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My beloved Lucy, companion for 13 years, my service dog for 7, passed quietly in her sleep last night. I am profoundly grateful for the love and support of my family and friends at this difficult time. I also thank the staff at John Young Animal Hospital who have been my partners in her care for the past 10 years.

For those of you who would like to know more about my relationship with Lucy, please read on. This is long, and there are things below which I have never shared with anyone under any circumstances. I hope that in sharing these thoughts I can honor her in some way.

Sleek and shiny

Sleek and shiny. What a beauty

In 2002 the circumstances of my life had changed dramatically. I had become severely disables and was no longer able to drive, cook for myself, or handle many of the daily functions of life without considerable assistance. That assistance was mostly in the form of Victor Antoine Roldan. Few people have ever understood the nature of our relationship. How could they. He was really the only person who I allowed to see the full extent of my infirmity. Pride coupled with shame is a terrible thing and generally serves to drive those who care out of our lives. It certainly did in my case.

I was spending most of my time at home and had said to a friend that maybe I would finally be able to have a dog. It could make a good companion for me.

Antoine took me to a house warming party for a friend of a friend. I was sitting on the floor in the kitchen (actually too weak to stand up on my own, not that anyone there but Antoine knew that) when in walked a young woman named Erin with a mangy looking, nothing but skin and bone, black lab mix. She had rescued the dog from a bad situation and was trying to find a home for her.

She asked me if I would be willing to hold onto her leash while she visited with her friends. Of course I would.

She laid down on the floor near me. I had some chicken wings. I tore off some of the meat and offered it to her. Yummy. And before long she was eating as much as I could give her.

About that time Erin came walking around the corner and looked at me in horror. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

I tried to apologize. She looked hungry and I’m sorry if… You don’t understand. Lucy had been refusing food for several days and nothing Erin had tried had gotten her to eat. It was like a miracle.

It’s amazing how the world sometimes listens and gets it just right. A few days later, Erin brought Lucy to live with me and our odyssey began.

Lucy with her chew bone

Lucy with her chew bone

Lucy needed a lot of care. Little by little Antoine and I were able to nurse her back to health. She had some serious behavioral issues too. When she was physically better, I did some asking around and found a woman who specialized in helping to rehabilitate seriously abused dogs. I made an appointment for her to come to the house and evaluate our situation.

What Alison told me was not promising. She had been doing work with severely abused animals for over 15 years. In her opinion, Lucy was the most damaged dog she had ever seen and did not really think she would ever be able to live any kind of normal life. Lucy was fearful, unpredictable, and while seemingly passive exhibited signs of extreme aggressiveness that would make her a danger to anyone she was around, including me. I would never be able to take her in public. Even having people to the house would be extremely risky. In all her years of doing work she had never once recommended this, but she felt that Lucy’s problems were so extreme that I should seriously consider having her put down.

If I didn’t want to do that, she was willing to try but really felt there was not much hope.

I said, “Let’s at least try.” Alison was a proponent of Clickers and Positive Reinforcement. She was very afraid that if I did anything aggressive towards Lucy she could snap and seriously injure me. She showed me things I could do and gave me detailed instructions. We made a follow up appointment for the next week.

Looking happy

Looking happy

When Alison came back a week later, I showed her what Lucy and I had been working on. Little things like just standing quietly by my side (and NOT quivering in fear.) Alison was pleased and we put together a few more exercises for Lucy and I to work on and went over everything in detail. She was going on a trip and so we made an appointment for two weeks later.

Two weeks later, Alison came by again. Again, we showed her what we had been up to. Alison was a bit mystified. She asked me a series of very detailed questions about exactly what I had been doing.

I was doing what I had been told to do. By which I mean, I was doing EXCACTLY what Alison had told me to do in EXACTLY the way she had told me to do it. What she didn’t understand was that 1) I’m a Round Dancer, and if you tell a Round Dancer to stand on one foot, spin three times while whistling a silly tune, they will ask which foot, find out what direction and kind of spin you want, and learn the specific silly tune you want, then DO IT just the way you told them told to the best of their abilities. And 2) I didn’t really have anything else to do.

It took about six months of work. Describing even with brevity what Lucy (and Antoine) and I went through during that time would take a few pages, and as you all know, I’m not exactly a master of brevity. This is already going to be very long.

Needless to say, eventually Lucy managed to become a somewhat reasonably normal dog. With a few odd issues.

She was dog aggressive (something I was never able to fully get rid of.)


And she would on occasion refuse to let me stand up, or block me from trying to leave the house, or even sometimes knock me to the ground and lay on top of me.

I asked Alison to come and take a look. Of course, Lucy behaved wonderfully while she was there and Alison could offer me no insight into the issues I was describing.

The odd behavior continued and escalated, becoming more frequent although also intermittent. Most of the time I could leave the house without incident, but every once in a while Lucy would just knock me to the ground and refuse to let me leave for 10 or 20 minutes. Or stand behind the car in the driveway and refuse to move, snapping and growling so that neither Antoine nor I could go near her to get her out of the way, and only calm down if I went back into the house.

I called Alison again, describing the increasingly odd and aggressive behavior. She came over that evening around dinner time. Antoine was downstairs cooking (I had been forbidden to use knives or the stove after nearly cutting off my fingers several times and almost burning down the house twice. Issues related to my medical situation.)

I was describing the behavior again just as Antoine came walking up the stairs with my dinner. As he walked into the room he said, “She only does that when you are about to pass out.”

“Pass out?”, Alison inquired.

When I was 22, I had been told I would never walk again. Rheumatoid arthritis. I’m allergic to most of the medications that are used to treat arthritis. I had learned how to (mostly) mask the fact that I was in constant pain. Through diet, exercise and lots of hot water I had learned to (mostly) manage the impact of the arthritis.

Hot water was is my best friend. Most people think it’s an affectation that I have always taken long, hot showers. The truth is that those showers are how I managed my joint pain for nearly 30 years, and are still an important of my daily routine.

It could take one to three hours each morning for me to get my body able to move “normally”, even before I started having new problems. I was rarely willing to share a hotel room, because doing so made it difficult if not impossible to go through my morning rituals that helped me manage the pain that was a part of my daily existence and couldn’t be masked with medication.

I learned how to hide what was going on with my body and what it took for me to go out into the world.

The infection I had gotten had acted as a catalyst to re-ignite the arthritis and brought on a whole new set of medical issues each horrible in it’s own right. What had been a challenging set of issues related to my arthritis had become much more.

Lucy with teddy bear

A bear given Lucy by a TSA agent during one of our trips.

Some days my hands just wouldn’t work and I couldn’t open doors, jars, use utensils, zippers, buttons, put on shoes.

What I had thought of as PAIN turned out to be mild in comparison to what was possible for the human body to experience and survive.

My energy level was basically NIL most of the time. My mental focus bounced between NONE and so focused that I was scary good at certain kinds of problems, but when in that state completely unaware of the rest of the world and my own physical needs. (Some of the work I did during that time was revolutionary.)

All in all, I was not what one would describe as well.

I was put on a medication that had serious side effects, one of which was at least once a day I would blackout and have what was essentially a seizure. No other medication was available, and without the medication, I was told that I would most likely die.

ROCK >>> ME < << HARD PLACE. Creating the illusion that I could go out into the world and function normally consumed most of any given day just so that I could go teach an hour or two of dancing, or meet friends for dinner (but never both in the same day.) And once back home after those short forays into the real world, recovering enough to climb the stairs and get ready for bed could take another hour or two. The flight of stairs in my house was something I could manage once a day. Getting down required I sit and slide down one step at a time. Climbing back up could only be accomplished on my hands and knees and could take several minutes. A shower was rarely less than an hour, during which I would go through an elaborate stretching ritual that would gradually get my joints moving. Getting dressed could take 30 minutes to an hour. I never, not even once, allowed anyone to see me do this. Not even Antoine. If Antoine couldn't come over to cook, I generally just didn't eat. If he wasn't available to drive, getting behind the wheel of the car put myself and everyone else on the road in significant danger. [caption id="attachment_267" align="alignleft" width="300"]Beautiful smile Beautiful Smile[/caption]
Pride. Shame. Vanity. Stupidity. Take your pick. I spent a lot of time and effort doing my best to hide the full extent of the true nature of my daily existence from everyone. And I mean EVERYONE.

This was news to Alison. I had never mentioned that I had any medical issues. It was not something I talked about, and in fact, very few people knew more than I had a something wrong and only Antoine had any clue as to how serious any of this was. Daily life was nearly impossible at this point.

I had almost completely stopped dancing. And what I did was so painful that afterwards I would often sit in the car and cry in agony. But never in front of anyone.

Pride. Shame. Vanity. Stupidity. Lots and lots of stupidity.

Lucy was my escape. In the safety of my own home, I could have her by my side. Unquestioning love and something I could DO that didn’t expose my infirmities. She didn’t care how long it took me to do something, or how I looked, or if I was in pain trying. She didn’t judge. She didn’t pity. She didn’t ask what or why or how come.

Together we learned patience and cooperation. Each day she would come down the stairs with me. One slow step at a time. Me never realizing that what she was doing was physically very difficult for a dog to do. All of her weight being held on her front shoulders as she used her body to press me against the wall and prevent me from falling.

Pushing her head against my tushy as I slowly climbed, holding my weight against sliding back down.

Lying on top of me so that I couldn’t thrash around while passed out.

Without my knowing it, or Antoine’s understanding the significance of it, she has quietly learned to notice that I was about to pass out. Her response was to try and warn me. If that didn’t work, then she would physically block me. Then while I was unconscious she would guard and protect me.

Not even Antoine could get near me while I was unconscious if Lucy was by me.

“Pass out?”, Alison said.

As it turns out, working to rehabilitate severally abused dog’s was Alison’s side line. Most of her work was in training service dogs to help people with various disabilities.

And so a new chapter in our lives began.

Lucy in blue best

Looking smart in her blue vest

Lucy began an intensive (and fairly expensive) training program custom designed to give her the skills she would need to be my companion and allow me to return to a more normal life.

During that time, my health also improved significantly. Not enough to allow me to live a normal life, but enough that I could do more than an hour or two in public before collapsing for two days to recover.

While I still had significant medical issues, the pain was mostly managed through diet, exercise and hot water, as it had been before. My energy levels were mostly normal. My mental focus was vastly improved to the point that no one was aware that I had issues.

The medication was doing what it was supposed to do, BUT, the side effect of the blackouts was still a part of my daily existence.

Once her training was complete, Lucy became my constant companion, going everywhere with me. This often required dealing with travel by car, train, bus, and plane. She was even on a few boats.

Conventions could result in days that were 16 to 18 hours long.

Loud, uncomfortable spaces. No good place for her to lie down. No regular schedule for water or food. Often limited access to ‘outside’ to deal with basic doggy biological functions.

Lucy rarely complained. Mostly she just did what there was to do. And she always remained focused on making sure I was OK. In all the years she was actively in service at my side, she never once missed alerting me in the timely fashion that my blackout was imminent.

I have lots of stories about funny things that happened, like when I had tied her to a large round banquet table and gotten involved in dancing. Suddenly the music stopped mid song. She had waited long enough for me to come back, gotten up, and dragged the entire table into the middle of the dance floor to look for me. Sure enough, less than 15 minutes later, I was flat on my back on the floor unconscious to the world, while she lay on top of me and wouldn’t let anyone near.

At Universal

At Universal with David and his cousins

Or the time we were trapped in the left lane on an Interstate highway in a traffic jam stretching miles in both directions. She had indicated that I needed to be STOPPED and NOT behind the wheel of the car quite some time before. I had not complied. Just as trained, her attempts to get my attention and compliance gradually escalated until I had a 55 pound dog sitting in my lap completely preventing me from being to operate the car. There was no explaining that we were trapped and there was nothing I could DO. Her training had been quite specific and very thorough. I was NOT doing what I was supposed to do, so she was going to make sure I couldn’t move.

At Sandy's wedding

At Sandy’s wedding

I could go on. There are countless stories of how Lucy was there for me, helped me.

Back in 2009, a new medication became available. I was put into a study so that I had early access. Over the course of the next year, I was slowly able to wean off drug that had cause the horrible neurological side effects that I had been dealing with. Simultaneously, my physical issues were greatly improving again.

By mid-2010, Lucy was no longer needed as my Service Dog and she transitioned into a more normal life as ‘pet’.

My health has continued to improve and today, no one would ever look at me and think DISABLED. No one who I did not tell would ever know that I had once been 100% disables, unable to walk, drive, cook, take care of myself on my own, or that I spent nearly 10 years having daily blackouts.

People who came to our home saw a big, black, happy dog who barked, played, chased squirrels, got on furniture, and generally did all the things dogs do, including acting like she had never been taught even the most basic of commands like SIT, DOWN, or STAY.

Lucy was not my pet. Nor was she my ‘child’.

She was the being who gave me freedom and independence at the expense of her own.

There are not words to express the depth of my feelings toward her, or the important of her role in my life.

At a seminar

At a Landmark Seminar – one of my favorite pictures of my beloved Lucy

Last picture of Lucy

The last picture I took of my beloved Lucy

She was loved. Greatly loved.
She will be missed. Greatly missed.

I want to take a moment to thank all the people at the ICBDA convention in Lakeland, FL this past week. I greatly appreciate all the kind words of support, and the personal stories you shared with me about how intolerance and homophobia have impacted someone you know and love.

Several of you asked about the text of my remarks. The full text can be found here: MY REMARKS

Many of you also asked about additional resources for Lesbian and Gay youth.

These are but a few of the myriad resources available today. If you have someone in your life that you think needs help, please do not hestitate. Too many young lives have been lost to hatred. Sometimes all it takes to save a life is to know that someone cares. You are that person.

Feel free to contact me directly. I will be happy to offer any assistance I can. CONTACT RICHARD

Thank you all again for your kind words, emails and phone calls. It's good to be home.

Discussing timing in writing is a difficult thing to do. But ….

The musical notation system we use is specific to our Western oriented thinking and understanding of music, which is NOT comprehensive, or adequate to the task of describing all that can be created by gifted musicians, and dancers. Nor does it adequately reflect the rich traditions of other cultures in which the musical traditions include uncommon time signatures and accents.

I want to address a different set of issues, specifically the widespread use of ROLLING COUNT timing in some dance communities (most notably West Coast Swing) and the use of spoken timings that are expressed differently in written form.

Getting Started….

Musically, the NUMBER is the first note or rest (regardless of duration) in a bar of music. The remainder of the bar follows. It is customary to count the NUMBERS as the notes associated with the bottom number in the time signature.  So for 3/4, 4/4, 2/4 , we count quarter notes as numbers. For 2/2 , we count half notes as the numbers.

An example using a bit of Round Dance punctuation where a comma signifies the end of a beat and a semi-colon the end of a bar (measure): (If you just HAVE to know more about that… Reading A Cuesheet )

3/4 music is written 1, 2, 3; 1, 2, 3;
4/4 music is written 1, 2, 3, 4; 1, 2, 3, 4;

4/4 can also be counted in slows and quicks in a variety of ways. It is customary for quicks to come in pairs.

Q, Q, Q, Q;
S, -, S, -;
S, -, Q, Q;
Q, Q, S, -;

All ways of expressing the four beats.

Music is a mathematically exact written representation of a limited set of possibilities. Clever people can take this notation and use it to express many things, but some real world rhythms simply can not be expressed in traditional western musical notation. But it is still a rich and useful set of notations, based on dividing by 2.

1 1 / 2 1 / 4 1 / 8 1 / 16 etc.

The DOT notation allows for greater flexibility. When a note is DOTTED you take half again as much as base value of the note and add that to the base value of the note. For example:

1  = 1 / 2 +   1 / 2
1 / 2 =   1 / 4 +   1 / 4
1 / 4 =   1 / 8 +   1 / 8


1 / 2 =   1 / 4 1 / 8 1 / 8

BUT, you could use the DOT ( · ) notation to create:

1 / 2 =   1 / 4 · +   1 / 8

That is,   1 / 4 plus the Dot (half again of the  1 / 4 , so  1 / 8 ) plus the remainder, so another  1 / 8 .

As long as all the notes and rests add up to the total given in the top number of the time signature, everything is fine. That is a starting place for understanding how we talk about music and timing, and what we mean when we talk about music and timing.

Counting Music The Lawrence Welk Way

Why did Lawrence Welk say:  "An a ONE an a TWO" ? The answer is a human issue, not a musical one. Ask another person (or group of people is even better) to CLAP when you say GO. Then ….  say, "GO." Chances are, especially in group, that you will NOT all clap at the same time.

Now ask them to CLAP when you say ONE. Then say, "And A ONE." Chances are, you all clap at the same time.

The purpose of this "AND A" is to give warning of the event ONE so that we can all be in sync. When music is PLAYING, we don't need that because the previous beats of music tell us when to expect the next beat of music. But when we are just counting a beat, starting from nothing, we have to provide some kind of indication as to WHEN to start against the counting. Most dance teachers figure this out pretty early on, and come up with their own way of getting everyone moving at the same time. For example:

5 6 7 8 …..
5 6 Ready AND….

I had a partner who would use the following for WALTZ:

"HERE WE GO" Spoken in a even way.

It really doesn't matter what you say, as long as people know WHEN to expect the beat so they can all move together. In West Coast Swing, it is common practice to say: "AND A" …. before each beat. That serves the purpose of getting everyone going, but …..It also does something else.

The Concept of a Triplet

Musical notate is based on dividing by 2, as noted above. But the AND A ONE, AND A TWO counting does not match that basic split of beats. That counting is dividing by 3, creating THIRDS. Let's see if we can picture this….

A number followed by 11 dashes (a total of 12 things). The following must be displayed in a FIXED WIDTH FONT to see it.  The reason for 12 is it is the smallest number that is divisible by 4 and by 3, which we need to see the full picture of how different ways of counting produce very different interpretations of the music. (And the potential movement against the music).

1 - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - - 3 - - - - - - - - - - - 1
1 - - - - - & - - - - - 2 - - - - - & - - - - - 3 - - - - - & - - - - - 1
1 - - e - - & - - a - - 2 - - e - - & - - a - - 3 - - e - - & - - a - - 1
1 - - - & - - - a - - - 2 - - - & - - - a - - - 3 - - - & - - - a - - - 1
  • The first line is just a standard 3/4 bar of music counting only the BEATS, that is, the numbers, each representing a 1 / 4 note in music. 
  • The second line a standard 3 / 4 bar of music counting BEATS and half beats (the "&"s) and would be written using 1 / 8 notes. 
  • The third line is a standard 3 / 4 bar of music counting BEATS, and 1 / 4 beats, and would be written using 1 / 16 notes. 
  • The FOURTH line is a  ROLLING COUNT , which divides the bar (measure) into equal THIRDS.

Musically this is what is knows as a TRIPLET. A TRIPLET is three notes in the space / time of two notes. Normally, 1 / 4 note = TWO 1 / 8 notes. In a musical triplet, we replace the SPACE (or time) of TWO notes, with THREE equally spaced (time valued) notes. The notation is a curved arc over the three linked notes. So in a TRIPLE 1 / 4 = ( 1 / 8 + 1 / 8 + 1 / 8 ). 

Mathematically this is wrong. It should be 1 / 4 = 1 / 12 + 1 / 12 + 1 / 12 .  We don't have a notation for a 1/12th note directly. What we have is the TRIPLET notation. If you want to know more about Triplets, I recommend The Eighth Note Triplet

What's important for our purposes is to get is that the "AND" and "A" of a ROLLING COUNT do not fall in the same place as the "AND" and "A" of a standard count.

Skippy Blair, who is widely recognized as the CREATOR of West Coast Swing, teaches exclusively using ROLLING COUNT. Not just for WCS, but for ALL dances. In my opinion MY OPINION, let me say that again MY OPINION, she is BRILLIANT and her contribution to the dance world has been AMAZING and she deserves ALL the respect and admiration that the dance world can heap upon her.  AND basically what she has is a really really good hammer, and treats all music as if it is a nail. It produces a predictable result, but frankly, I think I know more about waltz and foxtrot than she does. Rolling Count is not the best way to treat all music and all dancing. My OPINION… MY OPINION.  MY OPINION. If I ever Ever EVER hear any one say that I said Skippy Blair was wrong, I'll will personally hunt them down and correct them with a 2×4. But that is beside the point….

Skippy also always counts ALL the ROLLING COUNT sounds AND she always starts with the "AND" and "A" from the previous measure to ensure that when you MOVE, you move when she wants you to. Bear in mind, that one says AND A ONE, AND A TWO this does not mean the AND and A belong to the same BEAT (or even BAR) of music as the ONE, or the TWO, etc. But it creates a mental linkage that can be important. Again: THE "AND" and "A" do NOT belong to the ONE. They belong to the PREVIOUS BEAT. The PREVIOUS BEAT. THE PREVIOUS BEAT !!!!

Rolling Count In Dancing

Of all the communities of dancers I know about, the ones who do the most with Rolling Count is the West Coast Swing dance community. Some might say that you don't really know WCS until you figure out how Rolling Count works.

Let's look at a 6  count basic (side pass, sugar push etc). Using Rolling Count, it would be:

& a 1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4 & a 5 & a 6
    ^     ^     ^   ^ ^     ^   ^ ^

In contrast, someone NOT from deep within the WCS community is likely to count WCS those six count basics as: 1  2  3&4 5&6, and treat the 3&4 5&6 as triples, splitting the 1 / 4 notes into 1 / 4 1 / 4 . NOT TRIPLETS, but Triples.

They are VERY different, and that is the basic point of this exposition. Is that WRONG?  No… Is that consistent with what people who are truly experts in the WCS do?   NO WAY.

This is just great for WCS and a few other dances. But is NOT consistent with how the majority of the world views the traditional ballroom and Latin dances.

Skippy would have Cha Cha as: (switch to fixed font again)

& a 1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4
    ^     ^     ^   ^ ^

In other words, you step on 1, 2, 3 A 4, which is NOT an even split of the 3 beat into two equal halves.

Pretty much the rest of the dance world will tell you that CHA CHA is 1 2 3 & 4 (traditional break on ONE count) OR 1 2 3 4 & (break on TWO count) where the & represents an exact HALF of the beat.

Many dance teachers will even say WHOLE WHOLE HALF HALF WHOLE to emphasize the even-ness of the CHA CHA CHA part.

Musically 1/4   1/4   1/8   1/8   1/4    OR   1/4   1/4   1/4   1/8   1/8 (break on TWO)

Who is RIGHT?

Depends on who you ask. But Latin dancers believe Cha Cha is an even split regardless of what WCS dancers say about it. AND visa versa.

Let's look at a waltz measure.

Suppose you wanted to take FOUR steps in the THREE beats of music.

There are THREE ways to represent this, using standard Round Dance notation:

  •  1 / &, 2, 3;
  •  1, 2 / &, 3;
  •  1, 2, 3 / &;

But what about ….. &1, 2, 3;  ?  Does that represent a split of the ONE beat? If so, how is that different from 1&, 2, 3; which is also a split of the ONE beat?

In Western musical notation, and in Round Dance notation, the NUMBER always represents the start of the beat. The '&' always represents the second half of a split beat. At least, that's what we have in writing.

You can SAY &123 in a way that makes it seem like they split the ONE, but Round Dance (and musical) notation does not support that. 

Let's take a simple example where everyone agrees on the rhythm and the written notation: CHASSE: 12&3… I think it is safe to say, everyone agrees… 12&3.

The written description is:

[Chasse (12&3)]  Step, step / close, step;

So my question to those who promote &1 descriptions of figures is:

If I'm allowed to say that &1 and 1& can both be valid when I'm splitting beat ONE, why can't I say that 1&23 is the same as 12&3 when splitting the TWO beat, like in the chasse?

A) [Chasse (12&3)]  Step, step / close, step;

B) [Chasse (1&23)]  Step, step / close, step;

Perhaps it depends on what I do with my VOICE….

ONE (pause) AND TWO (pause) THREE

That's the same as:

ONE (pause) TWO AND (pause) THREE

Isn't it?   Come on.  They're the same… Aren't they?

It doesn't matter how many times I say it, or what emphasis I put into my voice, in written form, they are NOT the same.

Let's look at an example where it might actually make a difference.


For the Follower, this is 7 steps taken over two measures.  THE question ALWAYS gets asked. Here is my version of the question in excruciating detail:

Does the Follower take FOUR steps in the first measure and THREE steps in the second measure OR, does the Follower take THREE steps in the first measure and FOUR steps in the second measure?

Mind you, the way that question is usually asked is not nearly as specific and clear as what I just wrote. But that is what the follower (and good leaders) wants to know. Which measure is syncopated?  (And how is it syncopated, since the second measure COULD use chasse timing as a valid option…. But that is too much, even for me 😉

If I answer by giving the following COUNT:


Then, you simply CAN NOT tell what I mean. Those words alone are not sufficient to answer the question.

I can use my VOICE to indicate the split I want. There are TWO options:

A) 123& (pause) 123

B) 123  (pause)   &123

Ok GREAT. It was clear when I said it. BUT, will it match what I wrote?

Round Dance written descriptions allow me to split the current beat into NUMBER / &, but do NOT allow me to split the current beat into & / NUMBER.

I can show:

Version A:   Desc, desc, desc / desc;  Desc, desc, desc;

And I can show:

Version B:   Desc, desc, desc; Desc / desc, desc, desc;

Each of these long descriptions is clear and represents a particular timing to dance. But cuesheets might include more than the long description. They might include a COUNT.

For the first example above it is easy. I get:

Version A:   [Spin & Twist (123&; 123)]  Desc, desc, desc / desc;  Desc, desc, desc;

But I have TWO things I could write for version B)

Version B-1:   [Spin & Twist (123; &123)] Desc, desc, desc; Desc / desc, desc, desc;

Version B-2:   [Spin & Twist (123; 1&23)] Desc, desc, desc; Desc / desc, desc, desc;

For versions B-1 and B-2, the written description is IDENTICAL, and only the manner in which I notate the split beat in the COUNT differs.

Which is "correct"?  Is &1 a special case? You can only split the ONE beat in front of the beat, but you can't split the TWO beat in front of the beat, only AFTER the beat?

Of course !! That makes perfect sense…

&123 is NOT the same as 1&23.  &123 means to steal a little bit of time from the PREVIOUS beat. 1&23 means to split the first beat.

REALLY ???? Then why not WRITE it that way, since we have a perfectly good, consistent, and universally understood way of DOING THAT.

Just my somewhat less than humble opinion. Your mileage may vary.