Tom Fromm writes:
29. CALIFORNIA TWIRL: Starting formation -couple (man and lady). Partners join hands (man's right with lady's left) and raise them to form an arch. The lady walks forward and under their joined hands making a one half (180) left-face turn while the man walks around the lady in a clockwise direction one half (180).
Dancers have exchanged places and are both facing in the opposite direction from which they started.

STYLING: Men and ladies use loose hand grip. Outside hands in natural dance position. It is important that the man does not "wind" the lady. Man's hand should be used to stabilize as the lady provides her own momentum. It is also important that the man's hand remain well above the lady's head. Hands should be adjusted to normal couple handholds after completion of the basic.

TIMING: 4 steps.

When teaching this move, I start with everyone at home. I will have the couples take the normal hand hold, and take notice of the wall they are looking at. I will then have them look at the wall behind them. I will tell them that they will end, looking at the wall that is behind them. I also tell them that the person that is beside them at the start, will be beside them at the end, on the same side of them. I will tell them to look where each others feet are standing. I'll tell them, "you will be standing where your partner is, only facing the other direction". Now I will have them raise their hands, and form an arch. I'll tell them not to hold too tight, to allow for their hands to pivot in each others. I'll tell them that they keep the hands joined while doing the move.I will tell the ladies, that they are going to walk under that arch, while at the same time, the boys are going to walk around the outside. I tell them, after you have walked past each other, that you will turn to face that wall that was behind you, and take normal hand holds again. The first time thru, I will have them turn to face their partner after making the arch. Then I will have them pass each other as I had explained. Then turn to face that back wall. I will tell them that it is one smooth, flowing movement, start to finish. I will tell them we broke it down into parts, only for demonstration purposes. I will then read them the definition. At this time, I will also say that if someone is too tall to go under the arch comfortably, it is ok to let go of hands, but get the hand hold back as soon as possible. I will have them do it a few times with their own partner, then mix them with each other. I will use it a lot, from different places. I also like to have them do a california twirl, to an allemande left. I know that the girl is using her left hand twice, but it is a surprise LA, and they seem to enjoy it.

Lysle Shields writes:
While I agree as stated and that we normally think of CT as a gendered move, you can also make it non-gendered as follows:

Now why would I want to teach it this way. When you teach true DBD you MUST know every position. You Must know true DBD to dance at the higher levels. Also when you are teaching a square of say 5 ladies and 3 men. Dancers who truly know the move by definition and can do it without thinking are better dancers.

Andy Finch writes:
You made some good points about the DBD tech of California Twirl, but in the past, this move was so awkward to teach, for the dancers. I think that no matter who is doing the teach, and what type of description used, the dancers have way too much trouble re-learning this one after learning from the normal setup.

It teaches awkward, and dances awkward.

I call for some clubs that are of the same gender, male and female alike, and I don't even attempt it at thier level, which is somewhat higher than the normal. Isn't that the reason that partner trade was put into play.... so the California Twirl wouldnt kill anyone?? :-)

Lets drop California Twirl from the teach and dance list, and use Partner trade, DBD.

John M Allen writes:
Gender is part of the definition. You could make it non-gendered as you suggest, but you would have to change the definition of the call. There are several calls that refer specifically to gender. All of them are mainstream calls. They include Star Thru, Slide Thru, California Twirl, and Box the Gnat. (There may be one or two more that I'm forgetting.)

Now why would I want to teach it this way. When you teach true DBD you MUST know every position.

You also have to know the definitions of the calls and which ones are based on position and which are based on gender. California Twirl is (currently) a gender-based call. That's why we think of it as gender-based--even in DBD.

Dave Hass writes:
I have found that I have not been teaching California Twirl before Partner trade. But, are we deleting another call that can be used at ONS?

Michael W. McMullen writes:
Whoa!br> CT is one of the few calls that is gender specific by definition. While it is true a couple may be one of each sex or two dancers of the same sex, the author of CT (or the Callerlab definitions committee) has clearly stated in the definition, "Starting formation -couple (man and lady)", that is call requires one of each sex.

CT from same sexed couples and half sashayed couples cannot be executed at any level.

DBD means just that. It does not mean distorting the definition to fit a particular situation. Yes, it is preferable that folks who wish to dance the higher levels dance by definition. Those who do, would refuse to do a CA Twirl from half sashayed or same sexed couples. However, they will gladly do a Partner Trade.

If you have a surplus of men or women, the extra folks must assume the dance gender of the role they are dancing. In the example of 3 men/5 women, the 5th women assumes "boy" as her dance gender.

The "sexed" calls at MS are

Swing (boy facing a girl)
Courtesy Turn (limited to standard/normal couples at MS)
Star Thru (boy facing a girl)
California Twirl (couple (man and lady))
Box the Gnat(boy facing a girl)
Slide Thru (boys always turn Right/girls always turn Left)
Right and Left Thru (because of the Courtesy Turn restriction)
Right and Left Grand (boys travel CCW, girls travel CW)
Weave the Ring,
Wrong Way Grand
Ladies Chain (because of the Courtesy Turn restriction)
(at plus where it is legal to have girls or same sexes courtesy turn each other, there is no reason from half sashayed couples not to have the boys chain)
All Around the Left Hand Lady
See Saw (not the Left Shoulder Do-Sa-D)
Dive Thru (because the definition requires one of each couples and the CA Twirl)
Eight Chain Thru (because of the Courtesty Turn restriction)

Lysle Shields writes:
Sure we can alter the description of the move. we did it with right and left thru. The definition clearly stated when it was first written down that the starting position was facing couples. At that time we did not have Ocean Waves. When Ocean Wave came out a special case rule was added to the effect if a facing couple call is called and you are in an OW then proceed as if you have done the first part of the move.

What I am saying is what we all learned a long time ago regardless of your true gender you danced the gender associated with the position you were in. This was called Arkey It was a term applied at the very basic levels of square dancing.

My point is either allow changes to moves as in the case of CT or stick to the original descriptions of all the moves.

Look up the original descriptions of some of the moves and you might be suprised.

Classic question. from a static square, what is the ending position of a Do-Pas-So? a Red hot? How do you do a beer mug chain which way do those in the center star. What is the progression on the #1 dancer? What was the original ending position of a Cross Trail? Cross Trail Thru?

All of these moves have either been evolved or removed because universally acceptable definitions could not be found. Some say they are to hard to teach? Really, Why?

Or what ever happened to the etiquette item of bowing to your opposite when ever you weave the ring? When is the last time you weaved the ring and touched no one?