The Scatter Concept
by Dan Neumann
The call "scatter scoot" is one of the first calls that dancers learn
when moving into the challenge programs of square dancing. It is
a seemingly simple extension of the call "scoot back" where the
lead dancers replace the flip over to their partner's spot (which
could be called a "split circulate") with what is typically termed an
"all eight circulate". Recently, the call "scatter follow to a
diamond" has been introduced where, like scatter scoot, the leads
replace "split circulate" with all "eight circulate". Well - if one can
call scatter follow to a diamond, then one should also be able to
call scatter scoot apart, scatter reach out, etc. Since we now have
several calls that scatter can be applied to, scatter seems to be
acting like a concept.
The first thing
you notice about the currently used examples is that only the
leaders are involved in the "scatter" action of the call. Furthermore,
they only "scatter" if they are flipping over to their partner's spot.
So it might seem that the leaders simply replace split circulate with
all eight circulate. However remember the call "scatter scoot
reaction." Here the lead dancers don't do an all eight circulate,
rather they adopt each other's position in the square. Therefore the
essence of the scatter concept is that leaders in a wave exchange places
with each other when they would normally do their part of split
SCATTER is a motion-based concept where the
leaders in a wave (or line) who would normally flip over into their
partner's space, dance to the spot that the other lead would
normally flip into and adopt the identity of that dancer. This can
occur anytime during the call and the dancers should "scatter" (so to
speak) at each occurrence.
Some consequences of the above definition are:
- One must (at least momentarily) have twin waves or twin lines
e.g. you can't scatter from columns;
- There must be exactly two leads in each wave who are flipping
into their partners spot, i.e. it's not enough that you're a leader
who is flipping over because the other leader determines the spot
you're going to; and
- Since it's a motion based concept, it is activated by the motion
of flipping over rather than the definition of the call,i.e.the
definition need not contain the words "split circulate;" and
- Because the the scatterer's adopt each others identities, the
ending formation for a scattered call must be identical to that
which would have been obtained without scattering.
In order to determine if the scatter concept can be applied to a
given call, I suggest that you try to define the call in such a way as
to include the words "leads split circulate." While this isn't the
definition of the concept, the scatter concept can be applied to most
calls which can be redefined in this way.
- SCATTER split circulate
(from twin waves) : This is just the same as all eight circulate.
(from lines facing out) : It's ambiguous because you have 3
choices of who to trade places with. Therefore it's illegal.
- SCATTER chase right
(from lines facing out) : Belles 1/4 right and roll, then ALL do
two all eight circulates.
- SCATTER leaders run
(from twin waves) : Leaders all eight circulate while the trailers do
the call normally. Note that the trailers should avoid the
temptation to scoot back.
- SCATTER split trade circulate
(from twin inverted lines with ends as leaders) : Trailers do the
call normally. Leaders do a cross-over circulate.
I'd like to thank David Schmitz, Lynette Bellini, and Scott Morton
for their observations concerning scatter, their insistence that
I write this article, and their suggestions for improving it.
Copyright © 1999 Dan Neumann. All Rights Reserved.