Malcolm Brown (Hi Malcolm), Marilyn Knight, Ron Mackey have
all made comments about the positioning of dancers for a triangular
dance similar to Wind on Loch Fyne and the difficulty of keeping
the shape of the set.
I have always thought of the dancers as being the sides of the
triangle with corners imagined (I love the way you expressed
Marilyn and it will use it).
Last year when I was almost driven to distraction by people
standing crookedly, I suddenly found myself saying to the call that
I would like each couple to imagine that they were standing against
a wall that was behind them and that the outside shoulders of
themselves and their partner both touched the wall. (It is easily
explained in class when you can demonstrate what you mean).
It worked and has worked subsequently also in square sets when
inexperienced dancers are standing on an untidy angle to their
partner. If a set starts to look untidy as the dance progresses I
only have to say "imagine the wall" and they straighten again.
And somehow other when they straightened up with their partner,
they also were more aware of their positioning in relation to other
couples in the set. Although it didn't entirely solve that problem.
I think the concept of standing beside someone and not looking at
them is not an entirely natural one and the crooked standing is an
attempt to be social. It is certainly an issue in early childhood
psychology and is important if taking children's classes -- but
maybe it extends beyond childhood too.