In order to resolve the square - i.e. get everyone back to their corner or partner in the correct order - there are several important details about the square that callers must recognize and manipulate. For each of these details, there is a standardized term, approved by Callerlab, which allows callers to communicate this information with other callers. The most essential terms are: Formation, Arrangement, Sequence, and Relationship. These four are often referred to collectively as 'FASR'. Be aware that some older publications refer to these same terms in a different order or with slightly different names. Read more about it in the article "Other Names For Setups". A few additional terms are important and they are explained later below.
The formation specifies two things....
Formation Letter Designations
[B] "Box" 8 Chain Thru [C] Column [D] Diamonds [F] 2 Face Lines [L] Facing Lines [M] Completed Double Pass Thru [P] (Beginning) Double Pass Thru [Q] (One) Quarter Tag formation [R] Three Quarter Tag formation [S] Squared Set (Static Square) [T] Trade By [W] Parallel Waves
Arrangement is where the boys and girls are within the formation. When the arrangement is symmetric (which is usually the case), there can only be 2 boys and 2 girls at one time in any half of the square. Symmetry says the other half will be a mirror image copy of the first half.
In half of a square, there are only 6 possible ways to arrange 2 boys and 2 girls into 4 positions. As an example we use one wave - half of parallel waves or a tidal wave. . . .
These 6 ways to arrange the boys and girls translate to the 6 Callerlab arrangement states: 0, 1/2, 1, 2, 3, and 4. Callerlab assigns these numbers to the 6 arrangements for every formation. While there are general trends for assigning numbers to arrangement (see below), the assignment depends on the specific formation.
Key to Sex Arrangement Notation / General Trends
The arrangement number immediately precedes the formation letter(s).
Example: [5B] = Sashayed 8 Chain Thru formation
Sequence is the order of boys and the order of the girls going around the formation in promenade direction (C.C.W.). This is what is needed to know if the dancers are in the right order to call a correct AL, RLG, or Prom, etc.
Sequence is denoted by a number 1...4:
2 ... both Boys and Girls are "out of sequence"
3 ... Boys are "in sequence", Girls are "out of sequence"
4 ... Boys are "out of sequence", Girls are "in sequence"
How to determine sequence
Sequence and Sequence Symmetry
Let's arbitrarily choose a formation and an arrangement and then let same sex dancers mill around and randomly exchange places with other same-sex dancers. The boys must end up in one of the 4 boy "spots" and the girls must end up in one of the 4 girl "spots" in our formation. This sort of swapping can only affect sequence and sequence symmetry.
When the sequence is symmetric, knowing were one boy is automatically establishes where his opposite is - diagonally across the square, equidistant from the flagpole center of the square. That leaves 2 boys and 2 boy spots. Since these 2 boys could only possibly switch with each other, there can be only 2 ways to sequence the boys. One is C.W. from the first Boy, the other is C.C.W from him. The same is true of the girls.
There are only these 2 possible sequence states for each of the sexes when the sequence is symmetric:
Note that all of the following have the same sequence...
2-3-4-1 (same sequence - start with #2)
Here are just a few examples of asymmetric sequence...
Relationship is how the boy sequence is related to the girl sequence -or- how a reference dancer is positioned relative to his or her partner.
Once the formation, arrangement, and sequence are specified, there is yet another piece of information we will need before we can call an AL or RLG. That is Relationship. The simplest way to illustrate this is to start with a squared set and have everyone Join Hands and Circle To The Left. Each boy has his partner girl to his right. Now call Put The Ladies In And The Men Sashay. Notice that the formation is still a circle, the arrangement is still alternating B, G, B, G, etc., and both the boys and girls are "in sequence" (1, 2, 3, 4 going around the ring in promenade direction). But each boy no longer has his partner girl to his right. What changed was the relationship the dancers have with their partners.
There are 4 relationships denoted by the letters p, c, o, r...
c ... Reference boy adjacent to his corner
o ... Reference boy adjacent to his opposite girl
r ... Reference boy adjacent to his right-hand girl
What is a reference boy?
The reference boy is the boy dancer of the reference pair. The reference pair is comprised of 2 opposite sex dancers in the formation that we will use to determine how the boy sequence is related to the girl sequence. This will determine which of the 4 relationships we have. It is somewhat arbitrary which dancers we choose for the reference pair and it unfortunately makes a definite difference, affecting which letter (p, c, o, r) gets assigned, especially in sequence states 3 and 4 where one of the boys may have his partner while the other has opposite girl. It is important that reference dancers be chosen based on positions within a formation, rather than by any one specific dancer through the tip, otherwise Relationship will depend on the Sequence, and we do not want that. [Note from the editor: It is another advantage of the formation based choice of reference dancers that setups of the same technical value have the same Notation. Concerning to that from a [B4o] we know that the Getout "Square Thru 2, Wheel And Deal,Pass Thru AL" works correctly. If we choose i. e. boy #1 as the reference boy in any formation, we would need the extra information where in the formation (inside/outside) that boy is situated. GT]
Which is the reference pair?
This is still a topic of debate in Callerlab committee meetings. There are convenient choices one can make, but ultimately the choice is somewhat arbitrary. What has been agreed upon is which dancers make up the reference pair (the reference boy and the one girl he is adjacent to for purposes of establishing the relationship) in 4 formations with standard sex arrangement only: [L], [B], [F], and [W].
Reference Pair shown in RED
last Update: 10.11.1999