From the OP:"When you bring up your leg to kick, do you pass through this stance? "

All stances are transitional.

That being said, The traditional crane stance is used as a groin/leg block, a chamber for a side kick, a transition to a scissors stance, a sweep dodge, the end of a hooking technique, a hop to the reverse leg can be highly mobile...

I had a classmate that could also spar very well out of using it as a basic stance to keep someone at long range, he was a very skilled exception though, and as soon as someone closed he would transition to other stances. Crane stances are NOT useful for in-fighting!