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Definitions of Square Dance Calls and Concepts
Definitions of Square Dance Calls and Concepts
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Chain Reaction [A1]
   (Lee Kopman 1975)
All levels:     

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From a 1/4 Tag formation only (at A1 and A2).

  1. Very Centers and the directly-facing Outside dancers Pass Thru as the End of the Center Line Counter Rotate 1/4 (walk forward in an arc, changing facing direction by 90°, 1/4 of a Circle around the outside of the set);
  2. Centers of each side Hinge;
  3. Center 4 Star 1/4 as Outsides Trade;
  4. Those who meet Cast Off 3/4 as Others move up (Phantom Hourglass Circulate).

A 1/4 Tag formation ends in Parallel Waves.

Chain Reaction
Those Facing Pass Thru
as End of center line Counter Rotate 1/4
Centers of each side Hinge
Center Star turn 1/4
as Outsides Trade
Those who meet Cast Off 3/4
as Others move up


  • Teamwork is required for successful execution of Chain Reaction.
    • Don't rush it.
    • Don't move unless you have someone to work with for the next part of the call.
    • Wait an extra beat or two, as necessary, so that everyone is in the correct position for the next part of the call.
    • Outside Dancers not directly facing a Very Center must stay in place for the first part of the call. Wait for another dancer to come to you before doing the Hinge. Should you start moving prematurely, you may cause the square to break down.
    • Wait until there are four hands in the star before you start to turn it!
  • The 'Pass Thru' is always Right-shoulders.
  • At A1 and A2, Chain Reaction is restricted to starting from a R-H or L-H 1/4 Tag only.
  • At C1 and above, Chain Reaction may be called from any valid generalized 1/4 Tag. See also Chain Reaction [by definition] [C1].


Some callers teach Chain Reaction as follows:

  1. Everybody Extend;
  2. Centers Hinge as Ends 1/2 Circulate;
  3. Center Star turn 1/4 as Outsides Trade;
  4. Those who meet Cast Off 3/4 as Others move up.

Please do not learn Chain Reaction in this manner.

Although the above definition (henceforth referred to as the 'cheat' definition) may seem like an equivalent and easier definition, it has many problems:

  1. From a L-H 1/4 Tag, the cheat definition causes some dancers to pass the wrong shoulder, which may lead to a collision or unnecessary shuffle steps as two facing dancers attempt to pass different shoulders.
  2. If you advance into the C1-level, you will have to re-learn the correct definition of Chain Reaction since the cheat definition does not work from all legal starting positions.
  3. If a concept is applied to Chain Reaction, you may be unable to properly execute the call if you follow the cheat definition. (e.g., Those Facing Start Chain Reaction; Finish Chain Reaction; Initially Twice Chain Reaction)
  4. The cheat definition is inconsistent with the definition of Cross Chain Reaction [C3A].

Variations: Star 1/2, 3/4, or Don't Turn The Star.

Scoot Reaction [C3A]: From Parallel Waves. Scoot Back but the Centers hold on after the Arm Turn 1/2 as the Outsides slide together to form a Couple; all Chain Reaction. Ends in Parallel Waves.

anything The Action [C4]: Do the anything call (which usually ends in a Trade By formation); Centers make a R-H Star (usually 1/2 Reverse Swap Around) and Star 1/4 as Outsides Hinge & Trade; Those who meet Cast Off 3/4 as Others move up. Usually ends in Parallel Waves.

Chain Reaction But anything [NOL]: Do a Chain Reaction, except the final Centers replace Cast Off 3/4 with the anything call. For example (from a R-H 1/4 Tag): Chain Reaction But Left Swing Thru.

CALLERLAB definition for Chain Reaction (C1)
CALLERLAB definition for Chain Reaction

Choreography for Chain Reaction

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14-June-2024 23:56:39
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