Tom Fromm writes:
36. OCEAN WAVE FAMILY: Ocean wave is a formation of three or more dancers holding adjacent hands and with each dancer facing in an opposite direction to that of the adjoining dancer(s).
MINI WAVE is an ocean wave consisting of two dancers.
(a)RIGHT HAND WAVE: An ocean wave with an even number of dancers is a right hand wave if the end dancers and the dancers adjacent to them have right hands joined.
(b) LEFT HAND WAVE: An ocean wave with an even number of dancers is a left hand wave if the end dancers and the dancers adjacent to them have left hands joined.
(c) ALAMO STYLE WAVE: Alamo style is a formation of an even number of dancers in a circle holding adjacent hands and with each dancer facing in an opposite direction to that of the adjoining dancers.
(d) WAVE BALANCE: Starting formation -mini-wave, ocean wave. Each dancer steps forward and pauses while bringing the other foot forward and touching it to the floor without transferring weight. Each steps back on the free foot and pauses while touching the other foot beside it.
STYLING: Dancers should use hands-up position. Forward distance between dancers should be determined by the arm position of the dancer which is extended forward and bent slightly at the elbow. Care should be taken not to pull down on the partner's arm. In the Ocean Wave Balance, hands should never come behind the shoulders. Step forward touch, step back touch. Or, as a pleasing variation, use a two-step (step, close, step, hold) forward and a two-step (step, close, step, hold) back. Hands may be used to resist forward motion to prevent stepping through too far.
TIMING: Once balance forward and back, 4 steps.
This is a move, that I feel gets passed over too quickly. I really don't think it is looked at so much as a move, but rather a formation. So when I get to this move, I start by "showing" the formation of a Right Hand Ocean Wave.
To do this, I will have the heads square thru from a SS. I tell them that when we pass thru, we are passing right shoulders.(I will use this time to reflect on the passing rule, but not to be side-tracked.) I will tell them that I want them to only pass thru 1/2 way, and stop. I will tell them that when they are 1/2 way they will be standing shoulder to shoulder with the one they are looking at. When I get them there, I will say for everyone to put their hands up like in a hold up on TV. I will tell them to touch hands with the dancers beside them. Now I will get them into a comfortable position, in case someone thought I said "reach for the sky".
I will stop the music, and tell them that this is a NEW FORMATION for us. I will point out that every other dancer is facing opposite directions. I will tell them that we call this formation an Ocean Wave. I will have them take a good look at the formation and the tell them that we go on to call it a Right Hand Ocean Wave. I will point out that all of the dancers are using a right hand, and some are using both. I tell them that when we are all using a right hand, it is a Right Hand Ocean Wave.
Now, before we get out of this wave, I will ask them to all do a U-Turn Back. I have them put their hands up and make another ocean wave. I explain to them again about ocean waves, and tell them that this is a Left Hand Ocean Wave. I show them WHY it is called left handed. I don't expand much at this point on left hand things.
I will get them into an 8 - chain position, and have them "step to an ocean wave". I will cue them like I did about 1/2 a pass thru, and the "hold up" thing. I will get them into waves severaltimes, but won't put a lot of effort in left handed at this point. I won't teach them any thing new from waves for this lesson. I will however have them think about the arm turns that we normally do. I will tell them that we can do arm turns from here, but our arms are just in a funny position. I will have them trade, swing thru (directionally only), and if I feel they can handle it, I will have them spin chain thru, (once again, directionally of coarse). I will make sure that I have them sashayed, and only one couple sashayed, when I have them step to a wave. I will make a point to tell them they won't always go to the same spot. Later in the same lesson, I will "show" them mini waves. To do this, I will simply get them into waves, then ask for the very center dancers to identify themselves. I will ask them to be careful and keeping hold of the person on your left hand, the centers step apart. I will tell them that this is a form of an ocean wave, and we call it a MINI WAVE. To avoid confusion while trying to get them back together, I will just have them square the set. At home, I will have them face their partner, and make a RH mini wave.
I will wait at least a week before I teach Alamo Waves. I want to be sure we understand waves first. It may be necessary to re-teach waves the next lesson. I will teach "balance" from waves, before I teach Alamo Wave.
When I am going to teach Alamo Waves, I start with a SS. I tell them that we are going to look a little deeper at Waves. I tell them to do an allemande left with the corner, but keep hold of that corner. Now I say with your right hand, take an arm hold with your partner, but still hold your corner. At this point, I have them stop, but keep the hand holds. Now I have them slide their hands up like we have in an OW. I tell them that this is what we call an Alamo Style Wave. I point out how every other dancer is facing opposite directions. (Right or wrong, I inform them about the hand hold at this point. I say that while hands up is perhaps the "proper" style, I am concerned about your comfort. If it is more comfortable to take arm holds, or have your hands low, do so. I also tell them that very, very seldom do I see anyone use hands up in this set-up.) One thing that I like to do the third or so time I have them in an alamo wave, is to have the boys circle left, and the girls circle right. It gets lots of laughs and is a good time to go to a singer.
When I present balance, I read them the definition for that part. I stress that it is important to use all the time up that we allow for that move. I point out that we go forward, touch, then back, and touch.I will do this from waves and mini waves. When I teach alamo waves, it is easily taught from there. I had only to call it.
Al Stevens writes:
I like your approach to teaching the "formation" of Ocean Waves (it really is a formation and not a call....you can't say Heads Ocean Wave and expect action). I take a different approach to it by having the dancers recognize the formation and by having them, from facing couples, shake right hands, and the "new wave centers" touch left hands, adjust the hand-hold so the fingers are pointed up to the sky, I explain that all four dancers are "connected" by the hand hold and there should be enough room between you and the dancer you're holding for someone to "duck-walk" thru (the term duck-walk is synonimous with "water" as "ocean waves" are). I will explain that I want them to (without releasing hands) to take a half step forward (until they are shoulder to shoulder) and step back again, practicing this "balance" in time with the music. I then explain that from where I am standing, it looks like "waves" out on the "ocean" and when they balance back, they are in position to "see" any right hand call that may come their way. I prompt this by using do sa do once and a little more touch palmsand balance forward and back.
I find that one of the biggest trouble spots with the "family" is the use of movements like right and left thru after a wave balance, caused by the act that it is difficult to find a facing couple if you are shoulder to shoulder. It is almost impossible to box the gnat without major distortion to the square as well, however if the dancers recognize the fact that an ocean wave is an offset formation (by definition), they can more easily see the coming calls.
Bill Horst writes:
A very thorough presentation. I like that you get your dancers into a RHOW and then have them do a U-turn and show them a LHOW.
In thinking about RH and LH waves and the general discussion of waves on here recently I thought of a question and couldn't answer it myself. Perhaps others on this list can. I know if I have a wave of 4 dancers (or any other even number of dancers) whether I have a RH or LH wave. What if I have a wave of 3 dancers? It seems as if one end dancer is holding only right hands and would think it is a RH wave. The other end dancer is using only his left hand and would think it is a LH wave. This seems like an Escher drawing, ie quite a paradox. Who out there can shed light on this conumdrum?