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Teaching Spin Chain the Gears

by Orlo Hoadley - 4/23/95

When the first two parts of Spin Chain the Gears -- namely, Neighbors Trade + Centers Turn 3/4 -- are done, the set is in a Facing Diamonds formation. In the third part of the movement the inner centers Trade while the wave ends "turn around" or "do an about face." And this is supposed to result in two four-hand stars.

It doesn't, really. If the ends just turn around without moving away from the spot they were standing on, they're still out on the points of a diamond; all they've done is to convert the facing (or improper) diamonds into proper diamonds. I have been at a lot of dances where the caller was teaching Spin Chain the Gears, and every time most of the ladies within sight were looking around with expressions on their faces that said, "Where the heck is this star I'm supposed to be in?"

What the ends actually need to do is to move into the adjacent center position -- the same movement that the outfacers do for Scoot Back -- and do it while the inner centers are trading. In Advanced dancing the official word for this movement is "Flip," but the suggested term is "Roll In," because the dancers are most likely familiar with the call "Ladies roll out and take a backtrack," which calls for the same dancer movement. Incidentally, this nomenclature was suggested to me in 1970 by Lee Kopman.

Of course, in the next-to-last part of the call, while the new inner centers are trading in the middle, the new ends have to roll out so as to leave room for the new centers between them. They learn this pretty quickly because the new centers, doing their final 3/4 turn, will shove them out of the way if they don't go by themselves, but it doesn't hurt at all if the caller makes a point of it when teaching the movement.


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