Mel Wilkerson Notes on Wheel Movements

October 27, 2016

Written by Mel Wilkerson for the Newbie Callers Facebook group.

Wheel Movements

This discussion is to prompt thought and further discussion on the use of terminology

Callers have a unique set of terminology when applying choreography or explaining choroegrapy with common reference points for dancers and other callers to better understand what is being presented. However there is an issue, of which I am guilty, which I became aware of in a recent discussion on the topic of Sweep ¼.

The term used was “Wheel Movements”.

A long discussion was had regarding the use of sweep ¼. Which is an excellent call used whenever you have:

  1. couples working together; and
  2. Couples maintain a facing relationship through the flow of the movement; and
  3. The flow of the movement has a circular pathway or arc flow in which the couples can continue on that path; way while maintaining requirements 1 and 2.

A comment was made in that discussion about wheel movements, (Ferris wheel, wheel and deal, cycle and wheel and so forth) – with myself include stating that is true with the exception of wheel around. Wheel movements are movements that have “wheel” in the name” of the movement and do not necessarily relate to body flow.

What was not clearly stressed was that Wheel movements contributing to the flow of Sweep ¼ are not all inclusive. For that reason, this is another example of common usage terminology that we as callers should not use when defining or explaining examples.

The practice in commonality is that we tend to discuss examples to make our choreographic points relative to body flow citing examples as rules or “best practice” if you will.

For example, it is common to say that a Ferris Wheel incorporates a wheel and deal in the centre. “FERRIS WHEEL”, like “Wheel And Deal” is a “wheel movement” and has a forward flowing action where the dancers maintain a relative facing relationship and all dancers are moving in a forward direction through the course of the movement. The centres that do the wheel and deal can sweep ¼.

Most callers would understand that and take it for granted that the example cited is for a specific example of a wheel and deal from a two face line. – the discussion would move forward without hiccough.

However; as is pointed out, a discussion between two knowledgeable callers that takes for granted each other’s understanding and perspective can often get misunderstood particularly by new callers.

To illustrate, look at the use of wheel and deal above. It was not stated that the starting position was a 2-face line.

A new caller reading wheel movements are conducive to sweep ¼ and wheel and deal is a “wheel movement” could easily draw the conclusion that sweep ¼ is perfectly fine after a wheel and deal. It is not.

Consider the following:

  1. The callers discussing had a common point of reference.
  • The callers discussing understood the unspoken set up and formation
    1. The callers discussing used commonality in terminology for the advancement of their discussion
  • The callers discussing used a common reference (wheel movement – indicating, Ferris wheel, wheel and deal, cycle and wheel but excluded specifically wheel around because of its backward flow for one of the dancers in the couples unit.
  • All this would be a normal conversation between two callers with a common point of reference.

    For a newer caller it is heard, with the exception of wheel around, sweep ¼ is a perfectly good call after any of the wheel movements, Ferris wheel, wheel and deal, cycle and wheel and so forth.

    Now consider the following:

    Use a sweep ¼ after the following wheel and deals. All of these are basic staples of dancing. All of these are used regularly, (depending on where you dance) The last one is used in Europe quite a bit, or rather was in the 1980s when I danced there and was considered normal. Now it is considered expert level dancing and rarely used.

    Given the rules for sweep ¼ which of these meets the requirements?

    • Wheel and Deal from

    • Right hand two face lines

    • Left-Hand Two-Faced Line

    • Lines Facing Out

    • Lines Facing In

    • Tidal Two-Faced Line

    • Tidal Line

    I am ready to admit that I am guilty of this practice. I also note that many well-known and very experienced and respected callers give excellent input to these discussions. They also speak from the point of view understood from the “caller’s reference point” relative to the specifics of choreographic flow being discussed.

    Unfortunately for that reason, we often tend to forget that not everyone sees the start position and flow the same as we do, and this can lead to misunderstanding, or worse, newer callers accepting ideas as taken for granted right up to the point they call it and their floor breaks down.

    I will endeavour to be much clearer on my explanations and stop generalising when using examples applicable to only specific starting formations of movements when I can. If you see me doing it, let me know. I think most caller mentors and teachers would feel the same way.

    Category: Mel Wilkerson