Written by Tom Fromm
1. CIRCLE FAMILY: Starting formation -two or more dancers. (a) CIRCLE LEFT, (b) CIRCLE RIGHT. Dancers join hands to form a circle, face slightly left or right as directed and move forward around the circle the distance directed. When left or right is not specified for circle, it is a circle to the left.
STYLING: All dancers walk (dance) forward with joined hands, men's palms up and ladies' palms down, elbows bent comfortably so that hands are above the elbow.
TIMING: Standing or static square (SS) 8 people, full around, 16 steps; three quarters, 12 steps; one half, 8 steps; one quarter, 4 steps.
While it may be preferred or advisable to start from a "big circle", I will begin from a square. This will cover the first nighter that only has 1 square to work with. I would ask the new dancers to get a partner, and make circles of 4 couples each. I would then ask them to put the girl partner on the right side of the boy. At this time, I would (if the ratio demanded it, I would have pointed out earlier) say that if a girl is doing the "boy part" please remember that I am referring to you as a boy.
I would tell them, "with your hands joined in a big ring, circle to the left. (While they are walking, I would tell them to walk to the beat of the music.) I'd let them go about 3/4 around, then say "circle to the right, go the other way around. When you get back where you started, say HEY!"
At this point, I would give them the square ID. I would have them bow to the partner, then to the corner. I would have them wave to the person across from them. "The person waving back is your opposite." Then I'd have them circle left, (about 1/2) then back to the right, till you get back home.
I would have just the heads step ahead, and circle left 1 time around, and back out at home. Then the sides step ahead, and circle right 1 time, and you back out. I would go again, with the heads circling right 1/2 way, then the sides circle right 1/2 way. Then all back out and circle right 1/2 way till your back where WE started.
Then I would alternate with the boys or girls only stepping ahead and circling to the left and right. I would start by having each go a full time around. Then I would have girls only circle 1/2 way, and back out by your opposite. Then have the boys only circle 1/2 way, and back out by your original partner. Now EVERYONE circle 1/2 way, "and you should be home." (The direction of the second 1/2, should dictate the direction for the third time, to allow for body flow.)
Next I might have the (head) boys, and the (side) girls, step ahead and circle left 1/2 way around. Now the (side ) boys, and the (head) girls step ahead and circle right 1/2 way around. Back out by your original partner, and EVERYONE circle right till you get back home.
Now we have the dancers "dancing", and also listening. Now that WE are all back home, lets face our partner, join hands, and circle left 1 full time around. Now everyone turn around, and look at your corner. Join hands with your corner and circle left, 1 full time around. Say HI! to your corner, turn to your partner, and give her a wink.
Now we can have the heads step ahead, and with your OPPOSITE, circle right 1 full time, then back out at home. Now the sides step ahead, circle to the right 1 time around, back out at home.
At this time, we can have the head man, go over to the couple on your right, and circle to the left 1 full time. (Making sure that he ends up back to the center) Have the head man turn around, and circle (with that other boy) to the right. Go 3/4 of the way and back out by your partner. (I would count the 3/4 out so they got the feel of fractions without worrying about it.) Make sure we do this with the side man, so we all get to play.
At this point in time, we have only worked one call. It is really like several calls to the dancers. They have learned to listen, had fun, and lost all concern about "how many calls do we have to learn". They know who the partner is, who's the corner, and where the opposite is. If you do this, with the dancer in mind, you won't go to fast, but will keep them entertained.
I may or may not teach this all as one continuous segment. I may wish to introduce parts of the first 7 basics during the first tip. I would most definitely use all of these combinations, to help keep it interesting and make sure the dancers learn to listen on the first night. This would be simple enough to do, while having enough material to use for a singing call.
At the end of the night, I might have just the (girls or boys) or (heads or sides) turn around. Now like that, join hands and the (girls circle left and boys right) or heads circle left and the sides right). When they get back home, have them look at their partner, and circle left 1 time around. If you get them into an alamo ring, I wouldn't point that out to them. Why muddy the waters?
Carsten Rothland Writes:
STYLING: All dancers walk (dance) forward with joined hands, men's palms up and ladies' palms down
While telling / reading out that, you can stress that WHENEVER two or more dancers stand side by side, looking into the same direction, they use this handhold - unless... that comes later. :-) But that prepares the courtesy turn, here two dancers stand side by side, looking into the same direction and turning together... see? Boys left hand palm up, girls left hand palm down... there are soooo many people breaking their wrists while courtesy turning.