Twisted Concept

Clark Baker, Summer 2003

In April 2002 Everett Mackin asked for a "simple" explanation of the Twisted Concept. Here it is:

Consider the following calls:

To do any of them Twisted, do the following:

  1. Do 1/2 the dance action.
  2. Pretend the 2 dancers are now a solid unit on a turntable (or lazy susan) and allow their momentum (from step 1) to rotate the unit 90 degrees (one wall).
  3. Do the last 1/2 of the dance action. Each dancer will continue his dance action from step 1.
Finally, you can "Twist" calls that start with one of the above dance actions (e.g., Square Thru). In this case, you make the initial dance action Twisted and the rest is "normal".


Except for teaching purposes, Twisted Pass Thru and Twisted Pull By aren't great. However, Twisting calls which start with a Pass Thru or Pull By is great (e.g., Twisted Pass And Roll, Twisted Right And Left Thru, Twisted 8 Chain 4).

Normally I don't twist calls which start with an Arm Turn 1/2. To me this is just Yo Yo. However, at Mainstream or Plus it might be fun. Twisted Swing Thru would be a 3/4 Thru. Twisted Relay The Deucey would start with an Arm Turn 3/4.

Step 1 (do 1/2 the dance action) could also be described in terms of rotating the long axis of the 2 dancers by 90 degrees. I don't know if it ever makes a difference but one way may make more sense to people than the other.

Twisted deals in terms of dance actions, not calls or parts of calls. For example, Percolate from lines facing starts with a Circulate which is a Pass Thru type dance action so it can be Twisted.

Twisted has an implicit "Initially Those Who Can" concept attached. If you want the Twisted action to happen more than once in a call, you probably need the Piecewise or Random concepts (e.g., Piecewise Twisted Crosstrail Thru, Random Twisted 8 Chain Thru, make each half Twisted and Dosado).

Twisted can be disorienting. Some dancers don't think or feel in terms of momentum. Most of the Twisteds that have been called so far start with a Pass Thry or Right Pull By. Dancers have learned to cheat by single circling left 1/4 and just doing the call. They "pre-twist" rather than twisting in the middle. This doesn't work for left versions or some of the other 2-dancer calls.

I especially like the dance feel of Twisted Rollaway. I also now see that Rollaway and Zoom are closely related -- one is horizontal and the other vertical, but the same action.

Dancers have enjoyed (i.e., find difficult) Finally Twisted Chisel Thru. The final part is a Pass In which has to be danced as a Twisted Pass In which seem to be difficult. Often they get the Twisted Pass Thru, but fail to face in.

Scott Morton describes it this way

This is a two-person concept. At the inception of a Twisted call, you and the other dancer define a 1x2 formation. Begin to dance the call until the long axis of your 1x2 formation changes. At this point, counter rotate a 1/4 around the point between the two of you, in flow direction of the person or persons who have a flow direction. Then finish the call.

Hence, you can apply the call in situations where you don't necessarily have a mini-wave when you actually "twist" the call. For example, you could twist a "Roll away with a half sashay", or a Slide.

Twisted applies only to the first part of the call.

Vic Ceder describes it this way

Explanation and examples available here.

Twisted Concept by Clark Baker, June 1996

Here is my current thinking on the Twisted (formerly Crooked) concept.


Used with:
any call whose active's initial dance action contains a pass thru, pull by, touch, or single circling action.

Dance action:
Those who start the call with a pass thru action, dance it as a no hands Touch 1/4 and Step Thru. Those who start the call with a Pull By action, dance it as 1/2 Pull By, Single Hinge, and finish the Pull By. Those who start the call with a Touch action, dance it as a Touch 1/4. Those who start the call with a single circling action, single circle an extra quarter.

From facing couples, Twisted Pass And Roll, Twisted Weave.

From a single 8 chain thru with men in the middle, Twisted Right and Left Thru, Twisted Travel Thru.

From a grand single 8 chain thru, Twisted Load the Boat, Twisted Chisel Thru, Twisted Plan Ahead.

From heads step to a wave and heads 1/4 in, Twisted Split Square Thru.

From a diamond plus everyone 1/4 in (women are centers), Twisted Single File Dixie anything, Twisted Single File Ladies Chain, Twisted Single File Flutter Wheel, Twisted Double Pass Thru.

From a Zero Tag, Twisted Single Bring Us Together.

From a thar plus everyone 1/4 in or an alamo ring, Twisted Right and Left Grand.

This concept is disorienting and difficult. It changes calls which are shape changes to non-shape changers and vice versa. It can cause bad flow (e.g. Twisted Square Thru 2). It is hard to sight call.

Twisted is not the same as Single Reflected, Initially Reflected, or even Initially Single Reflected since Reflected only applies to tagging calls. Pass Thru, Pull By, Touch, and Single Circle are not tagging calls.

By my definition, the Twisted action must come at the beginning of the call. This is intentional. I don't want a concept which asks us to search for the first occurrence of something (a pass thru, a 1/2 tag position, etc.).

By my definition, the initial dance action must contain a pass thru, pull by, touch, or single circle as opposed to the initial call in the definition being a pass thru, pull by, touch, or single circle. This is intentional. It gets us away from the parts of the definition and towards dance action. While Twisted Double Pass Thru is slightly bogus (since the ends are active at the beginning of a Double Pass Thru), I want to allow it.

By my definition, not all dancers have to participate at the start of the call. This allows Twisted Split Square Thru. Those that are active must perform one of the three dance actions. Those who are inactive do the call normally.

Calls which start with an Arm Turn action are not applicable for the Twisted concept.

Here are the name suggestions I received: Crooked, Twisted, Bent, Funhouse (related to Reflected and circus funhouse mirrors), Irksome (an abbreviated name from Initially Reflected), Ricochet, Tilt, Deflect (too close to reflect). From a thesaurus, Curved, Hooked, Bowed, Angled, Awry, Tortuous, Warped, Misshapen, Skewed, Serpentine, Lopsided, Deviating, ZigZag. I chose Twisted because the concept adds an extra 1/4 twist to an existing action.

I also received the following feedback, "Drop it kill it we don't need it."

People who took the time to walk some sequences were lukewarm on the concept. Some (many?) calls don't flow well and some of the turns are tighter than we normally do.

Thank you for your comments. Unless I receive a piece of mail which indicates that I have made a big mistake with the definition, the above definition is my attempt to "publish" the Twisted Concept to the "folks".

Fall 2001

I have extended twisted. While I don't believe that this extension will have many applications, the extension fits my gestalt for twisted. At Berkshires I called "make each half twisted and dosado". Some got it and others were confused.

What I wanted for the second half was to do 1/2 of an un-(left shoulder) pass thru, un-hinge, and un-step through. It is as if the two dancers got snagged on each other as they were doing the un pass thru and they turned 1/4 around each other before they became un-snagged. So, one can twist two dancers doing an un-pass thru action.

With a little more thought, I noticed (decided) that one can also twist two dancers moving past each other in any of the following ways:

In all cases two dancers move from their starting position to each other's position in one smooth move. They start the move, get "snagged" on each other 1/2 way through, allow their momentum to rotate their 1x2 90 degrees, and continue on their way.

Heads Twisted Half Sashay ends in a RH 1/4 line, head men as very centers.

From a RH wave, Twisted Slide would dance as 1/2 a slide, single circle 1/4 to the right and left touch to end in a LH Box of 4.

Heads Twisted Rollaway would dance as 1/2 of a Rollaway, single circle 1/4 to the right, and finish the rollaway by having the man continue to sidestep to the right and the woman continue the roll across the man to the left action. Ends in a RH 1/4 line, head men as the very centers.

Heads Star Thru, Twisted Substitute would have the heads 1/2 back over the sides (who move forward), and the men as a couple 1/4 left and the women as a couple 1/4 right (the twist), and the heads continue backing up (sides move forward) to end in a normal CDPT with heads as centers. The heads, who start in the center, and try to back out of the center still end up in the center!

I don't expect that there are too many places where these twisted applications will work, but there are some. I used most of the above at C-Gulls. The dance action was enough different from the usual single circle cheat that I taught it at the beginning of a tip and didn't use it at all! Instead, we devoted the next break to having everyone try some of the new twisteds until each couple came to their own understanding of how it works (many learning styles).

While writing this extension I thought of Twisted Partner Trade (from a couple) and discarded it as not fitting by gestalt because the flow of the two dancers half way through the Partner Trade is not conducive to having the two dancers rotate around each other (i.e. hinge), and then continue on with their Trade. I also do not believe that Arm Turn 1/2 can be Twisted. The dancers have to be trying to move through each other, and following a traffic pattern to avoid occupying the same spot.

When I initially thought of Twisted, in addition to Pass Thru and Pull By actions, I allowed Single Circling and Touch actions. The Touch action was for Twisted Plan Ahead and Twisted Single File Flutter Wheel. There hasn't been much use of these, and it doesn't really fit my current thinking so they should probably not be used. The Single Circling action also doesn't fit my current thinking. I can't even remember which call(s) it was for. The use of either of these starting actions should be phased out.

Clark Baker
426 Marsh St.
Belmont, MA 02478-1109

Revised: $Date: 2005/11/26 21:52:34 $

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