The "Get Through It Syndrome" or The Case For A Second Walk-Thru
I briefly review some reasons why a caller should strive to make do
with a single walk-thru. I then offer some reasons why a second walk-thru
may be desirable. I conclude that these latter reasons sometimes
outweigh the former. In fact, I might go so far as to assert that there is
something wrong with the programming or the teaching if there are not a few
dances (out of the entire evening's program) where the caller is best
advised to invoke a second walk-thru.
First the case for a single walk-thru:
- The caller should never settle for less than the very best words to
describe the dance, and he should use all his skills to get the dancers
to pay attention to those words without being confrontational. If he
anticipates a second walk-thru, he may allow himself to be less well
- If the dancers get used to a second walk-thru, the hot-shots will
continue socializing during the first walk-thru. This sets a bad example
for the beginners and encourages a syndrome of favoring dances that the
hot-shots can do with essentially no walk-thru. (They will then develop
the habit of not paying attention to the second walk-thru either.)
- Presumptively, there will be more time for dancing (or authorized
socializing) if there is only a single walk-thru.
When, then is a second walk-thru acceptable, or even desirable:
- If the caller has failed to do the optimum job on the first
walk-thru, he should face up to his shortcoming and consider a second walk-thru
in order to get a better performance.
- It may be that the action has some nuance which can be better
appreciated by the dancers if they can put it in the context of what comes
afterwards. Thus explaning this nuance in a second walk-thru (the dancers
then having been exposed to what comes afterwards) may actually be more
- End effects are often a case of such "nuance".
- It may be that beginners or inattentive "experienced" dancers will
get out of position even though the instruction has been excellent. The
quickest way to give those dancers their needed walk-thru may be to let
them flounder for a quick completion of the first walk-thru and then
reincorporating them for a second walk-thru.
- It may be that a single walk-thru is adequate to get the dancers
through the dance, even to look fairly good from the stage. However, it may
be that an appreciable fraction of the dancers are not carrying their
own weight; they are being carried by the others. Thus the "others"
cannot fully concentrate on taking care of themselves nor have a relaxed good
time. I assert that such demands on the better dancers are deleterious,
or, at least, not salutary, in the long run. Thus I assert that in the
case of the most challenging dances of the evening a caller "should" plan
a second walk-thru. (I use quotation marks in "should" to indicate
"should, in my opinion, ....")
I refer to these avoidances of a second walk-thru (and perhaps other,
similar, short cuts) as the "Get Through It Syndrome"; they may be
significant contributors to a deterioration in the quality of dancing.
Lest I be misunderstood, let me be perfectly clear: I feel that a
well prepared caller with an interesting, but not over-taxing, program will
choose to do a second walk-thru about 1/3 of the time. Of course, that
means that about 2/3 of the time there "should" be only one walk-thru, or
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