Mike, the problem occurs to be one for module callers only. As others pointed out before, with other calling systems than module calling you do not need to worry. A module caller puts his modules together like craftsman puts bricks upon another to build a house. Therefore he has to know which brick fits to the next to make up a solid architecture. A module caller can use true zeros to fit in anywhere in his choreo: take a module like: Box zero: swing thru, centers run, ferriswheel, centers pass thru. This sequence is a true zero A kind of zero like that can be thrown anywhere in a given sequence of calls as long as the formation at that point is a box. The box can have any arrangement, any sequence, any relation the true zero establishes at the end the same arrangement, sequence, relation. That means when using a true zero you are playing very save, actually you have to worry about nothing catch up with the sequence you interrupted after the zero. You are always sure that the sequence works out well, even with "true zero" interruptions.
heads lead right, At any point that is marked with (*x) we have a box formation and you could throw in a true zero there, the sequence always works to an accurate allemande left finally. Note that it does not matter wether the zero is put in at the first or second possibility as well as it does not matter if use only one or both of the two given chances.
heads lead right,
Still works to an accurate Allemande Left. With true zeros you are always sure it works. So you are playing very save.
Let's compare that with a conditional zero (technical zero). Let's put that in at (*2):
heads lead right, Everything is in order. The sequence works to an accurate allemande left. So what is the fire all about? Let's try the conditional zero at (*1).
heads lead right,
This time the sequence does not work to an accurate allemande left. In fact the conditional zero does work in (*2) as a zero and in (*1) it does not. So other than with a true zero you have to be aware of the fact that there is another condition than only the formation you have to be aware of. When a module caller uses a conditional zero without taking care of that additional condition and expects it to zero out in any way, he in fact runs into the danger that it does not. That is why it is "dangerous" using conditional zeros without understanding that special condition. What is that special condition? One could explain it with "sequencestates" or with a sort of "partnerstate", both depend on each other and in the end both mean the same.
As you were already referring to it in your initial article, I try to explain it with the partner state... What is the difference of the two occasions where I tried to use the conditional zero? In both occasions we have the same four dancers in a box. In the occasion (*1) everybody were having their original partners as partners beside them. IN occasion (*2) everybody was FACING their original partners. Obviously the conditional zero works from occasions where everybody is FACING the partner and it does not when everybody is having the original partners beside them. If you give try it you find that the zero works as well from boxes where everybody is facing their corner or everybody facing opposites or everybody facing RH ladies/LH boys. And on the other hand is does not work when everybody is having the corneroppositeRHL/LHB as partners. Putting it a little more in abstract words: In symmetric choreography we find two "partnerstates":
1. PARTNER:
2. FACING: Surprising or not, there are only those two partner states possible.
A conditional Zero that works as a zero from the partner state "PARTNER" does not work as a zero from the partner state "FACING" and vice versa. You have to be aware of that partner state when you use conditional zeros. Having understood the principle, there is nothing frightening about conditional zeros, just one more condition to take care of. Conditional Zeros are somewhat complex to understand and somewhat dangerous when used without understanding the two "partnerstates" (or Sequence states). Therefore it might be considered as more sophisticated art of choreography. For a newbie that worries about the whats and hows of becoming a caller it is not necessary to understand conditional zeros. One can be a good caller  even a good module caller  without understanding them. If a caller finds he can live without it, why bother? Most callers that understand the aspects of the conditional zeros found out more about it: ladies chain effect when used from the wrong partner state, rotation effects, effects of exchanging outside and inside, head and side dancers. A newbie confronted with all of those technical effects might get afraid. Getting back to the craftsman who puts bricks upon another: He can build a house by just using bricks that are all the same shape and size and house probably will be a solid one. Another more sophisticated craftsman might use some bricks that are different in shape and size. He then has to know at which places he can put those bricks. If the wrong shaped bricks are put in wrong places the house might loose it's stability and fall to pieces. IMO.
Gero Teufert
last Update: 10.12.1999
