Teaching Resource for FORWARD AND BACK
CALLERLAB Program: Basic Part 1
Teaching order: After Circle Left / Right and before Dosado
Recently taught calls: Circle Left / Right
Background: Like Circles, this call has roots in tribal and folk dances. It is a synchronizing action that gives slower dancers a chance to catch up.
Minimum number of dancers needed: Four
Starting formation for the minimum number needed: Facing Couples
— Up to the Middle and Back
— All Go Forward and Back
— Join Hands, All Go Forward and Back
— Into The Middle with a Great Big Yell (from Squared Set or Infacing Circle Of 8)
— Heads Go Forward and Back (from a Squared Set)
— Lines of 4, Up and Back (from Facing Lines)
— Lines Up to the middle and Back (from Facing Lines)
— Rock Forward and Back (from Facing Lines)
Dance action: Dancers join hands with those next to them, walk forward 3 steps, pause, walk backwards 3 steps, and pause.
Ending formations: Same as starting formation
Timing: Lines close together: 4; All others: 8
Styling: Each dancer steps forward three steps and pauses while bringing the free foot forward and touching it to the floor without transferring weight. Each dancer steps back three steps beginning with the free foot and pauses while touching the free foot beside the weight-bearing foot.
From Facing Lines or similar situations in which eight counts are not appropriate, each dancer steps forward and pauses while bringing the other foot forward and touching it to the floor without transferring weight. Each dancer then steps back on the free foot and pauses while touching the other foot beside it.
As couples or lines meet in the center, the end dancers may touch or clap their outside hands palm to palm (palms flat, fingers pointed upwards).
Comments: The timing of a Forward and Back from Facing Lines depends on several factors. In Traditional Squares and Contras with phrased calling, it is definitely 8 steps. In Mainstream, it can be 8 steps if the caller assures that the lines are not too close together at the start and delivers the call in a way that encourages the dancers to take the full 8 steps (e.g., Lines Go Forward … and You Come Back Out).
The choreographic style and delivery of Modern Western patter calling have evolved in such a way that Forward and Back is most often danced in 4 steps.
Some callers clue the dancers to take 4 steps with phrases like “Balance Up and Back” or “Rock Forward and Back”, and otherwise expect 8 steps. Other callers believe that the distance between the lines determines the timing, not what the caller says. Some callers only allow 4 steps.
Forward and Back is also used as a signal from the caller to any square that has broken down that it can get started again by making normal Facing Lines and joining the sequence in progress.
Facing Couple or Ocean Wave Rule: Does not apply.
Link to Taminations: Taminations Forward and Back