Larry's Listening

By Rick Mohr; February 1997

Contra, Duple Improper Caller's Box

Level: Intermediate/Advanced


Balance and swing neighbor (16)


Half hey (gents pass left shoulders to start) (8)

(Join hands in a wave of four--neighbors join right; gents join left)

Balance the wave (4)

Walk forward to next couple (2)

Gents allemande left 1/2 (2)

(Join right hands with partner to form a wave of four)


Balance the wave (4)

Swing partner (12)


Circle left 3/4 (6)

Allemande right with neighbor (5)

Allemande left with previous neighbor (5)

The allemandes in B2 move right along, and their 5-count timing requires some attention in phrasing the calls. I might call it this way (starting with the last phrase of B1):

(1) (2) (3) (4) Face across, circle left
(1) three quarters round; neighbor right allemande go once around
your old neighbor left allemande; new neighbor balance and swing

The progression (at the end of A2) requires some attention from the gents. During "balance the wave" in A2 each gent should locate the gent in the next wave. With two steps forward those new gents meet, allemande left halfway in the remaining two counts, and join right hands with partners to balance the wave. If the gents are prepared there's plenty of time, but they have to focus on the allemande rather than on the walking forward.

Also note that as dancers walk to meet the next couple they are on the opposite side of the set from their usual position during a progression. If couples waiting out at the ends are extra-alert they can cross over to what feels like the wrong side; another option is for the lady waiting out to do the allemande left halfway with the approaching gent.

For Larry Jennings, whose many contributions to the contra dance community include listening carefully to every caller at the Thursday night dance in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Larry once referred (with mixed judgment) to dances where you "balance and swing your neighbor, balance and swing your partner, and do a bunch of things in between which prove the caller is smarter than you are." This is one of those.

Thanks to Larry for improving the title and suggesting re-aligning the parts (I originally started the dance with the current B2).