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Grand Colonel Spin - demonstration

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Grand Colonel Spin - demonstration


The Grand Spin call is no longer on the standard lists of MWSD calls. The dancers here are tapping but the figure itself can be clearly seen, starting at :35. The dancers are the Air Cap Tappers at McConnell AFB, Wichita, Kansas.

Writing in The American Dance Circle (Volume 34, Number 3; September 2013), Paul Moore describes the figure thus:

Opener, Break, Closer: singing figure — learn the melody

Allemande left in the Alamo style, balance in and out
Swing thru two by two and balance here again
Swing thru two by two and turn your partner by the right
Allemande left your corner and weave the ring

Swing your partner and promenade  *  *  *  *  *
When you're home, sides face, grand spin

Figure: The heads and the sides do different things, then alternate so that everyone gets to do all parts. The figure is definitely modern square dance, but even it has a trick that is unfamiliar to most square dancers. When I teach this dance, I have the heads step forward to create space for the sides to work. I have the sides walk their part, but I tell the heads to watch carefully.

On the command "sides face grand spin," the sides start off as if they were doing a grand square: they face, back away three steps and face in on the fourth. At this point the figure becomes unfamiliar. The sides move forward toward each other at the head position and do a back-to-back dosado (please, no waist swings), then star thru. In these 16 steps the sides have moved to the head position with their opposite as their temporary partner.

When the sides have completed their walk-thru, I ask them to step back just a little so the heads can do their part. The heads start at exactly the same time as the sides. The heads step forward to pass the ocean (pass right shoulders with the opposite then turn ¼ to the right to step to an ocean wave); Spin the top (heads trade by the right hand, then the men star left ¾ while the ladies move up ¼) ; Star thru (this will catch most square dancers by surprise because they are used to ending a spin the top in a right hand ocean wave; in this case, the men must reach across to the ladies' left hand to do the star thru.

The heads are now facing the side walls with original partner); California twirl (while stepping to the sides' position, the heads do a California twirl to face back in); heads turn to face partner to start the sides' figure.

At the end of 16 beats the sides are in the head position with their opposite as partner, while the heads are at the side position with partner. It may be interesting to note that the men always work on their starting side of the square, while the ladies cross over and back.

The tune for the figure is the "Colonel Bogey March," which many of you know from the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai. If the dancers can do the figure without any cues, they will often sing along with the music.

Date Created

July 27, 2008

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