Disposable Experimentals

Clark Baker, December 2003

I believe that Don Beck coined the term disposable experimental for a square dance call that you could teach at a dance, use for a tip (or a whole evening) but the dancers wouldn't be responsible for remembering it after that. Traveling callers used this as a programming tool, especially in the 1970's and 1980's. At almost every Friday or Saturday night dance, you would expect to be shown a new square dance call.

Some of these calls were so popular that in 1976 Callerlab endorsed (on a one year trial basis) a new program of dancing beyond the Mainstream program called Mainstream Plus. It contained 16 calls plus 6 Mainstream Experimental Basics. In 1977 Callerlab established Mainstream Plus 1 (contain 12 of the calls from Mainstream Plus) and Mainstream Plus 2 (a new program). Each year calls were added and dropped. It was an exciting time. In 1982 the two lists were combined to form Plus.

As early as 1974, Callerlab was responding to requests to help stem the avalanche of new movements. The main control was the Quarterly Selection program, initially Mainstream Quarterly Selections. By 1983 most of the good calls had been invented. Plus Quarterly Selections were established in 1982 and had a good run until the 1990's. Advanced Quarterly Selections also existed, but were never very successful in finding good calls to add to the lists.

There are several calls which have never made it on a list but which I really enjoy dancing and/or calling. In case others feel the same way, I present them here. Let me know what you think.

Square Around (Don Beck, 1995)

I have always been a big fan of Don's Square Around. It could be used at MS and has a different feel than any of our other calls.

Starting formation:
8 Chain Thru

Dance Action:
Outside dancers will do their part of a Square Thru one hand, then Left Square Thru Two hands in the center, and finally, do their part of a Left Square Thru Two hands. Center dancers will do their part of a Square Thru Two hands, Move forward around the outside, and do their part of a Square Thru three hands.

Ending formation:
Lines Back-To-Back

Dancers should know that they are going to alternate hands, for five hands, starting with their rights. All dancers will be doing a Square Thru but it may not be apparent who they are to do it with.

The dancers moving around the outside are doing an Ends Bend, or their part of Bend The Line, or Move Along.

If you start in a normal 8 Chain Thru, you end in normal Lines Back-To-Back.

I have always found the teach to be a little hard. If you are really good, the dancers should all get it on the first time. I would recommend bring them back around so they do the same part a second and third time. Then let them have the other (centers vs. ends) part. Also, initially I keep the couples "normal".

Choreography note:
Calls which can be used after a SQUARE AROUND include: Tag The Line, Chase Right, Courtesy Turn, Men Run, Ends Fold, Wheel And Deal. SQUARE AROUND is unique in that it ends with a Right Pull By. Following it with a Courtesy Turn is especially nice.

Tilt The Wave and Tilt And Circle

For a Plus floor who wants something a little different, Don created two calls whose "gimmick" is to end on the bias (i.e., not lined up on the walls) -- Tilt The Wave and Tilt And Circle. I wouldn't do both of them but pick the one which resonates with you.

Tilt The Wave (Don Beck, 1978)

From parallel waves, Cast Off half and a little bit more (5/8 if you must) until a wave is formed across the center of the square. The very centers Trade while the outfacing dancer in the mini-wave runs. Ends in a 1/4 Tag.

Tilt And Circle (Don Beck, 1995)

From parallel waves, Cast Off half and a little bit more (5/8 if you must) until a wave is formed across the center of the square. The very centers Trade as the other six Circulate. The wave end who is circulating does a U-Turn Back when ending to finish facing in. The ending formation is a quarter tag formation.

It flows and times well and took very little time to get used to orienting after the Cast Off. From a squared set, Heads Pass the Ocean, Swing Thru, Extend, Tilt and Circle yields a normal (or zero) quarter tag.

With both of the above calls, part of the fun is to see if the dancers can (or want to) dance a few calls without forcing their square to line up on the walls. Then call another "Tilt" call to bring them back to lining up on the walls.

Linear Weave The Line (Doug Bennett, 2002)

While entertaining a square of Plus dancers at a party I introduced them to Linear Weave The Line by Doug Bennett. They were good dancers (moving with the music, connecting with adjacent dancers, good dance feel, etc.) and seemed to enjoy the connection and possibilities of this call. I found it easy to fit into my choreo. I stayed with the facing lines version for a while and they liked it but probably thought it was a little simple and limiting. Then I went into the two-faced line and ocean wave versions and they saw more potential. By the end we were exploiting 3&1 lines and inverted lines. I should have worked out calls which flow into them beforehand so be prepared.

This could be used with MS dancers as it is basically sashays and reverse sashays.

From Doug Bennett's e-mail...

Linear Weave The Line (2002)

It is similar to the Square Thru or Eight Chain Thru, only in the terms that it has a specific number of "parts". Linear Weave The Line has five parts, but can be called in parts such as "Linear, Weave by Two.... Linear, Weave by Three. etc.

Starting Formation:

Lines of 4 or Two Faced Lines. (The call feels best if you have body flow to start with, such as Right & Left thru, Reverse Flutter, Veer Left, etc.)


  1. Everybody 1/2 sashay,
  2. the centers Reverse 1/2 sashay,
  3. Everybody 1/2 sashay
  4. Centers Reverse 1/2 sashay
  5. Everybody 1/2 sashay
This call provides a "weave" effect down the line of four dancers with no dancers changing their original facing direction. The ending formation is equivalent to "As Couples, 1/2 Sashay"

If the call is Reverse Linear Weave the Line, the process is reverse 1/2 sashay, normal 1/2 sashay, reverse 1/2 sashay, normal 1/2 sashay, reverse 1/2 sashay. This can be used when body flow dictates that the first 1/2 sashay should be reverse, such as after the calls, Veer Right, Flutter Wheel or Recycle.

Example Choreo:

Zero Box:
Right and Left Thru.....Slide Thru....Right and Left Thru....Linear Weave The Line.....Load the Boat...AL!

Zero Box:
Swing Thru....Recycle....Veer Left....Linear Weave By 3.....AL!

Zero Box:
Slide Thru....Reverse Flutter Wheel....Linear Weave The Line.....Pass Thru....Wheel and Deal....Pass Thru...AL

Zero Line:
Right and Left Thru.....Linear Weave The Line.....Slide thru...Square Thru 3.....AL!

Zero Line:
Right and Left thru.....Flutter Wheel....Sweep 1/4....Veer Left....Linear Weave By 2.....RLG!

Zero Line:
Pass the Ocean....Swing Thru.....Boys Run.....Tag the Line, Out......Bend the Line.....Pass the Ocean...Centers Run....Ferris Wheel.....Centers, Veer Left (and) Linear Weave by 2 ....Extend....RLG!

And I'm sure that you can come up with lot's more.

Cross The Star (Jerry Salisbury, 1973)

I also like Jerry Salisbury's Cross The Star. It is done from Lines Facing and is a zero.

Everyone alternates hands and is walking a figure 8 pattern.

Scoot And Relocate (Don Beck, 1985)

This was a Quarterly Selection in 1986. It is simple, dances well, and gives us another call from a 1/4 Tag.
Starting formation:
1/4 Tag

Dance Action:
Scoot Back. Centers Fan The Top while the outsides Quarter To Handhold (that is, Face Right if the Scoot Back was right-handed) Single File Promenade 1/4 of the way around the set, and Face In.

Ending formation:
1/4 Tag

I recently went to a local dance which was alternating MS and Plus. We had a good attendance -- say 8 to 10 squares. The caller travels internationally and is very experienced. He called an entertaining evening with not very aggressive choreography. Most of the dancers were ok, but some struggled with almost any choreography. My perception is that this group would not have been interested in learning anything new or seeing anything unusual. The caller wisely stayed away from pushing them too much.

Make sure that you know your group before you push them in some direction.

Revised: $Date: 2005/11/26 21:52:45 $

Free counters provided by Andale.