Attempting a Grid Contra Choreography

I have a lot of fun dancing grid squares at Flurry to the fabulous calling of Bob Isaacs. Possibly I’ve got Flurry on the brain, possibly it’s my upcoming festival gigs (Catapult! & NEFFA), but my brain decided that midnight was a good time to try to write a grid contra.

I don’t know when/if I’ll ever get enough dancers together to test this when I’m not at a festival; but it’s kicking around my head so I’m writing it down. It’ll take a bit more initial description than usual.

There are four versions of this dance: Bkt1, Bkt2, Imp1, & Imp2. At the end of any version, you can go to only some of the other versions. Bkt implies becket formation (sort of), and Imp implies improper formation (again, sort of; it’s a useful way to think about where the dancers are at the start).

This dance is going to require the ability to distinguish top and bottom couples in a group of four (relatively standard convention with respect to the caller/band); and Left/Right SIDE couples. This is probably something that would depend on the specific hall (i.e. bleacher side and quilt side in the Flurry Main Hall, etc). I will say “Bottom Couple” or “Right Side Couple” in the write up below, but “Top Couple” can replace “Bottom Couple”, and “Left Side Couple” can replace “Right Side Couple”.

In the mirror, gendered half hey, you pass 4 people of the same gender. If Gents start by Left shoulder (L, R, L, R), the Ladies start by Right Shoulder (R, L, R, L). You only turn around if you reach the boundary of the grid. I think of it as a quadruple progression (two sets laterally, etc). If you start with a rectangular grid of hands four, no one should ever be out.

Wide Lines refers to taking hands in lines across sets, perpendicular to our regular long lines.

Preliminary definitions aside, on to the dance:

Luke’s Options are Limited

Bkt1
A1
Long Lines forward and back
Circle LEFT 3/4
A2
Neighbor Balance and Swing; end facing Partner across set
B1
BOTTOM Couple do a 1/2 figure 8 with the couple above
Same Couple splits first for a mirror, gendered 1/2 hey up and down set
B2
Partner Balance and Swing, end facing up and down in same direction as hey motion
===> can go to Imp1 or Imp2 next

Bkt2
A1
Long Lines forward and back
Circle RIGHT 3/4
A2
Neighbor Balance and Swing; end facing Partner across set
B1
BOTTOM Couple do a 1/2 figure 8 with the couple above
Same Couple splits first for a mirror, gendered 1/2 hey up and down set
B2
Partner Balance and Swing, end facing up and down set in same direction as hey motion
===> can go to Imp1 or Imp2 next

Imp1
A1
WIDE Lines forward and back
Circle Left 3/4
A2
Neighbor Balance and Swing; end facing Partner Up & Down set
B1
Right Side Couple do a 1/2 figure 8 with the couple across
Same Couple splits first for a mirror, gendered 1/2 hey across sets
B2
Partner Balance and Swing, end facing across sets in same direction as hey motion
===> can go to Bkt1 or Bkt2 next

Imp2
A1
WIDE Lines forward and back
Circle RIGHT 3/4
A2
Neighbor Balance and Swing; end facing Partner up and down set
B1
RIGHT SIDE Couple do a 1/2 figure 8 with the couple across
Same Couple splits first for a mirror, gendered 1/2 hey across sets
B2
Partner Balance and Swing, end facing across set in same direction as hey motion
===> can go to Bkt1 or Bkt2 next

Well, there it is. The scary thing is it isn’t even the most crack-headed dance I’ve written.

If you just do Bkt1->Imp1->Bkt1->Imp1, I think you end up tracing out a small square on the floor and getting back to where you started, so you’d want to mix in some circle Rights (the Imp2 & Bkt2 versions). Could be fun to determine iterations that bring you back to your starting position, but only at the very end. I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader (that’s a physicist joke).