Dancer Rotation is a concept that is mostly used in the straight square dance community, to ensure that pairs of dancers (couples and singles both) are randomly assigned to different squares throughout a dance.
There are manual and automated systems for dancer rotation.
Rotation cards, often called "Computer" cards, are small cards with numbers on them that are handed out to arriving dancers.
The cards contain a matrix of numbers with number of couples as the columns and the tip number as the row.
For each tip, the caller tells everyone which row and column to look at on their card. Dancers then go to the square indicated on the card.
Computer applications are available to perform the same function as pre-printed computer cards.
- "Computer Cards" -- a printed slip is given to each couple at the dance. The cards are printed, perhaps laminated, and then used at the dance. One card per couple. Before each tip, the caller announces the number of couples, and the tip number. Each card-holder then looks at their card to determine their assigned square.
- "Static" Rotation -- a fixed rotation for a fixed number of couples and number of tips. A Static Rotation is generated before the dance. Static rotations are only used at dances or weekends where the number of couples and number of tips is known in advance. Various hardcopy printouts of the rotation can be generated and brought to the dance.
- "Dynamic" Rotation -- a computer at the dance generates a rotation prior to each tip. This is the most versatile option. A computer is required at the dance. As each couple arrives at the dance, their couple name is added to the list of couples. Prior to each tip, the computer generates a rotation, and each couple looks at the computer display to determine their assigned square. Couples may arrive or leave the dance without upsetting the rotation. However, each couple must check-in or check-out with the person running the rotation. Couples may also request to sitout for specific tips.