Set orientation (was Gender-free Dances

Courtney Cartwright

Message 6164 · 15 Jan 1997 00:18:36 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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>Sandra wrote:
>The question of how people orient themselves in a set is VERY
>interesting. My personal method from early on was to identify my 1st
>corner position as "up at the top of the set on the left file" when needed,
>and visualize the whole set during the briefing. When dancing on the
>men's side I take a moment to reprogram where my 1st corner is "down
>at the bottom of the set on the right file" and again visualize moving
>around the positions. This works for me. I must also be picking up
>cues from the room itself because there is a massive sense of
>disorientation when doing demonstrations. It is especially bad when the
>demo set is oriented shortways across the room instead of longways,
>as most classrooms and balls are.

A truly challenging experience for your class is to change the orientation of
the sets in the hall from that which they've become accustomed. Our social hall
has a stage at the end and is about 4 sets long by two sets wide. The natural
orientation is just that - two sets at the top of the hall then two sets
below that, etc. On occasion (rare occasion, as I don't wish to upset them
too much)
I have rotated the sets 90 degrees.

This causes a great deal of confusion with many of the dancers. It's
obvious that they have oriented the formations and how to dance them with
the space within the hall, not within the set formation. This seems to be
especially true of corner figures, though not exclusively so. I would tend
to do this more with an advanced class or a dem team. It's especially
helpful for the dem team because you're never quite sure what sort of
orientation you'll be forced to dance in due to the layout of the venue.

I discoverd this by accident when we held a ball in an old mining town,
Bisbee, AZ. The dance hall had a small stage, but it was long and narrow,
like a saloon, which of course is what it was. We discovered we had mor
room if we had the sets turned 90 degrees from the stage -- and havoc
reigned in many of the
sets. That's when I realized the dancers had learned not to orient
themselves to positions within the sets, but within the room. I think in
extreme cases, this might be why an otherwise good dancer comes unglued in a
different room, say at a Workshop out of town, or visiting another class
using a different space. Just a thought.

--
Courtney Cartwright
Tucson, Arizona
xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx

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