PAIR DANCING - LESSON 1
THE BASICS

2009 CPSD



  

1.1   THE COUPLE








  LADY dnacer --> 
A PAir







  <-- MAN dancer
 
Figure 1-1. Definition of the MAN and LADY dancers of a COUPLE.

A COUPLE as shown above comprises two people standing side by side, either facing the same direction or facing opposite directions. The two people can be of any sex, even though a man and a lady are shown for illustration.







Front & Back View --> 









Top View SYMBOLS --> 
A Couple



Figure 1-2. Same-facing OUPLE and corresponding symbols.






Front & Back View --> 









Top View SYMBOLS --> 
A Couple Touching

Figure 1-3.   Opposite-facing RIGHT HAND COUPLE & corresponding symbols.

It is customary to represent the dancers with the symbols shown at the bottom of Figures 2 and 3. A circul represents the LADY dancer and a square represents the MAN dancer. The bumps show the facing direction of the dancers.

The dancer shown as a woman is called the LADY (or sometimes GIRL), and the dancer shown as a man is called the MAN (or sometimes BOY). They usually have adjacent hands joined.  A normal COUPLE is when the man holds his partner with his right hand. Otherwise the formation is called a SASHAYED COUPLE.


1.2   The BELLE and BEAU positions

The LADY dancer's normal position is on the right of the MAN dancer. In this case the LADY dancer is said to be in the BELLE position and the MAN dancer in the BEAU position. However, it is possible for the MAN dancer to be in the BELLE position and the LADY dancer to be in the BEAU position.

NOTE: In advanced square dancing there are calls that refer to the dancers in BELLE and BEAU positions. These calls do not occur in Plus-Level dancing, bu the nomenclature has to account for this future usage.


1.3   The HAND POSITIONS

When the dancers are facing the same direction the dancer's right palm should be up and the dancer's left palm down. When the dancers are facing opposite directions the hands of both dancers are held up with palm touching.


1.4   The BOX Formation

A BOX has one dancer at each corner. An IN-FACING BOX is shown in figure below. Note that the LADY dancer is in the BELLE position on the right, and the MAN dancer is in the BEAU position on the left. The spacing between couples in the figure should be such that the fingertips of the free hands of each couple just touch when they are stretched out toward the other couple.




In-Facing Box

Figure 1-4.   A IN-FACING BOX.


1.5   The CORNER

The CORNER is the person to the left of the BEAU position (clockwise) and to the right of the BELLE position (counter-clockwise) independent of which of the MAN or LADY dancers occupy this position. The corner of dancer1 in the IN-FACING BOX above is dancer 4, and the corner of dancer 2 is dancer 3.


1.5   The HOME position

The HOME position is the beginning rotational orientation of the BOX, that is, the wall that each couple in an IN-FACING BOX was looking at the start of dancing. The MAN dancer is responsible for knowing where his HOME position is.


1.6   The CALL and the CALLER

A CALL is the instruction that tells the dancers what to do. Pair dancing requires one person (or a recording) to announce the CALL sequence to the beat of the music. This person is called the CALLER.

A fifth person can do the calling of the calls in the exercises in the lessons. However, if there are only two couples, one person in the two couple formation can memorize the calls in the exercise. This person may also improvise call sequences using the calls in the list at the end of each lesson.


1.7   The TEMPO

Pair dancing is done to a beat (usually from music) with a rate of between 120 and 130 beats per minute. The dancers should step to this beat as if they are marching. Walking to the beat is important because each CALL requires a certain number of beats to complete.

Click here to try counting and/or marching to music.


1.8   TALKING WHILE DANCING

It is important that no-one except the CALLER talks while dancing because talking may distract the dancer doing the talking or other dancers so that they loose track of the beat or even the instructions.


1.9   THE CALL LIST

The remainder of this document will explain the set of calls that can be done by two couples that have been taken from the CALLERLAB, INC. Plus-Level call list dated August 19, 2005.

NOTE: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) enforces the use of copyrighted music on behalf of the artists that performed and produced the music. Strictly, one needs a BMI/ASCAP license to play copyrighted music when people pay to hear the music performed, even if it is background for the caller. A way to avoid this issue is to use computer-systhesized music from computer programs like Band-in-a-Box.


Last updated April 6, 2009
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