Tom Fromm writes:
31. WHEEL AROUND: Starting formation -couple. The couple, working as a unit, turns around (180). The left hand dancer backs up while the right hand dancer moves forward. The pivot point is the handhold between the two dancers.

STYLING: Same as in couples promenade.

TIMING: 4 steps.

When I am going to teach this move, I start from a SS. I will have all four couples work at the same time. I will tell them, that this moves feels a lot like a Courtesy Turn. I will tell them that we are going to do a couple of courtesy turns, and only turn 1/2 way around. As we do them, I will ask them to "feel" their body movement.

Now I will read them the definition, and point out the similarities. I tell them, that at times, it will be more comfortable and flowing, to do this in place of a courtesy turn.

Now it is time to do the move. Still in a SS, I will tell them to take a "normal" hand hold. I ask who are the right hand dancers, and tell them that they will start by walking forward. I'll tell the left hand dancers, that they will begin by backing up. I tell them to keep in mind, where they ended with the courtesy turn, and Wheel Around.

I will have them do it twice, and get them back where they started. I will now emphasize, that the left hand dancer backs up. I may ask for questions, then do it again. I will have them Wheel Around twice more, but I'll have the ladies chain across on the second one. Now I will do two more, having the ladies chain back home, again on the second one.

I will work this move a lot, from different positions. One sequence I like to use to re-enforce the move is:
Heads Square Thru,
Do Sa Do,
Pass Thru,
Wheel Around,
Pass Thru,
Wheel Around,
Allemande Left

In an effort to make sure they understand, I will get them 1/2 sashayed, and do a Wheel Around. I will go through the routine of who is the right hand dancer stuff again.

Depending on how early in the evening we started on this move, and how they are doing, I will introduce it while promenading, either later the same night, or the next lesson. I will tell them that the movement is the same, except you will be moving. I also tell them that the reason the move was invented, was to give the caller a way out if we make a mistake with your corner. I will tell them that if we are promenading, we will Wheel Around, and adjust some to make lines.

The first time while promenading, I will have them stop, then I will tell them to Wheel Around. This way, we can find the lines easier. We may need to do this several times, till they start making "nice" lines. I will also teach it from a WW Promenade.

After a several weeks, and things are going smooth, I spring the "BIGGIE" on them. I will have same sexes together, and call wheel around cold. After I have their full attention, I will walk them through it with same sexes. I don't want to over use this set-up, but definitely want them aware of it.

I feel it is important to use Wheel Around, from other than promenading. I don't think it gets proper usage from other places, and will often fit better than a courtesy turn. It also keeps them in touch with the entire call.

Lysle Shields writes:
When I was angeling my wife's class in the early 60's there was a move on removing the back up action of the left hand dancer. Instead they were a pivot point as the right hand dancer worked around them towards the end they would slide over the left into the right hand dances old starting position. This was the first occurrence I remember of trying to remove ALL backwards movements. They were talking about replacing Do-Si-Do with Venus (no hands) turn thru and u turn back. and Sea Saw (which was still a legally used move) with venus left turn thru and U turn back. After some discussion it was discovered that most students already knew how to do a Do-Si-Do and that 'turn thru' and the no hands 'venus concept' had not been taught.

Next time you start a class I would like you to try something. Without showing them a thing, maybe even have a piece of paper, ask the students:
On the left is a list of all the moves we will learning.
Beside it is a place for a ratting number.
1 = never heard of it.
2 = heard of it but that's all
3 = Think I can do it with some help
4 = Know I can do it with some help
5 = Think I can do it without help
6 = Know I can do it without help
7 = Absolutely know it.
8 = Know it so well I can demo it.
9 = Know it so well I can teach it.

I am betting that Hug (aka yellow rock without the name), Swing, Face left/right, forward up and back, circle left/right, join hands will get a 5 or higher. It doesn't matter if they know it right or not, that is what I rating I suspect them to put on the paper.
Do-Si-Do, left allemande, gent/ladies/all star left/right, and pass thru should be averaging a 3. Anyway you get the idea.

You can put this survey out to the rest of the callers. It would be interring to see just how much perceived dancing ability the students are coming in with. You could also give out the same piece of paper at a half way point and then maybe two weeks just before 'graduation'. Doing so at the end would be a way to check how well you are doing and maybe flag a weak point.

Advise the students that you are going to use them as a means of metrics (progress reports) to see where work is needed. And then do it.

I know it is a bit more 'paperwork' on someone's shoulders but it just might help.