Checker Cheats

Barry Clasper (
Last Update
2021-04-19 15:01:53

Before the days of computers callers would write or work through choreography using "checkers" or "dolls". The checkers were usually colored pieces of plastic to represent the 8 dancers. The caller would push them through the various call actions by hand. This procedure was tedious and error prone. Just imagine pushing 8 checkers through their respective actions for a call like Spin Chain and Exchange the Gears.

So most callers developed "checker cheats" to simplify moving the checkers and reduce errors. For example, Flutterwheel just exchanges the places of the left-hand dancers in each couple. Many might think the widespread use of computer checker movers has made this knowledge obsolete. But it still offers significant value, both for callers and dancers. First, almost by definition, the checker cheat makes it much easier to see what the ending position of each dancer will be. This is very helpful when sight calling. Often long and complicated calls have very simple results: for example, Relay The Deucey is exactly Circulate Twice (or a zero if you don't care about geographic positioning). Second, when dancing complicated choreography or working with phantoms, knowing the checker cheat gives you a clue where you wind up (not how to get there, just where you finish).

The sources below are collections of some of these checker cheats.