Is anyone out there still doing CW Circle Mixer dances?

#1
Here in rural SW Colorado, people still do Country-Western "circle-mixer" dances in addition to regular 2-step, 3-step, swing, waltz, polka type CW dancing. Is anyone still doing circle-mixers anywhere else?

If you are not familiar with the term, a "circle-mixer" is where couples form up in a large circle around the dance floor, for example men on the inside, women on the outside of the circle. As the dance progresses, couples dance together, then individuals progress around the dance floor, dancng with new partners at each advance.

This is NOT a square-dance, but it does follow a regular pattern, with country-western 2-step or 3-step type moves, depending on the music playing.

Has anyone else run across this elsewhere? :confused:
 

Spitfire

Well-Known Member
#2
This sounds similar to something I did years ago and only one time that was called the Rocky Mountain Stomp. It was done in a circle as you describe and the dancing was in a set pattern which I don't recall now.
 
#3
Don't know if "...still doing..." is the phrase, but our private instructor organizes something like this for her monthly student dance events.

We start with a small, tight circle (like on the hub of a wheel) and dance outward along a "spoke" to the "rim," where we turn and dance along the "rim" then back inward where we change partners and repeat the process.

So far, we have used only the Tango. Suppose other smooth dances would work as well. (Don't know any CW dances.)

We always have Waltz and FT 'mixers' at our USADance events, but the format is not circular -- have heard it called a "waterfall."

Have very rarely seen any kind of mixer used at any other social dance around these parts over the 15 years we have been into ballroom dancing. A few dancers do exchange partners, but not in an organized way. This may be because there is often no one "in charge" of the event -- we just go to the ballroom and dance when the band plays and leave when the band stops playing. Even when a local dance club is hosting a dance event, there is no "mixer" (except for the USADance event as noted).

I also wonder how common "mixer" activities (of any type) are in other areas of the country.
 
#5
C/W Circle Mixer looks very similar to "WCS Mixer"

Never done any "mixer" dances, but gracie posted a video of a WCS mixer at http://www.dance-forums.com/showthread.php?t=32106, so the idea is still alive and popping up at various spots.
Hi RickRS - looked at this link you posted and it seems to be VERY similar to the type of mixers done here :eek:, except that the music, tempo, and footwork is C/W 2-step and C/W 3-step.

Very interesting to see this similar format currently being done as West Coast Swing. These types of patterned mixer dances (where everyone performed the same patterned steps as in the video) were very popular in the early 1900's, and still make good "ice-breakers." The patterns are simple so everyone can participate easily, and like "speed dating," a minimum of time is spent with each successive dance partner.

It's pretty easy to create a simple circle mixer pattern to suit your group's (or area's) taste. It's not the moves that are interesting, it's repeatedly changing partners (who may be of vastly different skill levels) that can be challenging. :D Everyone learns something!

We're interested in hearing from anyone else that is doing circle mixers, and which ones they're doing. :)
 
#6
Is this what you call a circle mixer?

Have a look at

http:youtube.com/watch/?v=4X80WIIXb0

I go to "danse country" classes here in France. We do what we call "mixer" dances once in a while. La Chapeloise is my favourite one. It's rather exausting because you have to jump quite a lot! :D:D:D
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#7
Hello, lulu. Sorry you can't post working urls until you become a regular poster!

I think it's pretty cool that you guys do country western dancing!

Here in the Portland area some of the long term instructors teach a mixer or two every now and then, but it sure isn't common. It's the line dances that get people on the floor, and once you're out there, and get comfortable, it's pretty easy to talk to other people. So, I think line dancing kinda sorta fills the role of "mixer".

There are a (very) few couples who do "rueda"??? where they change partners. That seems to be alive in the salsa scene?
 
#8
Hi Steve, I had no idea I was doing something I wasn't supposed to do. I just thought it would be nice to show what mi favourite "mixer" is like.

I don't know if you are aware of it, but right now there are lots of Europeans that are doint country westert dancing and that are rather fanatical about it. Myself, I take classes every week and go to festivals when I have the time. It's lots of fun.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#9
Sure is.
My "other" dance is Argentine Tango, and as far as fun goes, CW beats the pants off of it. (Except for milonga, which I consider to be the "two step" of the AT world.)
But, for us here, "country western" includes a bnch of dances including West Coast Swing, Night Club Two Step, etc.
Someone gave me a book that someone in Portland wrote (it's really a binder with a bunch of step sheets) in 1983, and it's fun to see what was danced as "country western" 35 years ago. Some of it's the same, some different.
When I get to Europe again (love Paris, Chamonix and Mount Blanc) I'll be sure to visit some places where they have CW.

Do Europeans see Texas as the best place to go to sample "the West"?
 
#10
Circle Dances

Hi, I am new on here but have been lurking quite sometime. We have done many circle dances here in Kansas, such as the Barn Dance, Swing Switch, Renegade, and many others. We have also done a west coast swing mixer that was great fun. Some of these dances I have seen in other areas, and I was an addict to Club Dance, a show on TNN back in the 90's that was on for several years. We learned a lot of dances from this show, I think I must have taped almost every one. We have not danced for sometime, hope to get back to it, met a lot of good people, and lifetime friends this way.
 
#11
I was an addict to Club Dance, a show on TNN back in the 90's that was on for several years. We learned a lot of dances from this show, I think I must have taped almost every one. quote]

Glad to see someone else loved CLUB DANCE too! We sure did!! :eek: We only taped a few of these programs which we still have, but were avid fans. Would LOVE to get copies of some of your tapes of the shows -- never heard of these for sale anywhere.... About all there is out there now is a Polka show, and they focus on the bands and only show the dancers as a sideline. It's rather an ametuer presentation (program-wise) but better than nothing at times.
 
#12
We start with a small, tight circle (like on the hub of a wheel) and dance outward along a "spoke" to the "rim," where we turn and dance along the "rim" then back inward where we change partners and repeat the process.

We always have Waltz and FT 'mixers' at our USADance events, but the format is not circular -- have heard it called a "waterfall."

I also wonder how common "mixer" activities (of any type) are in other areas of the country.

We're very interested in this "traveling out the spoke of the wheel" formation. Never heard of (or seen) this before. We can visualize what you must mean, but would love to se a video of this. Any online links to a clip of a sample of this, in any dance style?

As to the "waterfall" formation, are you referring to a "Virginia Reel" type format? Where six or eight partners face each other in a line, and at one end the partners travel either through the center aisle or slit out and traverse the outsude to reform at the other end. Not sure how or when the partner-switching part is accomplished since we have never learned this style. We'd like to hear more about it or see a video clip, though.

:cowboy: Thanks for your input!
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#13
Howdy, chanz2dance, and welcome.
Is there somewhere I can find a description of that west coast swing mixer you mentioned?
I've got a couple of gals who would benefit from dancing with different guys. (They're just acquaintances.)
 
#14
Circle Dances

Well, thanks for the welcome! The west coast swing mixer we do is called Fourplay, and we learned it from a dance workshop in South Dakota. Some of the dancers on Club Dance used to do it also the way we do it. There is a read out sheet on Kickit, and it is slightly different. It is a great crowd pleaser!
 
#16
We're very interested in this "traveling out the spoke of the wheel" formation. Never heard of (or seen) this before. We can visualize what you must mean, but would love to se a video of this. Any online links to a clip of a sample of this, in any dance style?

As to the "waterfall" formation, are you referring to a "Virginia Reel" type format? ... Not sure how or when the partner-switching part is accomplished since we have never learned this style. We'd like to hear more about it or see a video clip, though.
Have no idea if there are videos of any of this. Can't find any on YouTube. Sorry. I will also ask our instructor where her 'wheel' mixer comes from.

Here are more detailed descriptions that might help:

In the "wheel" mixer, the men start with their backs to the center, almost shoulder-to-shoulder to form a rather tight circle. The men are facing their first partner and begin dancing outward along a radius (spoke). We have used only a single basic progressive pattern with a left turn on the end which puts each couple on a circumferential LOD (the rim). (The 'spokes' are rather short, but you could probably use two figures on the radial component if you wanted a larger wheel.)

We now dance counter-clockwise on the circumference of the larger circle (rim), using two basic traveling figures and ending with a turn into a PP which aims us back toward the center (hub). Now we dance on the radius back toward the center (hub) with the man doing a 180-deg maneuver at the end so that he stops with his back to the center once more. The exchange of partners occurs at this point -- by passing each lady to the left with a simple UAT movement.

It is a little tricky to maintain a nice neat circle as everyone has different stride lengths and the less experienced can't always achieve the needed degrees in their turns. It helps to put a stool or a person at the very center of the circle (axle) to serve as an 'aiming point.'

*********

In our "waterfall" mixer, the leaders are lined up along one of the long walls of the floor and the followers are lined up along the opposite long wall. We join with a partner by walking along a short wall and dance the length of the floor; separate, and rejoin our respective lines. If it appears that you will get the same partner the next time around (rare), you allow the person behind to step out ahead of you to claim a partner.

We also modify this pattern by putting both lines side-by-side along the same long wall which allows for more room to take a longer line of dance before dropping off your partner. (Across the short side, down the long side, back across to the lineup-side for drop-off.)

Hope this is useful, TOB.
 

kayak

Active Member
#17
I have been to a lot of dances that use the waterfall mixer. Ballroom dances love to do Foxtrot mixers this way and Salsa dances will throw in a Merengue if groups are not mixing around enough.

I have been to a couple dances with the inner and outer rim mixer idea. Most seem to start that way and then just kind of trade partners a bunch instead of always coming back to the middle. I guess the other would work, just our dance organizers never wanted to put in the effort of getting everyone back in line all the time.
 
#18
On the old continent,

We're probably a bit behind the States. Where I live (in Normandy) "danse country" is in fashion. Right now, I'm receiving all kind of avertisements for "festival country". I go to classes every week and attend some of the festivals once in a while. I just love it when people you have never met before start dancing together, its amazing and such fun...

I have no idea what the milonga is. In the classe I go to, we have an excellent teacher. He has taught us some cajun dances, two step, rumba, mambo, even square dance.

Let me know when you come to France, it be fun to meet you. I live an hour away from Paris. Maybe we could attend some event togerther.

What exactly do you understand by sampling the West in your question:
"Do Europeans see Texas as the best place to go to sample "the West"?"
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#19
If you are interested in things from the American West... things like cowboys and Native Americans, and covered wagons, and cattle drives, and teepees, etc.

Where would you go to see these things if you would travel to the United States?
 

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