The Birds and the Bees

By Rick Mohr; January 2015 (original February 2008)

Grid Caller's Box

Level: Intermediate/Advanced


Heads forward and back (8)

All circle left half way around (8)


Heads circle left 3/4 (6)

Heads pass through (2)

Heads split sides, separate around one to lines of four (8)


Lines of four forward and back (8)

Opposing ladies allemande left 1 1/2 (8)

(Face opposite squarely, lining up across the hall)


Balance opposite (4)

Grand right and left two changes across the hall (4)

Balance the one you meet (from another square) (4)

Grand right and left two changes across the hall (4)


Balance and swing the one you meet (from yet another square) (16)


(Heading toward partner) Into the center and back (8)

Swing corner (8)


Gents star left 3/4 (6)

Pull by partner (2)

Ladies star left (8)


Balance and swing partner (16)

(Repeat with sides active)

To set up the grid have each square join hands in a ring, and line up the squares in rows and columns. Make sure they're straight, with no gaps. You need 9 squares minimum, the more the better. If any row has only one square, move a square from a different row—for example, 3+3+2+2 is better than 3+3+3+1.

Pause in the walkthrough after the B1. Everyone is facing an opposite (each lady is in the center facing a gent on the side), and beyond them can see a file of other facing pairs across the hall. Have everyone spot their partner in the other file—ladies look diagonally behind and gents look diagonally ahead.

The grand right and left takes you to a different square. Crucial point—if there's no one to pull by (when you hit the edge of the grid), turn around and stay in the same file. Don't switch to the other file.

The forward and back in C2 will solidify the new squares, but dancers may be disoriented after the swing in C1. The simple solution is to head for your partner (in the same relative diagonal position where you spotted them after the B1). I call "Look for your partner!"

Heads and sides alternate leading the A1-A2. (When sides lead, the grands right and left go up and down the hall instead of across.) In successive changes heads remain heads and sides remain sides, but couples swap roles at the edge of the grid so everyone gets thoroughly mixed around.

Named for a memorable day at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown NC, with a morning bird walk led by Frank Clayton and an afternoon extracting 150 pounds of wildflower honey produced by the school's bees. (So I finally learned about the birds and the bees in my forties...) If you want a visual, B2 is the birds migrating and C2 is the bees swarming.

Video: Rick Mohr & Latter Day Lizards at Dawn Dance Weekend 2018, Ann Arbor MI (posted by Allison Jones):