I know it’s been a while since I’ve done a double staff video, but recently I had a Skype lesson with a double staff spinner who wanted to know all about 8-step CAPs and I realized that it’d make a great topic for a video! Specifically, we covered how you can create a variety of different 8-step CAPs with a very simple recipe.
First off: what is an 8-step CAP? The idea comes to us from Charlie’s 9-square theory, which you can learn about in the playlist I’ve linked to below. Among other things, 9-square theory gives us an interesting algorithm for changing timing and direction by using CAPs and polyrhythm hybrids.
There’s a common problem in spinning that when going from the together time to split time version of either same or opposite direction there’s a weird moment where we either have to slow down the timing of one prop or speed up the timing of the other. Charlie believed this looked sloppy and came up with a method for making this shift that looks cleaner and gives rise to a cool, repeating pattern.
You see, normally when we perform CAPs, we’re going back and forth across one half of a circle. What Charlie realized is that if you add a segment that travels a different distance around the circle than the CAP, you can cycle back and forth between the CAP and the new segment, going through both timing variations for a given direction. You know that old saying two steps forward, one step back? 8-step CAPs do this to switch timing and direction!
It’s also a great framework because of the number of combinations you can work through. There are literally hundreds of possible 8-step CAPs out there--the variability of them is immense, so you can learn several patterns and they’ll all look very different to your audience.
But how do you create an 8-step CAP? Here’s a simple recipe!
We’re going to start by saying that we will have two patterns: one in same direction and one in opposites. You’ll note: I’m not specifying timing just yet for either of these patterns. Our first pattern we will perform for three quarters of a circle, the second for one half. The distance mismatch is so the pattern doesn’t just repeat back and forth across the same segment of the circle--otherwise it would just be a standard CAP.
These patterns can be any of the three combinations of antispin and isolation, so our options are antispin vs antispin, isolation vs isolation, and antispin vs isolation.
So, for my first pattern I’m going to choose antispin vs antispin with my arms in split-time, same direction.
For my second pattern, I’m going to choose isolation vs isolation. I’m not specifying split or together time for this pattern because I’ll wind up cycling through both. I only need to know my timing for the first pattern.
Okay, so now that we’ve got that down, let’s actually work through the pattern!
I’m going to start with my staves straight out horizontally, and perform antispin in split same for three quarters of a circle, this is going to result in the staves pointed straight up and down. Now, I’m going to perform isolations in split opposites across my right side.
I’ve now switched which hand is up and which one is down and my hands are apart again, so it’s time for me to perform antispin vs antispin in split same for another three quarters of the circle. With that done, I have a choice to make: do I perform opposites across the top or bottom of the circle? Either option will work, but I do have to remember which way I go. In this case, I’m going to go across the bottom of the circle.
Now I switch back to antispin vs antispin in split same for another three quarters of the circle and again I wind up with one hand up and one hand down. Last time I did opposites across my right side, so this time I’ll do it across my left.
I switch back to antispin vs antispin for three quarters of the circle and again my hands wind up on the horizontal axis, but crossed. The last time I was horizontal, I went across the bottom of the circle with my opposites isolation vs isolation, so this time I’m going to go across the top. When I complete this last pattern, I’ve completed my 8-step CAP. I’ve had four segments of antispin vs antispin and four segments of isolation vs isolation.
Now it’s just down to drilling and running the pattern over and over again until it feels natural. A couple cool things to note about this pattern: I perform split opposites twice and together opposites twice. Also, each time I switch to opposites, I do it across a different axis of the circle, working my way around like a clock face.
Try dropping in any two patterns you like to make up your own 8-step CAP, or if you want to get more complicated, you can create your own formula.
The one I’ve presented in this video is intentionally simplified to insure it’s easy to use and will never create pattern mismatches. You can also change the distance each pattern travels or decide you want to swap the opposite and same direction segments. Make sure if you do change the formula that you make sure the two patterns overlap in positions. Otherwise you’ll get pattern mismatches that don’t work.