When I am using the term "setup" I am talking of a kind of snapshot of the dancers positions during the time between any two calls. It describes where the dancers are placed and the spatial relationship they have to each other. In square dance history there have been many attempts to find terms for communication about those setups.
In the sixties the callers Lloyd Litman and Ricky Holden developed one such system for their note service. The system described lines (called routes) and boxes. Lines were noted by the couple numbers of the boys and their partner relationship (1p2p-line).
The system for describing boxes used a completely different approach. It was based on the facing direction of dancers. A "Box 1-4" is the equivalent to an Allemande Box [B1c], and it described that the #1 boy is standing in the first quadrant and looking in direction #4.
During the seventies there was a growing tendency to use sight calling. As coreography changed, the number of possible setups grew. The old systems seemed to be insufficient. Bill Davis developed a system that used the parameters formation, sequence, and relationship (FSR) as essential parts.
Bill Peters adopted the system, but named its components formation, rotation and affiliation (FRA), because of it's acronymic appeal. Since he found the system too complex for the average caller, he at the same time used the terms "Zero Box" (ZB) and "Zero Line" (ZL) in his caller notes to name the most commonly used references for module calling.
In the eighties Callerlab voted for the FASR-System and recommended the use of the terms formation, arrangement, sequence and relationship. Callerlab created mandatory terms and the shortcut notation for formation, sequence and arrangement. The order to describe a setup was defined as [A,F,S,R]. For 'normal' arrangement the leading Zero can be omitted.
So there are several systems to name a setup. FASR is the system that covers most of the relevant aspects and so far is closest to having a scientific claim. For the other systems you also have to recognize formation, arrangement, sequence, and relation. In systems other than FASR, the arrangement is presumed to be normal="0" and therefore is implicitly denoted. I.e. A 1p2p-line indicates that the formation is a line, that the couple with boy #1 is on the left hand side from the couple with boy #2 and that everybody has their original partner (sequence + relation). The 1p2p-line describes (more than FASR would do) where the heads and the sides are in the line.
The Most Important Setups And Their Names
In my communication with other callers I usually [mgk3]use the terms zero line, corner line and zero box. Those names are easy and can be well distinguished. FASR-notation seems to be rather cryptic if you are not very used to it. The difference between a L1p and a L1c is small in the notation, but huge in it's choreographic effect.
Another drawback of FASR is the somewhat arbitrary determination of the reference pairs. Without looking it up or learning by heart who the reference pairs in a certain formation are, you are unable to denote the setup. For the non "normal" setups there is no mandatory definition. In those cases every caller has to determine his own system.
A very big advantage of FASR is that it allows naming even uncommon setups. A routine therefore does not automatically have to start in a zero box or zero line, we are able to name the setup with FASR and get to the point without the fillers.
last Update: 01.02.2000