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A Partner Rotation For Single Dancers
By Judy Anderson (yduJ)
Reprinted from the Zip Coder
Sometimes, when you go to a dance single, you are forced to sit out many tips, or else to impose on established couples to have one member of the couple sit out so you can dance. This can be unpleasant, because you don't want to impose, yet you came to dance, not to watch. It can be a real problem for people new to the area, or at a convention where one knows few people. In northern California we have a solution to this problem. We have many single challenge dancers, and several years ago Teresa Gavcus and Karen Kitzberger invented the concept of a "Singles Rotation" to enable singles to be guaranteed of a partner. This article is publicizing the idea of the singles rotation in the hopes that it will be adopted by other areas of the country. I am planning on running a singles rotation at the 1989 National Advanced and Challenge Convention so you can find out what it's like there if you don't try it before then.
The singles rotation provides obvious advantages to single dancers, but couples can benefit as well. For example, at a multi-session, multi-level convention, not all dancers have equal stamina as their spouses. So one partner can rest in the hotel while the other joins the singles rotation for a session. At single-session dances it enables one spouse to dance while the other is on a business trip. In short, it enables those who do not usually dance single to do so.
There are two pieces of equipment needed for a successful rotation: A working pen and a rotation sheet. A third preparation step can also be a help: the words "singles rotation available" appearing on dance flyers and advertisments. The rotation sheet is a table of empty boxes, with the columns labelled for the tip number and the rows later labelled by the men in the rotation. The women start out in the column for tip number one, and rotate among each later tip, with the the person from either the top of the column moving to the other end, and bumping everyone else up by one position. People can arrive or leave during the middle of the session and join or leave the rotation, although it is simpler if people wait for session boundaries.
Typically, one of the participants will appoint him or herself coordinator, and write down the rotated women's names between tips. An anarchic system works as well, with the first person who gets to the sheet doing the work. For the National Challenge convention, I will try to have official coordinators to help out.
Following is an example sheet, shown after the dance. Originally, all places where names appear are empty boxes. In our example, John, Tim, and Sam are the men in the rotation, so their names are written under the "Gents" column. At the start of the dance, Kathy, Jill, and Jean are signed up under tip one. Kathy dances with John, Jill dances with Tim, and Jean dances with Sam. The second tip has Jill dancing with John, and so on. We have four tips, bumping the person from the top of the column to the bottom. During tip four, Susan straggles into the dance, and adds herself to the rotation. When the tip is over, we bump Kathy from the top of the column to the bottom, and Susan dances with Sam for tip five. The rotation is now "odd", which means that one person (Kathy this time) has to sit out. If a fourth man had appeared instead of a fourth woman (or Susan preferred to dance the man's part), then the blank space (sometimes X'ed out for clarity) is rotated through as though it were a woman, so as to even out the sit-outs for the men. With a rotation as small as five or seven, halfway through the dance the blank space and one dancer may change places to further balance the sit-outs.
Here is an instruction sheet you can print out to place at a dance:
SINGLES ROTATION INSTRUCTIONS Coordinator:______________________________________________ Men: Sign up under the "Gents" column Women: Sign up under Tip #1 (or current tip in progress) To rotate for the next tip: Take second woman's name from last tip, write in first space of current tip. Third-->second, etc. Finally take first woman's name and write in last space. Cross off last tip's column. When fewer women than men, rotate a blank (or X) through; men dancing with the X sit out that tip. When fewer men than women, women dancing with blanks at end of "gents" column sit out. (If many fewer men/women than women/men, one or more should dance the other gender's part to avoid excessive sit-outs.) You may join at any time. To leave the rotation, simply cross your name off the list; next tip's rotation will rotate a blank through as appropriate. To find your partner: Match man's name with woman's name from column of current tip. Enjoy!
From the Western Square Dancing Web page. Copyright notice.
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