Technical Papers by Vic

 Two Couple Primer  |

 Two Couple Primer (for Callers) by Vic Ceder

Introduction

• CALLERLAB Convention, 2009, Kansas City, MO - Two Couple Calling Salon D

Moderator Jerry Reed, Panelist Vic Ceder

There are times when we want to use Two Couple Calling as a programming or showmanship tool. There are other times when we may have less than two full squares and we want to get as many dancing as we can. This session will provide insight on how to effectively utilize this type of calling and will include some of the pitfalls as well. The panel will provide information about when and why they use Two Couple choreography and show some examples. Join the fun.

When to use Two Couple Programming
• When there are not enough dancers for squares.
If you have exactly 7 couples, you'd like to get as many dancing as you can.
• When teaching, reviewing, or workshopping 4-dancer calls.
• As a fun, gimmick, extra tip.
• To strengthen your dancers' APD ability.
Dancers can focus on their group of 4 rather than get distracted by the rest of the square.

Setting up Two Couple Sets
• Form sets of two normal facing couples (boy on left, girl on right).
One couple's back is to the caller, and the other couple should be facing the caller.
• Couples are named 'Couple #1' and 'Couple #3'.
All are 'Heads' from a normal squared set.
• The terms Heads and Sides no longer have meaning, but Couples #1 and #3 do.
Tell dancers to remember their couple #.

Two Couple Choreography
• Most calls on the Mainstream list can be done using only two couples. There are only a few Mainstream calls that require 8 dancers.

You may need to re-evaluate how you think about calls. For example, you might think that Zoom is an 8-dancer call, if you only call it from a Starting Double Pass Thru formation (an 8-dancer formation). However, Zoom is really a 2-dancer call with a reference point (e.g., the center of the Box). For instance, from Tandem Couples (one couple behind another) you could call Girls Zoom, and only two dancers would move!
• Some 8-dancer calls will work with two couples, although often in the degenerative case (e.g., Right & Left Grand; Weave The Ring; Dopaso; Allemande Left to an Allemande Thar; Walk Around Corner + See Saw Partner).
• Most Mainstream calls can be done with 4 or fewer dancers. There's only a few exceptions:  Alamo Style Cloverleaf * Couples Circulate Eight Chain Thru Ferris Wheel * Four Ladies Chain Grand Square Pass To The Center Spin Chain Thru
* Some 8-dancer calls can be used somewhat with two couples. See the sample sequences.

Sight Calling to Two Couple Sets
• Sight calling to two couples is relatively easy, even if you're not a sight caller. Just remember one couple (e.g., Couple #1) and keep calling. Eventually dancers will all be in their original starting position. At this point say "You're Home!", and the dancers will be ever so impressed.
• Once you become comfortable sight calling to two couples, you can use your newly developed skills with a normal four couple square. Use a 'Chicken Plucker' routine:
2. At this point you have facing couples. Everyone is facing their corner.
Sight call to these two couples until everyone is back to where they started.
4. Once again you have facing couples.
Sight call to these two couples until everyone is back to where they started.
6. Everyone is facing their corner.
Sight call to these two couples until everyone is back to where they started.
7. Allemande Left then a Right & Left Grand or Promenade Home.

Calling Hints
• Make sure dancers have fun. They're doing something out of the ordinary, and they should enjoy it.
• Concentrate on keeping the dancers moving to the music.
Don't worry about resolving or doing intricate choreography.
• Finish each sequence with a "You're Home!" or a "Clap-clap-clap!". This helps make two couple choreography a fun and exciting event.

Keeping Interest with only Two Couples
Techniques to entertain dancers with two couple choreography:
• Showmanship

• Be excited about calling two couple material.
• Have fun, and the dancers will too.
• Mix Dancers

• After calling several two couple sequences, do a Scatter Promenade.
Have each couple join another couple in a new two couple set.
• Do a Sicilian Circle.

 Sicilian Circle with 12 couples

Two couples facing each other form a set. A large circle of sets is formed.

Call several sequences in the group of two couples, then Pass Thru and move on to the next couple; repeat.
• Use a Contra-Style Line.
Set up two long lines consisting of facing couples. Call several sequences to the two couple sets. Get everyone back with their partner in long facing lines, then mix the couples (for example):

 Right & Left Thru & 1/4 More, Couples Circulate, Bend The Line Pass The Ocean, Girls Trade, Boys Circulate (outside), Girls Circulate (inside), Recycle, Star Thru Pass The Ocean, Recycle, Veer Left, Couples Circulate, Bend The Line
These sequences start and end in long facing lines,
but mix each couple to work with a different pair.

Contras are essentially two couple choreography done in long lines.
• Choreographic Variety

• Do things from unexpected positions (half-sashayed, left-handed).
• Use asymmetric choreography (see below).

Asymmetrics with Two Couples

Asymmetric choreography occurs when one half of the square is different than the other half.

• Symmetric Choreography: Most all Modern Western Square Dance choreography is symmetric. That is, when one half of the square does something, the other half does the same thing on their side of the set. Each dancer and their diagonal opposite (e.g., the #1 Boy and #3 Boy) are always opposite each other, on the other side of the square, facing opposite directions. If you draw an imaginary line from any dancer through the center of the set, their opposite can be found at the same distance from the center, facing the opposite direction.
• Asymmetric Choreography occurs when someone does not match their diagonal opposite.

Asymmetrics with Two Couples give more variety, and is easy to do.

• Easy intro to asymmetrics for dancers;
• Easier for caller to sight-call than four couple asymmetrics.
• Dancer identification:
• Near / Far (relative to caller). For example: Far 2, Nearest Boy.
• Single dancer identification (#1 Boy, #1 Girl, #3 Boy, #3 Girl)
• Those Facing The Caller, Those Facing The Back of the Hall, etc.
• Asymmetric Getins:
• Couple #1 Half-Sashay
• Couple #1 U-Turn Back
• Couple #1 Promenade 1/2 (stand behind Couple #3)
• Those Facing The Caller Run, U-Turn Back, or Trade
• Nearest Boy Run or U-Turn Back
• Face The Music (Caller, Back of the Hall, Window, etc.)
• Asymmetric Getouts:
• From BGBG Wave: Boys Run, Ends Fold. (Don't use Boys Run, Bend The Line. It's bad flow.)
• From BGGB Facing Couples: Pass Thru, Girls Fold.

Sample Two couple Sequences
• Any zero module for normal facing couples may be used as a full two couple sequence.

For example, "Swing Thru; Boys Run; Wheel & Deal; You're Home!" is a
perfectly legitimate and complete two couple sequence.
• Symmetric  (Two Couple Sequences)

• Asymmetric  (Two Couple Sequences)

How to Resolve
• Resolving at Home is easiest.

Get dancers into facing couples, pair them up with their partner, then maneuver them to their home position. The following calls (from facing couples) work well to maneuver dancers to a specific position:
• Flutter Wheel
• Reverse Flutter Wheel
• Right & Left Thru
• Star Thru
• Sweep 1/4

The basic idea is to just keep calling until you recognize that the dancers are home.
• Right & Left Grand and Weave The Ring do not work well with two couples.
• Allemande Left followed by Promenade Home works well.
For example, from a static two couple set: Right & Left Thru, Star Thru, Square Thru 3, Allemande Left, Promenade Home.

Pros
1. Calling to two couples makes it easier to workshop calls. The caller can concentrate on half-sashayed or L-H setups or work calls from unusual positions.

For example, the call Peel Off is frequently called only from a Completed Double Pass Thru formation. With two couples, you can workshop it from Tandem Couples and Mini-Wave Boxes without having 4 additional dancers in the square to distract from focusing on the call.
2. Dancers can concentrate better when there are only two couples in the square. For example, from a normal four couple square, if you call Heads Pass The Ocean; Swing Thru; Extend; Swing Thru; then call a Follow Your Neighbor or Scoot Back, you'll often get a poor success rate. This is because dancers were focused on their Wave (as they just did a Swing Thru), and not focused on their Box (which is required for a Follow Your Neighbor or Scoot Back). With two couple sets, this abrupt change of focus does not occur.
3. Callers can practice sight-calling. Two couple calling is much easier to resolve. You only need to remember one couple instead of two. Just keep calling until you recognize that you've got Couple #1 in their home position, then say "You're Home"!

Cons
1. Might be a bit boring (yawn) if done too often, or done improperly.
2. Problematic for singing calls, but I suppose it's do-able.
I've never tried a two couple singing call.
3. Pitfall: Flow

• Avoid bad flow. Keep the dancers moving to the music - no stop and go. Concentrate on smoothly transitioning from one movement to the next.
• Overflow can easily occur with two couples. Because there's only two couples, the radius of the square is smaller, and movement around the center is tighter than with a four couple square. Make sure dancers alternate between turning to the right and turning to the left.

 Sample overflow sequence: Touch 1/4, Scoot Back, Circulate 1 & 1/2, Boys Cast Off 3/4, Wheel & Deal, Touch 1/4, Face In, You're Home!

Alternatives to Two Couple Programming
• Three Couples  -  I've tried two different starting formations:

 Rectangle: This starting formation works well if you haveextra dancers of the same sex. Shown above are 2 Boys and 4 Girls. Sample sequence: Heads Square Thru 4; Dive Thru; Centers Pass Thru; Put Centers In (wave of 3); (Right) Swing Thru; Swing Thru (again); Those Facing Pass Thru; All U-Turn Back; Join Hands, Circle Left Until You Get Home! Clap-clap-clap! Couples 1, 2, and 3: This starting formation is easiest for sight calling. It looks weird, but it works. Sample sequence: Heads Square Thru 4; Those Facing Right & Left Thru, Others Trade; Those Facing Pass Thru; Those Facing Swing Thru, Others Promenade 3/4; In the Wave Spin The Top; Extend; In the Wave Recycle, Others Trade; Those Facing Square Thru 3; all Allemande Left; Promenade Home
• Six Couples:

 Rectangle: This is where I usually call six couple choreography. There are 4 Head Couples, and 2 Side Couples. I tell dancers to go two extra hands on a Right & Left Grand. Six Couple (Rectangle) Sequences Lines of 6: Another possibility for a starting formation.
• Triangle and Hex Squares: