TEACHING HINTS AND ROUTINES

64. TAG FAMILY:

(a) TAG THE LINE: Starting formation -any line with an even number of dancers. FULL: Each dancer turns to face the center of the line. Taking a short side step to the left, each dancer walks forward passing right shoulders with oncoming dancers until he has walked past all of the dancers from the other half of the line. The call may be followed by any one of the directions In, Out, Right or Left. When this happens, dancers turn in place one quarter (90) in the direction indicated.

(b) HALF TAG: Like tag the line, except the dancers stop walking forward when the original center from each side of the line meets the original end from the other side. If started from a four person line, the ending is a right hand box circulate formation; from longer lines the ending is a right hand column formation.

STYLING:
Arms in natural dance position, hands ready to assume appropriate position for the next call. A flowing type of movement can be achieved by taking a slight step forward before turning toward the center of the line, thus avoiding the abrupt military type pivot.

TIMING: Facing lines with pass thru, tag the line full, 8 steps; three quarters, 7; one half, 6; one quarter, 5 steps. Two-faced line tag the line full, 6 steps; three quarters, 5; one half, 4; one quarter, 3. Partner tag, 3 steps.

Jim Penrod Writes
Note: At MS or Plus levels we do not use 1/4 Tag as a call. It seems that most callers do not spend enough time teaching and using the Tag the Line calls. It is recommended that when this movement is taught that both FULL and 1/2 Tag be taught from both Lines and Two Faced Lines. The session when the caller teaches the Tag movement, he/she should prepair routines AND singing calls using the movement. Don't be afraid to devote the complete session to practice.

Put the dancers either in a Line or Two Faced Line. Get them to locate the center of the Line. Tell them that they are to individually turn to face that center. (Here is where many dancers have problems because at one time they will turn left and another time right. Also, because they were in pairs before they turned, the trailing dancer seems to want to advance to be beside the lead dancer as a couple. They MUST stay in tandam.)

Once they have turned the 90 degrees to face the center, one method is to show 1/4 Tag by having the lead dancer step forward (extend) to a wave. Right now it is a formation -- not a call. Now have everyone to extend so everyone is in a wave. tell them that this is a 1/2 Tag. We do use this call at this level. Now it is up to the caller wheather he shows the 3/4 Tag by having the dancers to Extend again. If done, it should be pointed out that while we don't use it at this level, it will be used at Plus level. Have the dancers Extend once more. Now they have completed the call.

Most callers point out to the dancers how many people they meet and pass as leaders and trailers. This is a good idea. It will help some dancers.

There are many calls that can be used after Tag the Line. Nearly every one of them changes the dancers relationship. So the callers should spend some time becoming aware of these changes. Example, after the Tag if the call is face Right vs. Left the pairing will be different. Naturally if the call is face IN vs. Out, it will effect the next call as well as the pairing.

Tag the Line and 1/2 Tag the Line can be very useful commands to the caller to set up desired formation. But one should get to know the posibilities before using. Suprises for the caller is not the same as suprises for the dancers. Don't be afraid to use the calls. Just get to know them.

Tom Fromm writes:
Here is another call, that in my opinion, doesn't (in this area anyway) get enough exposure .The reason for that may be because it drastically changes the formation. When you add a facing direction after tag the line, it changes even more. When the formation changes like that, the dancers can get "lost", and maybe we as callers aren't comfortable with it. Perhaps some teaching tips and singing call figures here will get us using this call more. Here are a couple figures to get us started. The first one will work, but needs to be worked in the patter first. The "Lady Left/Boy Right" isn't just a face, but more like "go". While it isn't a good figure for teaching, it is the only one I have that fits the teaching order. I would say it is EA or workshop material at best. Push your checkers and have fun.

Heads Touch 1/4
Walk & Dodge
Slide Thru
Pass The Ocean
8 Circulate
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Tag The Line
Lady Left/Boy Right
Swing, Promenade
Heads Swing Thru
Boys Run
1/2 Tag
Walk & Dodge
Slide Thru
Pass The Ocean
Swing Thru
Turn Thru
Swing, Promenade

Dan Koft writes:
When I teach Tag the line the drill goes like:
To do a Tag the Line you
1) Note where the center of the line is and who are the ends
2) Let go of EVERY hand hold you have
3) Face the center of the line (end dancers, if a center faces you, point them the other way)
4) Walk forward passing the other dancers (it should take 4 steps)
5) Stop this is the end of this call

When this is called the caller often follows it with a facing direction as in Out, In, Right, or Left this is a separate direction and you then face the indicated direction.

When we get to 1/2 Tag I set up the lines, tell them the name and then verbally review tag the line (esp the 4 steps) then ask them What is 1/2 of 4 steps? (ans 2 steps)

So on a 1/2 Tag (the line) you start the same but stop after 2 steps instead of going the full 4 steps and then take hands.

At plus I review this again and ask what is 3/4 of 4 (ans 3).

Michaeil W. McMullen writes:
Just a reminder: the tag family is the basis for the call EXTEND, which was originally EXTEND THE TAG.