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Zeros and Equivalents

by Orlo Hoadley - 2/25/96

A formation is:
The way the dancers are positioned in the set. Some of the most-used Formations are the box, facing lines-of-four, parallel Ocean Waves, parallel two-faced lines. Waves and two-faced lines are right-handed or left-handed.
A setup is:
A formation plus knowing where each man and each lady is positioned in the formation -- that is the Arrangement part of FASR. "Setup" is also sometimes used to mean a sequence of calls that starts with the squared set and puts the dancers into an A-Box (Allemande Box, Box 1-4, or Zero Box) or Normal Lines (1P2P Lines or Zero Lines).
A zero is:
A call or sequence of calls that ends with the same setup it started from; in other words, an equivalent to no call at all, formation-wise.
Equivalents are:
Two calls or sequences of calls that start with the same setup and end with the same setup.
(Note: SS = Squared Set)

Why Use Zeros and Equivalents?

1. To add variety to your calling. Also remember that you can use a Zero in the middle of another Zero -- just don't forget to finish the first Zero after the second one is completed. Also, a Zero sequence is like a ring: if it ends up at the same place it started, it doesn't matter just where you start. In other words, a Zero sequence can be started from any formation that is made during the sequence, and will return the set to the same formation when the sequence is completed.

2. If there is an awkward change of movement between two calls in a pattern you want to use, or awkward use of the same hand twice in a row, you can usually insert a Zero or replace one of the calls with an Equivalent that is picked to match up well with the preceding and following movements. This is another reason for having a good assortment of Z/E's in your toolkit.

3. To feature a particular call or combination of calls that you want to give your dancers some practice on.

4. To break up a commonly-used dance pattern and slow down hot-shot dancers who are rushing or anticipating the caller.

5. If you are composing a singing call, a Zero might be handy to fill out the time to the standard 64 beats of music, for instance, a Swing (4 beats) or a Dos-a-dos (8) just before the final Promenade. Or, if you've got too much action, you can often save some time with a well-chosen Equivalent.

Points to Watch

Although a Zero puts the dancers back in the same setup where they started, they may not end up facing in the same walls as when they started. For instance, an Eight Chain Thru (8 hands) puts the dancers back into the same footprints where they started from -- so it's a Position Zero -- while Eight Chain Four is also a Zero but rotates the whole set by 180o. That doesn't matter when you are calling hash, but it is important if you want to use the Zero in a singing call. Some Zeros will rotate the set by 90o or 270o, or a quarter turn to the right or the left.

The movements of the dancers at the beginning and the end of a Zero or Equivalent are not usually mentioned. This means that the caller should be careful that the movement of the dancers at the beginning of a Z/E (Zero or Equivalent) follows smoothly from their movement at the end of the preceding call, and also that the movement at the end of the Z/E should lead smoothly into whatever call he wants to use next.

Don't overuse a few simple Z/E's. Many of your dancers will catch on real quick, and start to find your choreography boring. But don't discourage yourself by trying to learn everything at once. Pick out a few that sound interesting to you and practice with them until you are confident with them and have found out how much variety you can get by putting Zeros into the middle of Equivalents or other Zeros, and by starting from different places in the sequence. Then start learning a few more, to add to your toolbox. A good caller, like any other professional, never stops learning new and better ways to do things.

Some of the following Equivalents and Zeros can only be done starting from "normal" formations, that is, where all couples have a man on the left and a lady on the right. Others don't have any sex-sensitive calls, which means they can be done no matter where the men and the ladies are positioned in the formation. A good exercise is for you to go through them and pick out which is which. Also pick out which can be used in a Miniset (2 couples).

Zeros

Note: Because Right & Left Thru is a two-time zero, it doesn't matter, to the formations, whether it is the first call or the last call of a zero. Also, if it is left off the beginning or end of a zero sequence, the rest of the sequence is a RLT equivalent.
A. Zeros from Facing Lines of Four:

1. Right & left thru equivalent + Right & left thru equivalent
2. Flutter wheel + Ladies hang on and flutter wheel
3. Flutter wheel and sweep 1/4 + Star thru
4. Pass thru + Wheel & deal + Double pass thru + First couple go left, Second couple go right
5. Pass thru + Bend the line + Pass thru + Bend the line
6. Right & left thru + Pass thru + Bend the line + Right & left thru + Pass thru + Bend the line
7. Square thru 3 + Bend the line +Square thru 3 + Bend the line
8. Square thru + Face your partner
9. Square thru 3 + Courtesy turn
10. Square thru 2 + Face your partner + Slide thru + Star thru
11. Pass thru + Cast off 3/4 + Pass thru + Cast off 3/4
12. Pass thru + Tag the line in + Pass thru + Tag the line in
13. Right & left thru equivalent + Tag the line in
14. Half sashay + Pass thru + Tag the line in
15. Box the gnat + Pull by + Bend the line + (repeat)

B. Zeros from Box:

1. Right & left thru + Dive thru + Pass thru + Right & left thru + Dive thru + Pass thru (the "Chicken-Plucker" routine)
2. Square thru 3 + Trade by +Square thru 3 + Trade by
3. Eight chain thru (or four)
4. Swing thru 2x + Right & left thru
5. Square thru 2 + Bend the line +Square thru 3 + Bend the line + Star thru
6. Right & left thru + Veer left (or right) + Ferris wheel + Pass thru
7. Swing thru + Centers run + Ferris wheel + Pass thru (very common: don't overuse)
8. Swing thru + Centers run + Tag the line left + Ferris wheel + Pass thru
9. Swing thru, ends circulate + Swing thru, ends circulate + Right & left thru + Dive thru + Pass thru
10. Swing thru + Spin the top + Slide thru
11. Curlicue + Scoot back + Slide thru + Ferris wheel + Pass thru + (repeat)
12. Star thru + Pass thru + Bend the line +Square thru 3 + Bend the line + Slide thru
13. Partner tag + Bend the line + Box the gnat, pull by + Bend the line + Star thru

C. Zeros from Waves:

1. All eight circulate 2x
2. Ends circulate + Centers circulate + All 8 circulate
3. Scoot back + Scoot back
4. Cast 3/4 + Centers trade (or Scoot back) + (repeat twice)
5. Hinge 1/4 + Centers trade + (repeat twice)
6. Scoot back + Centers scoot back + Left swing thru
7. Scoot back + All 8 circulate + Scoot back + All 8 circulate
8. Scoot back + Split circulate + Scoot back + Split circulate
9. Scoot back + Split circulate 2x + Swing thru 2x
10. Curlicue + Scoot back + Hinge 1/4
11. Swing thru + Centers run + Bend the line + Pass the ocean

Equivalents

D. Partners Trade Equivalents:

1. Cali-Twirl
2. Courtesy turn (Couples wheel around)
3. Men run + Ladies U-turn back
4. Ladies run + Men U-turn back
5. Half sashay + U-turn back
(Note: Dancers doing a U-Turn Back should turn toward their partners.) Exceptions: after a Crosstrail Thru or any other call that ends with a turning movement to lead the dancers into an easy direction for the turn, as in B2 and B3 below)
6. Ladies run + Men run + Half sashay
7. Men run + Ladies run + Re-sashay
8. Partners hinge + Slide thru
9. From facing couples: Square thru three

E. Pass Thru (Pass By, Pull By) Equivalents:

1. Right & left thru + with a full turn around
2. Box the gnat + U-turn back (see note in A5)
3. Single circle + U-turn back (likewise)
4. Single circle + Box the gnat + Pull by
5. Right & left thru + Cali-Twirl
6. Right & left thru + Half sashay (Rollaway) + U-turn back
7. Right & left thru + Star thru + Square thru two
8. Right & left thru + Square thru three
9. Right & left thru + Star thru + Half sashay (Rollaway) + Star thru
10. Right & left thru + Half sashay (Rollaway) + Box the gnat + Pull by
11. --Use a RLT equivalent in 5-10
12. Square thru five hands (Don't use too often)
13. Star thru (Slide thru) + Square thru four
14. Dos-a-dos once and a half
15. Half sashay + Box the gnat + Cali-Twirl
16. Square thru two + Face partner + Box the gnat + Pull by + Face partner + Slide thru
17. Veer left + Veer right
18. Veer right + Veer left
19. Circle half + Cali-Twirl

F. Right & Left Thru Equivalents:

1. Crosstrail thru + U-turn back
2. Pass thru + Cali-Twirl
3. Pass thru + Partners trade
4. Circle four halfway
5. Half sashay + Box the gnat
6. Star thru (Slide thru) + Slide thru (Star thru)
7. Square thru three + U-turn back + Box the gnat
8. Star thru + Square thru 4 + Cali-Twirl (Partners trade)
9. Square thru two + Face your partner
10. Square thru four + Cali-Twirl + Star thru (Slide thru)
11. Square thru four + Partners trade + Square thru + Partners trade
12. Square thru two + Partners trade + Square thru two + Partners trade
13. Box the gnat + Men turn thru + Box the gnat
14. Box the gnat + Change girls & swat the flea + Change girls...
15. Star thru + Rollaway + Star thru & U-turn back + Box the gnat
16. Ladies chain + Flutter wheel
17. Flutter wheel + Ladies hang on and chain
18. Flutter wheel + Reverse flutter wheel
19. Reverse flutter wheel + flutter wheel
20. Right & left thru and sweep 1/4 + Right & left thru and sweep 1/4
21. SS: Heads separate + Promenade half + Star thru
22. SS: Head couples promenade half
23. Lines: Pass thru + Bend the line + Bend the line
24. Lines: Pass thru + Bend the line + Square thru three + Bend the line
25. Lines: Pass thru + Wheel & deal + Double pass thru + First couple go right + Second couple go left

G. Star Thru Equivalents:

1. Half sashay + Box the Gnat + Change girls & Swat the flea
2. Square thru four + Partners trade (Cali-Twirl, etc)
3. Pass thru + Face your partner
4. SS: Heads pass thru + Separate around one + come into the middle
5. SS: Heads pass thru & cloverleaf + Substitute
6. Square thru two + Partners trade + Right & left thru
7. SS: Heads square thru + Right & left thru + Dive thru
8. Swing thru + Box the gnat + Swing thru + Slide thru + Cal. twirl
9. Flutter wheel and sweep 1/4 + Right & left thru*
10. Ladies chain and sweep 1/4 + Right & left thru*
*Right & left thru may be done first
11. SS: Heads box the gnat + Pull by + Divide + Star thru + Substitute

H. Square Thru Two Equivalents:

1. Star thru + Pass thru
2. Half sashay (Rollaway) + Star thru (Slide thru)
3. Star thru equivalent + Pass thru equivalent
4. Star thru + Circle four 1/2 + Cali-Twirl
5. SS: Heads crosstrail thru + Divide & star thru + Substitute + Square thru 3
6. SS: Heads pass thru + Cloverleaf + Substitute + Pass thru
7. Ladies chain + Same couples lead to the right
8. Ladies chain + Curlicue + Walk & dodge
9. Flutter wheel and sweep 1/4 + Cali-Twirl
10. Flutter wheel and sweep 1/4 + Square thru three
11. Pass thru + Partner tag
12. Box the gnat + Partner tag
13. Pass the ocean + Step thru
14. Flutter wheel + Ladies hang on & lead Dixie style + Step thru

J. Square Thru Four Equivalents:

1. Right & left thru + Star thru + Pass thru
2. Right & left thru + Square thru two
3. Right & left thru + Half sashay (Rollaway) + Star thru (Slide thru)
4. --- Any RLT equivalent in 1-3
5. Right & left thru + Ladies lead Dixie style + Men trade + Step thru
6. Pass the ocean + Swing thru + Turn thru
7. Pass the ocean + Trade the wave + Step thru
8. Slide thru (Star thru) + Square thru three
9. Square thru three + Partner tag
10. Slide thru + Swing thru + Box the gnat + Pull by
11. Flutter wheel and sweep 1/4 + Pass thru
12. Ladies chain and sweep 1/4 + Pass thru
13. Box the gnat + Slide thru
14. Half sashay + Box the gnat + Slide thru + Pass thru
15. Half sashay + Box the gnat + Square thru two
16. Half sashay + Star thru + Cali-Twirl + Pass thru
17. SS: Heads box the gnat + Crosstrail thru + Separate around one + Come into the middle + Pass thru
18. SS: Heads pass thru + Separate around one + In the middle right & left thru + Pass thru
19. SS: Heads pass thru + Cloverleaf + Substitute + Square thru three
20. Swing thru + Spin the top + Step thru
21. Star thru + Cali-Twirl
22. Star thru equivalent + Partner trade equivalent
23. Swing thru + Box the gnat + Swing thru + Slide thru
24. SS: Heads crosstrail thru + Divide & star thru + Sides Square thru three + Dive thru + Pass thru

K. Lead to the Right Equivalents:

1. Ladies chain + Star thru + Pass thru
2. Ladies chain + Rollaway + Slide thru
3. Ladies chain + Square thru two equivalent
4. Circle four 3/4 + Cali-Twirl
5. Right & left thru and sweep 1/4 + Pass thru
6. Curlicue + Walk & dodge
7. Right & left thru + Ladies lead Dixie style + Step thru
8. SS: Heads Square thru three + Separate around one + In the middle swing thru + Turn thru
9. SS: Heads partner tag + Go around one + In the middle swing thru + Turn thru
10. Slide thru + right & left thru + Swing thru + Turn thru

L. Lead to the Left Equivalents:

1. Flutter wheel + Star thru + Pass thru
2. Flutter wheel + Half sashay + Slide thru
3. Circle four 3/4 + Pass thru
4. Circle four 3/4 + Veer left + Veer right
5. Right & left thru and sweep 1/4 + Cali-Twirl
6. Ladies chain + Flutter wheel and sweep 1/4 + Pass thru
7. Ladies chain + Square thru equivalent
8. Curlicue + Box circulate 2x + Walk & dodge
9. SS: Heads pass thru + Separate around one + In the middle Swing thru + Turn thru
10. SS: Heads Pass Thru + Cloverleaf + Substitute + Swing Thru + Turn Thru
11. Pass the Ocean + Swing Thru + Turn Thru

M. Some Other Useful Equivalents:

1. Right & Left Thru + Ladies Chain = Flutter Wheel
2. Dive thru + Pass thru = Pass thru + Trade by
3. Pass thru + Half sashay = Crosstrail thru
4. RH (LH) Waves: Scoot back + Centers scoot back = (Left) Swing thru
5. 2F lines: Wheel & Deal (avoid) = Bend the Line + Sweep a Quarter = Ferris wheel + Pass thru
Additional information may be found in the "Callers Guidebook to Complete Choreography," including a discussion of three callers' problems in Chapter 2, more detailed information on Zeros and Equivalents as well as definitions of over 70 other square-dance terms in Chapter 3, and how to use the individual Mainstream calls in Chapter 4. Chapter 4 also has over two thousand dance examples, including lots of Zeros and Equivalents, and some "Allemande Zeros." Another recommended book is "Setup and Getout," by Will Orlich. A "getout" is the opposite of a setup: it moves the set from a box or facing lines back to the Squared Set. Both books may be ordered from the American Squaredance Magazine.
From the Western Square Dancing Web page. Copyright notice.
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