the man for a courtesy turn. Couples end facing each other.
(b) FOUR LADIES CHAIN: Starting formation -square or circle of 8 dancers. Similar to two ladies chain except that all four ladies step to the center and form a right hand star. They turn the star halfway around to their opposite men. All courtesy turn to face the center of the set.
NOTE: TWO (or FOUR) LADIES CHAIN THREE QUARTERS:
Starting formation -facing couples, a square or circle of 8 dancers. The directed ladies step to the center, form a right hand star and turn the star three quarters. All courtesy turn to face the center of the set.
(c) CHAIN DOWN THE LINE: From a right hand line or left hand ocean wave, centers trade while ends adjust as necessary. Then the ends courtesy turn thecenters. Ending formation is facing couples.
STYLING: Men release partner then turn right shoulder slightly toward the center of the square to begin the courtesy turn portion of the call, step back with the left foot. Ladies use handshake pull by for two ladies chain. No skirt work except as part of the courtesy turn. Three quarter and four ladies chain, ladies use the hands up palm star, touching right hands in the star pattern. It is important that the man clears a path for receiving the lady after the chain by moving slightly to the right and starting the courtesy turn motion before the lady arrives.
TIMING: SS, two ladies across set, 8 steps; three quarters, 10; four ladies across
set, 8; three quarters, 10; down the line, 8.
I break this family down into three different lessons, separating each by a couple of weeks. I first teach head or side ladies chain from a SS. This way, one couple can watch as the others perform. I will then have all four ladies chain. I will use 1/2 & 3/4 together, (one after the other) to keep them listening. Second, I will teach two ladies chain from lines & boxes. I won't teach Chain Down The Line, till they are comfortable with the chains from a SS. Later, I will have just the head or side ladies chain 3/4, from a SS.I mostly do this to make sure they understand 3/4, and to add/ variety.
When I am going to teach ladies chain from a SS, I will first tell them we are looking at a new move. I will tell them the name, and tell them it is a just combination of two moves we already know. I will say we are going to combine a star, with a courtesy turn. I will then have the ladies star by the right hand all the way back to the partner. While they are staring, I will tell the boys to give them a Courtesy Turn when they get back home. After they do that, I will point out to the boys that it may not have felt real smooth. I will tell them, that when I dance it, I take a small step forward and to my left, as soon as the girl leaves my side. I will tell them to anticipate the girl coming to them, by having their left hand reaching out for the girl. I will then have them do the same thing, and see if it feels better. I will tell the boys, that when we chain the girls, the courtesy turn is an automatic.
Then I will have them star 1/2 way around and let the opposite man Courtesy Turn them. I will alternate 1/2 & 3/4, till I get them back home. As it was quickly pointed out to me by Kathy, (my wife) a few chains and the girls get dizzy. That can be easily overlooked by the guys, as it was by me. BE CAREFUL! A couple weeks down the hall, I will use Two ladies chain from lines and boxes. I will be quick to point out, that this is where we are concerned about the center of the set-up, for the courtesy turn part. I will tell them that we will end up in the same formation as we started, but we will have traded the girls as partners. I will tell the guys that the girl they are looking at will be on their right when we are done.
In yet a couple more weeks, I will teach Chain Down The Line. I will start with a two face right hand line. I will tell them that this is where we will start, and when finished, we will be facing only the people in our two face line. I'll have them look to see who we are playing with. I will then walk them through it a couple times then practice for a tip. The next tip, I will show it from a left hand ocean wave. I will tell the man, that he will need to turn around to get in place for the courtesy turn. I will also tell them, when they finish, that they will be looking into the eyes of the person on their left hand. (SO TAKE A LOOK AT HER.) We will practice this the rest of the night, and I will re-teach the following week before I even mention it.
Just for fun, I will later have the head or side ladies only chain 3/4. I will tell the appropriate man that I gave him two girls. Now I'll have him roll her away, and all/ circle left.
Clark Baker writes:
I have two other Chain Down The Line ideas which I may have mentioned before. Set up r-h two-faced lines with same sex together (perhaps heads star thru; double pass thru; centers in; cast off 3/4; pass thru; tag the line, face right). Now get the ladies looking in (a Couples Circulate if necessary). Now Ferris Wheel and the ladies are in the center. Women Touch 1/4; Women Scoot Back; All Chain Down The Line (the women trade with each other and the men courtesy turn them to end in lines facing).
What I am doing here is extending the usual two starting formations for Chain Down The Line (l-h wave and r-h two-faced line) to a third in which the ends (men) are facing the women's shoulders. The women still have right hands with each other.
The other idea is to combine the dancers' knowledge of All 4 Ladies Chain 3/4 with Chain Down The Line to get Ladies Chain 3/4 Down The Line. I call this from one of several places: A R-H 1/4 Tag with women in the wave (actually a Single 1/4 Tag is the smallest place from which this can be done). R-H Diamonds with women in the wave. Facing diamonds with women in a r-h wave. In general, the dancers won't see the group of 4 in which they are working, and the women will try to do it with each other. I find that I have to walk this call before I first use it at any dance or weekend. However, having done that, I can continue to use it for the rest of the weekend. One way to prevent the women from working with each other would be to call it from point to point diamonds.
There are actually several other starting positions for Chain Down The Line. Several 3&1 lines also work. As long as the women are centers with a right-hand hook, and the men aren't in a trade by setup, it will work. Some sort of heads lead right; circle to a line; pass thru; end lady run right around 2 dancers; chain down the line might be interesting. Another idea I just had would be to combine Chain Down The Line with All 4 Ladies Chain. From a Thar with the women as centers (gee, how do you get there?), call All 4 Ladies Chain Down The Line or All 4 Ladies Chain 3/4 Down The Line.