American Square Dances of The West
& Southwest - online instruction book

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of the West and Southwest
39
The progressive pick-up type is one in which the couple lead­ing the figure dances first with one couple, then adds another couple, and finally a third couple, so that all dancers in the set are dancing the figure together, constituting a change. The figure is danced first by four dancers, then six, and finally eight. Each change is usually followed by a chorus or trimming.
The heads and sides is a Square Dance pattern in which two couples at a time lead the figure, usually the two Head Couples dancing together for four changes, then a chorus or trimming, followed by the two Side Couples leading the figure for four changes. There is usually an exchange of partners on each change. This form is used extensively in the Southwest, perhaps due to the influence of the Colonial Spanish and Mexican Qua­drilles.
In the breakdown type of call, all dancers in the set answer and dance the call together, exchanging partners with each dancing of the figure, or with each change. The "Texas Star" is such a dance. The term "breakdown" comes from the Qua­drille, in which the last "change" is often called the "breakdown" figure. Many of these types of calls are often used as a chorus, trimming, or finish.
There is the hoedoivn type of call, in which no particular pattern is followed. This is also called hash calling or chopsuey calling in some sections, and succotash in others. Not only is each change varied, but the figures within each change, as well as the chorus and trimmings, are modified. It is a good-natured contest between the caller and the dancers (with all the cards stacked in the caller's favor). Its chief value is as a novelty, and one such dance in an evening's program is usually sufficient. It is all in fun, but too often this novelty type of call is used by callers as their usual presentation. It must be used with discre­tion. Hoedown calling is the surest way of keeping new dancers and strangers off of the floor, and to discourage those who wish to dance but who have had little experience. Expert square dancers, particularly those attending contests, often use this






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