I was recently asked to explain the Relationship part of the term FASR. FASR, which, as a Star Trek fan, I prefer to pronounce “FAY-ZER,” is CALLERLAB’S Science of the Setup. FASR stands for, Formation-Arrangement-Sequence-Relationship – fancy term for the setup of the square.

CALLERLAB publishes the Formations & Arrangements document to get callers started, and it is filled with some basic formations along with the six symmetrical “arrangements” that can be created. Why they chose to use Numbers to describe the arrangement is a bigger mystery to me than the Relationship thing … but that’s just me.

 So, this document describes the Formation and Arrangement part of the Phaser, but you can’t knock out any Klingons with only half a weapon. The next part is Sequence. Most callers know that at any given moment, the square can be IN or OUT of sequence. Sequence actually applies to the Boys AND the Girls individually. Boys can be IN sequence while Girls are Out and visa versa. The “Square” is said to be IN Sequence, when both boys and girls are “in sequence.” Sequence is just the numerical way the dancers are arranged counter clockwise around the square. They’re “in-sequence” if they are in order when examined counter-clockwise i.e. 1-2-3-4 looking counter-clockwise around the square. Dave Wilson has a cool “distance check” to determine sequence on the fly, but since I’m nowhere near the genius he is, I’ll stick to simple counting.

At last, we come to the Relationship bit. There are four possible Relationships that can be shared between boys and girls -- as long as we’re strictly talking about the symmetrical choreographic aspects of the square and not tangentially slipping into what goes on off the dance floor in some dark alley, pub, or in steamy dreams and holodecks. These relationships are: Corner, Right Hand Lady, Partner, and Opposite Lady. This makes sense, doesn’t it? Each boy, has one Corner, one Partner, and so forth at any instant and position in the square. This “relationship” does not change – at least in the Patter before the fickle fellows switch out their original partners for new ones. So, Corner, Partner, RH Lady, and Opposite Lady relationships are possible between the boys and girls.

Now, I might get a little off the reservation here as I explain how Relationship makes sense to me. Examine ANY foursome in the square that contains two boys and two girls. The type of foursome you are dealing with is defined by the consistent relationship between the boys and the girls. So, after we SQUARE THRU from the Squared Set, we arrive at the ubiquitous Zero Box. If we look at one pair of facing couples, we’re examining a foursome. Within that foursome, we have two boys and two girls. Each boy has a relationship to each girl, but only one relationship is common for both boys and girls – Corners!

For me, the Zero Box is a Corner Foursome, and these days, prominent CALLERLAB Caller Coaches tell me the nouveau term to use for the zero box is the Corner Box. So, one can look at that Corner Box PHASER (FASR) and declare that it is: 8-Chain Thru Formation, Standard Couple Arrangement or 0 Arrangement, IN Sequence, with Corners. It is always possible to identify the symmetrical mixed sex foursome by the common relationship that exists between the two boys and girls.

Now, let’s set the FASR on Stun and work through an example that preserves the FAS components while moving through all four relationships. The Magic Module serves our purpose nicely. We’ll begin with a Zero Line – uh, make that a Partner Line (in sequence).

FASR = Facing Lines, Standard Couples, IN Sequence, with Partners.

Applying the Magic Module, TOUCH ¼, SINGLE FILE CIRCULATE, BOYS RUN, and adding a SLIDE THRU to create the line we need has accomplished a shift in foursome personnel!

FASR = Facing Lines, Standard Couples, IN Sequence, with Corners.

Next Landing Party report to the Transporter.

Another go at priming our Phaser with the same routine, shifts the Red Shirts yet again. Don’t worry, though, I think we’re still in Federation territory.

FASR = Facing Lines, Standard Couples, IN Sequence, with Opposite Ladies.


Our last hurrah shifts the Red Shirts (girls) as we expect.

FASR = Facing Lines, Standard Couples, IN Sequence, with Right Hand Ladies.

Continue with the module, and the Red Shirts will continue on their rounds. We’ve taken them from one Starbase to another, and by the way, the CRAMS guys call Starbases “Stations” for some strange reason. Although it seems strange and alien, our Prime Directive prohibits us from interference. So, as long as you can understand the intent and meaning of the Relationship component, alien language and culture should not prove an unsurmountable obstacle.

In summary, symmetrical foursomes with mixed sex membership can share one of four relationships: Corner, Partner, Opposite and Right Hand Lady. Mystery Solved. Despite the brewing theme, it’s not rocket science. Armed with this newfound knowledge, you are ready to accept a five year mission “To Boldly Call What No One Has Called ……. Before”

Oh, and good luck with that.

As we say in the pointy eared Square Dance Galaxy, “Live Long and Perspire.”





© 2015 by Michael Haworth All Rights Reserved