Ocean Wave Resolution

by Dave Wilson

written up by Clark Baker

This paper describes a symmetric sight calling resolution based on ocean waves. It was developed and explained to us by Dave Wilson at a callers school in 2007.

Dave is a big fan of this method because it seems to be easier to learn, uses fewer calls, and is more forgiving when you make mistakes. It is the first method he teaches in his caller schools.

The main part of this resolution system can be accomplished with only two calls: Swing Thru and Acey Deucey. We recommend that you learn and practice it using only those two calls until you can do it without pausing and in your sleep.

Step 0: Memorize couples

You will need to be able to quickly identify at least two couples in the square (one head and one side) and where their home positions are. You don't have to think of these as primary and secondary couples.

The question you will be asking yourself is "In this ocean wave, who has partners>". Pick dancers for which this question will be easy to answer.

You will need to be able to quickly remember the home position of your two couples. This will also be useful when yous start doing "at home" resolves. You could always pick couple #1 and couple #4. If you don't work that way, make sure you know the home position of your two couples.

Step 1: Ocean waves

You are sight calling and it is time to resolve. Get the dancers into right-hand ocean waves with same sex in the center (either BGGB or GBBG).

Step 2: Ocean waves holding onto partner

Our next goal is to have everyone in the ocean waves holding onto their partner. We are going to accomplish this using only the calls Swing Thru and Acey Deucey. You can stop reading now and practice doing that by yourself to get a feel for how each of these calls works and when to use one and when to use the other. Or, keep reading and learn about our method.

Look at one of the ocean waves and see if the dancers in that wave also have their original partners in the same wave. They don't have to be holding onto them, just in the same wave. How many people have their partner in the same wave? There are three possible answers:

At this point you have everyone in ocean waves holding onto their partner. You are very close. They could be in sequence or out of sequence. Normally I can't see "sequence" while sight calling in a timely way but Dave has developed a method which works well for many people.

Step 3: Determining sequence

Assume you have memorized two partner pairings (a head couple and a side couple) and their home positions. In the ocean waves, look at how far each couple is from their home position.

Step 4: The ending

From here it is just a matter of memorizing a set of getouts for each situation. Here are some commonly used getouts:

This method in disguise

At first you might fault this method as being boring or repetitious. Perhaps even subject to overflow. Trust me. Dancers will prefer someone who can resolve quickly and accurately over those callers who start to resolve, make a mistake, try again, and spend over half their calling time resolving.

The "fun" of dancing generally isn't happening while a caller is trying to resolve. Let's limit that time to 10%.

Disguise #1

You can disguise what you are doing. For example, instead of calling Swing Thru use Scoot Back, Centers Trade. In the case where the ocean wave has one set of partners and you have to get one of them to be a lead end, note that Swing Thru 1 1/2 always works. You can hide what you are doing with zeros and equivalents.

Disguise #2

When you become better with the system, consider using the following for the case when each ocean wave contains no partners:

Disguise #3

The initial step asked you to get them into right-hand ocean waves and then to get them with their partner. In fact, the entire method will work from left-hand ocean waves just as well (assuming that your dancers are up for it).

Here are the getouts for left-hand ocean waves:

Clark's commentary

This system is forgiving. Once you get into ocean waves with same sex in the middle (#0 or #1/2), you stay in those waves. Every call in Step 1 leaves you in Step 1. If you make a mistake, say call and Acey Deucey when you should have called Swing Thru, you haven't messed much up. Just start Step 1 over.

In the Facing Lines resolution system, one mistake and you often have to start the system over again. Also, the formations are always changing -- Lines Facing, Lines Back-To-Back, Double Pass Thru, etc. One wrong call and you are back to square one -- pair up your primary couple and get to lines.

This system is fast. Most callers can get to ocean waves in a single call and, if they aren't already there, can get to #0 or #1/2 ocean waves in another call. Next you need some number of Acey Deuceys and Swing Thrus (or Circulates) -- between 0 and 4. Finally you have the memorized ending which is one to three calls. Probably 6 calls on average.

The decisions are limited and can be made without stop and go calling. Some resolution methods place too large a burden on the caller and can't be used well without a lot of practice and experience.

The system starts off in a simple, constrained way for learning purposes but can grow as the caller grows.

I think the system is clever in that it asks you to get into ocean waves (4 possible) and then gets everyone with their partner, but still in the 4 possible ocean waves. Adding in sequence, this gives us 8 possible places and we have modules for each of those. We won't always be ending with Pass Thru, Wheel And Deal, Zoom, Square Thru 3, LA or something similar.


This writeup is based on notes taken by Larry Kilgallen, a discussion with Dave Wilson, and feedback from Justin Legakis, C. Scott Ananian, and Gary Feldman.