The Fractional Twosome Concept

By Scott Morton and Sue Curtis

© March 1992 Scott Morton and Sue Curtis
Last Revised April 24, 1992

This paper is also available in PostScript format.


The Fractional Twosome Concept is a new method of working jointly with another dancer. The basic idea is to do a portion of the call working Solidly (e.g. As Couples or In Tandem) and the rest of the call working Twosomely. Specifically, N/4 Twosome means that each group of dancers works Solidly until they have turned a total of N/4, and then they work Twosomely thereafter. (This is analogous to the N/4 Stable Concept, where dancers work normally until they have turned a total of N/4, and Stably thereafter.)

When dancing this concept, each pair of dancers counts only the turns they have made, irrespective of the turns of other pairs. Consequently, on many calls some pairs will ``use up'' the designated fraction before other pairs, and thus there may be portions of the call where some pairs are working twosomely but other pairs are still working solidly. Also, note that the phrase ``a total of N/4'' means the total number of turns, not the net change in facing direction---if a dancer turns first 1/4 to the right and then 1/4 to the left, this counts as turning 1/2, not 0.

As with the Twosome concept, there is often a choice of pairs that may work together as a unit. Consequently, the caller should specify who is working together by prefacing the words N/4 Twosome with a unit such as Couples, Tandem, or Siamese. For example, Couples 1/4 Twosome means that dancers are paired by couples initially, and each pair works As Couples for the first 1/4 turn of the call and Couples Twosome for the remainder.

The rest of this paper is devoted to examples so that we can give both dancers and callers a feel for the type of motion generated by this concept, and so that we can demonstrate some particularly interesting usages of it.


The easiest examples of Fractional Twosome are those where the call has multiple parts, and the turning involved in the first part of the call is the same as the fraction given.

Tandem 1/4 Twosome Hinge the Lock:

Couples 1/2 Twosome Recoil:

These calls are fairly easy because we are used to concepts such as Random and Piecewise that require us to treat each part of the call differently. However, in general when doing a call N/4 Twosome, the first N/4 turns of the call may not correspond to the first part of the call.

Couples 1/4 Twosome Cast 3/4:

Tandem 1/2 Twosome Box Transfer:

Couples 1/4 Twosome Reach Out:

Although so far we have only discussed groups of two dancers working together, larger groups are also possible.

1/4 Boxsome Latch On:

One feature we like about this concept is that it provides many new ways to get into and out of unusual setups.

Couples 1/2 Twosome Reset 1/2:

Siamese 1/4 Twosome Step and Fold:

Siamese 3/4 Twosome Swing Thru:

12 Matrix Tandem 1/4 Threesome Recycle:

Examples using 1/8 fractions can generate some particularly surprising results.

Couples 1/8 Twosome Trade:

Relation to Existing Calls

Just as many existing calls can be defined by applying the As Couples concept to some other call (e.g. Wheel and Deal is As Couples Single Wheel), many additional calls can be described in terms of the Fractional Twosome concept.

For example, Link Up can be described as Couples 1/4 Twosome Peel and Trail:

Crossfire (from two-faced lines) can be described as Couples 1/4 Twosome Trade, and Trail Off can be described as Tandem 1/4 Twosome Trade:

Stack the Wheel can be described as Couples 1/4 Twosome Single Wheel, and Couple Up (from a mini-wave box) can be described as Tandem 1/4 Twosome Single Wheel:

There are many other calls that can be described in terms of the Fractional Twosome concept. (Consider Shakedown, Countershake, Turnaway, Round Off, Roll the Line, Roll Out to a Column, Fancy, Peel Off, Chase the Tag, and Pair the Line.) While this by itself is not all that useful (afterall, why say Couples 1/4 Twosome Trade when you can just say Crossfire?), it does suggest that this concept tends to generate a motion that is smooth, flowing, and enjoyable to dance.


The Fractional Twosome concept provides a new method of working jointly with another dancer. It is a simple combination of existing concepts and thus should be straight-forward to teach and easy to understand. The concept provides new ways of getting into and out of complex setups and generates a smooth, flowing motion that should be enjoyable to dance.

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Lynette Bellini
Wed Aug 19 08:33:31 CDT 1998