One of the tools available to callers is Technical Zeros (TZ). I've noticed when the subject comes up the discussions get really technical really quickly and a lot of Callers seem to lose their way. I've often thought there should be a way to describe TZs in simpler terms so that the fundamental understanding can be gained before progressing to the more technical aspects.
This is my effort to do so.
What is the easiest way to begin to describe the concept of a TZ?
Although they are different - Heads Square Thru 4 is "technically" the same as Sides Square Thru 4. Both finish in a Zero Box. Another example, Heads Lead Right is "technically" the same as Sides Lead Right. Both finish in a Lead Right Box. This principle applies to other set ups as well. But for simplicity I will work only with ZB and Lead Right Boxes (LRB).
This is so intuitive that most Callers probably don't think about it but it is crucial to understanding TZs.
In a nutshell a TZ will take a Heads Square Thru Zero Box and create a Sides Square Thru Zero Box (and vice versa). The same applies for the LRB and other formations. Once a person understands this principle I believe they are well on the way to understanding Technical Zeros and the rest is a matter of technique.
What really gets callers confused is that a sequence of calls that is a TZ in a zero box is not a TZ in a lead right box. Most Callers when discussing this aspect start dealing in sequence states, four ladies chain effects and terms like this. Sequence states seems a little cold and mechanical to me so instead of describing TZs in terms of sequence states TZs I start by describing them in terms of KEY RELATIONSHIPS. A little more personal, a name and a face instead of just a number if you will.
In any given formation there are four possible Key relationships:
NOTE: I use the term "set up" to indicate that if the key relationship is maintained the given formation (ie. ZB) can be set up. After the following we have a line but it is a ZB Setup because with a couple of calls the ZB can be set up again.
Example: H Square Thru 4, Swing Thru, Boys Run, Bend the line.
KEY PRINCIPLE: If the key relationship is maintained as the dancers progress through the square the given Set Up will remain "Technically" the same. In simpler terms this means that if you have the corner (ZB setup) and take the corner with you will still have a ZB setup when you finish. The best way to illustrate this principle is with an example and analyze how it works.
KEY PRINCIPLE: If the key relationship is not maintained the set up will be transformed into one of the other three.
A common ZB TZ is --- Star Thru-Pass Thru - Bend the line - Star Thru.
So Step by Step
NOTE: This rotates the Square ½. Heads and sides are switched. #1 at the #3, and vice versa. If I call Allemande Left, Right and Left Grand meet partner at home. One of the neat things about TZs is that you can do Square Rotations like this. I go into this a little more in depth as we go along. Also a little later I show you a TZ rotation in which after a R&L Grand the promenade is ¾.
That seems straight forward lets try something else.
What happens if we call the TZ above?
Now instead of maintaining the key relationship this sequence has changed the key relationship from the corner to right hand lady for the Boys. Looking at the chart above this Key relationship means that we now have an Across the Street Box set up. From here if you call Swing Thru, Boys Run, Bend the Line, Right and Left Through, and Star Thru you finish in an Across the street box (XB). Square rotation is ½ as well.
This illustrates the so called "Four Ladies Chain Effect." In this case the "Four Ladies Chain Effect" simply means that a ZB setup is transformed into an XB setup, and vice versa. For a zero line (ZL) setup (everybody has their partner) the four ladies chain effect transforms the setup so that everybody has their opposite (OpL) in the setup and vice versa. When I made this connection the Four Ladies Chain Effect made sense. Interestingly enough I've been through several sessions about TZs and don't recall any Caller ever putting it this way.
Let's go back to the last sequence.
We know that the ZB TZ mentioned previously won't work. What can we do? Remember I said that in a ZB the key relationship is that everybody has the corner in the setup. So what can we call that keeps the corners together?
Because we maintained the key relationship (corner) we still have a ZB setup.
Believe it or not this formation is Technically the same as the one before
we called the pass thru and trade by. I'll let you check this out with your
checkers or software
Now convert this to a ZB.
NOTE: This rotates the Square ¼ to the left. Heads are at the side position - #1 at the #4 position, etc. I like this because when I call an Allemande Left, Right and Left Grand the promenade is ¾. Neat!!!
So, what happens to the LRB? The key relationship is that everyone has the original partner as the partner. To have a TZ that relationship must be maintained otherwise we have the four ladies chain effect.
I believe the above is a good step toward understanding TZs but to master them you will need to develop a working knowledge of how this ties in with sequences states. That is beyond what I want to do here besides that has already been done and the information is readily available. So a couple of examples should suffice.
Sequence States 1 & 2
ZB - everybody in sequence.
Star Thru, Pass Thru, Bend the line, Star Thru - TZ
Pass Thru, Trade By - Four Ladies Chain Effect
Sequence States 3 & 4
LRB - Girls in Sequence, Boys out
Star Thru, Pass Thru, Bend the line, Star Thru
Pass Thru, Trade By - TZ
So to summarize:
Square Rotations. The following all start with Heads Square Thru and all end in a ZB as if the Sides had done the Square Thru. Your homework assignment is to develop your own for these and other setups (i.e. ZL) and share them with us.
Zero Rotation - H Square Thru Square Thru Bend the Line Right and Left Thru Star Thru H Square Thru Split Two around one to a line Star Thru California Twirl 1/4 Rotation -Left H Square Thru Swing Thru Boys Run Bend the Line Star Thru Pass Thru Trade by Swing Thru Boys Run Bend the Line Star Thru 1/2 Rotation H Square Thru Four DoSaDo Star Thru Pass Thru Bend the Line Star Thru 1/4 Rotation -Right (or 3/4 left) H Square Thru Swing Thru Boys Run Bend the Line Star Thru Right and left Thru Pass Thru Trade by Swing Thru Boys Run Bend the Line Right and Left Thru Star Thru
BONUS TIP: All of the above rotations work for an Across the Street Box except that the rotation is flipped ½.
H Star Thru - Pass Thru - Instead of Square Thru Split 2 around One Star Thru California Twirl
For the ZB above the sequence was a Zero Rotation, here the Heads finish ½ way across.
EXTRA CREDIT ASSIGNMENT: What happens when you call a TZ that rotates the square and the square is already rotated? What happens to the square rotation with a four ladies chain effect?
There is much more that can be written but I've tried to keep this as simple
as possible with the purpose of laying down the foundation for understanding.
Mastery will require further study. Any comments will be appreciated,
positive or negative. If anyone finds any of this information use and wants
to duplicate it or use it feel free to do so. I only ask that I be given due
credit and a comp record or two
Other Callers may have published something similar to this. I can only tell you that I had no access to such documents. In the Seminars and schools I've attended the examples/illustrations may have been used. Again I don't remember specifics.
The work is based on the things that I've learned from others, in particular Kip Garvey and Lorenz Kuhlee. What I've tried to do is put it into my own words using the thought processes that allowed me to understand Technical Zeros and eventually I hope to master them completely. My hope is that something here might help others who may have had problems grasping the concept of technical zeros.
I have found Technical Zeros to be a very powerful tool especially when combined with rotating the Square Around. You can set up some nice at home get outs or long promenades if you are tired of hearing "Short" all the time.
Thanks for your time.Mike Liston
last Update: 10.12.1999