California Twirl – Definition

Teaching Resource for CALIFORNIA TWIRL

Links:   Standard Analyze Module Teach Other Extend

CALLERLAB Program: Basic Part 1
Teaching order: After Star Thru and before Walk Around the Corner
Recently taught calls: Right and Left Thru, Grand Square

Background: The name Frontier Whirl was suggested for this action about 1957 by Bruce Johnson from Santa Barbara, California. Frontier Whirl and California Twirl were both used to describe this call for several years. By the 1976 CALLERLAB Convention when the Mainstream Program List was first approved, California Twirl was the name listed.


Minimum number of dancers needed: Two

Starting formation for the minimum number needed: Normal Couple only

Command examples:
— California Twirl
— With your partner, California Twirl
— Lead couples, California Twirl
— Center couples, California Twirl

Dance action: Dancers raise joined hands to form an arch and exchange places with each other by having the woman walk forward and under the arch along a tight left-turning semicircle. The man walks a slightly wider right-turning semicircle. Dancers have exchanged places, passing right shoulders, and are both facing in the opposite direction from which they started.

Ending formation: Couple

Timing: 4

Styling: Man and woman use a loose hand grip. Outside hands are in natural dance position. For smoothness, the joined hands should move backward slightly while being raised to form the arch; this will give the dancers an initial turning motion toward each other.

The woman knows where her head and hands are, so she should lift her own hand far enough to avoid her head. If she is not comfortable raising her arm, or if the man’s arms are not long enough, the dancers should slide out of the handhold, and gesture with fingertips at an imaginary arch.

It is important that the man does not “wind” or “crank” the woman. The man’s hand should be used to aid the woman’s stability as she provides her own momentum.
Hands should be adjusted to couple handholds after completion of the call.

Comments: (none)

Facing Couple or Ocean Wave Rule: Neither rule applies to California Twirl.

Link to Taminations: Taminations California Twirl