Basics: Interference

I’m planning on sometimes getting technical on this blog, using concepts and words that some readers may not have encountered. Or I may have made them up out of thin air. I’m putting up short posts to link to, rather than explaining them for every post.


“Interference” is a very useful term that I learned from Bob Isaacs. It means having the same move appear in multiple different contexts.

One way that a dancer learns a dance is by the transitions — the flowchart of what follows each move. If you have a dance like:

A1 Neighbor balance and swing
A2 Ladies chain, 1/2 hey
B1 Partner balance and swing
B2 Ladies chain, right and left through

the ladies chain is a branch junction in the dance sequence. And sometimes memory will trick the dancers into heying when they should be doing a right and left through.

In the above example, they’ll still be in the same place. In other examples, like “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes“, they won’t. This is a complexity price that demands more mental attention from the dancers on the floor, and increases the number of breakdowns.

There are exceptions. There’s no way around the swing, if the dancers want both a neighbor and partner swing. And a figure in different contexts (neighbor allemande vs. partner allemande) helps matters.

Sequential repetitions of the same figure (like petronella turns, or circle/slide/circle) are also fine, as are repeated figures that lead to the same figure, like “Hay in the Barn”.

While this is not a hard and fast rule, avoiding interference is a way to remove unnecessary complexity from a dance.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: